Saurkundi Trek is yet another breathtaking trek of Himachal Pradesh. The route offers spectacular views of verdant hills and the gorgeous valley of Kullu. The word “saur” means lake and “kundi” translates to a frying pan, and thus, the trek takes you to Saurkundi, a lake shaped like a frying pan. The trek is a moderate one that takes about 3-5 days to complete. The lake is said to be divine and the route offers majestic views of Pir-Panjal and Dhauladhar range, Hanuman Tibba, Deo Tibba, and Rohtang Pass.
Where Is It?
Saurkundi Lake is located in Kullu Valley in between the route to Kalahari Pass and Bara Bhangal trek. The base for the trek in located in Old Manali from where the first lap of the trek begins towards Lama Dough. There are various accommodation options in Manali and Old Manali. The cheapest option is to stay at Zostel that is located in Old Manali.
The trek is easy - moderate and can be done even faster if you are fit and mentally prepared to undertake the trek. The trek route will take you through beautiful high-altitude alpine meadows, forests of rhododendrons, pine, maple and of course, the Saurkundi Pass. The route is a mix of mildly-steep ascents and a hikes on flat ground. You will start the trek at about 9,500ft. and the maximum altitude that you will reach is 12,795 ft. The altitude gain will definitely pose a challenge, however, as you slowly get acclimatised, you will be more comfortable by the time you reach the pass and lake.
DIY or not:
The route does not feature villages and homestays that you can stay at overnight, and thus, the trek can only be done by yourself if you are ready to carry tents, cooking equipment etc. along. Even if you decide to do it by yourself, do hire a guide in Old Manali, lest you lose your way in the forests of Kullu. Before you head for the trek, make sure you have adequate food and water along with proper trekking equipment like night-lights, torches, crampons, emergency kit, to name a few. If you’re a trekking enthusiast, it is best to invest in trekking equipment and purchase it from stores like Decathlon and Wildcraft that offer high-quality products for all your trekking needs. In Manali, you can rent equipment from Hippie In Hills or Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports in Manali.
In case you would like to opt for a trek with a trekking company, you can check out:
Himalaya Destination: This trekking company offers a trek of 6-7 days which includes a guide, meals, accommodation, equipment from Manali - Manali. If you’re opting for fixed departure groups, the cost of the trek with be Rs. 8,000 per person. In case you would like to get your trek customised as per your needs, the cost will vary.
Thrillophilia: This company offers you a 5 days 4 nights’ trek which includes guide, meals, accommodation from Manali - Manali. The trek with Thrillophilia will cost you about Rs. 6,950
If you do the trek by yourself, the estimate cost of the trek will be about Rs. 3000 - Rs. 5000 (Manali - Manali) including a guide.
In case you go with a trekking company, expect to spend anywhere between 7,000 and above (Manali - Manali)
When to do it:
The ideal time to undertake the trek is from April - June when the temperature is just comfortable, the valley is filled with flowers, and the lake is deep-sapphire blue in colour. You can also visit in October - November as there are no rains, however it is significantly much colder during this time. The trail is blocked once winter commences in late November to March.
This five day trek will begin from Old Manali from where you will march on to your first campsite in Lama Dough. The next day, you will head towards Longa Thatch which is a 4-5 hour journey which will take you through open alpine meadows. After camping in Longa Thatch for the night, you will head to Mahilee Thatch that will be reached via the Saurkundi Pass and lake. Prepare yourself to be enamoured by a 360 degree view of Dhauladhar Ranges from the pass. A short hike from the pass lies the Saurkundi Lake, you can spend a little while there and then head to Mahilee. Stay at Mahilee overnight and then head to Manali the next day. Your trek ends here.
This is the route you will be following:
Manali — Lama Dough — Longa Thatch — Saurkundi Pass — Saurkundi Lake — Mahilee Thatch — Manali
Day 1: Arrive at Manali / Old Manali
Today you arrive in Manali / Old Manali by flight or bus, whatever mode of transport you have chosen. Take the entire day off or engage in light-sight seeing as a gruelling trek begins the next day. Overnight stay at Manali / Old Manali.
Day 2: Old Manali - Lama Dough
Next day, after an early breakfast, head towards the Hidimba Temple in Old Manali, behind which the trail to Lama Dough begins. Today you will trek for 4-5 hours, the beginning of which could be fairly difficult. The first lap of the trek will take you through a steep ascent, after which you will reach a thick forest. An hour’s walk through the forest will bring you to huge open meadows, one of which will be Lama Dough, where you camp over night.
Day 3: Lama Dough - Longa Thatch
After breakfast, you start your trek towards Long Thatch. Today you will start spotting the Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal ranges. Long Thatch is located at the peak of a mountain and thus, the 5 hour trek today also involves a steep ascent. Trek through meadows and forests laden in silver oak trees to reach the campsite where you stay overnight.
Day 4: Longa Thatch - Saurkundi Pass - Saurkundi Lake - Mahilee Thatch
Today is the most important day as you cross the Saurkundi Pass and finally reach the much-awaited sight of Saurkundi Lake. Start early from Longa Thatch, and hike towards Saurkundi Pass, you will come across a variety of terrain today — open meadows, boulders, steep climbs and forests of cedar and pine. After you reach Saurkundi Pass, also known as the lakeside pass, you will behold a 360 degree view of Dhauladhar, Pir Panjal ranges, and Deo Tibba. A little ahead from the pass lies the lake which is the main attraction of the entire trekking route. Watch the lake from above and notice its frying-pan shape. Once you get closer, be careful to not be disrespectful by creating noise or dirtying the place since the lake is said to be holy and is worshipped by people of the region. Delve into the lake’s pristine beauty and the myths that surround it, and head to Mahilee Thatch where you will camp over-night.
Day 5: Mahilee Thatch - Shangchar - Manali
Your trek ends at Mahilee Thatch from where you travel to Shangchar by road and eventually to Manali.
Things you must pack:
Here are the essentials that you must pack:
Rucksack, ankle-length trekking shoes, 2 track-suits, cotton T-shirts, warm jacket, down jacket, warm socks, water bottle, torch along with batteries, sunscreen, basic toiletries, UV Rays protection glasses.
So if you think you've covered most of Himachal, think again and plan a trek to Saurkundi Lake and Pass next year.