Moderate | Level 2
TREK STARTS FROM
Rumsu, Himachal Pradesh
A stunningly beautiful pass-crossing trek that also explores an ancient culture
There is an interesting story about the Chandrakhani Pass. In ancient times, the presiding God of Malana, God Jamlu was carrying all the gods in a pot on this route. He opened the basket full of Gods on top of the Chandrakhani pass. A strong wind blew the gods away and they settled in various spots in the valley. Which is why even now the Kullu valley is called the valley of gods.
Chandrakhani pass is not a new trek in Indian trekking circles. Along with the ancient stories of Naggar (where the trek starts) and the village with strange customs, Malana (where the trek ends), this route is one of the most trekked on in India.
This trek is a cultural treasure for those who want to know more about the Kullu Valley. The villages, the architecture, the people, and culture is a living history book. The trek is also an ancient shepherd's trail. So don’t be surprised to find hundreds of sheep herded by a shepherd on your trail. The many shepherd huts on the way are good rest points. Some may even offer you tea!
The trek is also known for the beauty of its forests on either side. It lifts trekkers spirit with joy. The forests are cool, dark and throws in a lot of variety. At times you are under deodar trees, at others you have maples over you, then oaks. The forests have almost been crafted for whistling through them. The smell of the woods is always with you.
Once outside the tree line, the grasslands of the upper Kullu valley is a delightful trek. If you have a clear sky the views of both the Pir Panjal and Dhauladhar ranges dominate the horizon.
Finally, the ridge walk to the summit is rare. In none of our treks do we have a ridge walk, almost like walking on a cornice to the summit (in this case the pass). The wind on the summit ridge can be strong, yet the adventurous thrill of getting to the pass is high. The view on all sides is astounding.
We do not take the direct sharp descent from the pass to Malana. Instead, we go further ahead to the Dadru forest area and camp there.
The Chandrakhani pass has a lot of history, culture and stories around it. Trekkers have yet another terrific trek to do in July-August in Himachal Pradesh.
Chandrakhani Pass Videos
Reach the Indiahikes Jungle Line Campus at Manali
Reporting Time: 3 pm | Location: Beas Bridge, Manali
Pick-up will be arranged from Beas Bridge, Manali to Indiahikes Jungle Line Campus at 3 pm. It will cost Rs 1,000 per vehicle (5-6 seaters) and has to be shared by trekkers. You will be staying at our campus on this day.
Drive from Indiahikes Campus to Rumsu. Trek from Rumsu to Naya Tapru
Drive Distance: 9 km | Drive Duration: 25 minutes | Trek Distance: 6 km | Trek Duration: 6 hours | Altitude Gain: 6,745 ft to 10,430 ft
The cab fare is Rs 1,300 (5-6 people per vehicle) and is not included in the trek fee. It is to be shared by trekkers and paid directly to the driver.
Trek from Naya Tapru to Chaklani
Trek Distance: 2.5 km | Trek Duration: 2.5 hours | Altitude Gain: 10,430 ft to 11,368 ft
Trek from Chaklani to Nagruni via Chandrakhani Pass
Trek Distance: 9.2 km | Trek Duration: 9 hours | Altitude Gain/Loss: 11,368 ft to 11,145 ft via 12,185 ft
Trek from Nagruni to Malana via Magic valley. Drive back to Indiahikes Jungle Line Campus at Manali.
Trek Distance: 3.6 km | Trek Duration: 3 hours | Altitude Loss: 11,145 ft to 8,260 ft
The cab fare from Malana to the campus is Rs 4,500 and is not included in the trek fee. It is to be shared by trekkers and paid directly to the driver. You will reach back the campus by lunchtime at around 2 pm and have lunch at the campus.
- It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo ID for entry at forest check posts on the trek.
- On the trek, you will be staying 2 in a tent on all days.
- We have a cloakroom facility at the base camp for one extra piece of luggage. Anything beyond that is chargeable at Rs 500 per luggage. Do not leave behind any valuables in the cloakroom.
Reaching Indiahikes Jungle Line Campus at Manali
Reach Indiahikes Jungle Line Campus at Manali on Day 1. A pick-up cab will be arranged by Indiahikes from Beas Bridge, Manali at 3.00 pm and it costs Rs 1000 for a 5-6 seater vehicle. This has to be shared by trekkers.
Start from the campus by 8.00 AM on Day 2. The pick up will be arranged by us. The transport cost is Rs 1,300 for a 5-6 seater vehicle and has to be paid directly to the driver.
On the last day, you have a 2.5 hours drive. The cost of transport from Malana to Campus is Rs 4,500 and has to be shared by trekkers and paid directly to the driver.
The forests on the Chandrakhani Pass trek are a delight. As you start the trek from Rumsu, a small village about 20 km away from Manali, you dive right into the beautiful spruce forest. Picture by Jothiranjan.
Although most of your trek on Day 1 is in the forest section, the landscape changes every now and then. The trees change. You start seeing more maples. This makes the whole trek all the more exciting. Picture by Jothiranjan.
If those surprises weren't enough, every hour the landscape opens up to breathtaking views of the Pir Panjal range. Picture by Jothiranjan.
Know Your Trek
We have always wanted trekkers to be well-informed before they go on a Himalayan trek. Knowledge is the difference between a safe trek and a dangerous one. It’s also the difference between a wholesome experience and a superficial experience.
Use this section to learn about the Chandrakhani Pass trek. It has in-depth information about each day of the trek, what to expect, and how you need to prepare for it. Many years of expertise have gone into this content. Trekkers find that extremely useful.
Day 1: Reach Indiahikes Jungle Line Campus at Manali
You will have to reach the campus on your own on this day and meet the Indiahikes team at 4 pm. Go to how to reach section to know more.
The process of your registration, health screening, and document verification will take place with your rental gear collection.
You will be staying at our Manali Campus for the night. The next day, the team will leave at 7 am in the morning and drive to Rumsu. The drive will take around an hour.
Day 2: Trek from Rumsu to Naya Tapru
Drive Duration: 25 minutes | Trek Duration: 6 hours Drive Distance: 9 km | Trek Distance: 6 km
Altitude Gain: 6,745 ft to 10,430 ft
The trek starts from Rumsu village. Rumsu is a quaint ancient village situated 28 km away from Manali. The architecture of the houses here remind you of the Kathkuni architecture that you come across in Jiskun on the Rupin Pass trek. Rumsu is well connected with Nagar and Malana. People at Rumsu worship the same deity as Malana. The culture and practices are also very similar.
Cross the Rumsu village to enter the forest trail. It's a mixed forest with Deodar, pine and walnut trees. The forest here is dense. The trail is steep. After about an hour and a half of a climb in the dense jungle, you reach a small clearing called Stiling. This is your first resting point. There is a small stream flowing nearby. Refill your water bottles here.
A steep ascent in the forest trail for about 20 minutes takes you to another clearing called Ghan Kuradi. This beautiful clearing surrounded by pine, deodar, Rai, maple, chestnut, green and yellow oaks offers stunning views of the Kullu valley. Rest here for a bit and soak in the views of the surroundings.
From Ghan Kuradi, a series of three short but steep climbs leads you to Naya Tapru, your first campsite. As you gradually ascend in the mixed forest trail, the views of the valley start unfolding behind you. It takes about an hour to reach Naya Tapru. This is a huge clearing and offers far reaching views of the villages around Manali. You get grand views of snow clad peaks too.
Day 3: Trek from Naya Tapru to Chaklani
Trek Distance: 2.5 km |Trek Duration: 2.5 hours
Altitude Gain: 10,430 ft to 11,368 ft
This will tell you just how fit you must be
Today is a short day. The trail goes in the South-East direction from Naya Tapru.
From Naya Tapru to Chaklani, ascend in the zig zag trail. The trail is not very steep. As the treeline gets sparse, you start getting a wider view of the surroundings. This trail is dominated by rhododendron trees.
You see a mountain ridge in the South-East direction behind which is the Chandrakhani Pass. In about 2.5 hours from Naya Tapru, you reach the second campsite, Chaklani.
Chaklani is a small clearing located at an altitude of 11,368 ft. Next to the campsite, there is a small water stream. Explore around a bit. Rest well as tomorrow will be a long day.
Day 4: Trek from Chaklani to Nagruni via Chandrakhani Pass
Trek Distance: 9.2 km | Trek Duration: 9 hours
Altitude Gain/Loss: 11,368 ft to 11,145 ft via 12,185 ft
Today is the most adventurous day of the entire trek. It’s a pass crossing day!
Note: Replenish your water supplies before starting your trek. There are no water sources until you reach the next campsite.
From Chaklani, the trail goes diagonally in the South-East direction. You gradually gain altitude as you ascend to the highest point of the trek, the Chandrakhani Pass. It’s about an hour and a half of an ascent from Chaklani. Once you reach the Chandrakhani pass, it’s almost a 3 km long ridge walk till you start descending to the Magic Valley. This ridge walk is what makes this trek different compared to the other pass treks in the Himalayas.
From the ridge, on your left, you see Dhauladhar range. On your right, lies the Pir Panjal range that further stretches into the Parvathi range. You see Mt Hanuman Tibba, Friendship Peak, Shikar Beh, Indrasan Peak and many more. Along with these snow capped ranges, panoramic views of the numerous forested rolling hills of Kullu valley elevates the beauty of this whole place. You also get the far reaching views of the villages of Kullu and Manali.
As you navigate through the ridge for a few hundred metres, you come across a narrow trail that descends steeply to the Malana village. Continue on the ridge further to reach a point called Chandrakhani Galu. This marks the end of the ridge trail. From here, the trail turns left and traverses to the other side of the mountain.
From here, it’s a comfortable descent for about 4 km to reach Nagruni Campsite. A stone-made Shepherd's hut marks this campsite. It is located just above the treeline. There is a water stream flowing just in the middle of the campsite. It’s a perfect setting to spend the rest of your day.
Day 5: Trek from Nagruni to Malana via Magic valley. Drive back to Manali
Trek Distance: 3.6 km | Trek Duration: 3 hours
Altitude Loss: 11,145 ft to 8,260 ft
From Nagruni Campsite, there are two routes to Malana. One trail that descends in the North-East direction is a long trek in the dense forest that goes to Waichin village.
Another trail in the South-East direction descends towards Magic Valley from Nagruni campsite. A quick descent in the forest trail takes you to the houses of Magic Village.
Descend further in the same direction to reach a dam and then a roadhead. About a kilometre of a walk in the roadhead takes you to Malana Gate. This marks the end of your trek.
Drive back to our campus, have lunch, return your rentals and collect your cloakroom luggage.
Drive back to Manali on the same day.
Moderate | Level 2
Suitable for Fit Beginners
At Indiahikes, while rating a trek difficulty we consider several factors. These include, altitude gained every day, length of a trek every day, highest altitude, nature of the terrain, weather etc. Based on this we rate a trek as easy or difficult or somewhere in between.
Chandrakhani Pass Trek is rated as moderate | Level 2 in difficulty ranging from easy to difficult.
You start from Sarsai which is at an altitude of 6,745 ft and reach an altitude of 12,185 ft in a matter of 2 days.
For the most part, though, it is an easy hike through the forest. However, the terrain becomes difficult as you get closer to the pass. And you have to walk on a high-altitude ridge for almost 3 km. Also, the pass crossing day is a long walk of almost 9 hours.
This makes the trek a moderate one. It is a good trek for fit first-timers.
You will need at least 4 weeks of solid preparation for this trek. You can begin preparation by going for brisk walks and then doing brisk jogs to improve your cardio. Your target should be to cover 5 km in 35 minutes comfortably by the start of the trek.
The good news is that the terrain at Chandrakhani Pass trek does not have many sections that pose a major safety challenge.
There are only a few risky sections
1. The pass crossing
A climb from Chaklani to Chandrakhani pass is steep. And chances of snow in early June can make it even tricky. In addition, a long ridge walk can pose risks of altitude sickness.
2. Descending from the Pass
You have to descend the pass until you get to the section where the slope starts to become gradual.
On your way down the pass, also ensure that you do not throw any hard objects or stones from the past, as you may end up injuring your fellow trekkers.
The Chandrakhani pass trek starts at 6,745 ft and climbs to 12,185 ft by the third day itself. This high start makes you susceptible to altitude sickness in the first couple of days.
Keeping that in mind, we at Indiahikes have planned the itinerary in a way that helps mitigate the risk of AMS.
However, there are still chances of getting hit by AMS. When hit by AMS, trekkers usually complain of a headache or tiredness mixed with perhaps lack of appetite or sleep.
If you are trekking with Indiahikes, at any point in the trek, inform your trek leader about your condition immediately if you feel any symptoms of AMS. All Indiahikes trek leaders are trained to take care of your health and safety during medical emergencies of any sort.
In the case of AMS, early detection and treatment can ensure your successful trek completion.
If you are trekking on your own, the immediate step to take would be to start on a curative course of Diamox which is 250mgs every 12 hours followed by ample rest.
The earlier you treat these symptoms, the higher the chances of recovering and completing the trek. If the symptoms don’t alleviate after treatment, it is best to head down to Rumsu immediately. (if you haven’t crossed the pass). Do not continue the trek if any of the symptoms persist.
You might also notice its symptoms while descending from the pass on the other side of your body that hasn’t adjusted to the altitude. In such a case, descend to Malana immediately.
Here’s a Complete Guide to Acute Mountain Sickness, HAPE and HACE:
The trek is safe for all the 4 months of the year it is open - from June to September.
However, there are a few times when you need to be careful.
First is early in the season in June, when there is a lot of snow on the trail starting from Chaklani, the trail can get slippery. However, this can be managed with the right gear - microspikes, gaiters, etc.
Second, in July and August, rain is a common occurrence. The rain too makes the trail slippery and tricky.
In both cases make sure to get a firm footing before you take the next step. Follow the instruction of your trek leaders.
Pro Tip: Place your foot firmly on the ground and make sure your feet are not slipping and you’ve got a good grip before you take the next step. Do not be in a hurry to ascend or descend but take a second to be mindful of your steps.
Emergency Exits: Chandrakhani Pass being a Pass-crossing trek has limited exit points. If you haven’t crossed the pass then head down Rumsu before moving on to Manali. While after crossing the pass you’ll have to make it to Malana before heading to Manali via Rohtang Pass.
Closest Hospitals: Mission Hospital in Manali is the closest one to Chandrakhani pass, in case of a medical emergency during the trek.
Address: Model Town, Siyal, Manali, Himachal Pradesh – 175131
Manu Diagnostics Center and Hospital is another option.
Address: Snowdrop Hotel building, Gompa Road, opposite Buddhist Monastery, Manali, Himachal Pradesh – 175131
The Chandrakhani Pass Trek can be done for almost five months in the year. The very best time to do this trek is between June and September. You may extend it till October.
During other months of the year, the snow is too high for comfortable pass-crossing.
Chandrakhani Pass in June
Day time: Between 15 °C and 20 °C | Night time: Will drop to temperatures between 1 °C and 5 °C.
Presence of snow: Despite it being summers, expect snow patches on the ground. Especially close to Chaklani and above it is still snow bound.
No. of warm layers required: 3 warm layers
In June expect a lot of snow from Chaklani onward. You will find good snow slightly after Chaklani camp right until the pass. You’ll get snow even until you get down on the other side of the pass. The depth of snow on both sides is quite high.
Chandrakhani Pass in July and August
Day time: Between 15 °C and 20 °C | Night time: Will drop to temperatures between 1 °C and 5 °C.
Presence of snow: Snow starts to melt as we enter July. By August most of the snow is gone, except for some patches near Chandrakhani Pass.
No. of warm layers required: 3 warm layers
In July the snow starts to melt rapidly but stays in good patches on the higher reaches of the pass. But different magic starts to unfold from mid-July onward.
The valley starts to get its first monsoon showers. Wildflowers begin to sprout in the entire green belt on the Kullu side. Sometimes trekkers have to wade through a bed of wildflowers on either side of the trail.
If there is a favourite time to do the trek, then mid-July to the end of August is the best time to do the Chandrakhani Pass trek. The grasslands are a vibrant green. The slopes are alive with swaying wildflowers. On the other hand, the skies are generally cloudy though. Be game for good showers on the trek. The rains last until the mid of September.
Chandrakhani Pass in September
Day time: Between 12 °C and 15 °C | Night time: Will drop to temperatures between 0 °C and 3 °C.
Presence of snow: You will not find snow in the month of September on the trail.
No. of warm layers required: 4 warm layers
Post-mid-September, the skies start to clear up and the early autumn colours strike the slopes. The Chandrakhani Pass is at its most colourful. The sunrises and sunsets are gorgeous, the snow-clad mountains stand tall against the deep blue skies. The trek is at its most perfect.
At Indiahikes we wind up the Chandrakhani Pass season at the end of September.
By the end of the first week of October, the air is nippier. The early winter chill is felt. Night temperatures will fall below zero in most camps. At the higher camps, it could be icy cold. The streams dry up and water sources become increasingly difficult. The earth is browner. The boulders were starker.
While it is possible to do the trek in October it is not as much fun.
Indiahikes Jungle Line Campus is located at Sarsai village 22 km away from Kullu and 17 km away from Manali.
Here is a detailed travel plan for you.
Planning your onward flight/train booking
If you are travelling from Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune, Mumbai or any other city, book your air tickets for Day Zero, which is the day before Day 1 on the itinerary.
Example: If your trek start day is 25 September, then book your air tickets for 24 September to either Chandigarh or Delhi.
There are two options for your flight tickets.
Option 1: Fly directly to Chandigarh
We recommend this. It also makes your travel timeless. However, if the cost of the flight ticket to Chandigarh is too high, book to Delhi and travel to Manali by bus.
Tip: Land at the Chandigarh airport and directly head to Sector 43 (which is the main Interstate bus terminal of Chandigarh). You get AC airport buses to Sector 43, from just outside the arrivals. It is about 10 km and the buses run every half hour or so. A ticket costs Rs 60 for these buses.
If you are flying to Chandigarh, we recommend you stay in Chandigarh for the night. Take good rest and take an early morning bus to Manali.
From Manali, your pick up will be arranged from Beas Bridge at 3.00 pm.
Alternate Option: You can take an overnight bus to Manali from Chandigarh and reach our campus in the morning too. You can keep your luggage at the campus and explore around. But please do note that in that case, you will have to take care of your breakfast and lunch.
Pro Tip: If you are in a group of 3-4, then it may make sense to take a taxi from Chandigarh airport to Indiahikes Jungle Line Campus at Manali directly. A taxi charges about Rs 3,200 for the trip. You can book a taxi from Goibibo or Ola in advance. We use this system often.
Option 2: Flying to Delhi
Flying to Delhi may be a lot cheaper than getting to Chandigarh. Make sure to book a flight that reaches Delhi by 4.00 pm. You must arrive in Delhi on Day Zero and not on Day 1.
Note: If you notice the difference in air ticket prices between Delhi and Chandigarh is less than Rs 1,000 then book directly to Chandigarh. The rest and shorter travel time are worth the difference.
Bus to Manali: Take the bus from ISBT Kashmiri Gate to the Manali Bus Stand. It is a 13-14 hour bus journey from Delhi to Manali.
We recommend travelling by bus by Lakshmi Holidays. They are clean, affordable and usually run on time.
From Manali, your pick up will be arranged from Beas Bridge at 3.00 pm.
Planning your return flight/train booking
Booking your return tickets requires some thought. First, always book your return ticket keeping in mind the monsoons. It generally causes delays on mountain roads with slower-moving traffic.
Tip: For return, make sure you book your ticket from Manali or Kullu. As 15 Mil is not a specified stop, you won't be able to communicate with your driver and board your bus from there.
Option 1: Flying out from Chandigarh
Assuming you have stayed in Manali the day before, take a bus to Chandigarh. Book a flight that flies out of Chandigarh post 8 pm. It takes about 10 hours to travel from Manali to Chandigarh by bus. And a further one hour from Chandigarh ISBT at Sector 43 to the Airport by bus.
You get buses at the Manali bus stand from 8.30 am onward.
Tip: You can also choose to share a cab with 3 to 4 fellow trekkers from Manali to Chandigarh.
Option 2: Flying out of Delhi
Assuming you are not staying overnight at Manali, you get buses to Delhi starting at 5 pm from the Manali Bus stand. The travel time to reach Delhi ISBT is around 14-15 hrs. If you are booking a flight from Delhi and taking a bus, then book a late morning flight post 9 am.
Tip: Experience the different cafes in Manali and take a night bus after 9 pm to Delhi. Then onward flight to your cities on the evening from Delhi.
These are documents required for legal purposes by Indiahikes and the forest department. Without any of these, you will not be allowed to trek.
- Original and photocopy of government photo identity card. Anything such as a driver’s license, Aadhar Card, or passport will do. This is required by the forest department for your identification.
- Medical and Disclaimer certificate. There are two sections to this. One is to be filled by a practicing doctor and the second is filled by you. The disclaimer certificate is a legal requirement.
Download the PDF, read carefully, print it back to back, and sign it. This must be handed over to your Trek Leader during the registration at the base camp. This is a requirement by both the forest department and Indiahikes – Download the PDF
Note: Please carry the above document with you. The document needs to be downloaded (PDF), filled in, signed, and handed over to the trek leader at the base camp. Please print these back-to-back on two sheets. Do not print separately and help in reducing paper usage.
Keep important documents in a clear plastic cover and slide them into the inner pocket at the back of your backpack to prevent them from getting wet.
1. Trekking Shoes
Chandrakhani Pass requires sturdy trekking shoes, has good grip, has ankle support and can handle snow. Here is a quick video on how to choose your trekking shoes.
| Buying Tip: The Trek series and MH series are good options by Decathlon. They are tried and tested. There isn’t any necessity to buy the higher-priced models. Here is a list of other budget shoes that trekkers are using.
| Rental: We have the Trek series and the MH series by Decathlon available for rent from the Indiahikes store. They are already broken into and in good condition. Rental shoes are not dirty or unhygienic. This is how they are kept clean.
For a trek like Chandrakhani Pass, you need a 50-60 litre backpack. Make sure your backpack has good hip support, shoulder support and quick-access pockets. Here is a guide on how to choose a backpack.
| Buying Tip: Wildcraft, Decathlon and Adventure Worx usually make good backpacks. While Wildcraft has more expensive ones, the other two brands have budget-friendly backpacks to choose from.
| Rental: The 48-litre backpack by Adventure Worx is available for rent from the Indiahikes store. They are custom-made for our Himalayan treks. Rent them if you don’t have a backpack.
Wearing layers is the mantra in the mountains. Layers give you maximum protection from all elements. And when the weather changes in the mountains (as it happens every few hours), you take off or put on layers as required.
Base Layer: 3 T-Shirts
Wear one T-shirt and carry two. Carry full sleeve dry-fit T-shirts (preferably collared). These prevent your arms and neck from getting sunburnt. In the rarified air on the trek, especially at high altitudes, UV rays can burn you in no time.
Dry-fit T-shirts quickly dry your sweat, they are easy to wash and in case of a rainy day, they dry quicker. Round neck T-shirts are ok, but collared ones are better.
| Cotton or Synthetic? As Indians, we love cotton. Down in the plains when the heat is blistering 40°C it makes sense to wear cotton. But it takes a long time to dry when it gets wet. In the mountains, where it is cooler, synthetic is what you wear. They wick sweat rapidly and keep you dry. (But they do tend to smell quickly, so carry a roll-on deodorant with you.)
| Buying Tip: You can get dry-fit T-shirts from Decathlon. Also, stores like Reliance Trends and Max have dry-fit T-shirts. They don’t usually cost much.
| Pro Tip: If you are extra susceptible to cold, you could get a set of thermal inners. In our experience, wearing two T-shirts over another works as a better thermal. And they save you weight and space since you’re already carrying them.
3 Insulation Layers
The highest altitude you reach on this trek is 14,065 ft. At these altitudes, it can get cold even in the middle of summer. You will need at least 2 insulation layers for this trek.
You will need 1 pair of inner thermals, 2 light fleece layers or 1 thick fleece layer. Do not get your grandma stitched sweaters, which can be very heavy. You need sweaters and fleece jackets that can fold into compact rolls.
1 Outer Layer: For your outer layer, a padded jacket serves the purpose here. You don’t need a water-resistant material. But you need an outer padded jacket that keeps the wind and cold out. Ensure your padded jacket has a hood as well.
| Do you need a down/feather jacket? Not really. A regular padded/shell jacket will do. This video here will help you to learn more about the difference.
| Note: Down/feather jackets are not available these days. Many jackets masquerade as down/feather jackets. They are essentially fine polyester-filled jackets. They mimic the function of a down jacket but are usually expensive.
| Rental: Padded jackets made by Fort Collins are available for rent at the Indiahikes store. They are custom made for Indiahikes and trekkers find them terrific, even in winter.
A minimum of one pair and a maximum of two pairs of trek pants should suffice for this trek. Wear one pair and carry one just in case it rains/snows. Trek pants with zippered cut-offs at the thighs are very suitable for treks. Also, choose quick-dry pants over cotton. They dry up soon even in the cold climate.
| Buying Tip: Go for pants with zippered pockets. They come in handy to keep your phone, handkerchief or pocket snacks.
| Track pants or Trek pants? Stretchable track pants make a good backup and can double up as your thermal bottoms. But track pants do not trek pants -- so don’t use them as your main outerwear. Keep them only as a backup.
Mandatory Accessories, without these too you won’t be able to do the trek.
These accessories are mandatory. Don’t go to Chandrakhani Pass without them. Trekkers generally put off purchasing / borrowing the accessories for the last minute. We suggest the opposite. Start gathering these accessories first.
Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness. A small overexposure to direct sunlight on snow can lead to snow blindness (about a half hour’s exposure). That’s because fallen snow is like thousands of mirrors that reflect direct UV rays. So you need sunglasses with UV protection.
| Wearing Tip: Wear sunglasses if the trekking day is bright and sunny (on open sections, meadows). On a snowy section, you must never take off your sunglasses until the section has been fully crossed.
| Buying Tip: Try getting sunglasses that wrap around instead of those that have openings on the side. Even peripheral UV ray exposure is not a good idea.
| If you wear spectacles: If you wear spectacles, you can get oversized sunglasses that you wear over your regular glasses (available at Decathlon). If that is cumbersome, photochromic lenses work equally well. Here’s a quick guide on managing sunglasses with spectacles.
| Contact lens users: If you use contact lenses, you can use them on the trek too. The lens solution will not freeze. You will also not face any problems in changing your lens in your tent. Just carry enough cleaning solution with you to clean your fingers well. Wear your sunglasses over your contact lens. Read this article for more guidance on managing contact lenses on treks.
A sun cap is mandatory. Trekking without a sun cap can lead to headaches, sunstrokes, quick dehydration and a sharp drop in trekking performance.
| Tip: In the mountains, the general rule is to keep your head covered at all times. During the day a sun cap protects you from the harsh rays of the sun (it is doubly stronger with naked UV rays). A sun cap keeps your body temperature in balance. In the evening/early morning, the reverse is true. Your head loses your body heat quickly. A woollen cap prevents heat from dissipating from your head.
| Pro Tip: Sun caps with flaps are a blessing for trekkers. They cut out almost all UV leaks. They prevent sunburns in every possible way. They are a lot more effective than sunscreen lotion. A wide-brimmed sports hat also helps to prevent sunburn in a big way.
3. Synthetic Hand Gloves
On a trek like Chandrakhani Pass, you’ll need gloves to grip something or to steady yourself. You also want the gloves to keep you warm. Get synthetic hand gloves that have waterproofing on the outside and a padded lining on the inside. If you find the combination difficult to get (not likely), wear a tight-fitting fleece hand glove inside a synthetic hand glove. Hand gloves are mandatory on this trek.
4. Woollen Cap or Balaclava
Ensure these cover your head. In the cold mountains, you lose maximum heat from your head, not from your hands, feet or the rest of your body. This is why you need to keep your head protected, especially when the sun is down. Early mornings, late evenings, and a cold trekking day are when you must use your woollen cap.
Your ears are sensitive too, so a woollen head cap that covers your ears is essential. A balaclava is a modern version of the woollen cap. It covers your ears, neck and parts of your face as well. If you get a woollen cap that only covers your head, you will need a neck warmer or a woollen scarf.
5. Socks (4 Pairs)
Apart from three to four pairs of sports socks, take a pair of woollen socks. Sports socks give you cushioning plus warmth. Again the mantra is to wear synthetic socks or at least a synthetic blend. Cotton socks soak in water and sweat. They are very hard to dry.
As for woollen socks, they help you to keep warm and snug at the night. If you cannot get woollen socks, wearing two sports socks serves the purpose as well.
Trekkers are often confused about whether they need to get a headlamp or a handheld torch. You need to get a headlamp because it leaves your hands free to do other activities. On the Chandrakhani Pass trek, you’ll need your hands free to wash dishes, pitch tents and hold your trek poles.
| Buying tip: Ensure your headlamp covers a wider area and is not too focused as a single beam. On a trek, your headlamp must help you see around you as much as ahead of you.
| Rental: Headlamps are available for rent at the Indiahikes store.
7. Trekking Pole (A Pair)
Trekking poles give you stability and balance. They reduce your energy consumption by almost 40%. On the Chandrakhani Pass trek, there are steep ascents and descents. A pair of trekking poles will make the difference between a comfortable and a strenuous trek. In India, we tend to use a single trekking pole. However, two trekking poles give you greater stability and balance. They also increase your walking pace.
| Rental: Imported side-locking trekking poles are available for rent at the Indiahikes store.
On a trek, the weather can change quickly. A bright sunny day can turn into a downpour in a matter of minutes. Carry a poncho or a rain jacket to tackle this. A poncho is a big rain cover with openings for your arms and your head. It is extremely effective because it covers both you and (partially) your backpack. It is extremely light and weighs next to nothing.
| Pro Tip: Rain jackets are more streamlined and less cumbersome but weigh more. Rain pants are not required. Dry fit trek pants dry quickly even if soaking wet.
| Rental: High-grade ponchos are available for rent at the Indiahikes store.
9. Rain Cover for your Backpack
Backpacks are your life. You carry all your dry clothes and your warm gear in your backpack. Your backpack must stay dry at all times. Modern backpacks usually come with built-in rain-covers. If your backpack does not have a rain cover, ensure you get a rain cover by either (a) buying a rain cover or (b) or cutting a large plastic sheet to the size of your backpack. You can roll the plastic sheet around your backpack and keep it in place with a string or elastic.
| Pro tip: It's good practice to compartmentalise your clothes, accessories and other things in plastic covers inside your backpack. That way, even if it rains and your backpack gets wet, your things are water-proof inside the backpack.
10. Daypack (20-30 litre, optional)
In your daypack, you carry essentials like water bottles, rainwear, emergency medicines, a headlamp, some snacks and a warm layer. Your main backpack that carries most of your equipment is accessible only at the campsites.
A daypack is a smaller backpack that is usually of 20-30 ltr capacity. Laptop bags are not daypacks. Do not get them.
Other Mandatory Requirements
1. A Toilet Kit
Keep your toilet kit light. Carry just the basics -- toothbrush, toothpaste, small soap, toilet tissue roll, a small moisturiser, lip balm, and a roll-on deodorant. You will not be able to have a bath on the trek, so don’t overload on soaps and shampoos.
| Pro Tip: Carry miniature-sized items. You will not need more than that. If you’re travelling in a group, share one toothpaste for all.
| Pro Tip: Avoid getting large toilet rolls. The smallest size roll is more than enough for a trek like Chandrakhani Pass.
| For Women: If you are likely to have your periods on your trek date, don’t worry about it. You can use your pads, tampons or menstrual cups on the trek. There will be toilet tents where you can get changed. Make sure you carry ziplock bags to bring back your menstrual waste. Don’t leave behind any waste in the mountains. Watch this video to learn how to dispose of your sanitary waste.
Carry a lunch box, a mug and a spoon. Your lunch box must be leakproof. You are expected to wash your cutlery. Trekkers often expect Indiahikes to wash their cutlery. When you allow Indiahikes to wash your cutlery, your cutlery becomes part of a mass washing system. You immediately invite germs, and bacteria to settle on your cutlery. The incidence of stomach disorders rises exponentially.
| Pro Tip: Carry stainless steel cutlery. Avoid fancy high-grade plastic cutlery. Stainless steel cutlery is infinitely easier to wash in cold water. Grease is easier to remove and hygiene is at its highest.
| Two 1 litre bottles or a 2-litre hydration pack: Chandrakhani Pass has many hours of trekking every day (approximately 6 hours). You need to carry two one-litre water bottles to keep yourself hydrated over the distance. If you are used to a hydration pack, then that is ok too. If one among the two bottles is a lightweight thermos, then that helps you to store warm water on a really cold day or for late evenings and early mornings.
| Rental: You could rent lightweight thermos flasks from the Indiahikes store.
3. Plastic Covers
Carry 3-4 old plastic covers to keep your used clothes. You could use them even for wet clothes. Re-use old plastic bags for this and do not buy new ones.
Carry these medicines with you, easily accessible at all times. Do not take any medicine unless you have consulted your trek leader.
- Diamox (1 Strip): Be on a course of a half tablet of Diamox starting from Delhi every 12 hours (125 mg). Carry on the medication until you descend to Chhatru. Being on a preventive course of Diamox greatly reduces the chances of Acute Mountain Sickness on the Chandrakhani Pass trek.
- Dolo 650 (5 tablets): This is a paracetamol. It helps to tackle fever, mild pain
- Avomine (4 tablets): Carry this especially if you are prone to motion sickness. Pop one-half hour before the start of your road journey.
- Combiflam (5 tablets): Take a combiflam if you get a sudden twist of the leg or a muscle strain. It is a pain reliever. It also contains paracetamol.
- Digene (4 tablets): Take it if you feel the food that you’ve taken is undigested. Alert your trek leader immediately. It could be a sign of AMS.
- ORS (6 packs): Consume a pack of ORS water at least once a day, usually mid-day when you are in the middle of your trek. It replenishes essential salts lost while trekking. Tip: It also makes cold water easier to drink.
- Knee Brace (optional): Carry this if you are prone to knee injury or have known issues of knee pain.
Our trek leaders carry a high altitude medical kit with them which also consist of Life Saving Drugs. If there is an emergency our trek leaders know how to tackle it. Meanwhile, contact your trek leader before consuming any of these medicines listed here.
Pro Tip: We find that these medicines by trekkers are rarely used. But you cannot do away with them. At the end of the trek please donate unused medicines to your trek leader. Some of these medicines get distributed to villages on the trek and some are added to the Indiahikes medical kit.
Yes. On the Chandrakhani Pass trek, the major network providers such as jio and airtel work almost throughout the trek.
The nearest town to Rumsu, is Nagar which is 4 km away. This is the nearest place where you can find ATMs. But, if you need cash, we recommend withdrawing from Manali.
There is no electricity throughout the trek. The only place you’ll find a plug to charge your phone or camera batteries will be Manali before and after the trek.
Therefore use your electronic equipment wisely. Fully charge your batteries before leaving your hotel and use your electronic equipment minimally.
Another thing to note is that cold temperatures drain the batteries faster. Having extra batteries or a power bank helps.
Having too many mules on a trail isn’t good for the ecosystem. This is why, at Indiahikes, we do not encourage offloading. A trekker carries his/her own backpack in the true spirit of trekking.
But if — due to a medical condition — you are unable to carry your own backpack, you may offload your backpack.
The total cost of offloading on the Chandrakhani Pass trek is Rs 1260.
Yes, Manali is a safe hill station to be in because it is a popular tourist destination, buzzing with people from various nationalities almost throughout the year. You will find a range of hotels (for all budgets), cafes, and eateries popping up at every turn.
Yes you can!
If you are above the age of 58 years, you’ll need to submit a Treadmill Test (not older than 12 months) within a week of completing your trek registration. Apart from this, you should also be able to jog 5 km in 45 minutes.
We recommend jogging as the best routine to get fit for a trek. It works on the same muscles that you use while trekking — your calves, glutes and hamstrings. It helps increase your stamina day by day. It is also an easy routine that does not require any equipment or tools.
To do this trek comfortably, you must be able to cover 5 km in under 35 minutes. This is the minimum fitness required for this trek.
How to achieve this fitness?
- Start jogging at least 4 days a week
- If you cannot run 5 km immediately, start with 2 km and increase to 5 km over 2-3 weeks.
- Once you’re able to run 5 km, increase your pace day by day.
- Gradually increase your pace and bring it down to 5 km in less than 35 mins.
- You must be able to run 5 km in 35 mins consistently for at least 2 weeks before the trek.
This trek requires at least 6-8 weeks of preparation. The longer, the better. So plan your trek soon and start preparing.
Strength training tips:
How to get Fitness Approval from the Indiahikes team:
Every trekker needs fitness approval from the Indiahikes team 20 days before the trek date. Without this, you will not be allowed on the trek.
What to upload?
- A minimum of 3 screenshots of your runs/jogs/walks/cycling
- Monthly summary of your routine
Why fitness matters:
Every high-altitude trek comes with a set of challenges. Steep ascents and descents, uneven terrain, snow walks, stream crossings, pass crossings, and summit climb. Even the easiest of treks have some of these challenges if not all of them. Without fitness, trekkers struggle, get injured easily, lag behind, or simply fail to complete the trek.
At Indiahikes, we take pride in the fact that our trekkers are among the fittest in the country. Those who do not meet the fitness requirements are often sent back. Our philosophy is that trekking and fitness go hand in hand. Without fitness, there’s no trekking.
What We Like About the Chandrakhani Pass Trek
Why I Believe Everyone Must Trek: A Note from the Founder
Trekking transforms lives. It has completely changed my life. When I see my colleagues at Indiahikes, all of them have been impacted greatly. The transformations have been profound and irreversible.
I see it in our trekkers too. I have seen them change professions, and careers or start a new life. I have seen them get in and out of relationships, and start new projects. These are life-changing experiences.
I have seen children building resilience. I have seen families come together. When I see those above 55, I see them rediscover passion and a sense of purpose. These are not small gains.
In the mountains, new professions, new economies and new businesses have opened up. Our staff no longer go to cities to earn their living. Their income has increased. Above all, they are happiest working in this world. Trekking has been truly transformative.
Everyone must trek. It transforms lives far more than you imagine.
Alternative Treks To Do
Moderate | Level 2
Moderate | Level 1
The Prettiest Grassland Trek in Himachal
Moderate | Level 2
A Trek to the Source of River Beas with Terrific Mountain Views
Moderate | Level 1
Sign up for our much loved Weekly Mailer
We have terrific trekking tips, trek updates and trek talks to look forward to