Student, Working Professional or just a Wanderlust, it’s difficult for most of us to take long trips more often. Therefore, any beautiful place that can be covered over the weekend is a win-win for us. In this blog, let me introduce you to one such weekend getaway near Delhi.
Prashar Lake is a holy lake which lies 49km north of Mandi district at an elevation of 8900 feet approx. This much-secluded lake has gained its popularity in the last 2 years as it is easily accessible by road or by trek.
There is a 13th-century 3-tiered pagoda temple in the lake proximity.
I discovered a few interesting facts about the temple interacting with a Pandit there, on to it later. Stay glued!
Reaching to the Base Camp (Baggi) –
I took an overnight bus from Delhi to Mandi. It was an ordinary HRTC roadways bus, by far my favorite (yet little painful, considering 10 hrs of office + 12 hrs of travel) mode of commute to the Himalayas.
The last bus of the day leaves at 7:30 PM from ISBT, Delhi.
I reached Mandi around 7:20 in the morning, which is still an hour away from Baggi. Mandi to Baggi is well connected by local bus which runs every hour starting from 6 am till early evening. A disclaimer to the beauty that awaits you that the journey is really bewitching and I suggest not to sleep, regardless of your exhaustion.
There are many travel operators available online that give you a wide range of options. But I personally advise taking this trek with locals. There is nothing more beautiful than experiencing a place from a resident’s eye, you might get to explore some nooks and corners of the place.
I took my trek with one such person who also owns a small and cute cafe there named Kishna Cafe. After freshening up and having breakfast at the cafe, I left for the trek at 11:15 am. There were 2 other groups who started the trek with me.
The trail throughout is not very steep, there is no continuous ascent for long stretches. In brief, this trek is a perfect blend of plain as well as climbs.
Some startling moments :
Last 2.5 km of trek kept surprising us very moment. We actually took more time to complete this part than any other part of the trek, definitely not because of the climb but the view. We either stood still gazing the huge mountains or got busy with our cameras capturing the moment. To add more life to it, our lunch site from where Prashar temple was visible (yet a bit far) was the most impressive one ever (just grab your packed lunch and sit anywhere, you will only be occupied with the appeal of those mountains). My hunger was more satiated by the view than the food.
And the lake :
After lunch, we left for the lake. In another hour we reached the lake (by 4:30 pm, playing our feet on the snow trail)
We soaked ourselves into the tremendous landscape which was right there in front of our eyes. To make everything even more captive, the lake site offered a 360-degree view of the Uttarshal and other nearby ranges (Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal range)
There are few stalls available at the scene offering 2-3 preparations of Maggi, Tea/Coffee, and Rajma Chawal. After soaking in a bit of beauty what was visible to us, we left for the campsite by 6:30 pm which took us 45 mins – 1 hour to reach.
A campsite which was all about Snow,Moon and stars :
Done a few other treks in the mountains, I can definitely say this campsite was one of the rawest. There was no electricity (or electric lamps) but a full moon and a sky full of stars that made the place as complete as it could be. As I sat beside the bonfire, interacting with fellow travelers, our guide prepared us Pakoras (evening snacks) and a cup of tea. If you have ever been on a trek and ended your day at a beautiful campsite, you would definitely understand if I say we literally gulped down the Pakoras by the time we realized! 😀
Also to mention, dinner served was even tastier which consisted of Chapati, Rice, Rajma, Shahi Tukra (dessert) and a veg gravy.
As it was getting darker, the night was getting colder and harsher. Since our tents were pitched in on snow base, it made our night a bit more chilling. True to our expectation, most of us felt some strange action and noise outside our tent late in the night (rain and thunder breeze made it altogether a thrilling one). Since I had a long day, no matter what, I slept well for a few hours at least.
Goodbye Prashar :
Next morning I woke up to pleasant weather with the sun playing hide and seek from the clouds. Soon after freshening up and breakfast, we started our descent towards Baggi. For descending we took a different route via road. We halted at Prashar Lake for some time for a warm goodbye moment.
Ideally, the trek distance from Baggi to Prashar Lake is 8km. But in case you don’t want to trek then there is bus facility also available. You can get the bus from Mandi bus stand itself which will drop you till Forest Rest House that is just 5 min walk from the lake. The road distance is 20-22 km. However, that shouldn’t matter as long as you are sitting and enjoying the drive.
I descended halfway trekking and halfway by my guide’s jeep. Lucky though! Discovered all routes and ways to reach the lake. 🙂
Your total expenditure shouldn’t go more than 5000 including food and stay if you are not seeking a luxurious trip (I completed it for 3000 approx)
Delhi to Mandi bus and back – Rs. 1250
Mandi to Baggi and back – Rs. 84 (Rs. 42 one way)
Baggi-Baggi Trek (with camping and meals) – Rs. 1600
The story behind Prashar Temple –
The lake got its name from Prashar Rishi as he meditated on the banks of the river.
Pandit in the temple told me that it was built from a single tree trunk on the water surface. The carvings on the temple walls are done by a 6-month old boy. A 3-day sacred fair is hosted by the locals every year at the lake between June 14th-June 16th welcoming Shuka Dev deity. This Mela is a religious event and attracts tourist from all over the country. Pilgrims visiting the lake during this time can opt to stay at Mandir’s Dharamshala. Forest Rest House and PWD Rest House are other options available during this time.
I have left it clean and green for all – You would want to go places, click pictures, create the best moments of your life or just be there for the peace and beauty it holds. If we just litter our waste, we are not only polluting the environment but losing an opportunity to experience this beauty for a longer time. I request you all that please carry your water-bottles and other plastic waste with you.
And I can give you a tip to get the best of your trek! Just collect any plastic waste you find on the way and dump it wherever you find a dustbin. 🙂