Delhi to Parashar Lake Bike Trip - a hidden gem

Tripoto
21st Dec 2018
Photo of Delhi to Parashar Lake Bike Trip - a hidden gem by Aditya Arora

For those in a rush here is a quick summary:

Day 1: Started from Gurgaon 4:30 AM, parked for the night at some hotel in Mandi 5:30 PM

Day 2: Started from Mandi at 9:30 AM, reached the Lake at 12 noon. Stayed the night at a room in the temple. 4-5 small dhabbas/shops there to supply meals and confectionery. Camp able all year round.

Day 3: Started from the Lake at 9 AM, reached Gurgaon at 12 mid-night (we were Lucky to face no traffic or fog, plan to have an extra day at hand if you plan a bike trip in the winters)

Day 1

Day 0 - Wrapped up the office little early, packed, had an early dinner and off to sleep at 9 PM. Was up at 3:15 am, 5 mins before the alarm. Had planned to set the bike in motion at 4 AM but tying the bag firmly to the bike took longer than expected due to increased volume added at the last moment. Finally the bike was in 1st gear at 4:20ish

Day 1 has begun.

We had decided to stop for breakfast only after Murthal to avoid the traffic but the roads were more or less empty so we stopped at Pahalwan dhaba. Rest of the trip was going to be in sunlight :)

Photo of Delhi to Parashar Lake Bike Trip - a hidden gem by Aditya Arora

Somewhere between Karnal and Ambala the Fog welcomed us. While it was fun to cut through the fog, water droplets soon began to appear on my helmets visor making it impossible to see. I had to open up and face the chilling wind blast on my face. Next target of the water drops was my glasses, I had to wipe them every two mins or so with my gloves while riding. Every now and then I would take shield behind a well lit truck, gather some courage and visibility and then move ahead. Then there was light, bright and smooth turmac roads let you cruise as per will.

Photo of Delhi to Parashar Lake Bike Trip - a hidden gem by Aditya Arora

There was some traffic near the Chandigarh bypass, the only place where it bothered us a bit. Before we knew it we were going uphill. Stopped at a dhaba for lunch and RedBull and started flying high.

As the sunlight started to dim we hasted our way through crowded markets of the Mandi district and finally called it the day at 5:30 PM. Found a nice room for 2 at 1000 bucks. Took a hot water bath, refueled our bodies and started looking for a tea shop. Found a sweet shop and asked for hot milk and jalebi instead. With a satisfied body and soul, we tucked in, and yes we snored :)

Day 2

Day 2

It was a chilled out and chilly morning at Mandi. As we walked across the street for tea and chips, this chap came around

Photo of Delhi to Parashar Lake Bike Trip - a hidden gem by Aditya Arora

The route starts to get serene from here. You soon start criscrossing on the multiple bridges across the Bias river and other streams. At the Mandi bus stop you need to decide which route to take for Parashar. There is one via Panarsa, it is longer and usually is a starting point for trekking. We took the route via Bagi, for this you need to take the bridge (turn left) just after crossing the Gurudwara.

Somewhere on the way you need to leave the route to Manali and take a detour for Parashar (it's clearly marked on the sign board). From here the road is less taken and also less built ( relatively speaking, don't worry you will be just fine). We saw this and decided to have our meals here

Photo of Delhi to Parashar Lake Bike Trip - a hidden gem by Aditya Arora

Steamed momos and hakka noodles felt better than the best you can find in Gurgaon.

From what we knew, staying options at the lake are limited. You can camp, there are two guesthouses but they are not easy to book. We spoke to the caretaker of the Forest department guest house but were told it's closed for winters (the water freezes and can lead bursting of pipes). So our options were a home stay or camp with one of the trekking groups if they have space and we feel ok with the cold. The guy at the this dhaba told us a camp stay with meals can be arranged at 1000 per person. We started again, rough patches appeared more often now. Sometimes it felt like a trail. Sometimes there was snow nearby. At 12 noon, we saw a couple of vehicles parked and a board read " Parashar Lake -->"

We stopped, my bike fell as the side stand was not engaged properly and there was dust all over me ( thankfully I did not get hurt). You need to climb up a little to deserve this view

Photo of Delhi to Parashar Lake Bike Trip - a hidden gem by Aditya Arora

It was an absolute hidden gem, the lake and the temple, nicely tucked into a small valley, sorrounded by serene landscapes and 360° viewing angle. To our delight, the temple had rooms to stay for the night (basic shared rooms with 5-6 mattress and lots of pillows and blankets in each room)

Photo of Delhi to Parashar Lake Bike Trip - a hidden gem by Aditya Arora

Luggage was unloaded from the bikes, loaded into our shoulders and unloaded in the room, we changed out of riding gear and started roaming around.

Photo of Delhi to Parashar Lake Bike Trip - a hidden gem by Aditya Arora
Photo of Delhi to Parashar Lake Bike Trip - a hidden gem by Aditya Arora
Photo of Delhi to Parashar Lake Bike Trip - a hidden gem by Aditya Arora
Photo of Delhi to Parashar Lake Bike Trip - a hidden gem by Aditya Arora

There are a few establishments within the fenced campus that also have temple like rooms at 300 per person (food not included, stay in temple is pay as you wish). There are a couple of places to eat lunch and buy some chips or drinks. For dinner it is advisable to talk to to one of these places and fix things in advance. As the evening gave way to night, bonfires started to lighten up and people gathered around in groups. Heat, food, gossip, review of pics, we were appreacting the trekkers and they appreciating us bikers. We could see a flashlight every few minutes from one of the hill tops. It was dark and chilly, must be a dedicated photographer trying to get a timelapse shot of the stars. Hattsoff to the efforts.

We get to our rooms and it is pretty cold. We get into our sleeping bags and then put two blankets on top ( not to mention the warmers and jacket) wondering how the people in the tents must be doing, may be they have magical sleeping bags.

Now for one tiny discomfort, there are no toilets near the temple area, also the ones slightly up the hill ( may be 3 minutes walk) are closed in winters. We woke up at 4 am to attend to nature's call. I have never seen a brighter moon light, almost like a lamp. Found a corner outside the fencing and minded our business (do carry paper napkins, or wet wipes, we had both) Round 2 of sleep starts.

Day 3

Day 3

Woke up, packed up, ready to leave for Delhi at 9 AM

Photo of Delhi to Parashar Lake Bike Trip - a hidden gem by Aditya Arora

First stop was the Gurudwara at Mandi. The Langar daal was pure bliss. We were lucky to find minimal traffic and we were on the plains by 4 PM. The highway is not great upto Ambala as there are no deviders and and very poor visibility, around an hour's drive was through this road in the dark as the sun had set early.

Once you reach Ambala things get better. Traffic was mild at best and there was no fog, so we continued to ride, it was all a mind game now, you have to keep telling yourself to go on ( no risk taking, if you are drowsy, stop, if you are tired take a break to stretch your body, remember you have to take many more trips after this). Finally we entered Delhi around 10 PM and now were faced with heavy traffic and light fog. Reached home mid-night. We had a spare day to rest and would have stayed the night somewhere on the way if things were not so smooth.

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