3rd May 2019
Photo of PRASHAR LAKE: A TREKKING PARADISE by Sudha | Sassy Naari

It was May and the summer heat was bothering us. My sister and I were yearning for the mountains and as Prashar lake had been on my mind for quite a while, I suggested that we go on a trek. So after a quick online research I chose since their itinerary for the trek suited our budget.

After talking to the Adventure nation team over phone, we booked the bus upto Bhuntar since our guesthouse was at Panarsa and Panarsa bus stop was about 10 kms before Bhuntar.

Day Zero

We kicked off our journey by taking a bus to Bhuntar from Delhi and told the bus conductor to drop us at Panarsa bus stop as buses do not usually halt at Panarsa.

Tip: Informing the conductor beforehand comes in handy, in case you dose off and move past your destination.

Day 1

We reached Panarsa bus stop at around 11:00 a.m. and our homestay at @flysportstreks was just at a stone's throw from the bus stop. There we met the other two trekkers who were to accompany us to the trek.

At breakfast we had delectable paranthas made by our host. One great thing about staying at such non touristy hilly places is that you get authentic home-made food.

We were given a declaration form to sign which is usually mandatory for any adventure activities.Our guide instructed that we carry a daypack with us.

So we unpacked our rucksacks and filled a small backpack for the night at the camp, taking all the necessary woolens and extra shoes, because no matter how the weather looks in the day, at night the temperature drops drastically in the hills.

Tip: Always carry extra pair of wollens especially thermals because nights at the hills are chilly regardless of the season.

At around 12 in the noon we drove off in a cab with our guide-cum-cabbie. According to their itinerary, we had to reach Jwalapur, the starting point for the trek, which was about 25 kms from Panarsa.

Throughout the drive, our eyes were glued to our windows admiring the beauty of the mountains and anticipating the trek. As we approached the quaint little village of Jwalapur, we saw a number of apple orchards, lined up along the concrete roads, without the apples though, as August-September is usually the fruiting season and we were there in the month of May.

At Jwalapur, we got down at the starting point of the trek where our guide nonchalantly parked his car somewhere near the road without fearing that his car might get stolen. His insouciance reflected a virtue of “trust” that most people from the hills have for each other.

We took our individual backpacks and our guide who carried our packed lunch and snacks, handed us sticks -an important prop for trekking if you don’t have hiking poles. All geared up, we finally set off for the trek, on foot.

Photo of Panarsa Pines, Mandi, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sudha | Sassy Naari

Celebrating the Journey

The journey towards Prashar lake was full of writhing trails. From walking through slippery paths of the woods, to jumping from logs of fallen deodars, fording through streams and rivulets we did it all. Sometimes we would trudge uphill gasping for breath while at other times scuttle downhill gleefully with utmost ease.

We witnessed moments of tranquility in between the trek. As we went deeper into the woods, it grew quieter and we could hear our own breath. The distant chirping of birds,the gush of waterfalls cascading over the rocks and the gurgling of streams nearby made the ambience surreal.

Photo of PRASHAR LAKE: A TREKKING PARADISE by Sudha | Sassy Naari

Even the high pitched neighing of ponies and the bleating of sheep were music to the ears.

Photo of PRASHAR LAKE: A TREKKING PARADISE by Sudha | Sassy Naari

The sight of large bleat of goats and sheep scampering around obliviously and the string of ponies prancing on the meadows made me stand still in awe and admiration!!!

Photo of PRASHAR LAKE: A TREKKING PARADISE by Sudha | Sassy Naari

At one point, I didn’t want the trek to end as I was enjoying the journey and felt the excitement of wanting to reach the destination slowly fading away.

Along the trails we saw skeletons of animals. The dentist in me couldn’t resist clicking them.

Photo of PRASHAR LAKE: A TREKKING PARADISE by Sudha | Sassy Naari

We also saw fallen deodars being used as make-shift bridges for trekkers to cross. I wanted to pick a pinecone for myself as there were many scattered all around, but didn’t. We stopped around for lunch after 2 hours of the trek.

The last leg of the trek was the most difficult. We huffed and puffed, panting all the way to the top where we saw small stretches of meadows. There were rubbles of the mountains dug out to make way for future roads. From there it was a 20 minute walk on flattened paths towards the lake which would put an end to our 9 kms trek.

As we approached the campsite, we saw shephards calling out to their bleat, as it was dusk and time for them to go back home. It was a delight to catch a glimpse of the village life in the hills.

Photo of PRASHAR LAKE: A TREKKING PARADISE by Sudha | Sassy Naari

After reaching the campsite we had snacks and headed over to visit the temple by the lake.

Prashar Temple

It is believed that if you visit the lake, then a visit to the temple is mandatory. The three storied pagoda shaped temple is dedicated to sage Prashar and the wooden architecture of the temple is worth seeing.

Photo of PRASHAR LAKE: A TREKKING PARADISE by Sudha | Sassy Naari
Photo of PRASHAR LAKE: A TREKKING PARADISE by Sudha | Sassy Naari

The temple is highly revered by the people from the nearby villages. Its grandeur can be seen during festivals which are held every year in the month of June. The temple premises houses several rooms which provides shelter to pilgrims during the festival season.

Photo of PRASHAR LAKE: A TREKKING PARADISE by Sudha | Sassy Naari

It was sunset by then and we were tired from the trekking, so after a visit to the temple we strolled a bit towards the lake and went back for dinner. At the camp, we sat by the bonfire and met other trekkers too and after dinner we called it a night.

There is a circumferential fencing done at a distance from the temple other than the fencing at the lake. Camping inside the lake premises is not permitted, so all the camps were set outside the fencing including ours.

Inside the fencing there is one washroom. A wall separates the washroom so that it could be used by both men and women. A donation box is hung outside the washroom gate, and the money collected helps keep the washroom clean.

Tip: Even if there is no one to ask you for the money, deposit some amount in the box , it would help in maintaining the hygiene of the washroom.

Day 2

We woke up to the most amazing views of the Dhauladhars.

Photo of Prashar Lake, D.P.F. Parashar Dhar, Himachal Pradesh by Sudha | Sassy Naari

As we had not spent enough time by the lake the previous day, we went there again to admire its beauty. We spent almost 2 hours near the lake where we had a nice chat with our local trek guide who shared some interesting stories about the lake.

Our guide told us that the practice of religious oblation to God was banned in the temple premises but still continued just outside the temple. In fact, there is a spot especially for the offerings, and our trek guide had watched the villagers make an offering early in the morning that day.

Legends about Prashar Lake

I heard an interesting tidbit about Prashar lake from my trek guide. The tiny floating island on the lake which keeps moving thoughout the year has a story behind it.

Behind the mountains which is near the lake, there are several villages.The residents there believe that Prashar lake is actually sage Prashar’s eye and the island on the lake, the Iris of his eye. Whichever side the Island (the Iris of the sage Prashar eye) faces, the sage watches and protects that village & its precincts.

Photo of PRASHAR LAKE: A TREKKING PARADISE by Sudha | Sassy Naari

Also,there are several legends associated with the formation of Prashar lake. It is believed that after the Kurukshetra/Mahabharat war, the Pandavas while returning with Lord Kamrunag, reached this place. Kamrunag instantly fell in love with the serenity of the place and decided to live there forever. So Bheem, the strongest of them all, rammed his hand on one of the mountains which created a big dent in the land thus creating the lake. The lake gets its name after sage Prashar who meditated near the lake.

After listening to our guide’s stories we clicked a few pictures with everyone and thus created many memorable moments. This was my third trip with my sister and travelling with her has definitely strengthened our bond.

After breakfast we left for the downhill trek back to Jwalapur. From there we drove back to Panarsa guesthouse where we spent the rest of the evening before returning home with a bag full of memories.

Photo of PRASHAR LAKE: A TREKKING PARADISE by Sudha | Sassy Naari

Prashar lake trek was definitely a trekking paradise for me!

Below I have mentioned some well known routes for the trek and a short itinerary too.

Routes for the Prashar lake trek

There are various routes to choose from for the trek.

A) Bus from Delhi to Bhuntar

The same bus going to Bhuntar will reach Panarsa which is 10 kms before Bhuntar.

Drop off at panarsa bus stop.

From Panarsa, there are two options:

1) Cab to Jwalapur village (25 kms) --> Trek to Prashar lake(6 Kms).

2) Cab to Tihri village (30Kms) --> Trek to Prashar lake.

B) From Mandi bus stand, there are three options:

1) Direct Bus/Cab to Prashar lake (Ideal route for a Family trip)

2) Local Bus/ Cab to baggi village(20Kms)--> Trek to Prashar lake(7 kms).

3) Cab to Tihri village(41Kms)--> Trek to Prashar lake.

Short Itinerary

Day 0: Delhi to Panarsa

Day 1: Panarsa --> Jwalapur (25 Kms via cab) --> Prashar lake (6 Kms Uphill Trek)

Day 2: Prashar lake --> Jwalapur (6 Kms downhill Trek)

--> Panarsa(25 Kms via cab)

Back to Delhi