Himachal · India · Spiti

Day 7: Kaza to Chandratal Lake Crossing Kunzum Pass

This was probably the most exciting day of the trip and as I already mentioned these landscape from Kaza to Chandratal is one of the reason why you should start the spiti trip from Shimla. Kaza to Chandratal is around 90 KM and it will take you around 4 hours to reach Chandratal. We wanted to spend more time at Chandratal and so were are ready by 8:00 AM to start our journey. Unfortunately Varun’s bike was unable to start and the mechanic shop was not opened yet. It was only after one hour that we were able to figure out that the battery is discharged and we went to the nearby electrician shop to get it charged. With more than 5 hours of drive ahead of us we left from Kaza at around 12:00 hoping that we will be able to reach Battal for the overnight stay.

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On way to kunzum Pass

Without further delay we started from Kaza and planned to take lunch on the way. We took a break of around half an hour at Losar for Lunch which is around 30 KM from Kaza. There is a small shop on the left hand side just after entering the Losar which servers delicious omelets and tea. It took us another one and a half hour to reach Kunzum Pass. Each turn of the road from Losar to Kunzum will bring you another breathtaking view and thus we stopped every other mile to capture magnificent panoramas.

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Kunzum Pass
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Temple at Kunzum Pass

A series of decorated Buddhist Prayer Flags welcome us, however, I got the overwhelming by looking at the Sign Board confirming our arrival to Kuzum Top. Another landmark achieved and it was invaluable. There is a temple of goddess Durga revered at Goddess Kunzum here. Local people insist everyone to circumambulate the temple before going further as this is believed to bring good luck.  This in all senses was an extraordinary experience which I had never felt earlier and more because it was my first bike trip and I was driving on over 15000 ft. The sky was covered in clouds and there was no sunlight at all our hands were cold even inside the gloves. We spent around 10 mins here to capture the beauty of Kunzum Pass and then started our descent towards Chandratal Lake.

When you are 3km before Battal, you will reach the diversion where the right diversion goes to chandratal. The signboard said chandratal was 13km ahead, out of which around 12km was motorable. If you were thinking that you have driven on the riskiest and toughest road wait until you start driving on this one. There is not much of a road here, there are just tyre tracks to follow. One slip here and you would fall into the river below. This was one of the most dangerous roads that I have ridden on. On your way to Chandratal there are 2 streams flowing right in the middle of the road. The best way to cross the stream is to wait and see before starting and cross the stream in one go. I could easily cross the first stream but lost balance in second one and had to put my toes down. After some struggling and accelerating, I managed to get it out of the stream but my feets were already wet with icy cold water. I was worried that I might catch fever due to the wet socks but fortunately nothing happened.

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On way to Chandratal Lake
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River streams on the way to Chandratal Lake

It was around 4:00 PM that we reached the camp side and Chandratal lake was another KM from there. Jeeps and bike can go a bit further from the camp side after this there is a trek of another 20-30 mins to reach the Chandratal Lake. What sight it was! The mesmerising colours of the blue sky, the white clouds, the jagged mountains, and the incredibly beautiful lake they justify all reasons to visit this place. Some say that the beauty of Chandratal is at its peak during night where you can see the reflection of stars in the lake! Others say that Chandratal is more beautiful that tsomgo lake in Ladhak but I will leave on you to decide that. The best way to experience the Chandratal Lake is to take a stroll around the lake and watch the Lake changing colour in itself. See the reflection of clouds, mountain and sky in the Lake. Chandratal Lake is a perfect spot if you want to spend some time in solitude. Some people also call it Moon Lake and is also one of the the source of the violent Chandra River. It is this point from where Yudhishtra (Eldest among Pandava of Mahabharata epic) was taken to heaven in his mortal form. It’s a very luring place. As it started getting dark and we had a drive of another hour to reach Battal we left Chandratal.

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Chandratal Lake
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Chandratal Lake

It was already around 6:30 PM when we left Chandratal and were able to reach Battal by 7:30 PM. We were a bit worried as it was already dark and Battal was the only village near to Chandratal Lake, had we lost our way or somehow crossed Battal without noticing, it would have been a long night for us. Fortunately we reached Battal by 7:30 and decided to stay in the government guest house. Note that there is no light in Battal, Guest house has a generator but that is also turned off by 9:00 PM.

This was our last day in lahaul Spiti, with lots of memories and a slight tinge of sadness we went to sleep. After Battal our next stop was Bilaspur which is around 50 KM from Mandi and finally we reached back to Delhi on day 9.

 

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