Moderate | Level 2
8 to 62 years
The Prettiest Grassland Trek in Himachal
A lot of trekkers do the Bhrigu Lake trek for the lake is steeped in mythology. This trek lies in Himachal Pradesh, around 20 km north of Manali and can be accessed from Gulaba.
It is known as the place where the famous saint Maharishi Bhrigu sat in deep meditation. However, we believe the lake is not the only thing the trek has to offer. You must do the Bhrigu Lake trek for its grasslands.
To enter an alpine meadow in our country, one has to often spend at least a day or two trekking within the tree line. We are talking about two or three days of hard ascent. This is because most alpine meadows start at around 11,000 ft above the treeline.
However, on this trek, you are in the meadows within the first 10 minutes of this trek! Imagine having meadows such as these right in your backyard. No wonder we go gaga over landscapes that are seen in places like Switzerland.
The meadows on the Bhrigu Lake trek stretch far and wide – almost like an endless carpet. Wild horses gallop around you. The grazing sheep look up when you come out of the treeline, almost as if to greet you.
From these grassy knolls, you will see the mountains of Pir Panjal and Dhauladhar dominating the skyline.
This is your garden in the sky. In July, you'll see the meadows covered with a blanket of snow, from August to September, they will be at their lushest green. You’ll spot wildflowers everywhere.
The meadows change texture, shape, and colour but stay with you all along the trek – right until Bhrigu Lake. This is what makes the trek special. Getting a chance to be in such alpine meadows all along a trek is a rare opportunity.
This four-day trek gives you a good idea of what Himalayan treks offer – meadows, glacial lakes and mountain views. Even though it is a short trek, it climbs to the daunting altitude of 14,000 ft so you experience the thrill of a climb as well.
With its easy access from Manali, it is a great trek to do for beginners or families looking to explore the wilderness.
Bhrigu Lake Trek Videos
Watch these videos to prepare for your Bhrigu Lake trek.
Study this chart to know how much altitude you would gain/lose every day on the Brighu Lake trek.
Arrive at Manali. Drive from Manali to Gulaba Roadhead, and Trek to Jonker Thatch
Drive Distance: 24 km | Drive Duration: 1 hour | Transport Cost: Rs 3,300 per vehicle (5-6 seaters) to be shared by trekkers
Trek Distance: 1.5 km | Trek Duration: 1.5 hours | Altitude Gain: 6,725 ft to 10,285 ft
Leave from Beas Bridge, Manali, Manali at 10.00 AM to Gulaba. En route, at Palchan, drop your cloakroom bag and collect your rentals. You reach your first campsite by 3.00 PM. (Note: Finish your lunch before reaching Gulaba on this day.)
Trek from Jonker Thatch to Rola Kholi
Trek Distance: 5 km | Trek Duration: 3-4 hours | Altitude Gain: 10,285 ft to 12,590 ft
Moderate. Steep ascent throughout followed by an undulating walk for the last 30 minutes.
Trek from Rola Kholi to Bhrigu Lake, and back to Rola Kholi
Trek Distance: 10 km | Trek Duration: 7-8 hours | Altitude Gain and Loss: 12,590 ft to 14,009 ft and back
Moderate. Starts on a stony trail. Initial ascent for 2 hours followed by 10 minutes descent. Level walk for 15 minutes followed by an hour’s steep ascent to the lake.
Trek from Rola Kholi to Gulaba. Drive back to Manali
Trek Distance: 5 km | Trek Duration: 3-4 hours | Altitude Loss: 12,590 ft to 9,875 ft
Drive back cost: Rs 3,300 per vehicle to be shared by trekkers
Easy. Mostly descending. On the way back, stop at Palchan, collect your cloakroom and return rentals. You are expected to reach Manali by 3.30 PM.
Please note: The distance between campsites may vary by 100 meters depending the weather conditions and the route you take. The altitude may also vary by 100 feet for similar reasons.
- It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo ID for entry at forest check posts on the trek.
- On the trek, you will be staying 3 in a tent on all days.
- We have a cloakroom facility available at the basecamp for extra luggage. Every trekker is permitted to leave behind one piece of luggage at no charge. Anything beyond one piece of luggage is chargeable at Rs 500 per luggage. (The luggage could be a backpack/suitcase/duffel bag or anything similar.).
Please note: Twin sharing tents may not be available in May, June, July and August. This is because raw materials for making tents are sourced from different countries. But their export has been affected due to international unrest. This has led to a global shortage of tents. Having said that, you'll still have comfortable space as these tents have been designed to accommodate three trekkers.
Study this chart to know how much altitude you would gain/lose every day on the Brighu Lake trek.
Reach Chandigarh or Delhi a day before Day 1 on the itinerary. Book a bus/taxi to Manali that is likely to reach before or by 9 am on Day 1. We will pick you up from Beas Bridge, Manali at 10.00 AM. The transport cost will be Rs. 3300 per vehicle (5-6 trekkers) to be shared by trekkers.
You will be back in Manali by 1 PM. Book a return flight/train ticket from Chandigarh or Delhi. Do not book plane tickets to your hometown from Delhi on Day 4. Plan your travel out of Delhi the next day.
Trekking in monsoon does not mean trekking in rains. To drive the point home, here are some photos from the latest Bhrigu Lake trek. These are shared by trekker Jignesh Chauhan. The group had lovely sunshine, blue skies as they trekked to the highest campsite Rola Kholi (12,590 ft). As you browse through the photos, notice how clouds are settled on the jagged Pir Panjal and Dhauladhar ranges. You see these mountains right in front of your camp!
Clouds settled on the Pir Panjal and Dhauladhar ranges. Notice the conical shape of Mt. Hanuman Tibba as it stands out.
The trail to Rola Kholi climbs relentlessly. But it's a refreshing trek, through lush green meadows, under the blue skies with soft cotton clouds.
As you gain altitude, notice how the meadows change its colour, texture.
What I Like and Don't Like About the Bhrigu Lake Trek
What I Like About the Bhirgu Lake Trek
Walking on lush green meadows and seeing snow-capped mountains are a daily affair on the Bhrigu Lake trek.
Picture by: Gatreddi Avinash
En Route Bhrigu lake
Know Your Trek
We have always wanted trekkers to be well-informed before they go on a Himalayan trek. Knowledge is the difference between a safe trek and a dangerous one. It’s also the difference between a wholesome experience and a superficial experience.
Use this section to learn about the Bhrigu Lake trek. It has in-depth information about each day of the trek, what to expect, and how you need to prepare for it. Many years of expertise have gone into this content. Trekkers find that extremely useful.
Day 1: Arrive at Manali. Drive from Manali to Gulaba Roadhead, and Trek to Jonker Thatch
Drive Duration: 1 hour | Trek Duration: 1.5 hours
Drive Distance: 24 km | Trek Distance: 1.5 km
Altitude Gain: 6,725 ft to 10,285 ft
Difficulty: Moderate ascent. Well-marked road followed by forest trails.
The Bhrigu Lake trek begins at Gulaba. The 24 km route to Gulaba takes you on the Manali-Rohtang Pass road, past Kolang, Palchan and Kothi. You get fabulous views of pine forests and mountains as soon as you cross Kothi.
Once a quiet hamlet, Gulaba is now buzzing with tourists in transit to Rohtang Pass.
Vehicles drop you off at the road and head near the Gulaba check post.
Trek steadily underneath forest cover, passing through open grasslands now and then. You will reach the Jonker Thatch campsite in about an hour and fifteen minutes.
Day 2: Trek from Jonker Thatch to Rola Kholi
Trek Duration: 3-4 hours | Trek Distance: 5 km
Altitude Gain: ⇗ 10,285 ft to 12,590 ft
Difficulty: Moderate. Steep ascent throughout followed by an undulating walk for the last 30 minutes.
The trail begins with a steep ascent. Make note of brown oak, cedar and birch trees on the trail here. These are a few of the most prominent trees in the Himalayas. After around 20 minutes, the trail enters an open meadow where shepherds camp.
Observe Mt Hanuman Tibba towering over the meadow in the background. Below Hanuman Tibba are the Seven Sister peaks seated in the Beas Kund Valley. Turn right from the upper ridge of the meadow and head south. The second forested cover begins here.
Rola Kholi is a scenic grazing ground used by local shepherds. Located at the base of Bhrigu Lake, it makes for an ideal camping spot. The water source here is Chor Nallah, which flows across the camping ground.
"The clouds are so dramatic on this trek. They keep popping like cotton candy in the valley. When you reach the Rola Kholi campsite, you see these floating clouds below you. Especially early in the morning, with sun rays dancing on the clouds. To see this is very rare. After Sandakphu, I think this is the next trek which offers such a spectacular cloud experience," says Senior Trek Leader, Nitesh Kumar.
Day 3: Trek from Rola Kholi to Bhrigu Lake, and back to Rola Kholi
Duration: 7-8 hours | Trek Distance: 10 km
Altitude Gain and Loss: 12,590 ft to 14,009 ft and back
Difficulty: Moderate. Starts on a stony trail. Initial steep ascent for 2 hours followed by a 10 minutes descent. Level walk for 15 minutes followed by an hour's steep ascent to the lake.
Start early as you have a lot of distance to cover today. You have to trek a height of around 1,348 ft to reach Bhrigu Lake.
Bhrigu Lake rests between two high-altitude ridges. You begin with hiking to the first ridge, which is an hour away. In June, the trail is usually covered in snow. In July, as the snow melts on the lower reaches, you see the trail slowly turning from green to brown and white. As you reach the ridge, look for an oval glacial lake in the distance. Depending on the season, the lake is either surrounded by snow or fresh grass, along with alpine flowers.
"If you climb over the ridge on the side of Bhrigu Lake and look down, you see the three campsites of Hampta Pass trek - Chikha, Jwara, and Balu ka Ghera - laid out in front of you. But be careful as you climb over the ridge. From the edge, it is a nerve-wracking steep drop into the valley," says Arjun Majumdar, Founder and CEO.
On a clear day, you can catch a stunning panoramic view of the Pir Pinjal and Dhauladhar ranges. Also, major peaks such as Indrasen, Deo Tibba and Hanuman Tibba stand majestically before you. The lake is normally enveloped in fog which can make finding the route tricky. It is always advisable to hire a local guide.
After spending time at the lake, retrace your way to Rola Kholi.
Day 4: Trek from Rola Kholi to Gulaba. Drive back to Manali
Trek Duration: 3-4 hours | Trek Distance: 5 km
Altitude Loss: ⇘ 12,590 ft to 9,875 ft
Difficulty: Easy. Mostly descending.
Today’s trek is an easy one. You get back to Gulaba through the meadows you came up from. The descent can be a bit steep but is good on your legs given you are always in the meadows.
It takes 3-4 hours to reach Gulaba. Gulaba at around 9,875 ft is a better exit for your knees and feet as compared to Vasisht at 7,000 ft.
Moderate level 2
Suitable for Fit Beginners
At Indiahikes, while rating a trek difficulty we consider a number of factors. These include altitude gained every day, length of trek everyday, highest altitude, nature of the terrain, weather etc. Based on this we rate a trek as easy or difficult or somewhere in between.
Concerning the above criteria, Bhrigu Lake is a moderate trek on a difficulty level ranging from easy to difficult.
You start from Manali which is at an altitude of 6,725 ft and reach an altitude of 14,009 ft in a matter of 4 days.
The trail is a steady ascent to the lake. It tests your endurance during the final climb to Bhrigu Lake.
This makes the trek a moderate level 2 one. It is a good trek for fit first-timers.
1. While walking on the snow-bound trail in June, ensure your microspikes are worn before you step on snow. Hard snow is extremely prone to slips. A small slip can result in injuries like a ligament tear, a sprained ankle or even a fracture. Always put your foot on footholds made by earlier trekkers. Look out for deep footholds. Do not try to make new paths of your own.
If you're trekking with Indiahikes, your Trek Leader will let you know when to wear the microspikes. Indiahikes technical team will lead you in this section. A technical team will make the footholds required for trekkers to step on. This section does not require ropes.
However, if the snow is feeble, the technical team will use ropes to take the team forward. The technical team will also be assisted by the Indiahikes Trek Leader.
2. When it rains a lot in the months of July-August, the trail becomes muddy and slushy, be careful of the slushy sections which are very slippery. Use shoes that have a good grip on slippery terrain. A slip on these sections will result in a fall and you will injure yourself badly, especially on the narrow sections of the meadow with a deep valley down below. Here's a complete guide to choosing the best trekking shoes.
3. Probability of getting lost: The trail disappears in the meadows on many occasions. So, it is risky to trek solo to Bhrigu Lake if you are not well versed in the region.
Safety Advice: Hire a competent guide or sign up with a responsible trekking organisation for this one. You must also download the GPX for the Bhrigu Lake trek before venturing on this trail.
4. Descend from Vashisht: This is the more popular route but it is extremely hard on your knees as you end up descending more than 4,000 feet in one go.
If you're trekking with Indiahikes, we avoid this as our itinerary retraces the trail back to Gulaba.
The Bhrigu Lake trek climbs quickly. So, it is advisable to camp at Jonker Thatch to help your body acclimatise to the change in air pressure.
If you are trying to do this trek within a day, pay close attention to your body. Stay alert for any signs of altitude sickness.
Attend to your uneasiness and take curative measures. Check oxygen levels, go on a curative course of Diamox, drink water and rest. If you do not feel normal after a few hours or overnight, do not proceed further on the trek.
To help you understand AMS better, we've put together a complete guide about it. This is a series of videos you must watch before you get onto any high altitude trek:
- What Is Altitude sickness? A Quick Look At AMS, HAPE And HACE
- How To Treat Altitude Sickness – AMS, HAPE, & HACE
- How To Prevent Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), HAPE and HACE
- 3 Life Saving Drugs You MUST Have To Tackle Altitude Sickness – AMS, HAPE and HACE
If you experience any symptoms of AMS, even in the slightest, start taking steps to treat the sickness.
At Indiahikes, our Trek Leaders are trained and equipped to take care of any emergencies related to AMS.
Weather plays a big role in whether you are safe on a trek or not, especially because the Bhrigu Lake trek happens in monsoon months. Here are some of the weather-related issues that can play an important role in your Bhrigu Lake trek.
It can rain abruptly at any time on your trek. Usually, low pressures over a region can cause rain, even though the next valley may be bone dry! Rain at the lower slope can mean a dusting of snow on the upper slope.
However, rain that lasts more than four hours can change your trek plans. It can flood the trails or make them too slushy to walk safely on. Some normal sections can become very slippery.
If the rain becomes heavy with winds, stop where you are. Take shelter under a tree. Ensure the tree is within a forest and not a lone tree. Wait for the rain to ease before venturing again. Do not wait for the rain to completely stop. A drizzle is safe enough for walking.
Emergency Exits: In case of an AMS emergency before or after reaching Bhrigu Lake, you will need to return to Gulaba. If a medical emergency occurs before or after the lake, then Manali is where you would need to go to get to a hospital. Manali is an hour’s drive from Gulaba.
Closest Hospitals: Mission Hospital in Manali is the closest one to Bhrigu Lake, in case of a medical emergency during the trek.
Address: Model Town, Siyal, Manali, Himachal Pradesh – 175131
Manu Diagnostics Center and Hospital is another option.
Address: Snowdrop Hotel building, Gompa Road, opposite Buddhist Monastery, Manali, Himachal Pradesh – 175131
Bhrigu Lake is a high-altitude trek and it can be done for almost four months in a year. The very best time would be between June and September. You can extend it to the end of October.
Senior Trek Leader, Nitesh Kumar says, "Early in the season when I was there, the lake was completely frozen. The lake was surrounded by snow. Slowly as the season progressed I saw the lake melting. Later into the season, in August you see the deep blue water in Bhrigu Lake. During this time, flowers are blooming all around the lake."
In May you will find a lot of snow during your final ascent to Bhrigu lake. This makes it difficult to reach the lake. So, it’s advisable to trek to Bhrigu Lake between June and September.
The terrain changes colours and texture even during this window which ideally begins from mid-June.
Bhrigu Lake from mid-June to mid-July
Day time: Between 15 °C and 20 °C | Night time: Will drop to temperatures between 1 °C and 5 °C.
Presence of snow: Despite it being summers, expect snow patches on the ground.
No. of warm layers required: 3 warm layers
At the beginning of the season, around mid-June, you will find a lot of snow at Rola Kholi. The trek is just starting to emerge from the snow. During this time, you will find many traces of winter lingering on the trek.
The most prominent being a frozen Bhrigu Lake, surrounded by snow. The ice begins to thaw only as July descends.
Even though the meadows are a highlight of this trek, they emerge only as the monsoon season deepens.
Bhrigu Lake from mid-July to mid-August
Day time: Between 15 °C and 20 °C | Night time: Will drop to temperatures between 1 °C and 5 °C.
Presence of snow: Snow starts melting away as we move into August. You will still find snow closer to Bhrigu Lake.
No. of warm layers required: 3 warm layers
As the season progresses into July, the blanket of snow starts lifting. You still find some snow on your final ascend to Bhrigu Lake, especially in early July, but most snow on the trek has melted.
The frozen Bhrigu Lake has also started melting in small concentric circles. Parts of it are still icy, but the ice is thinning. Meadows around the lake also start emerging as you pass mid-July.
Now, the monsoon is also at its peak. Rains become frequent and clouds usually glide in unannounced shrouding the lake and the trail. You get to see a beautiful dance of clouds when at Rola Kholi.
Bhrigu Lake from mid-August to September
Day time: Between 12 °C and 15 °C | Night time: Will drop to temperatures between 0 °C and 3 °C.
Presence of snow: The snow is gone, and the terrain is replaced with lush greenery.
No. of warm layers required: 4 warm layers
Like a climax, the last leg of the season is set up on a grand stage with lush meadows.
The snow is gone. Bhrigu Lake flaunts a deep royal blue colour with green grass and flowers blooming around it. It is a sight to behold.
Monsoon is receding now and blue skies have started peeping out. It’s a great time to catch the arresting views of the underrated mountains of Himachal Pradesh.
When you camp at Rola Kholi, you see the Dhauladhar range rising tall with the seven sisters, Hanuman Tibba, Mt Manali, and Shitidhar among many others. These views sparkle under the brilliant blue sky as autumn emerges in September.
Planning your onward flight/train booking
If you are travelling from Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune, Mumbai or any other city, book your air tickets for Day Zero, which is the day before Day 1 on the itinerary.
Example: If your trek start day is 25 September, then book your air tickets for 24 September to either Chandigarh or Delhi.
There are two options for your flight tickets.
Option 1: Fly directly to Chandigarh
We recommend this. It gives you an added rest day at Manali. It also makes your travel timeless. However, if the cost of the flight ticket to Chandigarh is too high, book to Delhi and travel to Manali by bus.
Tip: Land at the Chandigarh airport and directly head to Sector 43 (which is the main Interstate bus terminal of Chandigarh). You get AC airport buses to Sector 43, from just outside the arrivals. It is about 10 km and the buses run every half hour or so. A ticket costs Rs 60 for these buses.
Always target to reach Chandigarh by around 7.30 pm. It takes an hour or so to get out of the airport and get to ISBT in Sector 43. Getting a bus connection to Manali may take about half an hour or so. It is usually a 9-10 hour bus journey to Manali (294 km on mountain roads).
Avoid reaching Chandigarh post 7.30 pm, unless pushed to it. We recommend travelling by bus with Lakshmi Holidays. They are clean, affordable and usually run on time.
Tip: Avoid taking buses that are expected to reach Manali after 9 am. The route is prone to very bad traffic jams. Often with a 3-4 hour delay.
Pro Tip: If you are in a group of 3-4, then it may make sense to take a taxi from Chandigarh airport to Manali directly. A taxi charges about Rs 3,200 for the trip. You can book a taxi from Goibibo or Ola in advance. We use this system often.
Option 2: Flying to Delhi
Flying to Delhi may be a lot cheaper than getting to Chandigarh. Make sure to book a flight that reaches Delhi by 4.00 pm. You must arrive in Delhi on Day Minus One and not on Day 1.
Note: If you notice the difference in air ticket prices between Delhi and Chandigarh is less than Rs 1,000 then book directly to Chandigarh. The rest and shorter travel time are worth the difference.
Bus to Manali: Take the bus before 6 pm from ISBT Kashmiri Gate to the Manali Bus Stand. It is a 13-14 hour bus journey from Delhi to Manali. Take a bus that leaves Delhi at around 5.30 pm. We recommend travelling by bus with Lakshmi Holidays. They are clean, affordable and usually run on time.
Pro Tip: Avoid taking buses that are expected to reach Manali after 9 am. The route is prone to very bad traffic jams. Often with a 3-4 hour delay.
Option 3: Flying to Bhuntar
Flying to the Kullu Airport is a risky and expensive option as it is a small airport and flights can get cancelled easily if the weather is bad. Make sure to book a flight that reaches before 9.00 am. You must arrive in Delhi/Chandigarh on Day Minus One and not on Day 1.
Cab to Manali: There are cabs available right outside the airport. They will charge around Rs. 2500 from Bhutar to Prini (Manali).
Planning your return flight/train booking
Booking your return tickets requires some thought. First, always book your return ticket keeping in mind the monsoons. It generally causes delays on the mountain roads with slower-moving traffic.
Option 1: Flying out from Chandigarh
Assuming you have stayed at Manali the day before, take a bus to Chandigarh. Book a flight that flies out of Chandigarh post 8 pm. It takes about 10 hours to travel from Manali to Chandigarh by bus. And a further one hour from Chandigarh ISBT at Sector 43 to Airport by bus.
You get buses at the Manali bus stand from 8.30 am onward.
Tip: You can also choose to share a cab with 3-to 4 fellow trekkers from Manali to Chandigarh.
Option 2: Flying out of Delhi
Assuming you are not staying overnight at Manali, you get buses to Delhi starting at 5 pm from the Manali Bus stand. The travel time to reach Delhi ISBT is around 14-15 hrs. If you are booking a flight from Delhi and taking a bus, then book a late morning flight post 9 am.
Tip: Experience the different cafes in Manali and take a night bus after 9 pm to Delhi. Then onward flight to your cities on the evening from Delhi.
Option 3: Flying from Bhuntar
Book a return flight from here on Day 7. Again, this is an expensive and risky option due to the monsoon season. Flights can get delayed or cancelled.
Cab to Bhuntar: Pre-book your cab to the airport. They will charge around Rs. 2500 from Prini (Manali) to Bhuntar. Your hotel can help you arrange for the cab.
Planning your hotel/stay
Booking stays in Manali is fairly easy. There are quite a few hotel options available.
Tip: Book a hotel nearby the pick-up point.
If you cannot reach a day early, ensure you leave at around 6.00 PM the previous evening (Day 0), so that you are well on time for the pick up in case of unexpected delays in reaching Manali.
These are documents required for legal purposes by Indiahikes and the forest department. Without any of these, you will not be allowed to trek.
- Original and photocopy of government photo identity card. Anything such as a driver’s license, Aadhar Card, or passport will do. This is required by the forest department for your identification.
- Medical and Disclaimer certificate. There are two sections to this. One is to be filled by a practicing doctor and the second is filled by you. The disclaimer certificate is a legal requirement.
Download the PDF, read carefully, print it back to back, and sign it. This must be handed over to your Trek Leader during the registration at the base camp. This is a requirement by both the forest department and Indiahikes-
Note: Please carry the above document with you. The document needs to be downloaded (PDF), filled in, signed, and handed over to the trek leader at the base camp. Please print these back-to-back on two sheets. Do not print separately and help in reducing paper usage.
Keep important documents in a clear plastic cover and slide them into the inner pocket at the back of your backpack. This keeps them from getting wet.
1. Trekking Shoes
Bhrigu Lake requires sturdy trekking shoes, has good grip, has ankle support and can handle snow. Here is a quick video on how to choose your trekking shoes.
| Buying Tip: The Trek series and MH series are good options by Decathlon. They are tried and tested. There isn’t any necessity to buy the higher-priced models. Here is a list of other budget shoes that trekkers are using.
| Rental: We have the Trek series and the MH series by Decathlon available for rent from the Indiahikes store. They are already broken into and in good condition. Rental shoes are not dirty or unhygienic. This is how they are kept clean.
For a trek like Bhrigu Lake, you need a 50-60 litre backpack. Make sure your backpack has good hip support, shoulder support and quick access pockets. Here is a guide on how to choose a backpack.
| Buying Tip: Wildcraft, Decathlon and Adventure Worx usually make good backpacks. While Wildcraft has more expensive ones, the other two brands have budget-friendly backpacks to choose from.
| Rental: The 48-litre backpack by Adventure Worx is available for rent from the Indiahikes store. They are custom-made for our Himalayan treks. Rent them if you don’t have a backpack.
Wearing layers is the mantra in the mountains. Layers give you maximum protection from all elements. And when the weather changes in the mountains (as it happens every few hours), you take off or put on layers as required.
Base Layer: 3 T-Shirts
Wear one T-shirt and carry two. Carry full sleeve dry-fit T-shirts (preferably collared). These prevent your arms and neck from getting sunburnt. In the rarified air on the trek, especially at high altitudes, UV rays can burn you in no time.
Dry-fit T-shirts quickly dry your sweat, they are easy to wash and in case of a rainy day, they dry quicker. Round neck T-shirts are ok, but collared ones are better.
| Cotton or Synthetic? As Indians, we love cotton. Down in the plains when the heat is blistering 40°C it makes sense to wear cotton. But it takes a long time to dry when it gets wet. In the mountains, where it is cooler, synthetic is what you wear. They wick sweat rapidly and keep you dry. (But they do tend to smell quickly, so carry a roll-on deodorant with you.)
| Buying Tip: You can get dry-fit T-shirts from Decathlon. Also, stores like Reliance Trends and Max have dry-fit T-shirts. They don’t usually cost much.
| Pro Tip: If you are extra susceptible to cold, you could get a set of thermal inners. In our experience, wearing two T-shirts over another works as a better thermal. And they save you weight and space since you’re already carrying them.
3 Insulation Layers
The highest altitude you reach on this trek is 14,065 ft. At these altitudes, it can get cold even in the middle of summer. You will need at least 2 insulation layers for this trek.
You will need 1 pair of inner thermals, 2 light fleece layers or 1 thick fleece layer. Do not get your grandma stitched sweaters, which can be very heavy. You need sweaters and fleece jackets that can fold into compact rolls.
1 Outer Layer: For your outer layer, a padded jacket serves the purpose here. You don’t need a water-resistant material. But you need an outer padded jacket that keeps the wind and cold out. Ensure your padded jacket has a hood as well.
| Do you need a down/feather jacket? Not really. A regular padded/shell jacket will do. This video here will help you to learn more about the difference.
| Note: Down/feather jackets are not available these days. Many jackets masquerade as down/feather jackets. They are essentially fine polyester-filled jackets. They mimic the function of a down jacket but are usually expensive.
| Rental: Padded jackets made by Fort Collins are available for rent at the Indiahikes store. They are custom made for Indiahikes and trekkers find them terrific, even in winter.
A minimum of one pair and a maximum of two pairs of trek pants should suffice for this trek. Wear one pair and carry one just in case it rains/snows. Trek pants with zippered cut-offs at the thighs are very suitable for treks. Also, choose quick-dry pants over cotton. They dry up soon even in the cold climate.
| Buying Tip: Go for pants with zippered pockets. They come in handy to keep your phone, handkerchief or pocket snacks.
| Track pants or Trek pants? Stretchable track pants make a good backup and can double up as your thermal bottoms. But track pants are not trekking pants -- so don’t use them as your main outerwear. Keep them only as a backup.
Mandatory Accessories, without these too you won’t be able to do the trek.
These accessories are mandatory. Don’t go to Bhrigu Lake without them. Trekkers generally put off purchasing / borrowing the accessories for the last minute. We suggest the opposite. Start gathering these accessories first.
Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness. A small overexposure to direct sunlight on snow can lead to snow blindness (about a half hour’s exposure). That’s because fallen snow is like thousands of mirrors that reflect direct UV rays. So you need sunglasses with UV protection.
| Wearing Tip: Wear sunglasses if the trekking day is bright and sunny (on open sections, meadows). On a snowy section, you must never take off your sunglasses until the section has been fully crossed.
| Buying Tip: Try getting sunglasses that wrap around instead of those that have openings on the side. Even peripheral UV ray exposure is not a good idea.
| If you wear spectacles: If you wear spectacles, you can get oversized sunglasses that you wear over your regular glasses (available at Decathlon). If that is cumbersome, photochromic lenses work equally well. Here’s a quick guide on managing sunglasses with spectacles.
| Contact lens users: If you use contact lenses, you can use them on the trek too. The lens solution will not freeze. You will also not face any problems in changing your lens in your tent. Just carry enough cleaning solution with you to clean your fingers well. Wear your sunglasses over your contact lens. Read this article for more guidance on managing contact lenses on treks.
A sun cap is mandatory. Trekking without a sun cap can lead to headaches, sunstrokes, quick dehydration and a sharp drop in trekking performance.
| Tip: In the mountains, the general rule is to keep your head covered at all times. During the day a sun cap protects you from the harsh rays of the sun (it is doubly stronger with naked UV rays). A sun cap keeps your body temperature in balance. In the evening/early morning, the reverse is true. Your head loses your body heat quickly. A woollen cap prevents heat from dissipating from your head.
| Pro Tip: Sun caps with flaps are a blessing for trekkers. They cut out almost all UV leaks. They prevent sunburns in every possible way. They are a lot more effective than sunscreen lotion. A wide-brimmed sports hat also helps to prevent sunburn in a big way.
3. Synthetic Hand Gloves
On a trek like Bhrigu Lake, you’ll need gloves to grip something or to steady yourself. You also want the gloves to keep you warm. Get synthetic hand gloves that have waterproofing on the outside and a padded lining on the inside. If you find the combination difficult to get (not likely), wear a tight-fitting fleece hand glove inside a synthetic hand glove. Hand gloves are mandatory on this trek.
4. Woollen Cap or Balaclava
Ensure these cover your head. In the cold mountains, you lose maximum heat from your head, not from your hands, feet or the rest of your body. This is why you need to keep your head protected, especially when the sun is down. Early mornings, late evenings, and a cold trekking day are when you must use your woollen cap.
Your ears are sensitive too, so a woollen head cap that covers your ears is essential. A balaclava is a modern version of the woollen cap. It covers your ears, neck and parts of your face as well. If you get a woollen cap that only covers your head, you will need a neck warmer or a woollen scarf.
5. Socks (4 Pairs)
Apart from three to four pairs of sports socks, take a pair of woollen socks. Sports socks give you cushioning plus warmth. Again the mantra is to wear synthetic socks or at least a synthetic blend. Cotton socks soak in water and sweat. They are very hard to dry.
As for woollen socks, they help you to keep warm and snug at the night. If you cannot get woollen socks, wearing two sports socks serves the purpose as well.
Trekkers are often confused about whether they need to get a headlamp or a handheld torch. You need to get a headlamp because it leaves your hands free to do other activities. On the Bhrigu Lake trek, you’ll need your hands free to wash dishes, pitch tents and hold your trek poles.
| Buying tip: Ensure your headlamp covers a wider area and is not too focused as a single beam. On a trek, your headlamp must help you see around you as much as ahead of you.
| Rental: Headlamps are available for rent at the Indiahikes store.
7. Trekking Pole (A Pair)
Trekking poles give you stability and balance. They reduce your energy consumption by almost 40%. On the Bhrigu Lake trek, there are steep ascents and descents. A pair of trekking poles will make the difference between a comfortable and a strenuous trek. In India, we tend to use a single trekking pole. However, two trekking poles give you greater stability and balance. They also increase your walking pace.
| Rental: Imported side-locking trekking poles are available for rent at the Indiahikes store.
On a trek, the weather can change quickly. A bright sunny day can turn into a downpour in a matter of minutes. Carry a poncho or a rain jacket to tackle this. A poncho is a big rain cover with openings for your arms and your head. It is extremely effective because it covers both you and (partially) your backpack. It is extremely light and weighs next to nothing.
| Pro Tip: Rain jackets are more streamlined and less cumbersome but weigh more. Rain pants are not required. Dry fit trek pants dry quickly even if soaking wet.
| Rental: High-grade ponchos are available for rent at the Indiahikes store.
9. Rain Cover for your Backpack
Backpacks are your life. You carry all your dry clothes and your warm gear in your backpack. Your backpack must stay dry at all times. Modern backpacks usually come with built-in rain-covers. If your backpack does not have a rain cover, ensure you get a rain cover by either (a) buying a rain cover or (b) or cutting a large plastic sheet to the size of your backpack. You can roll the plastic sheet around your backpack and keep it in place with a string or elastic.
| Pro tip: It's good practice to compartmentalise your clothes, accessories and other things in plastic covers inside your backpack. That way, even if it rains and your backpack gets wet, your things are water-proof inside the backpack.
10. Daypack (20-30 litre, optional)
In your daypack, you carry essentials like water bottles, rainwear, emergency medicines, a headlamp, some snacks and a warm layer. Your main backpack that carries most of your equipment is accessible only at the campsites.
A daypack is a smaller backpack that is usually of 20-30 ltr capacity. Laptop bags are not daypacks. Do not get them.
Other Mandatory Requirements
1. A Toilet Kit
Keep your toilet kit light. Carry just the basics -- toothbrush, toothpaste, small soap, toilet tissue roll, a small moisturiser, lip balm, and a roll-on deodorant. You will not be able to have a bath on the trek, so don’t overload on soaps and shampoos.
| Pro Tip: Carry miniature-sized items. You will not need more than that. If you’re travelling in a group, share one toothpaste for all.
| Pro Tip: Avoid getting large toilet rolls. The smallest size roll is more than enough for a trek like Bhrigu Lake.
| For Women: If you are likely to have your periods on your trek date, don’t worry about it. You can use your pads, tampons or menstrual cups on the trek. There will be toilet tents where you can get changed. Make sure you carry ziplock bags to bring back your menstrual waste. Don’t leave behind any waste in the mountains. Watch this video to learn how to dispose of your sanitary waste.
Carry a lunch box, a mug and a spoon. Your lunch box must be leakproof. You are expected to wash your cutlery. Trekkers often expect Indiahikes to wash their cutlery. When you allow Indiahikes to wash your cutlery, your cutlery becomes part of a mass washing system. You immediately invite germs, and bacteria to settle on your cutlery. The incidence of stomach disorders rises exponentially.
| Pro Tip: Carry stainless steel cutlery. Avoid fancy high-grade plastic cutlery. Stainless steel cutlery is infinitely easier to wash in cold water. Grease is easier to remove and hygiene is at its highest.
| Two 1 litre bottles or a 2-litre hydration pack: Bhrigu Lake has many hours of trekking every day (approximately 6 hours). You need to carry two one-litre water bottles to keep yourself hydrated over the distance. If you are used to a hydration pack, then that is ok too. If one among the two bottles is a lightweight thermos, then that helps you to store warm water on a really cold day or for late evenings and early mornings.
| Rental: You could rent lightweight thermos flasks from the Indiahikes store.
3. Plastic Covers
Carry 3-4 old plastic covers to keep your used clothes. You could use them even for wet clothes. Re-use old plastic bags for this and do not buy new ones.
Carry these medicines with you, easily accessible at all times. Do not take any medicine unless you have consulted your trek leader.
- Diamox (1 Strip): Be on a course of a half tablet of Diamox starting from Delhi every 12 hours (125 mg). Carry on the medication until you descend to Gulaba. Being on a preventive course of Diamox greatly reduces the chances of Acute Mountain Sickness on the Bhrigu Lake trek.
- Dolo 650 (4 tablets): This is a paracetamol. It helps to tackle fever, mild pain
- Avomine (4 tablets): Carry this especially if you are prone to motion sickness. Pop one-half hour before the start of your road journey.
- Combiflam (3 tablets): Take a combiflam if you get a sudden twist of the leg or a muscle strain. It is a pain reliever. It also contains paracetamol.
- Digene (4 tablets): Take it if you feel the food that you’ve taken is undigested. Alert your trek leader immediately. It could be a sign of AMS.
- ORS (5 packs): Consume a pack of ORS water at least once a day, usually mid-day when you are in the middle of your trek. It replenishes essential salts lost while trekking. Tip: It also makes cold water easier to drink.
- Knee Brace (optional): Carry this if you are prone to knee injury or have known issues of knee pain.
Our trek leaders carry a high altitude medical kit with them which also consist of Life Saving Drugs. If there is an emergency our trek leaders know how to tackle it. Meanwhile, contact your trek leader before consuming any of these medicines listed here.
Pro Tip: We find that these medicines by trekkers are rarely used. But you cannot do away with them. At the end of the trek please donate unused medicines to your trek leader. Some of these medicines get distributed to villages on the trek and some are added to the Indiahikes medical kit.
The Bhrigu Lake trek starts from Gulaba, which is 24 km from Manali. Indiahikes organizes transport for trekkers from Manali to Gulaba on Day 1 of the trek. Manali is well connected to Delhi.
If you take an overnight bus from Delhi, it will take you 12-14 hours to reach Manali. Tickets can be booked online at www. redbus.in We recommend travelling by bus with Lakshmi Holidays. They are clean, affordable and usually run on time.
Note: Since Delhi-Manali is a long journey, most private buses leave Delhi between 5.00 pm and 6.00 pm. The last government bus leaves at 8.30 pm from ISBT Kashmere Gate.
Starting from Gulaba (24 km from Manali), the Bhrigu Lake treks is approximately 22 km which you may cover over 4 days.
Here’s a quick itinerary to give you an idea:
Day 1: Drive from Manali to Gulaba. Then an hour trek to the campsite (Jonker Thatch).
Day 2: Jonker Thatch (10,285 ft) to Rola Kholi (12,950 ft); 3-4 hours, 5 km
Day 3: Rola Kholi (12,950 ft) to Bhrigu Lake (14,009 ft) and back to Rola Kholi; 5-6 hours, 10 km
Day 4: Rola Kholi (12,950 ft) to Gulaba (9,875 ft); 3-4 hours, 5 km. Drive to Manali. You are expected to reach Manali by 3:30 PM.
The Bhrigu Lake trek is classified as a trek of moderate difficulty. You start from an altitude of 8,530 ft at Gulaba and you reach the highest point of the trek at 14,009 ft.
This means you gain around 5,480 ft over just two days of trekking. This can make the trek quite demanding. So, it is necessary to train well for the trek. Focus on cardiovascular and strength training if you are planning to go for the Bhrigu Lake trek.
You won’t find any electricity after you set off from Manali. Even the network starts getting sketchy. But you may find Vodafone and Jio network at Rola Kholi campsite. And, 100 metres from Rola Kholi sometimes you even find Airtel. But all these are subjective to the weather. The network gets affected when clouds roll into the valley.
Manali is your last stop for an ATM. You won’t come across any ATM after Manali. So, if you need cash, withdraw it from Manali and only then set off for Gulaba.
Yes, Manali is a safe hill station to be in because it is a popular tourist destination, buzzing with people from various nationalities almost throughout the year. You will find a range of hotels (for all budgets), cafes, and eateries popping up at every turn.
Yes you can!
If you are above the age of 58 years, you’ll need to submit a Treadmill Test (not older than 12 months) within a week of completing your trek registration. Apart from this, you should also be able to jog 5 km in 45 minutes.
Having too many mules on a trail isn’t good for the ecosystem. This is why, at Indiahikes, we do not encourage offloading. A trekker carries his/her own backpack in the true spirit of trekking.
But if — due to a medical condition — you are unable to carry your own backpack, you may offload your backpack.
The total cost of offloading on the Bhrigu Lake trek is Rs 1260 including tax.
We recommend jogging as the best routine to get fit for a trek. It works on the same muscles that you use while trekking — your calves, glutes and hamstrings. It helps increase your stamina day by day. It is also an easy routine that does not require any equipment or tools.
To do this trek comfortably, you must be able to cover 5 km in under 35 minutes. This is the minimum fitness required for this trek.
How to achieve this fitness?
- Start jogging at least 4 days a week
- If you cannot run 5 km immediately, start with 2 km and increase to 5 km over 2-3 weeks.
- Once you’re able to run 5 km, increase your pace day by day.
- Gradually increase your pace and bring it down to 5 km in less than 35 mins.
- You must be able to run 5 km in 35 mins consistently for at least 2 weeks before the trek.
This trek requires at least 6-8 weeks of preparation. The longer, the better. So plan your trek soon and start preparing.
Strength training tips:
How to get Fitness Approval from the Indiahikes team:
Every trekker needs fitness approval from the Indiahikes team 20 days before the trek date. Without this, you will not be allowed on the trek.
What to upload?
- A minimum of 3 screenshots of your runs/jogs/walks/cycling
- Monthly summary of your routine
Why fitness matters:
Every high-altitude trek comes with a set of challenges. Steep ascents and descents, uneven terrain, snow walks, stream crossings, pass crossings, and summit climb. Even the easiest of treks have some of these challenges if not all of them. Without fitness, trekkers struggle, get injured easily, lag behind, or simply fail to complete the trek.
At Indiahikes, we take pride in the fact that our trekkers are among the fittest in the country. Those who do not meet the fitness requirements are often sent back. Our philosophy is that trekking and fitness go hand in hand. Without fitness, there’s no trekking.
Campsites at a Glance
At Indiahikes, we are very particular about choosing terrific campsites. For the Bhrigu Lake trek too, after a lot of back and forth, we have settled on these terrific campsites, which trekkers have come to love.
Jonker Thatch campsite gives you the best sunrise views, along with Seven Sister Peaks and Mt Hanuman Tibba. Picture by Jothiranjan
Wildflowers bloom everywhere in the latter half of July and at the beginning of August near Jonker Thatch. Picture by Jothiranjan
Rola Kholi Campsite is situated just below Bhrigu Lake, which gives excellent views of the mountains to one side, and snow-covered meadows on the other. Picture by Avinash
Things Nobody Tells You About Bhrigu Lake
The Story of Bhrigu Lake
Maharishi Bhrigu, who was one of the famous Saptarishis, sat and meditated beside the Bhrigu Lake.
The setting of the lake, resting between two high-altitude ridges, does seem perfect for silence and inward reflection. Moreover, from here you can see the grand Himalayan ranges too. Right in front of you, there are Pir Pinjal and Dhauladhar ranges. Also, major peaks such as Indrasen, Deo Tibba, and Hanuman Tibba stand majestically before you.
It is believed that the sacred meditations of Maharishi Bhrigu have purified the lake and the space around it. This is a holy lake for the locals, and to protect its sanctity, camping close to the lake is prohibited.
Why I Believe Everyone Must Trek: A Note from the Founder
Trekking transforms lives. It has completely changed my life. When I see my colleagues at Indiahikes, all of them have been impacted greatly. The transformations have been profound and irreversible.
I see it in our trekkers too. I have seen them change professions, careers or start a new life. I have seen them get in and out of relationships, and start new projects. These are life-changing experiences.
I have seen children building resilience. I have seen families come together. When I see those above 55, I see them rediscover passion and a sense of purpose. These are not small gains.
In the mountains new professions, new economies and new businesses have opened up. Our staff no longer go to cities to earn their living. Their income has increased. Above all, they are happiest working in this world. Trekking has been truly transformative.
Everyone must trek. It transforms lives far more than you imagine.
What Safety Means To Us At Indiahikes
Ever since Indiahikes entered the trekking scenario, we have been extremely conscious about bringing in big safety changes to Indian trekking. We have been focusing on three aspects -- the people, the processes and the equipment that help increase safety in the trekking industry.
For instance, we brought micro-spikes into the Indian trekking scene when most people were walking on snow with canvas shoes. We brought to use pulse oximeters to monitor one’s oxygen saturation. We introduced health data tracking on our treks to keep track of daily vitals and study them -- oxygen, pulse and blood pressure.
This film, made by Dhaval Jajal, Head of Film Making at Indiahikes, gives you a glimpse at what safety truly means to us at Indiahikes.
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