Bhrigu Lake from Manali: A Complete Trek Guide

Photo of Bhrigu Lake from Manali: A Complete Trek Guide by Namrata Das Adhikary

There is a place in Himachal Pradesh that is said to be the meditation spot of a great saint - Maharishi Bhrigu. While that in itself is intriguing, what makes this place even more fascinating is its hidden secret - a glacial lake that lies at an astounding altitude of 14,000 ft. This is none other than the Bhrigu Lake trek, a four-day journey filled with adventures and breathtaking views. With its easy accessibility from Manali and its rich mythology, the Bhrigu Lake trek from Manali is a popular choice among trekkers.

Credit: trekkersofindia Instagram

Photo of Bhrigu Lake from Manali: A Complete Trek Guide by Namrata Das Adhikary

Within the first 10 minutes of the trek, one is welcomed into an expanse of endless grasslands, where wild horses roam and sheep graze. This unique feature of the trek sets it apart from others, offering trekkers a rare opportunity to experience the beauty of alpine meadows throughout their journey. Coupled with stunning mountain views and a climb to an altitude of 14,000 ft, the Bhrigu Lake trek is a perfect blend of adventure and natural beauty, making it ideal for beginners and families looking to explore the wilderness of the Himalayas.

Here's a Complete Guide for Bhrigu Lake Trek

Day 1

The Journey Begins: From Manali to the Base Camp at Jonker Thatch

Altitude Gain: 6,725 ft to 10,285 ft

Distance: 24 km

Time: 1 hour drive, 1.5 hours trek

The journey to the mystical Bhrigu Lake trek begins with a short 1-hour drive from Manali to Gulaba Roadhead. As you leave behind the city and make your way through the winding roads, feel your anticipation building up for the adventures that lie ahead. The 24 km route is filled with stunning views of pine forests and majestic mountains, making the journey itself an experience to remember.

Credit: trekkersofindia Instagram

Photo of Bhrigu Lake from Manali: A Complete Trek Guide by Namrata Das Adhikary

Upon reaching Gulaba, the starting point of the trek, you will be greeted with bustling crowds of tourists headed to Rohtang Pass. But don't let that deter you, as your path soon leads you away from the chaos and into the serene wilderness. The trek begins with a moderate ascent through a well-marked road, followed by a peaceful walk through the forest trails. After about an hour and a half, you will reach the Jonker Thatch campsite, surrounded by picturesque landscapes and fresh mountain air.

Day 2

Into the Wilderness: Trekking from Jonker Thatch to Rola Kholi

Altitude Gain: 10,285 ft to 12,590 ft

Distance: 5 km

Time: 3-4 hours trek

The second day of the trek starts with a steep ascent, as you make your way through a dense forest of brown oak, cedar, and birch trees. Keep an eye out for Mt Hanuman Tibba in the background, as well as the Seven Sister peaks in the Beas Kund Valley. After about 20 minutes, the trail opens up into a scenic meadow, where local shepherds often camp. This is also a great spot to take in the floating clouds and dramatic views of the valley below. As you continue on, you will enter another forested cover before reaching the Rola Kholi campsite, located at the base of Bhrigu Lake. Here, you can relax and recharge, surrounded by the beauty of nature.

Day 3

Conquering the Heights: Hiking from Rola Kholi to Bhrigu Lake

Altitude Gain: 12,590 ft to 14,009 ft

Altitude Loss: 14,009 ft to 12,590 ft

Distance: 10 km

Time: 7-8 hours trek

This is the most challenging but also the most rewarding day of the trek. You will start early, as you have a long distance to cover. The trail takes you through a stony path and an initial steep ascent before descending for a short while. The rest of the journey is mostly a level walk, with a final hour of steep climbing to reach the enchanting Bhrigu Lake. Surrounded by snow-capped peaks and carpeted with alpine flowers, this glacial lake is the perfect place to catch your breath and take in the breathtaking views. And if you're lucky, on a clear day, you may even catch a glimpse of major peaks like Indrasen and Deo Tibba. After enjoying the serene beauty of the lake, you will retrace your steps back to the Rola Kholi campsite.

Day 4

The Final Stretch: Descending from Rola Kholi back to Gulaba & Manali

Altitude Loss: 12,590 ft to 9,875 ft

Distance: 5 km

Time: 3-4 hours trek, 1 hour drive to Manali

The final day of the trek is a relatively easy descent back to Gulaba. As you make your way down through the meadows, surrounded by snow-capped mountains, take a moment to appreciate the beauty of nature. This 3-4 hour trek is a great way to ease your muscles and soak in all the sights and sounds that the mountains have to offer. Upon reaching Gulaba, you will be driven back to Manali, where you can reflect on your journey and all the unforgettable memories you have made. The Bhrigu Lake trek may be coming to an end, but the memories and experiences will stay with you forever.

Best time to visit Bhrigu lake:

As the seasons change, so does the majestic Bhrigu Lake, nestled in the heart of the Himalayas. This high-altitude trek is a sight to behold and can be experienced for almost four months in a year. However, the best time to embark on this journey is between June and September. In the early days of summer, the lake is blanketed by a thick sheet of ice. The surrounding mountains, still covered in snow, add to the picturesque setting. As the season progresses, and the sun begins to warm the air, the ice slowly starts to melt and the lake uncovers its deep blue waters.

This is when the true essence of Bhrigu Lake comes to life. By August, the landscape undergoes a magical transformation. The snow melts away, making way for a carpet of vibrant wildflowers that adorn the area around the lake. The crystal clear waters reflect the blue skies, creating a stunning contrast against the rugged mountains. It is a scene straight out of a fairy tale. However, if you choose to visit the lake in May, be prepared for a challenging trek as the trail is covered in snow, making it difficult to reach the lake.

Things to pack

The below list might come in handy for your trek to Bhrigu Lake:

1. Original and photocopy of government ID

2. Disclaimer certificate

3. Medical certificate

4. Trekking shoes with good grip and ankle support

5. 50-60 litre backpack with hip and shoulder support

6. Base layer (3 t-shirts)

7. Insulation layers (2 light fleece or 1 thick fleece)

8. Outer layer (water-resistant, padded jacket with a hood)

9. 1 pair of inner thermals

10. 2 pairs of trek pants (zippered pockets recommended)

11. Sunglasses with UV protection

12. Sun cap with wide brim or a wide-brimmed sports hat

13. Synthetic hand gloves

14. Woollen cap to cover head and ears, or a balaclava

15. Socks

16. Headlamp

17. A pair of trekking poles

18. Poncho or rain jacket

19. Rain cover for backpack

20. 20L Day backpack (optional)

21. Toilet kit with basic essentials

22. Cutlery (lunch box, mug, spoon)

23. Two 1-litre water bottles

24. 3-4 old plastic covers for wet clothes

How to reach Manali:

When planning your travel to your trek starting point, book your flight or train tickets for the day before Day 1 on the itinerary. If possible, book a direct flight to Chandigarh airport for added rest and convenience. However, if the cost is too high, book to Delhi and take a bus to Manali from the ISBT Kashmiri Gate. If flying to Bhuntar, make sure to arrive before 9 am.

For your return journey, book your ticket keeping in mind the monsoon season. If flying from Chandigarh, take a bus from Manali to reach the airport. If flying from Delhi, either take a bus from Manali in the evening or explore the cafes and take a night bus to reach Delhi. Flying from Bhuntar is an expensive and risky option owing to the seasons and infrequent flights, so it is advisable to avoid it. Pre-book a cab from your hotel to reach the airport.

The Bhrigu Lake trek is not just a journey through stunning landscapes, but also a spiritual experience that leaves you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. From the peaceful alpine meadows to the breathtaking views of the mountains, every step of the way is filled with wonders. As you make your way through the trails and reach the enchanting lake, you realize that this is more than just a trek. It is a journey of self-discovery and connection with nature!

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