EP 14 Pangmo to Chandratal lake | Kunzum pass, Kaza to Chandratal lake details, Spiti Tourism,

EP 14 Pangmo to Chandratal lake | Kunzum pass, Kaza to Chandratal lake details, Spiti Tourism,

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Namaskar friends! Welcome to Visa2explore! This is your host Harish Bali! We spent the night at Pangmo village. I have with me Ms. Ritika, whom we met yesterday. And this is Nimka Bhai.

They together run this homestay where we stayed last night. Our experience was good! The homestay is located in a peaceful environment... ...with pin-drop silence. The main road is also 150-200 m away from the homestay. Though you can drive right upto the homestay but...

...the main road is just a short walk otherwise. The surroundings are good. One thing that I missed last night but noticed this morning... ...is that your homestay has a very good view of this river behind us. This is Spiti river, right? Yes, it is Spiti. It is a beautiful view to watch the river flowing through boulders... ...making its way across the plain. Though I've seen this river view in the past few days. But it looks particularly scenic from here.

Beautiful! Now, our programme further is that... ...we will leave for Chandratal. But before that, we will eat our breakfast. Now they have arranged for a set up out in the open for us. They have placed chairs and tables for us out in the sun. The weather is cold. After our breakfast, we will climb this ridge here and...

...enjoy the river view from the top. So, will it take 5 minutes to reach the top? Yes! It is close. Great! Let us eat our breakfast, for which they've prepared some local dishes. After that, we will climb this mountain. Alright! You have some work to do! Yes! So, you will be leaving us.

Yes! Okay, bye bye then! Okay! And you must sit with us for a while. Okay! Nimka Bhaiya, what have you prepared for us for breakfast? Palip! Palip, with Thukpa! Yes! Fantastic! So, we will eat Palip with chutney. Yes, with chutney! I have to say it feels good to eat sitting out here in the open. Open environment! Good! You've stuffed boiled and mashed potatoes inside? Yes! To tell you frankly, I am enjoying it.

Thank you Sir, thank you! This is the traditional breakfast of Spiti. Palip. It is made with veg as well as non-veg stuffing inside. Really! It is made with mutton stuffing as well as other meats like that of yak. The meat one is called Sheh-Palip and this one is called Alu-Palip. Alu-Palip! What spices have you used in this potato stuffing? It is a local blend of spices Sir.

This is it? Yes Sir! It is called "Gheman." Gheman! Yes! See how it looks! And it also has coriander powder in it? Yes, coriander and a little salt. Coriander and Salt! This chutney is very spicy as well! Wow! Let us eat Tirik now! It is also known as Tibetan bread! Though it can also be eaten with peanut butter or jam but...

...it tastes delicious with vegetables. I've seen that it is made on tawa (iron griddle). Is it made of the same flour that is used to make normal chapati? Yes Sir! Hmm! Great! It goes good with the veggies. What is the difference between chapati and Tirik? One that I know of is that Tirik has baking soda in it. Anything else? Yes Sir. We also add local beer while kneading dough for it. Not much, just a little bit...

A spoonful? Yes, a spoon! And that beer is called Chung? Yes, Chung! Whenever you visit Spiti, if you ask for Tibetan bread or Tirik... ...this is what you'll be served. It tastes the best with vegetables though a lot of people.... ....love to eat it with peanut butter and jam as well. I've had it once with peanut butter and I liked that combination. Lovely! Has it ever happened in the past 2-3 years that...

....you had snowfall during June or July months? Yes Sir! Snowfall is quite common during May month. But during the year before the previous one,... ...we had snowfall even during June month. You mean there is such drastic change of weather? Yes Sir! Wow! That is amazing! This is Thukpa, made with Chhurpi (local cheese) in it. Yes Sir! What else does it have? It also has palak (spinach) and sattu.

In the past 12-13 days, I must have had at least 6 different varieties of Thukpa. There must be at least 15-20 varieties of Thukpa? You are right Sir! Isn't it! Like today, you've made it with chhurpi, palak and Sattu! As for Sattu, you'll get it everywhere in Spiti, as well as in Kinnaur. However, in Spiti, you'll find Sattu in every single household. By the way, Sattu is a beneficial food item for people suffering from diabetes. Yes Sir. Absolutely!

So, this is chhurpi! This has been boiled and softened. This is Chhurpi in its hard form. I have said it earlier on my channel that... ...Chhurpi is quite commonly used in Spiti, Sikkim, and other hilly regions. Here, when people make curd from milk, and then make butter out of that curd... ...they curdle the buttermilk left behind. So, you can call it a type of cheese.

Though it won't be cheese or paneer exactly but chhurpi! The wet chhurpi is sun-dried and then it lasts for 6-8 months? Yes, easily! Okay! So, Chhurpi and Sattu are such items that you will find these... ...in every Spiti household, in varied combinations. Am I right? Absolutely! Do you sell ghee as well? Yes, we do! I will purchase some from you before leaving. Sure Sir! I had bought ghee earlier as well but I will buy some more... ...because it will get consumed at home. What is the cost of a kilo of ghee? Rs. 600.

600 rupees. Why have you collected these logs of wood here? This is in preparation for winter season. We receive this wood as part of government ration.

Winters are particularly harsh in this region and... ...temperatures can go down to -30 or -40 degrees Celsius. Therefore, we need to store the wood to keep warm during winters. What about your electricity system during winters? The electric wires and poles must also be getting damaged due to snowfall. Yes Sir, the wires keep getting damaged and there is no guarantee of electricity. So, you mean the electricity system remains uncertain for a couple of months? Yes Sir. Sometimes, there is no electricity at all during winter season. Life is really hard in this region.

Though it is good during summer season but... ...I keep thinking about winters... ...we visited Tashiganj and even the highest village in the world. The fact that temperature goes down to -35, -40 degrees... Yes Sir! ...makes life tough around here. Isn't it? Yes Sir! Though you guys must be used to this life! Yes Sir. But for people like us, it would be impossible...

...to spend even a week in these conditions. It is difficult! Now I want to climb to that point and look at the river view from there. So, will you come with me? Okay then! Let us go! Wow! What a view! Superb! We can watch the Spiti river from this height and... ....we have the slope in front of us. What a view! What a view! In this 15-20 km area, I've seen Spiti river at many locations.

The river doesn't flow as one body. Instead, it gets divided into several tributaries! It is because of the huge boulders on its way that... ...the river flows in different parts and... ...becomes a single, huge body of water later on. This valley area, between two mountains, is offering a view... ...which cannot be described in words. Lovely! The sky, clouds.... so beautiful! Shall we go higher? Sure Sir! The view from here is even better because we've climbed higher now. I can see river on my right and left sides, till far in the distance.

I looked at this structure, made in a sort of pyramid shape, with a pointed top. I was wondering about its back story. However, the locals told me that because of the combination of... ...snow and wind, such structures are commonly visible in this valley. Due to strong winds, soil is blown around and new deposits keep getting formed. Absolutely marvellous! Very good! Now, please give us some ghee and we will be on our way.

The ghee is here! Yes, here it is! Wow! What fragrance! Too good! How far is Kunzum pass from here? Sir, 70 km. 70! Alright! Our route goes from here to Losar, and then to Kunzum Pass. After that, we will reach Chandratal! Alright! Yes Sir. Thank you! Thank you Sir, for visiting Spiti. Ohhh! Fantastic.

Thank you Sir! Thanks to you! Now I will join you in a short while when we reach our next destination. We were on our way to Losar when we came upon the Kato bridge. A little further we came across this diversion in the road. You can take this route if you want to reach Kaza via Chicham,... ...Kibber and Key Monastery. If you are driving from Manali, you can take this straight route. And if you are coming back from Kaza, you can take this route to Manali.

It is one and the same thing. The route that we took to reach here is down there. Though the route is same as far as distance is concerned. The only difference is that in this direction,... ...you will be able to enjoy a few sightseeing options too. The milestone says Chicham is 19 km away.

Here it is written "Welcome To Kibber Wild Life Sanctuary." Okay then, let us continue our journey. On the way, I saw at 4-5 places...

...water flowing down like this. Though we were planning to stop at every spot... ...but eventually we managed to stop here. Wow! We've travelled about 15 km from the homestay where we stayed last night. Look at how lovely it looks.

It is such a beautiful view. We will stay here for 15 minutes and... ...after that, on way to Losar. We've reached Losar village. This village is located at the altitude of 13,400 feet.

While entering Losar, I looked right and left to... ...try and ascertain the number of hotel accommodations available here. As per a rough estimate, there must be at least 15 hotels and guest houses in Losar. On the face of it, I couldn't see any high-quality accommodation. But you will find a decent accommodation to stay. This is the last village of Spiti.

After this, Lahaul begins. We have to go upto Kunzum Pass, which is 20 km away. Speaking of geography, Lahaul begins beyond the Kunzum Pass. Anyways, we've stopped here for lunch. Time is 12.30 pm. There is a cafe called Singa-Ling on this side. There is also a hotel on this side, called Samsong.

We will have our lunch in Samsong after which... ...we will try to find out more about the accommodation here. After placing the order for lunch, I visited the first floor... ...of this hotel to check out the rooms. The room is a decent accommodation for a night's stay and...

...reasonably priced at a tariff of Rs. 1000. The tariff doesn't include food. There is a homestay called Singa-Ling opposite to Samsong. That is where I am standing right now. I checked the rooms at this homestay as well. A room can accommodate upto 3 persons. Four persons! Four persons can live in a room.

Its tariff is Rs. 2000, excluding food. I found this accommodation to be better. Tell me one thing, how many total homestays, etc are there in Losar? There must be 15-16. 15-16! (Nods) Kunzum Pass is about 20 km from here.

19 km. 19! How far is Chandratal from here? Chandratal would be 42 km. 42? (Nods) Okay, thank you! I've ordered Kadhi, with Dal-Chawal for myself. I chose to sit outdoors to have lunch under this beautiful sunshine. Though they have indoor seating arrangement too but... ...it is more fun to eat sitting outside. Nice! By nice I mean the food is tasty! Kadhi is delicious with this rice.

Hmm, the dal is well-cooked! Though it was a random decision to stop here for lunch... ...both the dishes are delicious! The weather is awesome! I am sure that I am going to remember this trip for months... ...after we've returned home. Finally we've reached the most awaited destination of our Spiti tour. This place is called Kunzum Pass. It is written here that Kaza is 78 km away... ...that is the direction we've travelled in from. We had lunch at Losar a while ago.

This place is 4590 m above sea level. When we reached here 10 min ago, there was no sunlight. But now, the sun is shining bright here. The weather changes fast here.

A lot of people had advised me that if there is no sun outside... ...I shouldn't get down from the car without wearing sweater and covering my head. That is because a strong wind blows here all the time. Though there is a strong wind right now as well but the sun is quite bright too! Beautiful! If you look in that direction... ...we began this journey 12-13 days ago... ...and this is the first time I am watching all this snow at one place. There is snow everywhere. I think one would reach the snowline after a 20 minute walk. This snow was deposited a long time ago but it hasn't melted yet.

Looking at all these flags would give you an idea about how strong the wind is. What a beautiful place! On this gate is written that the "Kunzum Committee Welcomes You!" This path will take us straight to the Kunzum Temple. Let us walk to the temple which is nearby.

The wind is quite fierce and weather is changing after every five minutes. To be on the safe side, I've worn a sweater as well as a cap. We've reached outside the Mata Temple. I was looking at this board, which is showing photographs of....

...Chandratal Lake as well as some species of animals and birds... ...usually found in this protected area. Another board informs that Chandratal Lake is located... ...at an altitude of 4290 m. Let us go into the temple now. As per local belief, you are supposed to make a wish here. If you are able to stick this coin here, that means... ...your wish is going to come true. wow! It stuck! We had the darshan of Kali Mata here, who is known as... ...Kunzum Mata in the local language. This Pass and the temple are named after the Kunzum Mata.

The temple priest told me that though this temple was built recently... ...the idol of Mata Kunzumis at least 500-600 years old. There are 3 Stupas built recently along with the temple complex. If you look closely, there is a very ancient idol placed here... ...which dates back to centuries. The tourists travelling on this route visit this temple,...

...pay their obeisance and then continue rest of their journey. It is believed that your journey would be safe and successful if you... ...visit this temple on the way. Let us do a Parikrama of this temple. While you plan your Spiti tour, you would be told... ...you can begin your journey either from Shimla or Manali. The difference is that the route through Shimla is available...

...for travelling throughout the year. You can travel from Shimla to Kaza and back. Or travel beyond if the road is open, like it is these days. In that case, you can pass through Kunzum Pass and exit at Manali.

As for timings, the road between Shimla-Chandratal-Manali remains... ...open till end of October after which it is closed. This road is then reopened in May-end or June. Now assume that the Kunzum Pass is opened on June 1st.

The road to Chandratal will also be thrown open on the same date. So, for 6 months in a year, you cannot use the road from Manali to Spiti. You will have to take the Shimla route.

This is for your information. And if you choose to travel in this region against government advisory... ....you will be stuck here badly. A person in Tabo village told me that one of his relatives... ....was stuck in snow during winters. During the winter season, this place receives snowfall upto 18-20 feet high. Therefore, you won't find any inhabitation, not a single human being here during that season. There is no village within the area of 40-50 km of this Pass.

Nobody can survive at such an extreme temperature. Perhaps that is the reason why you won't find any village... ...or even a tea shop around here during winters. Even the bus service is discontinued during those months. It was a nice experience to visit this place.

We are going to roam around for some more time... ...and then travel to Chandratal. Chandratal is about 22 km from here. We've travelled just a km from Kunzum Pass and you can see so much snow. Though this area receives snowfall during May, you might assume...

...the snow to melt by June. But it is 6th July today and there is still so much snow left. As for views, there are awesome views in every direction. Beautiful! Let us stop here for 5-7 minutes and then proceed to Chandratal Lake. So far, during our Spiti tour, we've seen roads in top condition. There were a few rough patches in between but...

...those were almost negligible in number. In fact, the road between Kaza and Losar was really good in condition. The road was better right upto Kunzum Pass but now... ...it has begun to deteriorate. After crossing the Kunzum Pass, I cannot say that the road is worse... ...because a proper road had been constructed in this area. But it got damaged due to snowfall. Another thing that I've noticed is these small stones lying around. Because of this the average speed of our car is 20-25 km or 30 km/hr maximum.

We cannot drive faster on this road. One more thing you will notice on the mountain slope is... ...that the surface is covered in smaller stones. In case of strong wind, these stones might also get blown onto the road. Therefore, one needs to drive very carefully on this road. One also needs to keep an eye on the mountainside for any shooting stones.

We are going to spend tonight in Chandratal. I had informed you earlier. We haven't booked ourselves a camp yet. We will book a camp for ourselves only once we reach there. We are hoping we won't get a nasty surprise.

We don't want to reach there and then be told that... ...all camping sites are booked. We have reached another diversion on this road. This road will take us to Manali and... ...this road, you can see the gate here.... ...and that is our car in the distance... ...this road will take us straight to Chandratal Lake. We still have to cover a distance of 16 km to reach Chandratal Lake. This area is scarcely green. We can see handfuls of grass on some of the mountain sides.

But there are a lot of loose stones. It remains a constant fear that a strong gust of wind... ...may blow these stones around. Therefore, it is imperative that you drive carefully on these roads. There is a strong wind blowing all around.

But the experience of wind blowing into our faces.. ...that we had at the Kunzum Pass is unmatched. Right now, I cannot see anybody else around. The time is 4.45 pm.

This Spiti tour has been different from our other tours. Now that our journey is about to end... ...I feel that the memories of this tour will last us a lifetime. You can see how the glaciers are melting and flowing straight into Spirit river. Though we know already how the glaciers melt and form a number of streams...

...which flow into a big river. But watching this process actually taking place in front of you... ...is a unique experience. It is wonderful to watch with our own eyes all that... ...we've only read in textbooks so far. I can see a number of streams flowing down from the glacier on that mountain.

It is a beautiful experience to watch these streams flowing down into the mighty river. We are almost at the campsite. It took us one hour and 15 minutes from Kunzum Pass to this place.

That time includes the 15-20 minutes' stopover that we had on our way here. This means it is going to take you at least an hour even if you come here non-stop. We've stopped at a camping site about 2 km before Chandratal Lake. On our way here, I had tried to find information about accommodation... ...at some other camping sites. All those were fully booked. Here, more people book offline accommodation as compared to online bookings.

So, the sooner you come, the better it is. I checked accommodation at Moon Lake Camp and other camps as well. Right now, we are at UC Camps. They charge Rs. 1500 per person. It was the same price at Moon Lake Camps too.

I think this is the average tariff at all the camps in this area. Though there must be some difference in service standards. This tariff includes breakfast and dinner. These camps can accommodate 2-4 persons. In case of 4 persons in a camp, the price can come down to Rs. 1300 per person. The camp has attached bathroom too.

Now, we are getting a bit late. The time is 5.45 pm and the entry to the Lake area is only till 6 pm. We still need to walk 2 km to reach the lake. So, now we are going to go to the lake.

I will show you the camp in the morning because.... ...it might get dark by the time we are back. We've reached the parking point after driving for... ...2 km from the camping site. You can see the parking area is filled with tourist vehicles. We need to walk another 1.5 km to reach the lake.

Right now, we are at least 500 m away from the lake. We are watching the lake from a higher vantage point. This view is amazing! For the past 15 days, I was waiting to see Chandratal Lake every single day. A lot of people had told me I would enjoy the lake view. The lake's surface looks absolutely still. The water is calm, from this distance.

Let us go closer to the lake. Oh By God! The water is so clean. I can see right till the stream bottom and the rocks lying on it. Superb! This rock may look closer than it actually is.

Wonderful! Wow! We've reached the lake. My first observation on seeing this lake is... ...that you can see across the water. I can see at least up to 4-5 feet deep into the water. Cannot see beyond that because of the reflection of sunlight. But from whatever I can see, the water is crystal clear. It is particularly clear on the banks.

Superb! The water appears blue in colour. Though it doesn't look so when looked at from closer quarters. But in the distance, it is blue in color. I've been told that the lake view changes with the time of the day.

The lake looks different during morning, noon and evening. This lake is known as Chandratal because... ...of 'Tal', which means lake and... ...it is in the shape of 'chandra' or moon. Beautiful! Now let us walk till there and... ...check out another view of this lake. After standing for a long time, I decided to sit here by the lake... ...and enjoy the environment properly. A few things about this lake that you may want to keep in mind. As per the local belief...

...fairies visit this lake at the night. That is one of the reasons why this place is considered holy. It is written on boards around the lake that one cannot wash clothes,... ...take a bath or swim in this lake. The most beautiful aspect of this lake is that.... ...you can see right till the bottom of it. But this lake is very deep, if you go a little further. Though I won't advise that. Secondly, if you want to see blue water in this lake...

...the best time to visit is 6 am. So, I will try to visit here at 6 am tomorrow... ...though I am not sure I will be able to. Rest, it is a pleasure to visit this lake. One can easily spend 2 to 2.5 hours here. We will stay here for another 15-20 minutes.

Though the sun will set by then, but we would still be here. We want to feel this experience more closely. Beautiful! After coming back from the lake, I interacted with... ...people living in other camps on this site. I spent a good time with them.

After that we had dinner, which was... ...rice, dal and mixed vegetables. The staff is very courteous. They fed us well. After dinner, we tried to see the Milky Way in the sky... ...and we came to know that... ...we would get a clearer view of the Milky Way... ...once all the camp lights were switched off. After waiting for 2 hours or so, we went out to see the Milky Way. But due to certain limitations with our camera...

...we could not exactly capture what we could see with our naked eye. To tell you honestly, we saw an awesome view in the sky. There were stars everywhere in the sky and visible clearly. And Milky Way between the stars. It is an experience in itself. It is 12 o'clock and midnight right now.

Tomorrow, we are to leave for Manali. So the next episode will be our last in this series. One more thing I want to share with you is that it is so cold outside... ...and there is a strong wind blowing that I need to... ...wear two sweaters even while sitting inside the camp. I was tightly packed while I was roaming outside with 3 sweaters.. ...a cap and a muffler over it. I had warm socks on but still I felt so cold. The temperature here must not be more than 1 or 2 degrees.

And there is a strong wind blowing. Anyways, tomorrow's journey till Manali will be... ...our last episode. Tell me your views about this episode. As always I shall be waiting for your comments. So, I am going to say bye-bye to you here. Tomorrow's journey will be available in the next episode.

That is it! Thanks for your time! One thing I would like to tell you about this couple is that... ...that they have jovial nature. Just now, a customer came to him and asked for the bill amount. He asked him back about his order details, counting parathas... ...maggi, tea, etc. He kept adding every price to the calculator and told the customer... ...that the total bill amount was Rs. 4000. The customer was shocked at the exorbitant price. He asked Chacha about the cost of a packet of maggi.

Chacha told him that it was Rs. 30 per packet. So, the customer wondered how could that make up for a Rs. 4000 bill. Chacha smiled and told him the total amount was Rs. 400/-.

That is who he keeps having fun with his customers.

2021-10-18 20:26

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