Chandrakhani Pass Trek
One of the perks of working at Indiahikes is being able to see treks before anyone else steps on them. Sometimes, you get a chance to step on brand new trails as well.
Our in-house photographer, Jothiranjan, got a chance to do that last week on the Chandrakhani Pass trek.
He returned just yesterday and blew our minds away with stunning pictures of the trek.
"We knew that Chandrakhani Pass was a beautiful trek. But we had never seen it like this. It made us realise that Chandrakhani Pass is our greenest pass-crossing trek," shares Arjun Majumdar, founder and CEO of Indiahikes.
“The icing on the cake is that after all the stunning greenery, there's a superb snowy adventure at the top as well,” he adds.
Today, I'm sharing the best pictures from this recce with you.
This photo story also gives you a clear picture of what to expect in June and July. You’ll see the trek at its greenest during these months.
If you have not planned a trek to this trail yet, start soon. We have dates open in June and July, but the slots seem to be filling fast.
PS: Unlike other pass-crossing treks, this is a very good one for beginners. It is just 5 days long. It starts and ends in Manali, and has short trekking days.
Here are the top photos of Chandrakhani Pass, taking you through the trek:
The Chandrakhani Pass trek has one of the most enchanting first days. You trek through dense woods throughout the day, starting with pine, deodar, and walnut trees. The trees are so tall that you really cannot see the treetops, even if you crane your neck.
During this pleasurable trek through the forest, the trees suddenly burst open to show you lovely views.
Even without the views, these clearings are so charming that you cannot help but spend a few minutes sitting in the velvety grass.
You slowly leave behind civilization, inching further and further away from the villages below.
This is among the best highlights of the trek: “Within hours, you feel like you’re on a different trek because the pine thins down to make way for bright maples, green and golden oaks, and chestnut trees. The forest environment completely changes,” says Jothiranjan.
The forests slowly thin down, making way for your first camp, the Naya Tapru camp. This is a vast clearing surrounded by oaks. On a clear day, you’re treated to wonderful views of snow-clad peaks from your tent.
Go exploring a little ahead of Naya Tapru and you’ll notice the trees becoming sparse, making way for lovely grasslands.
The next day’s trek takes you through lovely maples while swiftly gaining altitude. It’s just a 2.5 hour trek to the next camp, but it's full of scenery changes.
The trail weaves in and out of the forest until you say goodbye to it altogether. The trek gets very interesting after this, especially in the summer, because the snowline is just a few hours away. The trek transitions from green to white within a matter of a few footsteps. The Chaklani campsite is hardly 2.5 hours away, making the day’s trek a pleasurable stroll.
Just turn back, and you’ll see a drastic contrast between where you came from and where you’re headed.
Below you, the valley is bedecked with towering conifers. You could easily mistake this for a slice of land in the Swiss Alps. These are the same forests that you walked through the previous day.
Further ahead, you spot the Chaklani campsite, a clearing just above the treeline. You can expect it to be greener in the second half of June, when the trekking season begins. In the distance, you see the Chandrakhani Pass, your next day’s destination.
With excessive snow, our photographer and team could not make it to the pass, but they climbed up to Chaklani Top, which is around three hours away from the pass.
A magnified view of Chandrakhani Pass from Chaklani Top, shot using a 600mm lens.
A panoramic view from Chandrakhani Pass of the Pir Panjal and Dhauladhar ranges.
A clear view of Deo Tibba from the trek
This is among the few treks where the view on the other side of the pass gets even better than the first few days. Trekkers will especially love the Nagruni campsite, which has turned out to be a favourite at Indiahikes.
On the last day, as you approach Malana, the views are incredibly grand, with the vase Pin Valley opening up by your side. “It was reminiscent of the valley at Buran Ghati,” says Jothiranjan.
The trek comes full circle as you complete your final descent. You trek through a few of the most fragrant oak forests before you spot a dam, which announces your arrival at Malana.
Chandrakhani Pass Trek
When were these pictures of Chandrakhani Pass taken?
These pictures were taken in the last week of May 2023. This has been a year with extremely heavy snowfall across the Himalayas, which explains the level of snow towards the pass.
The best time to do the Chandrakhani Pass trek is from the third week of June onwards, throughout the month of July. The trek is completely green, from the forests to the foot of the pass, making it among the best treks for greenery out of all our treks.
If you have more pictures of this trek from other seasons, please share them with us. It will help us document the trek in other seasons as well.