Chandra Taal Baralacha Trek
The Chandra Taal Baralacha Trek is packed with adventure and full of scenic beauty that anyone could ask for. The sun shining on the turquoise waters of Chandra taal,vast landscape, mountain passes, several streams to cross, lush green meadows and wildlife all that makes it one of the best treks in this terrain. The Chandra taal Lake at an altitude of about 4,300 meters is one of the high altitude lakes in the Indian Himalayan region and located on Samudra Tapu plateau of Spiti valley. The lake is the origin of Chandra River, which meets Bhaga in Lahoul and becomes Chandrabhaga. Occupying the mind of trekkers, photographers and nature lovers, the Chandra taal Baralacha Trek is one of the popular alpine treks in Himachal Pradesh filled with surprises at every turn. Baralacha La, at an elevation of 4,890 meters and lying on the Leh-Manali Highway, is one of the high altitude motorable mountain passes that connects the Spiti, Ladakh, Zanskar and Lahaul regions.
Throughout the journey one can enjoy the panoramic view of the Lahaul range and peaks like Minar at 6,172 meters, Talagiri at 6,279 meters, Tara Pahar at 6,227 meters and Mulkila at 6,517 meters. The vicinity encircling Chandra taal offers a great opportunity to camp overnight. From Chandra taal the trail further leads to Tokpo Gongma at 4,420 meters and thereafter winds to Tokpo Yongma at 4,650 meters. From Tokpo Yongma the trek leads off at Baralacha Pass and back to Manali.
Altitude– 5000 meters (16404 feet)
Trail Grade– Wilderness trail making it a moderate trek but becomes a little challenging while river crossings
Best Time– June to October. Try avoiding rainy season as water level is high in rivers/ streams.
Day 01: Manali – Chotadara (3600m)
Duration: 4 hours
Head this morning to Chotadara via Rohtang Pass and Gramphoo to reach Chotadara where we shall camp for the night. Far away from the hustle of the city, this is a quiet place next to the river and surrounded by the mountains.
Day 02: Chotadara – Chandra taal (4200m)
Duration: 4 hours
Get up at your ease in the morning and head to Chandra taal lake via Batal. Enjoy the scenic view of lake and take rest.
Day 03: Chandra taal – Tokpoyongma (4320m)
Duration: 7 hours
This is a gradual walk as the trail rises and falls several times, but mostly continues beside the river. Approaching Tokpoyongma, the trail ascends from the mountainside and crosses a stream. A little before the campsite, a river has to be negotiated.
Day 04: Tokpoyongma – Tokpogongma (4640m)
Duration: 5 hours
The next day starts early to facilitate crossing a two mountain streams before the water level rises during the day. Mules don’t take this route, as they will find it difficult to negotiate the steep ascent that starts immediately after the streams. The track then ascends steeply across the rock face and up a hill to the campsite.
Day 05: Tokpogongma – Baralacha-La (4833m) – Manali
Duration: 6 hours
The day starts off with a half-hour steep ascent to the top of the ridge. After that, the trail proceeds through a boulder field with great views of the Koa Range peaks to the Southwest. Before reaching Baralacha-La one has to cross a stream. In ancient times, Baralacha-La was an important part of the trade route as roads from Spiti, Ladakh, Zanskar and Lahaul meet here. On the Northwest lies the Bhaga River while the Chandra flows to the Southeast. Near Baralacha-La is the beautiful emerald lake, Suraj Tal, the source of the Bhaga River. From Baralacha-La, a jeep will take the team to Manali.
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