If you have visited Chandratal in Spiti, you could stop reading now. If you are yet to visit the region, what are you waiting for? Ladakh has now become very popular with tourists. Spiti is equally beautiful and less crowded. I find the terrain very similar at both the places.
But there is one crucial difference, Leh has an airport whereas Kaza has none. So reaching Spiti is more difficult. When I went in 2007 there were government buses. But when I revisited in 2014, I didn’t see any buses on the road! There were only shared jeeps, SUVs and hired jeeps.
The road sometimes resembles a waterfall! But the region is so stunningly beautiful that it is worth all the hassle. As it is difficult to reach, it is not as crowded as Ladakh.
Spiti is home to one of the most beautiful high altitude lakes, Chandratal. There is a fair weather road all most all the way to Chandratal. But last year it was impassable due to a landslide when I was in the region. We walked all of those 14 kilometers to reach Chandratal. For a long time our path went along the Chandra River. With a landscape this beautiful, and my penchant for walking, I had nothing to complain about.
If I could change only one thing about this scene, it would be the incessant rain and clouds that kept us company. While it was pleasant to walk on a overcast day, it wa no fun when it obscured all the views and kept us indoors. Later in the evening a bird came by to drink in the stream. It was out source of water and joy too!
I got only a partial view of the lakes as the clouds didn’t let me to view it! Even then it was so beautiful. I am itching to go back once again. Let us see when!
I still remember the day so clearly. Dhankar was our last stop on the Spiti Homestay Trek. And the place is magical. The Dhankar village in itself is so charming, our homestay was in a house next to the fort in ruins.
The river Spiti flows by the village and the sunset was over majestic mountains which we watched from the roof of our home stay.
I went to sleep with that day quite tired but sure that the next day I wanted to trek to the Dhankar Lake. Anjan came with me and Seshadri and Dilip (my nephew) refused to wake up in the morning. And what views he missed!
We trekked for a little more than hour, all mildly uphill to reach the lake.
While walking I would pause to click every flower that I saw. Anjan, our guide, found my habit of stopping to take a picture of every flower on the way quite amusing.
On the way a village herdsman stopped and insisted that I took a picture of him. That there were a lot of workers walking up hill with heavy pipes and great difficulty for some water work in progress. And there I was finding the lain walk itself so difficult at that altitude.
When we reached the lake there was not another soul around. We walked around the lake, there were Buddhist prayer flags in a corner. We found some beer bottles floating in the lake as well. Anjan waded and got it out. The weather was awesome, the cloud cover made the walk pleasant. It added to the beauty of the place! I was very tired but I would not miss it for anything!
The evening gave us a beautiful view of the mountain ranges. We ate que for dinner the night before. Dilip and Seshadri did not like too much but I did!
Two things prompted this post on Lakes in India. One, a beautiful post on water bodies by Arun. Then we were discussing Lansdowne at Indiamike. We started discussing Bhulla Tal (Lake), a man made lake. Shashank and I were of the view that this Tal is not out of the ordinary. That is when I started thinking of the really beautiful lakes (all high altitude) I have seen in India.
I started my India travel blog, Travel Tales from India in 2005. In 2016 I realized Travel Tales from India and Abroad better reflected my writings. I love to walk and ride in metros around the world. I have not been everywhere, I am not even close, but it is on my list. I also quit my job as a professor in 2015, it was a happening year! I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur ages ago!
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