(Don’t forget to check out the video- Link given at the end of post)
For longing to go deep into mountains; to explore everything that surprises and mysteries of their origin and existence always fascinated me. So, this time, I ventured on for this mystical beauty that keeps its mysteries intact within. Choices were quite many but time was a constraint, so I had to finalize a trek that could be done in 3 days.
Initially 7 people were going, then it kept on decreasing until just the two of us were left. We both were dead sure to make it to Prashar Lake by any means.
12th Aug 2016
(7.00PM) We boarded a bus for Mandi from Majnu ka Tila, Delhi.
13th Aug 2016
(7.00AM) After about 12 hours of journey with almost 2 hours of delay because of heavy monsoon, we reached Mandi Bus Stand.
(8.00AM) After about an hour of rest; we headed for Baggi by a private taxi which charged INR 1000. There are two other ways you can reach Baggi; one is HRTC local bus from Mandi Bus Stand- just two buses on daily basis to Baggi but many for Kautala which is about 7 kms before Baggi and the other is shared taxi in peak season.
There is hardly any info on the internet for trek to Prashar Lake which leads to a confusion for whether Kautala or Baggi is the starting point of the trek. Taxi Union might confuse you for the same. Baggi Village is the starting point of the trek.
(9.15AM) The first impression of the village was quite unacceptable as people were staring at us; telling us not to trek as there were few landslides in last two days due to heavy rain and asked us take a taxi from them for Prashar Lake. But what stuck me was that I have came this far to trek, how can I give up without even trying?
(9.30AM) I stood there; staring at the raging Vyas river, at the flow of its beauty and the fear of drowning if I step in. That ‘If’ in my mind was killing me I swear, but as you say ‘where there is will, there is a way’; all of sudden I saw a wood cutter coming towards me, he held my wrist and just took me to the other side. It was a matter of just couple of minutes but that ‘IF’ killed all my zeal.
(10.00AM) After crossing the chilled river, I asked him how long it would take us to reach Prashar? He said – ‘Just couple of hours walk’ and asked us to follow. We followed him through a rocky path of about one km, then landslide affected trails and some water streams which turned into little waterfalls that looked unreal to my senses. I was stunned with the shades of green, celestial blue sky, no trail to follow and serenity at its best. Prashar Lake trek was supposed to be a crowded trek as we went on the extended- weekend but because of raging monsoon; it turned into an isolated trek where not even locals were to be seen.
(11.30AM) After getting stung by lot of leeches, getting through with quite many nallahs and balancing on the edge of tree branches that were off on the trail due to landslides, we finally bumped into these four young men trying to reach somewhere close to Prashar.
(12:00PM) For about a half hour of rest in the middle of forest, we six started trekking further. Going through deep pine trees to the mud full paths; the vistas kept getting better. The wood cutter left us as he had some work and told us to follow the trail. According to him, Prashar lake was just about an hour more but we couldn’t trust him on the same as he said it an hour back as well 😀
(2:00PM) Two hours of struggling in the forest with no trail to follow. We were tired of listening to ‘just one hour of trek is left’; we met a couple of locals but all of them said, the Prashar is merely an hour trek more. The rain kept on challenging us throughout the trek but this time it wasn’t an easy one. It started raining heavily; because we didn’t had our rain coats and were no more in the dense forest to at least get a cover up; we had to keep moving until we found a mud house. All of us were welcomed by a girl with a big smile. The hospitality of Pahari people is better than any five star hotel. We halted in the house for an hour till the rain stopped.
(4.30PM) The view after rain was nothing short of heaven. Clear sky with dots of clouds and the blooming green in 360 degree. We were told that it was just about 30 min of Prashar Lake from the mud house but it wasn’t at least with the pace we had. We reached to the Rest house in 45 min from where the Prashar was still half an hour more.
(5:30PM) We both wanted go further and camp at Prashar but the weather changed instantly. The rest house’s care taker suggested us to not to go further as the weather wasn’t favorable.
(7.00PM) After a long discussion of to go further or not, we agreed upon to stay for the night at the rest house, have fun with new friends and watched the stars playing hide and seek with clouds.
14 Aug 2016
(5.00AM) I am a sucker for sunrises! I can never miss a sunrise because of being a lazy bum. But here all I see, when I jump out of the porch is white blanket covering everything and nothing to view. I sit for more than an hour on a bench amidst the clouds hoping to capture the rays of sun coming through white blanket and I succeeded.
(7.00AM) We all started for Prashar Lake from rest house and actually reached within 30 minutes. The first look of Prashar Lake wasn’t that great as it was all covered with mist, but as you go close; with all the mysteries surrounding your mind and the floating island leaves you astonished.
(9.00AM) Visited the Prashar Rishi Temple (about 9000 ft above sea level); which was built in 13th century by a little boy from a single tree. I sit there for some time to capture the movement of the island. They say that the lake’s depth is unclear yet and the floating island may go to the other corner or stay stagnant for days. But I was lucky enough to witness the movement and capture it for others to see the miraculous wonder.
(10.00AM) We started hiking uphill for a different perspective of the Prashar Lake.
After reaching at the top, we were spellbound with the seldom beauty of the lake. Rejuvenating our souls for an hour; we had to force our heart to get back to the rest house and leave for Mandi.
(12.30PM) We both wanted to backtrack the trek but the weather wasn’t pleasant enough. So we had hitch hike till Baggi. It took just about 2 hours to reach Baggi and then another hour for Mandi.
(3.30PM) Booked bus from Mandi to Delhi, which was about 5 hours late due to bad weather. We had wait at the bus station as it was raining again, saw complete rainbow merging into the mountains and stared at the rush life for about 4 hours. Finally, boarded bus at 8.30 PM and headed to Delhi for the usual monotonous life but a calm mind.
Prashar Lake is a well kept secret in Mandi, Himachal Pradesh. A two day, easy trek (not in monsoon) which takes you on beautiful trail through deep forest and several water streams. With the superficial views of the Dhauladhar, Pir Panjal and Kinnaur mountain ranges, the Prashar lake amidst the mystery of unconditional fascination with its glacial deep blue water and a floating island with unclear depth. The lake is also accessible via road throughout the year.
Until next story,
Keep wondering, Keep wandering!