Friday, December 5, 2014

Kinnaur & Spiti tales-7-Chandrataal,a surreal lake




Himalayas are the treasure holders of nature’s marvelous work. It is home to pristine lakes which are not easy to access and makes it much more alluring for the travelers.  I was fortunate to see Chandrataal lake this summer.Because of its crescent shape,it is also famous as moon lake. It is located in the higher altitudes of Spiti valley of Himachal Pradesh near Khunzum pass. 

Chandrataal at its best
The lake owes its charm to its surrounding mountains, its colorful slopes and of course sun who does all the magic. Crystal clear water reflects everything  surrounding the lake.  While mountains around makes the lake surreal, the sun and the sky make it luminescent with hues of blue. 
First view of Chandrataal
 As soon as you get the first glimpse of the lake for sure you feel it is ethereal. It looks like someone  has carved this piece of heavenly body from some mythological story and dropped it on the earth. For sure you will feel that this place is meant for fairies to live.
Your imagination is not far from the truth as there are many fairy stories around this lake. According to a story, Yudhisthira the elder brother of pandavas of  Mahabharata entered heaven from this place.  Indra king of heaven, sent a chariot to take him to heaven from Chandrataal. 
Reflections
  Another fable from Spiti is my favorite story.
There lived a lazy man called Gangpa who was a good flutist. One fine day he comes to Chandratal, to escape from his daily chores and starts playing the flute. The fairy of Chandrataal would fall  in love with  Gangpa for his music and she will confesses her love towards him. And asks him to stay with her. Gangpa, though already married forgets everything after seeing the  beautiful  fairy and starts living with her. When the winter steps in, the fairy asks Gangpa to go back and return during next summer. Gangpa, unwillingly goes back. Before saying goodbye, the  fairy reminds Gangpa to keep their love affair as top secret.
Back in home, Gangpa will be terribly missing the fairy. When his wife starts irritating him for his irresponsibility towards the family, he says ‘ you are no good for me. Chandrataal fairy loves me so much, wish I could go back to her.' By the time he came to his sensesit was already uttered. He has revealed something he promised to keep it with himself. Broken, shattered Gangpa, cursed himself for his loose talk. He repented all through. He spends rest of the winter contemplating about the fairy and reaches Chandrataal even before summer begins.  
  By hearing Gangpa’s flute fairy comes out of the lake in tears  and says , ‘ you spoiled everything’ and hands over a  small baby. It was the ugliest he had ever seen in his life. Then she walks back in to the water. The baby dies in his arms  within couple of hours. He reveals his story to entire village. They all decide to build a chorten for fairy's baby. Thereafter, Gangpa  tries to live a happy life as a responsible person.  As it was born to a fairy, though it was dead, brings good fortune to Gangpa and his family.  My guide told me that Gangpas’s family members still live in the village near Kaza.
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Chandrataal lake is the origin of Chandra river which is the tributary of Chenab river which is one of the 5 rivers of Punjab. 
Chandra river originating from the lake
 Though it takes a long drive on bumpy, narrow , treacherous road to reach the lake and walk for a kilometer or more to see the lake, but the magnificence which awaits you there is still worth it.
Walking on the green grass along the moon shaped lake enjoying the serenity was one of the best moments of my life.I jumped here for my signature picture.
Me jumping with joy
Why don’t you plan your travel to Spiti in the next summer ?

Travel tips

  • Chandrataal is on the way to Kaza from Manali about 125 kms  from Manali. At Batal, need to take a deviation  and travel for 14 kms to reach Chandrataal.
  • Camping is available a few kms away from the Chandrataal.
  • They say that full moon night is the best time to camp near Chandrataal

Click here to view more Skywatch

29 comments:

  1. the first image is stunningly beautiful. they are all fabulous.

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    1. Thanks Felicia. The place itself is amazing

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  2. Wow, truly awesome :)

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    1. Thanks Ladyfi.. Yes. it was Woww feeling for me too :-)

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  4. Beautiful photos... the first shot is spectacular!

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  5. WOW! These are awesome...definitely in my list of places to visit. Thank you for taking me along...have a great weekend !Will be following.

    Shantana

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    1. Shantana, thanks for following... You should visit ..Feel free to contact me if you need any help for planning :-)

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  6. Wow! Never seen such a beautiful reflection.

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    1. Thanks Thomas. Water was crystal clear ..

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  7. The photos are mind blowing!! The story you mentioned is very interesting, thanks for sharing :)

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  8. Great and impressive landscape not so much skywatch but great reflections. I like seeing them and thanks for showing.

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    1. S.C, agree. It is more of indirect sky in the lake than direct skywatch. Thanks :-)

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  9. stunning! absolutely stunning views. Looks like a paradise.

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    1. Thanks Rajalakshmi. Yes it is a piece of paradise in our own land ...

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  10. When I look at your photos I can imagine why you'd be jumping with joy. They are spectacular indeed!

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    1. Thanks Nathalie :-) I was like a kid entering into a fairy land :-)

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  11. Have read many accounts of Chandratal ..... but this account of fairy's baby beats everything. There is a lesson to be learned here.

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    1. Thanks Amitabhagupta... Thanks to my guide Chering and a book i read in Kaza. I have forgotten the name. It was about Spiti lores

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  12. Can't tell which ones are more interesting - stories or the pictures :)
    Keep them both coming !!

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    1. Jay, thanks for your kind words.. :-)

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  13. You deserve great appreciation...... to bring these pics which looks out of this world !!!!

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