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Maximum Altitude: 14,100ft
Base camp: Manali
Duration: 26 km covered in 4-5 days
The Hampta Pass and Chandratal Trek begins from Manali one of the most famous tourist destinations in Himachal Pradesh.
The journey begins from Manali, a series of hairpin bends and twists and turns through mountains you travel to Jobra, the base point of this trek. The view becomes more magnificent and Manali seems to shrink as you ascend the mountain top. Once you reach Jobra, the trek to Jobra campsite 30 minutes. Here you will experience the thick mountain forests with towering Maple trees and greenery around. You will also see vast meadows and lush forests all blooming in the monsoon season, which is considered the best time to do the Hampta Pass and Chandratal Lake Trek.
You also get to cross the river Chikha. There is no fixed bridge so you submerge your feet in ice cold water and your only support is the human hand chain you form with your group. This is by far the most thrilling trekking experience for anyone who desires an unforgettable adventure, to cross an ice-cold river the human chain here isn?t what it seems. It is about teamwork, support, the interdependency of nature and humans, it makes you introspect of how city life has completely driven you away from your natural habitat and how we humans together make the world a better place.
The vegetation rapidly changes from time to time, you get to trek on plateaus, deserts, forests, and with these different terrains comes a swarming variety of flora and fauna, which makes it seem as if you are entering different worlds within a short span of time.
The flora here is a sight to watch, a variety of colours ranging from purple, yellow and pink, you enter meadows which seem to go on forever. There are shepherds with their livestock grazing and wandering, adding their beauty to create a picture-perfect scene for you to capture. The way you experience nature while trekking is spellbound, you may have seen numerous photos of these beautiful places on social media and internet through DSLRs and professional cameras, but what the naked eye sees is something so much more real than any photo or video could ever record, that is how you feel when you look at the beauty on your way to Hampta Pass.
The final climb to Hampta is long and exhausting, but once you reach the 14000 ft milestone, the view and the sense of achievement cannot be put into words!
The total distance to trek Hampta Pass is 4-5 days depending on the speed of your team, it spans about 26 km over various terrains and elevations. Even though this trek is ideal for beginners and professionals alike, fitness is a necessity, so if you plan on choosing this trek start preparing 2 months in advance. You can measure your fitness through the BMI method, even if your BMI is normal, you would still need to do strength enhancing training and ensure your body can endure the energy required for trekking.
From Hampta Pass to Chandratal Lake
The trek ends at Chatru which is in the Spiti Valley. Chatru is the desert of Spiti Valley. From Chatru, trekkers take a vehicle to Chandratal lake. It is situated in Spiti Valley and is one of the two high altitude wetlands of India, it is also a Ramsar site.
The Chandratal Lake is emerald green at the height of 1400 ft, you should definitely put your cameras to use in this scenario. The scenery is unreal and it seems like paradise for a while, your eyes never quite adjust to the lake, it is also very clean and clear. Chandratal Lake is also called the moon lake because of the crescent shape of the lake. The reflection of the sunlight on the surface of the lake makes it crystal clear to the eye.
The lakes majestic history lies in the story of Mahabharata where it is said that the lake located right near to where Lord Indra?s chariot carried Yudhishthira, the eldest brothers of the Pandavas. This is the reason this lake is considered to be sacred and worshipped by many Hindus. The colour of the lake also keeps changing from green to orange to red to yellow as the sun changes its position, it really is a site to capture!
You need to star trekking from Batal about 14 km to reach Chandratal lake, but do take a one-day halt in Batal to get yourself acclimatized to the weather.
One can also camp at Chandratal lake as people like to spend at least one day next to this holy lake, you can camp under the cleary starry night with no speck of pollution and the song of lake creating a melody to your ears, the experience is overwhelming for both your mind and body. At night the moonlight shimmers on the gushing lake and its magic continues to surprise you.
If you don?t want to hike a 14 km trek from Batal to Chandratal lake, you can access a motorable raad to Chandratal through the Kanzum Pass.
Best time to trek Hampta pass Chandratal lake:
Best weather to scale the Hampta Pass would be between June and September as the temperature is mostly stable during this time and it is easier to trek, since temperature also falls below freezing point during winters, so June – September are comparatively warmer. Also, this is the time the flora is in full bloom, so most travellers choose this time of the year, to get the best of nature. It is also the time of monsoons, so the humidity keeps the weather in control and gives you a challenging experience. You can also scale the Hampta Pass and Chandratal Lake trek in the month of May, it is an ideal time to visit if you want to avoid trekking in the monsoon season. As the skies are clear of clouds and temperature is also warmer.
The temperature at Hampta:
June: In June temperature varies from 10 degree Celsius to 15 degree Celsius, at night it can go down to -5 degree Celsius
July-August: Between the months of July and August the temperature varies from 15 degree Celsius to 22 degree Celsius and at night it can go down to 0 degree Celsius.
September: In September the temperature varies from 12 degree Celsius to 16 degree Celsius. And at night it can go down to -2 degree Celsius
Hampta Pass and Chandratal Lake Trek by Trekmunk:
The Hampta Pass and Chandratal Lake Trek expedition is organised by Trekmunk and is a package of a fixed price of 9950 INR all year round.
How to reach:
Bhuntar airport is 52 km away from Manali, a taxi will easily drop you to Manali from the airport.
Manali, as mentioned, is the tourist hub for all Indians, therefore it is well connected with Delhi (12-14 hour). Even Volvo buses ply from Delhi and Chandigarh.