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The Pristine Waters of Spiti Valley
Photo by The Statesman

Spiti Valley is one of the most beautiful places in India. From the peaceful monasteries to the adventurous treks, from the oh- so- tasty local food to the restaurants with a variety of cuisines, from the luscious green mountains during the summer to the breath-taking snow- covered mountains of the winters, Spiti Valley has it all.

One cannot ever get over this cold desert. Each person who visits Spiti will fall in love with it and then, whatever they do, Spiti will definitely have a place in their hearts. One will only see a splendid view as far as the eyes can see. Once you visit Spiti Valley, you cannot stop gushing about it during all of your travel stories.

Spiti does offer you everything on a platter. And if that wasn’t just enough, Spiti Valley has something more. You may ask, will this place ever stop taking us by surprise? And the answer to it will probably be forever unknown. But what was that something more, you might wonder?

The interesting thing is its lakes. Spiti Valley has numerous lakes that one should see when in Spiti Valley. So, to make your next trip a little bit easy, here’s the list of lakes that you must visit. Read on to find more about them and some other interesting stories associated with them:

1. Chandratal
Photo by TripAdvisor

Chandratal literally means the moon lake. It is the origin point of the Chandra River,

which is a tributary of the Chenab River. The lake is situated at an altitude of 4270 meters and is surrounded by snow-covered mountains on all sides. It is also believed that

Chandratal was the point from where Yudhistra (the eldest of the Pandavas from the

Mahabharata epic) was taken to heaven.

The lake is situated on the Samudra Tapu plateau. The colour of the lake changes from

reddish to orange to blue and to emerald green as the day goes on. The lake is

surrounded by greenery all around. The spring season brings in an array of different

wildflowers. The Chandratal Wetland Reserve falls under the Ramsar protected site under

the Wildlife Act and thus camping is prohibited in the area around the lake.

The crescent shape of the lake does justice to the name of the lake. At night, the

Chandratal looks pitch black and reflects the moon, making it appear breath- takingly

beautiful. One can soak in the beautiful view for hours without getting tired. The lake

should be visited during the summer months as the winters here are very harsh due to

heavy snowfall. The roads get blocked during the winter. During the months of May- June,

the snow starts to melt, while during the months from July to September, the place gets

heavy rainfall and hence it gets quite dangerous to travel without proper supervision. By

October, the temperature drops too low and the lake as well as the surrounding area

experiences heavy snowfalls.

One can take the early morning public transport from Manali which drops you off at the

Chandratal diversion, after which you can either hike the remaining 14km to the lake or hitchhike. You can also hire taxis or take up a rented bike to reach the lake.

Best time to Visit: May- September

Entry fee: Free

Timings: 6am- 6pm

2. Dhankar lake
Photo by TripAdvisor

Dhankar lake is situated in the Dhankar Village and is located at a height of

4,140metres. The lake lies above the Dhankar Monastery. It is made both with the help

of nature and man. While half of the lake was formed by nature, the other half was

constructed by King Puran Lal in the year 1462.

The lake has a lot of myths revolving around it, like Lord Shiva, on his way to meet Lord

Vishnu, rested at the lake when Nandi drank some water from the lake and hence Lord

Shiva blessed the lake to be always filled with water. It is also believed that upon seeing

the dryness of the area, Lord Indra requested Lord Shiva to do something about it, but

Lord Shiva was busy searching for Lord Vishnu. This angered Lord Indra and he threw his

axe, by whose impact water came out and thus a lake was formed and, since that day,

the residents of the are celebrate the Mouni Amavasya.

The lake offers a spectacular view as it changes colours to different shades of blue and

green throughout the day, due to the sunlight when viewed from different angles. The

highest peak of Himachal Pradesh, the Maninrang Range, is visible from the Dhankar

Lake. It is a glacial lake, which means it freezes during the winter and is only accessible

during the summer months from May to September.

One can take public transport to Dhankar Village and it takes a 45 to 60 minute trek to

Dhankar Lake. You can also hire a taxi or take/ rent a bike to reach the lake. It is

advisable to take your own food and water as the trek route doesn’t have any shops for

the same.

Best time to Visit: May- September

Entry fee: Free

Timings: 6am- 6pm

3. Suraj Tal
Photo by

Suraj Tal is situated at the top of Baralacha La Pass and is located at an altitude of 4,890

meters. The lake is also known as Surya Tal and Tso Kamtsi and is an 800m long lake.

Suraj Tal is the third highest lake in India. Suraj Tal is considered the lake of the Sun God.

The lake is surrounded by mighty mountains on all sides which are completely covered

with snow during the winter. The lake offers such a beautiful view for nature lovers who

just can’t get enough of the place. Suraj Tal originates from the Bhaga tributary of the

Chandrabhaga River.

It is believed that one dip in this holy lake can wash off all your sins and some believe

that the pristine water of the lake provides you with clear skin when taking a dip in the

water. While one can believe any of the reasons and check for themselves by taking a

dip, one must take some time out to soak in the beauty that the Suraj Tal is.

About 65km from Keylong, Suraj Tal is located on the Leh- Manali Highway. There is no

direct public transport to Suraj Tal, but one can definitely take the Manali- Leh bus, which does pass via Suraj Tal. One can also hire a private taxi or take/ rent a bike to reach

Suraj Tal.

One should visit Suraj Tal during the summers as the roads are blocked during the winter

season because of the heavy snowfall and the temperature drops to -2 degrees Celsius,

making it very difficult for visitors. You must avoid the monsoons as the roads are generally

blocked during this season due to frequent landslides.

Best time to Visit: May- September

Entry fee: Free

Timings: 6am- 6pm

4. Deepak Tal
Photo by Thrillophilia

Deepak Tal is a tiny lake and is located on Manali Leh Highway. It is at a distance of

43km from Keylong and 20km from Jispa. Situated at a height of 3750 metres, the latter

is formed because of glaciers melting during the monsoon season and completely freezing during the winter season.

It acts as a scenic stopover for people travelling from Leh to Manali or vice versa. The

water of the Deepak Tal is so clean and calm that it acts as a mirror and reflects the

mountains and greenery surrounding the lake. Boating is also available at Deepak Tal.

The lake is approximately 40km from Keylong and one should hire a private taxi or take a

motorbike as there is no direct public transport to Deepak Tal. The public transport starts

from Manali, which will leave you at Deepak Tal, but there is no provision for coming back. But if all things fail, one can definitely hitchhike on the way back.

While the summer season is the best to visit the Deepak Tal, one must avoid the monsoon

season as the heavy rainfall leads to landslides and road blocks. Though the winters are

very hard and as Deepak Tal is situated at the ascent of Baralacha Pass, the snowfall here

starts by the end of September and by the end of October, the lake freezes and the path

towards the lake gets blocked and only opens in May.

Best time to Visit: May- September

Entry fee: Free

Timings: 6am- 6pm

5. Sopona Lake
Photo by Devil On Wheels

Mostly dried out during the early summers and early winters, the seasonal glacial lake

called the Sopona Lake, or the Mane Lake is one of the hidden gems of Spiti Valley.

Located in the Mane Village, the lake is situated at a height of 6,593 metres and is one of the lesser explored places to see in Spiti. Sopona Lake is India’s third highest lake.

With the breath- taking view of the mountains, the lake is formed by the melting of the

Himalayan Glaciers from Manirang Mountain Range (One of the highest mountain

ranges} and thus exists only for a certain period of the year and then shrinks to

nothingness before completely vanishing.

One needs to cover a small trail which can only be covered by foot. The trek to Sopona

Lake isn’t very easy and one needs to have a moderate fitness level to trek to this beautiful

lake. One should also keep in mind that the trail to the lake doesn’t have any cafes/

places to eat, so it is advised to eat before you start or carry enough food and water with


The trek is 5- 6km long and can be covered in under 4 hours. Though there is no entry fee,

one can pay a local of Mane Village a sum of ₹800- 1000 to get a better tour of the trek

towards the lake, as the locals love helping the tourists and earning some money while

doing so.

Best time to Visit: May- September

Entry fee: Free

Timings: 6am- 6pm

The lakes of Spiti Valley offer some of the best views that one will ever experience. Not only the lakes but even the paths that lead to them are heavenly, to say the least. The pristine waters, the mystical views, the clean air, and everything else about the lakes is just something that will live rent- free in your hearts forever.

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