If you are looking for a short & challenging ride with panoramic Himalayan views then this is the ride for you. Though short on duration this one doesn’t lack grandness in any way and takes one riding on a memorable trail through a high altitude region, leading to a true jewel in the mountains, Chandratal lake.
It is pristine, grand and ethereal. That’s Chandratal Lake at an altitude of 4300m, fed by glaciers and revered by all, located in the cold desert of the Spiti valley. Every year the lake is out of bounds for seven months and the lucky ones can visit only once the road opens in last week of May to be closed in September. At a distance of 123 kms from Manali, the Chandratal Lake has many a legend attached to it, one being that fairies often descend from the heavens to dwell in its serenity.
The ride from Manali to Chandratal is breathtaking and for the novice can be tough; nevertheless rewarding. It’s an experience which will resonate for years to come and camping by the Chandratal Lake surely does awaken your senses to a higher realm. A perfect monsoon getaway ride – for that quick unwinding – unlearning. Read on more for details.
The summit of the pass turns into lush green meadow in summers studded with violets and varieties of wild Himalayan and Alpine flowers. Butterflies of numerous and rare kind and variegated hues also draw the attention of’ the visitor.
At the highest point on top to the right as one faces Lahaul, is a small stone enclosure and a water spring which is the principal source of the River Beas; .the other, Beas kund is at the head of the Solang nullah. The place gained religious significance because of sojourn of Beas Rishi (the famous Vyasa Rishi, author of the epic Mahabharata). To the left of this pass is the little lake Sarkund. On the 20th Bhadon (early September) every year a large number of people visit this lake with the belief and hope that an early morning bath in it will cure all their ailments.
From Rohtang Pass we will descend 11 kms to Gramphoo from where a left diversion will get us into the Spiti valley. The offroad starts from here and riding another 21 kms will get us to Chotta Dharra. Overnight in tents.
Spiti & Lahaul are high altitude regions in India with a minimum elevation of about 3000m. This dry cold desert area experiences hardly any rainfall as the high Himalayan ranges block the Indian monsoons. Spiti is surrounded by ranges of the Greater Himalaya in a semi circular arc, separating it from Lahaul on the west, Kullu to the south and Kinnaur to the southwest. These ranges prevent the moisture laden monsoons from reaching the region, thus creating in Spiti, a bleak and arid landscape in common with Ladakh and Tibet.
In summers (June – Aug) the day time temperatures would further rise to about 18-25 deg Celsius. Sun can be very strong during the day while the night temperature would hover around 14 – 18 deg Autumn (Sep – Oct) is when the temperatures start to fall again and hovers between 10 – 15 deg Celsius in the day time and will go sub zero in the night
HOW TO REACH MANALI
For travel from Delhi to Manali and back one can choose between air & road. There are lots of Public Transport like Volvos, Deluxe and ordinary buses plying between Delhi/Chandigarh and Manali. Bhuntar airport (near Manali) is connected to Delhi but there aren’t too many flights and at times there are chances of flights getting cancelled due to bad weather so check with the airlines before booking.
LIST OF ESSENTIALS
Mountain/adventure travel requires one to be adequately equipped with the right kind of personal gear. Since one is travelling in the wilderness there will be hardly any opportunity to buy anything once you hit the trail so we urge you to carefully pack everything into your bags. Also please keep in mind you can rent out or purchase equipment from our Gear Store, if required
Sufficient warm clothing for evenings, which can get quite cold
1 waterproof jacket (also acts as a windproof)
1 pair waterproof trousers
Thermals (upper & lower)
Shorts (for riding – your choice)
T-shirts – 3/4
Raincoat / Poncho
Small light weight towel
Water bottle (sturdy ones, no empty Bisleri bottles!!)
Cap / Hat to keep the strong sun away from your face
Day pack/small bag which you will carry on your back every day and keep your essentials in it
Camera if you like (with fully charged batteries)
Personal Medical Kit (there will be medical back-up for emergencies) with the following:
A general painkiller
Antiseptic – iodine/beta dine drops
Bandages, plasters, medical tape
High factor SPF sun block (minimum 30)
Lip balm with SPF 15+
A course of general antibiotics – see your doctor for advice
Imodium or similar gut-immobilizer
At least a dozen sachets of re-hydration mixture
Safety-approved Bicycle Helmet (for those bringing their own cycles)
Knee / Elbow pads (for those bringing their own cycles)
LOADS OF ENTHUSIASM!! AND A PLEDGE TO LEAVE NO TRACE .
21,000/- Per Person (Indian Rupees Twenty one thousand)
Bike Rental: 5000/- for the whole trip (Indian Rupees Four thousand)
Manali: In good mid category hotels like Johnson’s Lodge or similar in standard rooms at Manali
At all other locations, we would be setting up camps using alpine tents. All tents would be provided with sleeping bags, camping mattresses, etc. There would be dry pit toilets put up at all campsites. Also we will have a mess & kitchen tent to make your camping experience enjoyable.
ROAD TRANSFERS: We will provide road transfers wherever required after Manali. This vehicle will stay with the group throughout and can be used whenever required during the ride
GOOD QUALITY MOUNTAIN BIKES (if opted for): We would provide 21-gear Merida or similar mountain cycles to each rider for the duration of the trip. These cycles are maintained in good condition and are used specifically for these trips. For those taking the cycles from us, we will also provide the relevant safety gear like a helmet, knee pads and elbow pads. But you are free to get your own cycle for the trip
SUPPORT VEHICLES (for riders & equipment): There would be a support vehicle for all riders. This support vehicle travels along with the rider through the course and can be used for luggage, spares, as well as for riding to the camp after the ride finish. In times when you don’t want to ride on the cycle this support vehicle is always at bay. In addition to this there will be a big truck to carry the bikes and camping equipment
MEALS: The food served during the trip is a mixture of Indian, Chinese and Western, freshly cooked by the kitchen team travelling with the group. The emphasis is on providing a high-nutrition/energy mostly vegetarian diet, which we have found to be easily digestible at high altitude. We will provide meals starting from breakfast on Day 1 till lunch on Day 5.
FIRST AID BACKUP: A basic medical kit is always available at hand to all the riders with at least a couple of our team guys being able to administer basic first aid. A couple of oxygen cylinders would be carried for any emergencies
CYCLE MECHANIC: There will be a cycle mechanic travelling along with the group. He will be able to handle basic problems and will carry basic spares with them (tubes, gear wires, puncture kits, etc.). These spares are available to be purchased by riders who are bringing their own cycles
PERMITS: All required local Permits for the ride would be arranged for
COST DOES NOT INCLUDE
Any meals/services not mentioned above
Any charges for video cameras, still cameras, entry charges, etc.
Bottled water, Alcohol, soft drinks, beverages, etc. – our support vehicle will carry all this so one can purchase against payment
Personal expenses like tips, telephone calls, laundry, etc.
Any costs arising out of unforeseen circumstances like landslides, road blocks, bad weather, etc.
Cost of transferring your personal bikes till Manali and back. This can be arranged by us at an additional cost
Any cost arising out of unforeseen circumstances
Note: All our fixed departures trips are guaranteed to run if there are a minimum 8 participants.