In Photos | En Route to Chandra Taal, a Photographer’s Paradise

Biking from Manali to Chandra Taal, a photographer traversed rugged terrains for utopian night skies.

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The still waters of Chandra Taal reflect a clear night sky. Photo by: Sayandeep Roy

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

There are some travel plans that take years to execute. This photo story is about one such trip with two of my closest friends. Through our schooling years, it was a distant dream to embark on an unguided motorcycle ride across Himachal Pradesh. It was an idea that was formulated in our early high school years as Anurab, Diptanil and I were resolute upon firing motorcycles to ride to destinations we hadn’t visited before. About eight years later, we found ourselves in Manali with a weekend’s time in hand to do exactly that. After a quick internet browse and a weather forecast check, Chandra Taal, a majestic lake in the Lahaul and Spiti district was something that we considered ‘doable’. Little did we know that the 3 hours and 40 minutes shown on Google Maps would become quite a rough, but extremely rewarding ride of almost 8.5 hours—a culmination of abrupt and unexpected terrain, motorcycle malfunction, lost keys, mishaps in waterlogged stretches and plenty of slips and falls which somehow still left us at our destination in one piece.

 

In Photos | En Route To Chandra Taal, A Photographer's Paradise

 

It is ideal to start early from Manali as one might find many interesting spots. Our first break was near a Stupa, shortly after crossing the Atal Tunnel.

 

 

In Photos | En Route To Chandra Taal, A Photographer's Paradise

 

Photographing our machines for the day, ready to take on the rugged stretch. Majority of the roads to Chandra Taal feel like a never-ending series of differently-sized speed breakers.

 

 

In Photos | En Route To Chandra Taal, A Photographer's Paradise

 

The path is full of water-logged stretches or streams for a rider to cross. First-timers must stay cautious while driving through these regions.

 

 

In Photos | En Route To Chandra Taal, A Photographer's Paradise

 

At the same time, there are a number of clean puddles, perfect for a cold and refreshing dip—a great way to rejuvenate when you are tired.

 

 

In Photos | En Route To Chandra Taal, A Photographer's Paradise

 

We had underestimated the ride to some extent, and that resulted in unexpected surprises. Here, Anurab fixes the battery and its cover that came off due to the jerks and bumps.

 

 

In Photos | En Route To Chandra Taal, A Photographer's Paradise

 

As the sun started going down, we took a breather beside the mighty Chenab while admiring the brilliant play of light and shade.

 

 

In Photos | En Route To Chandra Taal, A Photographer's Paradise

 

Losing the key to my motorcycle caused a short delay to Chandra Taal. However, our fortune relayed upon us a sparkling cluster of stars and a full moon, which we adored beside the lake.

 

 

In Photos | En Route To Chandra Taal, A Photographer's Paradise

 

The lake’s beauty is in how it builds facades under different lights. The morning sun makes the clear blue sky more vivid and the lake shapeshifts into a crystal-clear mirror.

 

 

To read more stories on travel, cities, food, nature, and adventure, head to our web forum here or our new National Geographic Traveller India app here.

 

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

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A D V E R T I S E M E N T

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  • Sayandeep Roy is fond of exploring places without a fixed plan. He finds joy in stumbling upon lesser known trails, waterfalls or sleepy cottages. A collection of short stories by Ruskin Bond, and a camera are his constant companions along the way.

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