“A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature. The fluviatile trees next to the shore are the slender eyelashes which fringe it, and the wooded hills and cliffs around are its overhanging brows.” – David Henry Thoreau.

For the complete set of pictures from our hike to Prashar Lake in March, please visit: Parashar Lake, March 2014

For the complete set of pictures from our drive to Prashar Lake in July, please visit: Prashar Lake, July 2014

Prashar Lake, Mandi, Himachal Pradesh

Maybe you just want to go hike for a few hours in the mountains and not trek countless tiring hours to reach your destination. Maybe you can’t take a holiday from work and would like to experience camping during the weekend. Or maybe you aren’t so comfortable hiking or camping at all but want to spend time in solitude surrounded by a chain of Himalayan Peaks and witness the glorious sunrise behind them.

Prashar Lake is such a ‘hike’ which can be wrapped up within a weekend without compromising on the sheer beauty and richness that Himalayas has to offer.

Prashar lake in July

Day 1: Delhi to Mandi and Mandi to Prashar Lake

A friend and I took a bus from Delhi to Mandi (Himachal Pradesh) at 6.00 PM on a Thursday evening and reached Mandi bus stand around 4.30 in the morning the next day. Although one can reach all the way to Prashar Lake (2,730 meters) on a vehicle by a motorable road, we chose to take a bus to the nearest village to Prashar, called Baggi, beyond which there are no buses. Upon further enquiries near the bus stand at Mandi, we were told that the first bus for Baggi will leave around 7 AM. Deciding not to waste time waiting at Mandi, we hired a taxi to Baggi from opposite the bus stand at a cost of Rs. 600. It took us roughly 1.5 hours to cover the 30 kms distance till Baggi via Kataula.

At around 6.30 AM, the taxi dropped us at Baggi and the driver pointed us to the ridge behind which is Prashar Lake. The hike to the lake from Baggi is approximately 7 kms. and pretty straight forward which should not take more than 4-5 hours at a leisurely pace. From Baggi, after crossing a tumbling stream over a decrepit bridge, we started climbing straight up the hill towards the ridge. There are many trails going up the mountain and you can follow either of them as long as you are headed in the direction of the lake. The hike for the initial few kilometres is through a thick canopy of birch trees and later on through some small meadows. Spot a power line heading towards the direction of the lake and a sure way of not getting lost is to keep following it.

Our tents pitched near the lake

Few hundred meters before the lake, the tree line ends and the forest gives way to some beautiful meadows spread ahead of you. There will be a few shepherd huts just 200 meters before the lake and you shall be able to spot the Forest Rest House from here sitting pretty at a bend. We headed towards the rest house and joined a level path which took us directly to the shores of the lake.

Return journey: Prashar Lake – Mandi – Delhi

In the previous few months, every time I was in the mountains, I had been occupied with the task of trekking for 7-8 hours to reach a camp site everyday. This time however, I chose to invest less time in walking and more in just staying at one place and letting go of all the thoughts and goals that preoccupy your mind while trekking. Hence, we decided to spend 2 nights near the shores of the lake and simply absorb the energy that the snows, the mountains and the lake had to give.

Sun rise from Prashar Lake

On Sunday morning we headed back to Baggi using the same trail that got us here to catch the 1 PM bus to Mandi. Once at Mandi, we went to the Mandi Bus Stand and caught the 3.00 PM Himachal Pradesh Roadways bus to Delhi. We paid Rs. 480 for a non AC roadways bus to Delhi, which annoyingly kept halting at various bus stops all along the highway, turning the journey into a 15 hour nightmare. Even after enduring this bus ride,  I felt the entire journey to Prashar Lake and back was well worth the time and effort – both of which can be saved if you have your own vehicle.






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