In 2013, I had watched this beautiful movie “Lootera” based on O. Henry’s story The Last Leaf and directed by Vikramaditya Motwane. Two things which I really loved the movie was its cinematography and its dialogues. One particular dialogue which got stuck in mind and which motivated me to see Chandratal was a lovely conversation on Chandratal between Pakhi and Varun, two main protagonists of the movie.
Here it goes:
Pakhi: अगर तुम्हे मौका मिले कुछ और करने का तो क्या करना चाहोगे?
—- Silence —-
Varun: एक बार मरने से पहले चंद्रताल देखना चाहता हूँ
Pakhi: वो कहाँ है?
Varun: मनाली से बहुत आगे .. हिमालय के बीचो बीच …. नीला हरा पानी …. और ज़रा सी भी आवाज़ नहीं
Pakhi: (whispering) बिकुल भी नहीं
Varun: (whispering) नहीं
This description of the of the lake is very apt. I wish the director would have tweaked the story and shot one scene at the lake.
Although the place is very touristy, there is always one corner somewhere around the lake which as quiet as it can be.
The side of Lake which the only handful few explores (Pic: Aakash)
The view which you get if you explore ridge to right of lake
Panoramic view of the Lake
A narrow one lane motorable road connects Batal to Chandratal camping grounds. It is one of the worst roads you will ever see in the region. The drive is of 1-1.5 hours.
Stay near the Lake
- There are many camping options available which are about 2-3 KMs from the Chandratal lake. The charges are usually INR 1200 upwards
- There is also a PWD Rest House now at Battal if you can manage to book it
- You can also camp at Chacha Chachi Chandra Dhaba
Dos and Don’ts
- Head early morning to Chandratal lake to get the reflections in the lake. As the day progresses, the wind makes the water wobble.
- Please note that camping is not allowed by the edge of the lake and moreover you should not camp there as well.
- There are smaller water bodies above Chandratal. They are worth a visit. Do take out time to explore them.
- If you are coming through Manali route, it is not advised to camp at camping grounds near the lake. At an altitude of 14000 feet, no human body can get acclimatised to such an altitude in one night.