Prashar Lake which is located about 50 odd KMs North of Mandi, is one of the top most offbeat places in Himachal Pradesh People hardly know about it and those who know, they just can’t stop going there again and again due to the extreme solitude and peace it offers to you. However, I only like Prashar Lake in two states, one, when it is surrounded by green colors topped with varied variety of flowers in the monsoon months of July – August. And, the other state is when the white carpet of snow surrounds this surreal lake and give it a feeling like a jewel studded & shining midst white gold around it, in the month of January – March. And since, my travel is mostly banned in the month of August by my family so I only had to opt for winter months, which meant a Snow Trek to Prashar Lake Do you want to know more offbeat places in Himachal? Read: 5 Must Visit Off-beat Places in Himachal Pradesh
I was discussing the snow trek to Prashar Lake for quite a while for a snow filled adventure but I was just back from a family trip to Mukteshwar – Sattal in December (that travel tale will follow this one :)). But, the thoughts of a feasible snow trek to Prashar Lake was haunting me day and night 😉 … After controlling myself for 10 odd days, when Aashish asked that let’s make the trip, Saurabh jumped in too and in between Sany posted the pictures of snowed out Prashar Lake as he went there to celebrate the New Year 2014… It was enough to ignite the full fire from the ambers and late in the evening on 3rd March, we decided to give a shot for a snow trek to Prashar Lake 🙂 🙂
Day 1 | Delhi – Mandi – Prashar Lake
Saurabh and Aashish came to my house at around 12.30 AM and we left by 1 AM at night from my house near Dwarka More. We were cruising on NH-1 but after couple of hours, all three of us started feeling sleepy and hence, giving respect to our lives, we decided to park the car at Zhilmil Dhabha at Karnal to take a knap for an hour or so in the car. Within minutes, all three fell asleep and woke up to realize it is already 4.30 AM 😉 … Quickly had a round of tea at the Dhabha and rushed to Chandigarh where Aashish’s friend Bikram had to join us and take over the wheel. By 7 AM, we picked up Bikram and he started driving towards Mandi – Manali. So far we have not come across foggy conditions but as soon as we crossed Chandigarh, there were foggy conditions from Kharar – Khurali to Ropar – Kiratpur. After crossing Kiratpur, the hell broke loose on the highway 😀 … It was filled with potholes or craters of as deep as it can swallow the car. The struggle continued all the way till Sunder Nagar and the road conditions from Kiratpur to Swarghat to Bilaspur were horribly bad while after that it improves to some extent till Sunder Nagar. After Sunder Nagar, the roads were all fine till Baggi Village, which is the base village of Prashar Lake.
Meanwhile we stopped at Bilaspur for breakfast, where another friend Doulos also met us who was traveling with his friends to Manali After sharing some chats we moved on towards Mandi as we had no plans for lunch and wanted to reach Prashar Lake as soon as possible. We reached Mandi from where we took a left over the bridge towards Mandi – Pathankot Highway As you cross over couple of KMs, you will see a road on right going upwards and having a signboard below saying Prashar Lake 48 KMs We took the road and after ascending a bit, I think Dhauladhars were boasting their glory in the sky. The road became narrow, so my attention and focus shifted to road from the views 😀 😀 … Some sections of the road are quite steep to descend and in between we missed the diversion to Prashar Lake and hit a dead end. GPS showed a lane which me missed near Kataula village Hence, we reversed and got to it. While coming over to it, it was hard to believe the road to Prashar was the diversion as that road was more narrow 😉 … But, we were on the right track now and weather was on bad track :D.
We finally reached Baggi Village, 20 KMs before Prashar Lake by 2.30 PM and saw a dark cloud cover over the mountains of Prashar Lake. Asked few locals and they told, weather is bad up there. The 20 KMs from Baggi Village to Prashar Lake is motorable but only in season time. We further inquired and found that about 8-9 KMs of road is motorable at present and we need to park the car in between the jungle where the snow starts on road. Then, we had to trek the remaining route of about 10 KMs by foot in snow. There is a shortcut too which is about 10-12 KMs that goes through the jungle BUT someone from the village had to accompany you for the same as a guide. There are many people who got lost in jungles, straying away from correct trail to Prashar Lake through this shortcut. Hence, we decided to take the road path only and also decided to park the vehicle in Baggi Village itself. I had the fear of overnight snowfall looking at the weather and car getting stuck beyond the snowfall.
In all agreement, we hired a Mahindra Pickup from Babloo, a local guy of Baggi Village. Me and Saurabh jumped into the chamber with driver and Aashish + Bikram became the sport to get in the back of the pickup as it was raining at that time, though lightly. Salute to their spirit of adventure because at one point I was really worried of going for it or not in such a weather 😀 😀 … The road was very bad and bumps kept our heads banging with one or other in the front seat 😀 … You can say there was were rarely signs of road rather just a dirt track 🙂 … Babloo charged us Rs 800 for the drop till the last motorable point and gave us his number so that we can call him next day for the pickup from the same point.
Now, as the snow was on the road, the real snow trek to Prashar Lake started… After 25-30 minutes I was huffing and puffing my breath… I cannot explain how SMART we were to carry Milk, Maggie, Chocolates, Rum, etc.. BUT NO WATER to DRINK 😛 😛 😯 😯 … It has happened to me yet another time that I was on a snow trek and was not carrying water 😀 … Just as an FYI, our body needs more water on a snow trek AFAIK though we do not realize because the sweating disappear with chill in the air without making us realize that we are dehydrating 🙂 … I felt worried but then had no choice than to keep walking and walking… Tried calling up DK Thakur ji who runs a Dhabha at Prashar Lake but there was no signal… I motivated myself and soon was enjoying the solitude around. Aashish, Saurabh and Bikram were busy clicking the pictures and I tried to keep up the pace. I saw a person coming from the top and only after talking to him came to know that he was DK Thakur, the man running dhabha at the Prashar Lake. He told us that he is running late and going back to his village. I asked him if he can call someone to bring down some water for us, he reluctantly said no but assured we will reach alive 😉 😉 …
Slowly and steadily, we marched and vistas kept both Aashish and Saurab busy and it was some sight… All white around you with beautiful colors pouring on the high mountains towards left. Since the body had warmth of the trek, so we were not feeling cold. Finally, we could see the guest houses and in between there were locals coming back from the lake. I asked water from one of the group and they offered one and said it is the holy water from the temple… I thought what else do you want 🙂 … After couple of sips the moral was high and the sunset colors were looking much more better 😉 … Soon, Ram Singh, the caretaker of PWD Rest House at Prashar Lake met us with a bottle of water in his hand. DK Thakur ji had requested him to bring down some water for us and that god sent soul obliged !! This is what makes these Himalayan people different from what I encounter in my day to day life and then people ask me why do I love Himalayas that much… I thanked him from the bottom of the heart and he accompanied us back to the PWD Rest House. If you want to know about bookings, you can always check: How to book HP PWD Rest House or FRH.
There is a Forest Rest House too at Prashar Lake and you can book any of them as there isn’t anything else to stay at Prashar Lake. The Rishi Prashar Temple offers stay too but it is quite basic and they just provide shelter with blankets. Since, it was winters, so the washrooms of the rest house were closed because pipes freeze and there is no water but snow/ice. As soon as we reached the PWD Rest House, Ram Singh went in to prepare tea for us while Bikram, Aashish and Saurabh wanted to check out Prashar Lake in last light of the day. I did not have energy left to accompany them 😀 …
Ram Singh asked us to use open space in the jungle for any nature calls but then there are bears / bhaalus too in the jungle 😉 😉 So, no one wanted to go for it at night and hence we all were done by late evening in nippy cold conditions. It was time for some rum to get some warmth as all three were back to rest house with first sight of this lovely lake. Ram Singh too joined us after preparing the dinner as rice and dal. We had nice time in the evening and Ram Singh arranged a heater just to get the shoes and socks dried up a bit… and man here goes the best moment of the day !! Bikram kept his wet gloves on to the coil of heater and it immediately caught up fire with some toxic smoke filled in the room within seconds 😯 😯
It was difficult to breath and opening up window let the extremely cold wind inside. We had no choice than opening up the windows, the main door of the guest house and upper windows too in order to get that smoke out. Me and Saurabh were worried that we may not die inhaling this smoke at night as we had to sleep in this room and there is no scope of medical help around in miles too 😀 😀 … So, we decided to keep the windows open for night and called off this eventful day after majority of the smoke got out of the room.
Have you ever been to Prashar Lake? How was your experience or you looking forward to visit it? Do share you experiences or queries in either comments section of DoW Community with all other devils 🙂 🙂
The Journey ahead…