The Suraj Tal Lake in the Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh is one of the most enthralling and amazingly beautiful lakes in the country. At a height of 4890 meters above the sea level, the lake is the 3rd highest in India, and 21st highest in the world.
Its name Suraj Tal is made of two word, Suraj meaning sun, and tal meaning lake. This is the reason why it is revered as the lake of the Sun God. A holy dip in the waters of the lake is said to absolve one of all sins, thereby cleansing the human spirit.
The lake is surrounded by arid mountain ranges on all sides. It displays the perfect visual combination of arid hills, with clear blue color waters in their midst, giving a sigh of relief to all passersby. During the winters the mountains are completely covered in snow. It is around the month of May when the glacial snow starts to melt to feed waters to the lake.
The place is mostly uninhabited because of the climatic conditions that are akin to those in the Polar Regions. Snowfall, even though scanty, is reported throughout the year. The highest recorded temperature here was 13 degree centigrade, and the lowest was -27 degrees.
Chandratal or Chandra Taal is a high altitude lake in Lahul and Spiti District of Himachal Pradesh at an altitude of 4250 m. Chandratal is also know as moon lake, got its name because of its crescent shape. The crystal clear fresh water of the lake attract nature lover and photographers, the source of the lake is glacier melt down.
Lake has 2.5 KM circumference and of crescent shape. Chandratal lake is a paradise for Trekker and adventure lover, there are many camping sites near the lake in the lap of high mountains. Even though camping is banned by Forest department near the lake from 2010 onward to protect the eco- system. During springtime vast meadows on the banks of the lake are carpeted with hundreds of kinds of wildflowers. The whole area is declared as Chandertal Wetland for environment protection. The landscape is wonderful and magnificent attracting number of tourist every year.
The Chandra river originated from Chandrabhaga mountain range flowing near to the lake and some time it is believed that Chandratal lake is the source of Chandra river, which later become Chenab river.
Legend has it that Chandra was the beloved daughter of the moon and Bhaga was the only son of Suryadev, the Sun god. Both of them once ran into each other at Baralacha La and it was love at first sight however their love was not approved by their parents and they were not allowed to marry each other. Sun god wanted to entrust his son the task of bringing light to the world in the form of days while Moon god wanted to assign the job of lighting the nights in the world to his daughter Chandra. This disapproval of their parents broke the hearts of the two young lovers but they were not so easily defeated. Together they both decided to elope, meet at Baralacha Pass again where they had first met and perform their eternal marriage themselves without their parent’s approval.
They both came down to the agreed spot but Chandra reached a little ahead of time than Bhaga. When she didn’t find Bhaga at Baralacha La, she wandered off in search for him towards Kunzum Pass and then started to circle back to Baralacha La again. Just when she reached Tandi, she saw Bhaga coming down from the opposite direction looking for her. They both consequently met and the celestial marriage was performed. The route that Chandra took from Baralacha La Pass to Chandra Taal is today present in form of a trek route that several trekking enthusiasts follow. Her route from Kunzum Pass back towards Baralacha La is where the river flows in present days. Chandratal is believed to be named after Chandra and Suraj Taal after Bhaga, him being the son of Sun God. And so is the legend of Chandra Taal, the beautiful lake, tiny in size but a giant in beauty.