Exploring Chandratal – Delhi to Manali

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Hey guys I am glad to be back from the trip. The trip had everything almost one can imagine which nature has on offer… Heat, Sun, Deserted Land, Flowing Violent River, High Snow Clad Peaks, Snow, Heavy Snow fall, Rain, Freezing Winds, Great Valley…you name something and it was there…The adventure soon became the survival and fight against a probable death. It feels great to be alive for sure and witness the limits of your body and soul.

Views from Delhi to Manali road

Suddenly you feel importance for the people who care for you and you see the importance of your life not for yourself but for the ones who are a part of it. Every single human who met us on the way asked not to attempt and said if you have a keeda for dying then go for it else try out kaza/kunzum as the road is more adventurous at the moment but going Chandratal is calling death. But, our guide said nothing will happen just follow my footsteps and next morning we went for it. After so much that had happened the very day, Chandratal still eluded us 0.5 KM away and it was that our guide who was able to make its banks as first(doubtedly) of 2009 because we met so many people on the way who only said that, “don’t attempt it, we came back” and I can feel why they said so. 5 of us went to vist Chandratal 2 of us only saw it from 0.5 KMs, 1 broke at battal and 2 after trekking 5-6 KMs from battal in the middle of nowhere left stranded waiting for us to come back and save their a**** Right now I don’t have all the pics with me but will soon upload the entire travelogue by this weekend as this one is the most special of the entire life. At the end, all I can say is that Chandratal is not an easy ball game. Right now just enjoy this teaser but keep a close eye. Apolozies for delaying the Charisma The bottom line of the trip is I (rather we) shouldn’t be Alive 😉

Hmm..so finally the wait is over have the pics and will get on with the travelogue now… also I will be adding the list of things to avoid at the end of the travelogue and how to learn from our experience to avoid what all happened to us…clever people are those who learn from other’s mistake..so calling all clever one’s to learn from ours :D…

Day 1 – June 03, 2009 | Delhi to Manali

It was 3.30 AM in the morning and we, five in number, in a santro, with high spirits started for the hunt to satisfy the prolonged desire to see Chandrataal and our FIRST ever TREK. The trip meter is down and set to zero and with tank full of fuel we left @Gurgaon from my cousin’s place. I knew it would be a long drive for sure 14-16 hr is what we expected for us to reach manali and get some rest. First stop was supposed o be Karnal the “Zilmil Restaurant “, since it was too early so they were serving only Paranthas viz. mix, pyaaz, paneer with lots of white butter spread over it, delicious, isn’t it?…and glass full of TEA…. ahh! I love it “A Glass full of Tea”…. It’s just bcz me being highly addicted to TEA….hmm…so after getting our tummies full of those PARANTHAS we went ahead….

Views from Delhi to Manali road

Smooth and Clean…

Views from Delhi to Manali road

We opted for Delhi-Kalka-Kiratpur-Bilaspur-Mandi-Manali route…so when we were about to reach Kalka we just poked someone for the the way to go…and he said take this left turn for kiratpur and we thought this is extremely lucky, the left turn had no signs and it was like a gully [small road only]..maybe there could be some other road as well or I thought me must have missed the board…anyways journey gets under way…the route was beautiful although confusing a bit with lack of sign boards and plenty of two ways, adding to the confusion ?…also the entire route till bilaspur was pretty much in OK condition but at few places it was very bumpy and the road was also small..and I thought the little santro was dying with all much weight..it was HOT…..but the beauty of the route was just amazing…driving on the circumference of Shivalik ranges seemed to be a joy in that heat as well…the enthusiasm was very high..And why it would’nt be, it was, after all, the first unorganized and unseen adventure…

The monster dragon reptile…it was way bigger than her sisters found in our city… ?

Views from Delhi to Manali road

Enjoy the beauty in the pic itself…

Views from Delhi to Manali road

Beauty was more or less the same everywhere till bilaspur and we hit the all wanted shade in the mountains..the nature became more and more interesting as we kept driving into the hills far away from the home land….we met the Beas river which was all dried up near the lower hills but kept on getting violent more and more as we move up… I feel the water was not yet release from the DAM where photography is prohibited ;( … here are few more pics of the way being followed….

The water is so calm here….

Views from Delhi to Manali road

I wish I owned that place…also wonder how someone built it…. :confused:

Views from Delhi to Manali road

Ahh… that’s beautiful isn’t it? A hanging bridge above a VIOLENT RIVER…..

Views from Delhi to Manali road

Now what’s this? We all know it’s WINDMILL… we always get these…

Views from Delhi to Manali road

Next stop was at Mandi – “Rotis” the restaurant, we had lunch there and it was nice apart from the rest room which was just one and always having the sign not vacant…but we cared about food…it was worth a stop..even the scenes from the balcony were great…and more over it was just on the highway itself..so didn’t have to face the hassles of the city…. Now to my cousins surprise we hit the so long tunnel of AUT….yes it was very long and all of them seemed to be very excited seeing such big one for first time….the dampness which creates the coldness in that stretch is simply great…but nevertheless all of us enjoyed till the very end… it is worth a visit..here is a pic when we shoots out of the TUNNEL…

Views from Delhi to Manali road

Now as we entered the highlands the nature started to show its nature by making us feel its cold and pleasant mist in the air created by the violent BEAS River flowing aside the road…. I bet it’s 100$ drive in an amusement park, if ever they offer this service… ;)..just try to feel what we felt in these pics…

Views from Delhi to Manali road
Views from Delhi to Manali road
Views from Delhi to Manali road

Now we can see Kullu….it just looks great…

Views from Delhi to Manali road

As we passed the kullu I think I missed the by-pass..so we entered the kullu…and there was a red light and I was about to cross it as I thought it’s just for the people crossing the street the cop instructed me to stay back and stop..so I did and then aside us someone instructed to get back as it’s a one way and you will create a JAM, it was a very ugly surprise as again either there was no sign board or we again missed it…backing up at hills is always a concern for me and when people are so f****** idiots that no one is ready to give the space when it even existed…all want to be Schumacher at the very moment and steal that ever slightest bit of inch from you…to add to the problem all my 4 passengers were somewhat like Nawabs with none bothering to get down and stop people from fitting their a***** in between so that they can avoid JAM….when I saw no respite I said to myself enough of this let’s move to front and wait for the consequences….nothing much happened when traffic came from the other side but devil was all around that place for us..as it got green signal and we tried to move I hit very slightly a mud-guard of a three wheeler and he stepped out and I tell you, he created a scene out of nothing…he was not even ready to move aside and didn’t let us move as well…we asked him so much that at least get aside and let other people pass by..But he was like “koi nhn, lagne de jaam” (no problems let the jam be there, I don’t care..)..He kept saying tell me what to do..After seeing that shit enough and being asked to pay 350 Rs for the damage..I just lost a bit…The anger was reaching heights and was about to erupt…but I was like let’s not create fuss and avoid it…none of the two cops bothered to entertain the situation…when finally I had to pull that thinnest piece of mud-guard shit from my hand and bend it to make it look as it was earlier…see it was just my hand which fixed and I am not Arnold ;(…. Then we put a 100 RS note in his hand asked him to shut up and move aside…i don’t have words to write here for that idiot…it was nothing but a mere bent which one shot of hammer would have fixed…any ways forgetting the scene we move ahead and on the way we saw some cool firangis near kullu airport..eye’s treat.. Then nature started to get into the evening shift and we enjoyed the views of sun and shade on the high hill leadin to manali…

Simply awesome…..

Views from Delhi to Manali road

Oops we got the moon as well

Views from Delhi to Manali road

The sun is setting and we are almost there at manali…

Views from Delhi to Manali road

We reached manali @18.30 PM….it’s was so much crowded and there was no place to park the car…and the on-way nature of the road created all so much problems for me…but we managed to reach the person AVINASH gave reference of…thanks to him for that….we arranged the trip to chandrataal there we booking of transport, guide and food for 2 nights and three days..he asked us to stay at old manali and to be honest I dint have any clue of that place even visiting manali once before…somehow I managed to take the car to most diffiquilt part of the journey at the top in old manali…and I swear it was the most diffiquilt drive I ever had with so much jams…centimeters of space only to get thru and all the locales shouting and behaving as they are god seeing the number plate of delhi….vo kehte hain na jiski laathi usi ki bhains….it was same for every locale there….but nevertheless it’s part of india…now the fever is getting to world as well especially Australia….somehow managed to park our car in a plot near cottage…. Anyways old manali was very calm and clean and firangan chicks were like treat for the eyes….i never saw such beautiful faces in among them….simply great…the cuisines had everything if you are a foreign cuisine fan…so we got a chance as well to wash our hands with something different prior to disappearing into the non habituated part of the north… we had some dinner and went to get some sleep in the cottage as it was decided that we have to leave at 4 AM. Btw we also got sometime to get some last photos of the day….the night shots…although they aren’t that good but OK to be remembered of…

Moon at its gloryamong the clouds…

Views from Delhi to Manali road

A far away snow cladded peak….

Views from Delhi to Manali road

So gaya ye jahan…and it was dark everywhere…and we also slept…

Views from Delhi to Manali road

Next will be the Day-2, which had more fun and more pics and some many first time experiences so guyz keep watching…

The Journey ahead-

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29 Comments

  1. Gauravendra Tokas on

    Hi dheeraj.
    Man ure on a roll! Everybody on internet is talking abt u. And becuz of that im here.
    We are six friends on four royal enfield bullets wanting to spend 4-5 nights in manali from 6oct to 10oct. Help me in making an adventurous itinerary. Days and budget are limited as we students from Delhi University.
    Soliciting a helpful reply bro. Thanx in advance

  2. YAGNESH PATEL on

    Dear Dheeraj,
    Myself Yagnesh Patel from Surat, Gujarat. This is my second mail conversation with you. Few days ago I mailed you for basic information regarding lahul spity tour. & I received your reply too. At that time I am not sure about my vacation tour. But now onwards I have plan for visit kinnaur/ lahul spity during from 25th May to 2nd June 2016.
    I will be leaving Surat on 25th May through PASCHIM EXPRESS & reached at KALKA on 26th May at around 6.00pm.
    I have return booking of AIR FLIGHT from New Delhi to Surat on 3rd June in early morning at 5.50 o’ clock.
    So I will start my actual tour from KALKA on 26th May after 6.00 pm. To 2nd June 6.00 to CHANDIGARDH. So Dheeraj I have full 7 days & 7 night to explore & enjoy KINNAUR, SANGLA VELLY & SPITY VELLY return through same rout to Chandigardh..
    Now Dheeraj so pls requesting you to design tour iternery as per yourself for me day wise with night stay. Also provide details of accommodation, mainly buses timing from kalka to PEO, to tabo, to kaza & to sangla, chitkul. As well road condition, wheather condition as I will comming with my family & 2½ yr old baby boy.
    Expecting your valuable guidance regarding this tour.

    YAGNESH PATELPATEL.

    • Yagnesh, you just have 7 days in hand and I will suggest that you just stick to Kinnaur Valley as you are traveling with family.

      Day 0 | Reach Kalka and move to Shimla/Narkanda
      Day 1 | Shimla/Narkanda – Sangla Valley
      Day 2 | Sangla – Chitkul / Sangla
      Day 3 | Chitkul / Sangla – Kalpa
      Day 4 | Rest at Kalpa
      Day 5 | Kalpa – Sarahan
      Day 6 | Sarahan – Chail/Shimla
      Day 7 | Chail/Shimla – Delhi

  3. Lovely trip. I have not enjoyed most pif the drive to Manali because it passes through too much ‘civilisation’, but from there onwards, I am sure is very nice…

  4. praacheesh on

    Hey..there is a doubt ..if the road from battal to chandratall is motorable .13.5 km.
    Hw come u crossd snow slopes?that too 3 of them

    • ha ha ha, yeah brother it is motorable but that only happens when all these snow slopes melt and stones are cleared of the road by end of June or early July.

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  7. m goin to raid to chandrataal by bike…suggest me sum precaustionary stuff…replying wud be kindness..hah.thnx

    • Hello Kabeer,

      Not sure what do you mean here by precautionary stuff. For a list of things to carry, route, tips, acclimatization, check the guide to Chandratal lake here

      I hope this helps. Please let me know for any doubts or queries you have.

      Regards
      Dheeraj Sharma

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  13. Sundeep Bhardwaj on

    Hi dear,

    I read your complete travel story..it was great and adventurous and risky trip for you guys as ur not from Himachal and not used to this cold.

    I too went for the same trip with a group of 5 more people and a guide.Since i am also a determined person and very stubbon i also tok all hardships to reach Chander taal lake ..Check some shots i took there on http://wittysam.shutterfly.com and even on http://hcvkullu.shutterfly.com. I did the same track in 2009 but on 11 JUNE 2009.We reached Batal on 9th June 2009 but road was full of many glaciers and decided to travel around other places and start the trek to Chandertaal from Kunjum Laa after 2 days.2 of our frinds one was a doctor and Nurse decided to quit the trek o Chandertaal..We reached chandertaal aftera long track of allmost 6 hrs instead of 3 hrs due to many Glaciers in between and many mountains to cross..Me and the group took so much risk to reach Chandertaal and take pictures of Chandertaal in good sunlight..We reacehed at 13.00 hrs and left in 90 min as we were going the motor road way while on return…But we were not sure weather we cud make it in time and we had no sleeping bags and tents with us..So we had to leave early as temperature falls to minus 25 there at night..We wanted to stay there overnight..But i will go prepared next time and spend a nigh there for sure one day in future..But yes this is my favourite place in World though i have seen more than 35 countries around the world…Keep blogging such articles..they are great.. Sundeep Bhardwaj http;//wittysam.shutterfly.com http://hcvkullu.shutterfly.com

    • Hey Sundeep!! Thanks yes it was realy tough for us and considering it was our first trek, it was just super dooper adventure experience. Well the pictures on your site are exceptionally great, especially the Chandertal one on the main page…just amazing!!

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      • Hi Sanjay,

        I guess by that time you will be able to make it to Chandratal. As by that time, the snow at least on the roads melt. Try to make it in late June and you shall be fine to reach Chandratal.

        I hope this helps. Please let me know for any queries or doubts.

        Regards
        Dheeraj Sharma

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