Gaur Gopal Das in a TEDx talk said there are two types of tears. When tears are cold, they are tears of joy and when tears are warm, they’re tears of pain and anguish. My tears were cold, because I was standing at 14,500 ft in front on Chandra Taal Lake and we trekked against all odds to reach here. Though shorter in distance, steep climbing made our trek rigorous. The view from the top was worth every step we climbed. Surrounded by glaciers and high snow-cladded mountains and the magnificient cresent shaped Chandra Taal Lake in front, we dropped our backpacks to embrace the long journey we did to reach here.
We started on Friday (16th June), boarded bus for Manali from ISBT Kashmiri Gate (Delhi) at 10.30 PM and reached Manali at 2 PM next day. There is only one HRTC bus for Kaza and that starts at 4.30AM in the morning from Manali. Isha was not in favour of spending the rest of day in Manali and so we went to the Taxi stand and enquired for a Cab till Batal. By 3PM, we had left Manali and we were on our way to Batal. Our first stop was Rohtang Pass.
Rohtang connects the Kullu Valley with the Lahaul and Spiti Valleys of Himachal. At 13,051 ft, it was cold, drizzling and the chilly winds were giving us goose bumps. We enjoyed the view, clicked few pictures and got back into our cab. Though it is advised to acclimatize in Manali by staying a day but we had different plans. When you plan to travel places like Spiti, you distinguish yourself from other travellers. Our plan was to reach Batal by 9 PM but it was already 7 PM and we were too far from Batal. The roads were getting worse. Sometimes things don’t always work according to your plan but whatever happens, happens for the best. Minutes later at the Grampu Dhaba, we met Tenzin (Son of Mr. & Mrs. Dorjee).
Fate had better plans for us. We shifted in his 4X4 SUV for the remaining half of the journey. Tenzin lives in Chandra Taal and has his own camp setups there. Nobody knows the roads of Chandra Taal better than him. He suggested us to spend the night at his camps in Chandra Taal instead of Batal and we agreed. Listening to songs, his stories and a refuelling stop near Chatru, we reached Chandra Taal around 11PM. The conditions of the roads was so bad, hadn’t we met Tenzin, we would have never made it till Batal that night.
It was dark and beautiful. We were at 14,200 ft and view of the milky way was one of most beautiful thing we were witnessing. While I was lost in star gazing and framing the milky way in my heart, Isha took out her sleeping bag to sleep under the stars. It was cold and the temperature was in minus. Tenzin offered his tents but pitched our own camps. Camping at this height was something I was doing for the first time. We travelled 24 hours non stop to reach here and this warm reception at cold night by these stars was life time. The view was so incredible that I don’t have adjectives to describe its beauty. It was one of best nights of my life.
We slept around 2AM and woke up after 3 hours. After having a cup of Himalayan tea, we started for Chandra Taal Lake. Chandra Taal was 2km of steep trek away from our camp. The wind was frosty and the sun rays were penetrating. It took us almost 1.5 hours to reach the Chandra Taal Lake. The morning reflections of the CB (Chandra-Bhaga) peaks in Chandra Taal, prayer flags near the lake and the blue water of the lake was an out of the world experience for us. I literally had tears of joy for coming this far. We forgot all the pain we took to reach here. We spent 2 hours near the lake admiring the beauty of the lake and the CB peaks and took a lot of pictures. It was heavenly and ethereal experience.
In case you are visiting Chandra Taal and looking for camps/tents to stay, you can contact Tenzin at +91-8988313473, +91-8629826772 or +91-9805151797. Or you can ask Mr. & Mrs. Dorjee at Chandra Dhaba, Batal.