Do the Bhrigu Lake Trek for the meadows
A lot of trekkers do the Bhrigu Lake trek to get to the famous lake. While the Bhrigu lake is definitely worth getting to, this is only one of the reasons for you to do this trek.
It is the meadows on the Bhrigu Lake trek that are a real treat. I am not sure you understand why trekking on them is such a big thing. So let me take a moment to explain.
If you want to see high altitude alpine meadows in our country, chances are that you would have to trek for at least 2-3 days before you can step onto one. This is because most alpine meadows start at around 11,000 feet, when you have just crossed the tree line. This requires 2-3 days of hard trekking to reach. That’s why most people in India go gaga over Europe and Switzerland though such meadows are right here in our backyard.
On most high altitude treks in India you’ll stumble upon meadows from a thick forest, usually of oak. The sudden change in views are startling and beautiful. While most of these meadows are a delight to behold, some are more special than others. The ones on the Bhrigu lake trek are among these.
The special meadows stretch far and wide, undulating, almost like an endless carpet. You’ll find horses galloping and sheep grazing. You can walk barefoot feeling the dew under your feet. Everywhere you see it is lush green against the deepest blue sky. But what will take your breath away is the view. Sitting on the grassy knolls you are surrounded by snow peaks that stretch to the horizon. You are sitting in your own garden in the sky.
That’s probably why I loved the Bhrigu Lake trek so much. I have been on a lot of high altitude meadows in our country – the ones at Bedni and Dayara Bugyal really stand out. So do the Dayara meadows on the Buran Ghati trek. When I stepped on the Bhrigu meadows, boy, was I impressed!
The trek is an out and out grassland trek. You step into the meadows within ten minutes of starting out of the fabulous Gulaba base camp. Considering Gulaba is just an hour’s drive from Manali, it makes accessing Bhrigu Lake meadows very easy. Who could ever imagine that such beautiful meadows existed right above Manali?
What I really like about the Bhrigu meadows is the way they change texture, shape and colour but stay with you all along the trek – right until Bhrigu lake. It makes the trek special because getting a chance to be in such alpine meadows all along a trek is a rare opportunity. It feels more pristine when the meadows are covered with snow. Camping on these meadows twice has been a doubly rewarding experience.
At the camp, in the night when everything is quiet, the sky lights up with a display of millions of stars. Our galaxy, the milky way, stretches from one corner of the sky to other. You can see more stars than the sky! You can get this kind of a celestial display only when you step into a vast openness and an altitude of around 11,000 feet. So it’s not a singular experience – it’s something that you would want to keep coming back to!
While I have talked a lot about the meadows of Bhrigu Lake, I must admit, getting to the lake is thrilling too. At almost 14,000 feet, this glacial lake changes colour and shape every week! Sometimes it is totally frozen. At times its water is a royal blue. At other times an emerald green. Just to see what colours the lake is during your week of the trek, it is worth doing the trek.
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.
- Altitude: 10,370 ft
- Time taken: 1 hour drive + 20 minutes trek. Pick up from Manali at 2.00 PM
The Gulaba camp site is a short trek away from the hamlet (14th scissor bend on the right side of the road head). Trek steadily underneath forest cover, passing through open grasslands every now and then. You will reach the campsite in twenty minutes.
Day 2: Gulaba to Rola Khuli
- Altitude: 10,370 ft to 12,566 ft
- Time taken: 3-4 hours, 5 km
- Trek gradient: Moderate; Steep ascent throughout followed by an undulating walk for the last 30 minutes.
- Water sources: Carry 2 litres of water from Gulaba. The first water source is 15 minutes before Rola Khuli campsite and the second one is 10 minutes before – both at stream crossings.
The trail begins with a steep ascent. Make note of silver oak, cedar and birch trees on the trail here. These are 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 Khuli is a scenic grazing ground used by local shepherds. Located at the base of Bhrigu Lake, it makes for an ideal camping spot. You water source here is Chor Nallah, which flows across the camping ground.
Day 3: Rola Khuli to Bhrigu Lake and back to Rola Khuli
- Altitude: 12,565 ft to 14,009 ft; back to 12,565 ft
- Time taken: 6-7 hours, 10 km
- Trek gradient: 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.
- Water sources: Bhrigu lake, streams along the way
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.
On a clear day, you can catch a stunning panoramic view of 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 Khuli.
Day 4: Rola Khuli to Gulaba
- Altitude: 12,565 ft to 10,370 ft
- Time taken: 3-4 hours, 5 km
- Trek gradient: Easy. Mostly descending.
- Water sources: Carry 2 litres of water from Rola Khuli
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 10,370 ft is a better exit for your knees and feet as compared to Vasisht at 7,000 ft.
How to get fit for the Bhrigu Lake trek
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 a highest point of 14,009 ft at the lake. This means you gain around 5,480 ft over just two days of trekking. This can make the trek quite demanding. Here are the 3 areas that you must work on. Scroll below to see a chart that will help you to get fit in 4 weeks.
This trek requires a good amount of cardiovascular endurance. You can begin by jogging everyday. Start jogging at a slow pace and then keep increasing your pace day by day. In order to be prepared for high altitude trek, you should have a combination of distance and speed targets.
In case you’re just starting with a regular fitness routine, you can phase out your distance targets in the following manner –
- Target completing 5 km in 45 minutes when you begin
- Gradually increase the distance to 7 km. Target completing this in 63 minutes
- Before you go on the trek, you should be able to walk at least 10 km at a stretch. Target completing this in 90 minutes
In terms of speed, make sure you’re able to jog 5 km in 35 minutes before the start of the trek. If you are 45 years old and above, your target should be completing at least 3 km within 29 minutes before you go on the trek.
Strength – Target 3 sets of 15 squats in each set before the start of the trek
This is another area you should work on. When you’re climbing from Rola Kholi to Bhrigu Lake, you’re gaining around 1,500 ft. Although this is a reasonable altitude gain, the terrain is not too friendly. You have to walk through snow and scree. It could be taxing for your legs. For this, strengthening your legs will help. You can do squats to strengthen them. Start with 3 sets of squats, with 8 squats in each set and work towards meeting your target within 3 weeks.
Another aspect that will help you trek comfortably is flexibility. For this, you can do some stretching exercises – stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, lower back muscles and shoulders regularly. On your trek, it is important that you arrive on the slopes with your muscles relaxed. Carrying a backpack, however light, can become a strain after a while. These exercises will help you to be in good shape before the trek.
Here is a guide to help you get fit for the trek.
Working out indoors
If you can’t go out and jog because of time and space constraints, here’s a video you can use to work out indoors.
What to take on the Bhrigu Lake trek
- Trekking shoes: There will be several slippery patches on the Bhrigu Lake trail, and you will need trekking shoes with good grip. Sports shoes will not be comfortable. You can watch this video to learn to choose the right trekking shoes.
- Backpack (40-60 litres): A backpack with sturdy straps and a supporting frame. Rain cover for backpack is essential.
The Bhrigu Lake trek is organised in the months of June, July and September. Expect rain during these months. Carrying a poncho will be extremely helpful.
- Two warm layers: At the campsites, especially the higher ones – Rola Kholi and Bhrigu Base camp – the temperature after sundown will drop to around 2-6 degrees. You will need at least three warm layers (one layer such as fleece and woollen and one padded jacket – carry an extra fleece layer if you are very sensitive to cold weather) for this trek.
- Two trek pants: One pair of pants should suffice for this trek. But you can carry one spare pair in case the first one gets wet. Wear one pair and carry the other.
- Two collared t-shirts: Carry light, full sleeved t-shirts that prevent sun burns on the neck and arms. Again, wear one and carry one. A common mistake that trekkers make is not changing their tshirts often enough. Regardless of how cold it is, the body tends to sweat a lot. Trekkers who don’t change to fresh clothes fall ill due to wet clothes and are often unable to complete their trek.
- Thermals (Optional): Those who are more susceptible to cold can carry thermals to wear at night.
- Sunglasses: Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness. There might be snow closer to the lake, so carry a pair of sunglasses.
- Suncap: The sun feels stronger while walking on the mountain slopes. Carry a suncap to protect your head and neck from the heat, especially if you’re trekking later in the day.
- Synthetic hand gloves: One pair of fleece or woolen hand gloves. One pair of water proof/resistant, wind proof gloves.
- Balaclava: You may use woolen scarves instead as well.
- Socks (2 pairs): Apart from two sports socks, you can take a pair of woolen socks for the night.
- Headlamp/LED torch: Mandatory
- Trekking pole: Watch this video to understand why you need a trekking pole.
- Daypack (20 litres): If you are offloading your backpack, you will need a smaller backpack to carry water, medical kit and some light snacks.
- Toiletries: Sunscreen, moisturiser, light towel, lip balm, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitiser. If you plan to use wet wipes to clean up after a trek, make sure you do not leave the used wipes/tissues back in the mountains since these are not biodegradable. The same holds for used sanitary napkins. Carry a zip lock bag to put used tissues and napkins. Bring this ziplock bag back with you to the city and do not dispose wet tissues and sanitary napkins in the mountains.
- Cutlery: Carry a spoon, coffee mug and a lunch box. We insist on trekkers getting their own cutlery for hygiene reasons.
- Two water bottles: 1 litre each
- Plastic covers: While packing, use plastic bags to compartmentalise things and carry a few extra plastic bags for wet clothes.
Mandatory Personal Medical Kit
- Diamox – 10 tablets (to prevent AMS)
- Dexamethasone – one strip
- Nifedipine – 5 tablets
- Crocin – 6 tablets (fever)
- Avomine – 4 tablets (motion sickness)
- Avil 25mg – 4 tablets (allergies)
- Combiflam – 4 tablets (Pain killer)
- Disprin – 6 tablets (headache)
- Norflox TZ & Lomofen– 6 tablets each (diarrhea)
- Digene – 10 tablets (acidity)
- Omez/ Rantadine – 10 tablets (antacids)
- Crepe bandage – 3 to 5 meters
- Gauze – 1 small roll
- Band aid – 10 strips
- Cotton – 1 small roll
- ORS – 10 packets
- Betadine or any antiseptic cream
- Moov spray (aches, & sprains)
- Original and photocopy of government photo identity card- (driving license, voters ID, etc.)
- Medical Certificate (first part to be filled by a doctor and second part by the trekker) – Download PDF
- Disclaimer form (to be filled by the trekker) – Download PDF
If you’re shopping or packing for the trek, you can download this quick and simple checklist for offline use.
Here’s a guide to help you pack for the trek –
Photos from Bhrigu Lake Trek
What you need to know about the trek fee
The trek fee of Rs. 6,750 + 5% GST covers all costs of the trek from Manali to Manali.
Here is what the trek fee includes:
- Accommodation – Stay is included from Day 1 to Day 3 (Gulaba to Rola Khuli). You will be camping on all days of the trek (3 per tent).
- Transport – We will arrange for all trekkers to be picked up from Manali on Day 1 and dropped back from Gulaba on Day 4. Travel will be in shared cabs.
- Meals – All meals from dinner at Gulaba on Day 1 to lunch on Day 4 are included. We provide simple, nutritious vegetarian food on all days of the trek.
- Camping charges – All trekking permits and forest camping charges are included.
- Trekking equipment – You will stay in high quality tents and sleeping bags in all the camps. Our high altitude sleeping bags can withstand temperatures as low as -10 ºC. We provide ice axes, roped, micro spikes, gaiters etc. as required.
- Safety equipment – First aid, medical kit, oxygen cylinders, stretchers etc. will be available at all campsites to deal with emergencies.
- Services of an expert Trek Leader – All our trek leaders are qualified in basic / advanced mountaineering courses.
- Services of an expert Trek Team – The mountain staff on this trek consists of well trained guides, cooks, helpers and porters.
Here is what the trek fee excludes:
- Food during transit to and from the base camp – The trek fee does not include meals purchased during the journey to and from Manali/Gulaba.
- Backpack offloading charges – If you wish to offload your backpack, there will be an additional charge of Rs. 250 per day + 5% GST. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. Suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will not be allowed. Please note that charges will vary for last minute offloading in case you decide to offload your bag after reaching Gulaba (Rs.350 per day inclusive of taxes).
- Stay at Manali on the last day
- Personal expenses of any kind
- Anything apart from inclusions
Terms & Conditions
1. Cancellation: If a trek is called off at the last moment due to a natural calamity/unforeseen circumstances (like rains, earthquake, landslides, strike, bandh etc), Indiahikes will issue a trek voucher for the full amount. The voucher can be redeemed for the same trek or another trek in the next one year.
In case, you wish to cancel your trek, please login to your account and cancel. Cancellation requests will not be taken over phone or email.
The cancellation charges are as under.
- Cancellations prior to 30 days from the start of the trek — full refund.
- Cancellation between 30 days and 20 days to the start of the trek — 50% refund.
- Cancellation less than 20 days to the start of the trek — no refund.
Please note: In case of refund, there will be a deduction of 4% (bank charges) from the total fee you have paid. Also, if you have opted for a trek insurance, the amount will not be refunded.
2. The trek fee includes all cost from the start of the trek at Manali to the end of the trek at Manali.
Note: In case you do not want the Indiahikes pick up, please let us know at least 20 days in advance.
4. Backpack carrying: Indiahikes expects all trekkers to carry their own backpacks. All common gear will be carried by the support team. If for some reason a trekker is unable to carry his or her backpack, he/she can offload the same by paying an additional charge.
Backpack offloading charge is Rs. 250 per day + 5% GST. Partial offloading is not allowed. Charges for last minute on slope offloading will be Rs. 350 per day inclusive of tax. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. No suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will be allowed.
5. Emergency during trek:
During a trek a medical or any other emergency might arise. If for any reason you are sent down from the trek, Indiahikes will make arrangements for your return to the base camp or nearest road head. A staff will accompany you. He may not be a trained personnel.
Evacuation or dealing with emergencies is extremely difficult in the mountains. It is time consuming as well. A normal trek of 2 hours may take 6 hours in an emergency (a sick person is not easy to evacuate). Doctors do not go along with a team. Doctors are not available at the base camp or nearest road head either. Indiahikes trek leaders are trained to administer first aid and know how to deal with issues related to the mountains. However, they are not doctors.
Registering for this trek is an understanding that you have read up on the difficulties of high altitude trekking and understand the risks. You have also understood what AMS, HAPE and HACE are. You have taken efforts to educate yourself and you are in a position to manage your own altitude related emergency.
6. Fitness: A high altitude trek in the Himalayas requires considerable fitness. Your body needs to train itself to process more work with lower levels of oxygen. Cardiovascular training before a trek is critically important. Training must include strength and flexibility workout. We have laid out the eligibility criteria here. Registering for the trek is an understanding that you will undertake the mandated fitness training. Indiahikes has the right to reject candidates who do not meet our eligibility requirement at the base camp.
7. Non-liability: Indiahikes is not responsible for any loss/damage to your gear or equipment or other belongings during the trek.
8. Payment: Payment for the trek can be done online through credit/debit card or net banking. Cheque/draft or cash is not accepted. Payment can be done only after you have received an email confirming your position on the trek. An email containing a link that allows you to make the payment online will be sent to you within 12 hours of your registration.
Note: We do not work on weekends so all registrations done on the weekend is confirmed only by Monday morning.
9. Drinking and smoking during the trek is strictly prohibited. If found flouting the rules, your participation on the trek will be cancelled with immediate effect.
10. Safety Protocols:
a. While our itineraries are designed to allow for adequate acclimatisation, most treks in the Indian Himalayas climb quickly, which is called forced ascents. Unavailability of camp sites and the Indian Himalayan terrain are the reasons for this. There are chances that you will feel the effects of altitude sickness and oxygen deprivation while on this trek. Please be aware that your trek leader may deem it unsafe for you to continue trekking at any time, and arrange for you to descend to a lower attitude.
b. Our trek leaders will conduct routine health checks at all camps to measure oxygen saturation, pulse and blood pressure. Indiahikes reserves the right to exclude any trekker from climbing higher on the trek without refund if the trekker’s vital readings are below accepted norms for that altitude. These norms are available with Indiahikes trek leaders.
c. This is a high altitude trek with rough, rocky and snowy terrain. It is important that you are a fit and confident walker in mountain terrain, able to manage ascents and descents by yourself within a reasonable time. Indiahikes reserves the right to send a trekker back if, in the opinion of our trek leader, they are unable to complete the itinerary without requiring exclusive assistance. Please realistically self-assess your fitness and suitability for this trek before registering.
The Bhrigu Lake is marked as a moderate trek. It is moderate because of the altitude gained over just 2 days – 6,500 ft at Manali to 14,000 ft at Bhrigu lake. This is called a forced ascent, where your body does not have enough time to acclimatise. So there is a chance that you might get affected by Acute Mountain Sickness. In order to have a safe trek,here is some information that you must know if you have registered for this trek. At Indiahikes, we believe that as long as you are well-informed and well-prepared, you can survive easily at high altitudes.
What Indiahikes does to ensure your safety
Our philosophy is simple. We ingrain safety aspects in the people we work with, in the processes that we follow, and in the equipment we carry. All our trek leaders are trained repeatedly on safety issues and protocols. Most issues are resolved with their intervention.
Right from the time you decide to register for the trek till the last day of the trek, these safety procedures will be running in the background. We have listed a few of them below:
1. Fitness criteria before registration
Over years of organising high altitude treks, we have found that safety issues thrive amongst those who are unfit and unprepared for the trek. So we have introduced an eligibility criteria for the Bhrigu lake trek. Anyone who wants to register for this trek has to meet the fitness requirements, with the ideal BMI. The BMI and fitness regime will require proof. A high altitude trek is not to be taken casually.
2. Monitoring health on a trek
On the Bhrigu lake trek, your Trek Leader will be monitoring two aspects thrice a day.
- Oxygen Level
- Pulse Rate
Your Blood Pressure levels will be checked once a day.
This will help us ensure that your body is acclimatising as required.
Every trekker will be given a Health Card at the beginning of the trek. The Health Card is issued to monitor the trekker’s daily health, wherein they will be entering details about their health everyday. It also contains details of what symptoms one should look out for and what action should be taken during emergencies. These Health Cards will be collected back at the end of the trek.
3. High Altitude Medical Kit
Your trek leader will be carrying a full-fledged high altitude medical kit. This will include basic medicines and specific medicines catering to altitude sickness – Diamox, Dexamethasone (tablets and injections) and Nifedipine. Your Trek Leader will also be carrying a portable oxygen cylinder throughout the trek. In addition to that, there are oxygen cylinders installed at all high altitude campsites for any emergency situations.
4. High Altitude Trek Equipment
To ensure safe trekking on snowy terrain, Indiahikes will provide you with micro-spikes to attach to your shoes. This will give you good traction on hard snow. To avoid snow from entering your shoes, Indiahikes will provide you with gaiters that you can put on over your shoes. You will have qualified technical guides with you, who will lead the way on difficult terrain.
All our sleeping bags and tents are custom-made for high altitude. If it is cold outside, it will be around 10 degrees warmer inside the tent. The sleeping bags can withstand temperatures up to -10 degree Celsius.
5. Being hydrated and well nourished on the trek
You need to drink a minimum of 4 litres of water every day during the trek to ensure that you’re well hydrated. De-hydration on a trek can make you lose energy very quickly and intensify the effects of AMS. Your trek leader will brief you about the amount of water that you need to carry with you at the start of each day as well as water sources on the trail.
We provide trekkers with nutritious meals to ensure that they are energized to complete the trail each day. Apart from this, snacks or packed lunch is provided wherever the trail before a meal break is likely to be long. Make sure that you do not skip any meal as this can lead to serious health emergencies on high altitudes.
With all these processes and equipment in place, you can be rest assured that you will have a safe trek with Indiahikes.
Nevertheless, you will need to be cautious and report the slightest of symptoms to your trek leader as soon as you feel them.
What you compulsorily need to know if you’re going on the Bhrigu Lake trek
Acute Mountain Sickness:
At altitudes above 10,000 ft the chances of being hit by Acute Mountain Sickness cannot be ruled out. This risk can be avoided by going on a course of Diamox. Even while on Diamox, the risk of AMS still prevails. While AMS can be treated with rest and medicines for the most part, the symptoms must be recognised before it can go to advanced stages – High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE).
HAPE and HACE are critical conditions that can be fatal within hours. And they can occur without AMS preceding them. So it’s doubly important to recognise any symptoms and nip them in the bud.
Diamox is a tablet that is available off the counter. You can start your course one day before the trek. Take half a tablet once in the morning and once at night (after your meal). It reduces chances of AMS by 80%. There are almost no side effects of Diamox, except a tingly feeling at your finger tips. You might also feel the need to urinate more often, which is normal as Diamox makes you drink more water. You can learn more about AMS, its symptoms and treatment here.
Note: Diamox is a sulfa-based tablet. If you are allergic to sulfa-based drugs, don’t take the tablet. If you do not know whether you are allergic to sulfa-based drugs, take a Diamox around ten days before your trek and look out for any reactions, If there are none, you can safety take the tablet on the trek.
Take this specific precaution – Go on a preventive course of Diamox
We strongly advise you to go on a preventive course of Diamox. Diamox is a blood thinner and helps you acclimatise much faster and reduces the chance of AMS by around 80%. Take half a tablet twice a day from one day before your trek.
What to do if you have symptoms of AMS?
If you feel any symptoms of AMS on the trek, you must report to the Trek Leader immediately. Do not wait till the end of the day’s trek. Do not try to handle it yourself either. Our Trek Leaders are well-trained and experienced to handle any cases and they will be the decision makers in any such cases.
Watch the below video to understand the symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness. In this video, Arjun Majumdar, the founder of Indiahikes will also tell you the protocol to follow when you see someone showing symptoms of AMS.
Exit on the Bhrigu Lake trek is easy as the closest road head is Gulaba, which can be reached in around 8 hours latest. Medical expenses, if required, at the medical centre are to be borne by the participant. Closest hospital is in Manali.
Why you should personally know about the risks and precautions of high altitude treks
If ever you find yourself alone at high altitude, either while trekking independently or with another organisation, there are some life -saving steps you can take. Firstly, you should be able to recognise symptoms of altitude sickness. So acquaint yourself with the symptoms.
Secondly, there might be instances when you have to administer medicines to yourself or to a fellow trekker. There are three life-saving medicines that we suggest you always carry on you – Diamox, Dexamethasone and Nifedipine.
If you are trekking with Indiahikes, do not administer these to anyone without consulting your Trek Leader. If you are trekking independently then you need to know when exactly to administer these medicines and in what dosage.
Also ensure that you are well hydrated throughout the trek and do not skip any meal.
You can watch the video below to learn about HAPE and HACE and how to tackle them. In the video, Sandhya UC, partner at Indiahikes, explains in detail about High Altitude Pulmonary and Cerebral Edema, what the symptoms are and how to tackle them.
Acute Mountain Sickness
If you’re of the opinion that fit people don’t get AMS, please get rid of that notion right away. AMS can affect anyone without paying heed to their fitness and prior experience at high altitude! Altitude sickness does not distinguish between a first timer and an experienced trekker.
For more detailed information about Acute Mountain Sickness, you can download and study the manual below.
1. What is the style of accommodation in this trek?
Brighu Lake is a 4 day trek. Accommodation will be in tents on all the days – each tent will be shared by 3 trekkers. The tents will be provided by Indiahikes. We will also put up toilet tents – the number will vary according to the size of the group.
2. Will you provide us with sleeping bags?
Yes. Indiahikes will provide each trekker with a sleeping bag. The sleeping bags we provide can withstand temperatures up to -10° C on high altitude treks.
3. What is the best time to do this trek?
June to September are the best months for the Bhrigu Lake trek.
4. What will the temperatures be like June, July and September?
Bhrigu Lake is at an altitude of 14,009 ft. At altitudes as high as these, temperatures go up to 18°C during the day and might fall to -1 to -2°C in the night.
5. When will there be snow on this trek?
You are likely to find snow on this trek in June. However, this depends on the amount of snowfall that happens in the preceding winter.
6. What will we do if it rains?
If it starts raining while you’re trekking, we will continue on the trail as planned. Your poncho should protect you from the rain. Carry a backpack cover for extra protection from rain for your belongings. When it rains at the campsite, we usually get together in the dining tent and play games. The tents that you will be staying in, the dining tent, kitchen and toilet tents are all water proof, so you will stay dry inside.
7. At what time should we reach Manali?
Indiahikes will arrange for pick up from Manali by 2.00 PM. Be sure to reach Manali latest by 1.00 PM. Gulaba, 22 km from Manali, is your first halt. The drive takes about an hour and your campsite is a short trek from the point where you get dropped off by the vehicle.
8. When will we get back to Manali on the fourth day of the trek?
On Day 4, you will trek a distance of 5 km from Rola Khuli to Gulaba. This should take 3-4 hours. Gulaba to Manali is an hour’s drive and you are expected to reach Manali around 3.30 PM.
Buses back to Delhi from Manali are between 4.00 and 5.00 PM. You can either take one of these or stay over at Manali for the night and leave the next day.
9. What is the best way to reach Manali?
There are overnight buses from Delhi and Chandigarh to Manali. It takes 12 to 14 hours for the bus from Delhi to reach Manali. The journey from Chandigarh is shorter by a couple of hours. Your pick up for Gulaba, the first camp, will be organized from Manali (cost included in the fee).
10. Are backpacks, raincoats and other equipment available for rent at Manali?
Renting backpacks, raincoats and other equipment might be tough in Manali. But there are quite a few shops that can help with last minute shopping. You can also purchase essential trek equipment (trekking poles and ponchos) by ordering them online from Indiahikes before you set out for the trek.
11. Is this a good trek for a first timer?
Yes. Bhrigu Lake trek is a Moderate level trek. Fit first timers can go for it. However, irrespective of your past trekking experience, mandatory fitness preparation is required before every high altitude trek. An ability to jog 5 km in 35 minutes should help with this trek. Click here to learn how to get fit for the trek.
12. If not the Bhrigu Lake trek, what is a good alternative trek to do?
An alternate trek for the Bhrigu Lake trek would be the Hampta Pass Trek. This trek offers dynamic Himalayan trek experience, all in one. Starting with pine forests, lush green meadows, rivulets, flower carpeted stretches, pristine snow and even a peek into the Himalayan desert terrain in the Lahaul Valley.
13. Is there an option to offload my backpack on this trek?
Yes, there is an option to offload your backpack. This will cost Rs.250 per day + 5% GST if you inform us in advance. If you decide to offload once you reach Manali, the amount will be Rs.350 per day inclusive of tax. The offloaded bag should not weigh more than 9 kg. Strolleys, duffel bags, suitcases etc. are not allowed. We suggest you read “5 Tips to make Carrying your Trekking Backpack Easy” before making a decision.
14. Who will be there on the trek with us from Indiahikes?
An expert and qualified Trek Leader from IH, along with guides, technical guides, cooks and other staff members will be with trekkers during the entire trek. This team is well trained and are always ready to help trekkers.
15. When it gets really cold can I consume alcohol?
Alcohol is dangerous in extreme cold, especially on high altitudes. Contrary to what people believe, alcohol does not make you warmer. Instead it opens your pores making your body colder. Moreover, it dehydrates you very quickly. Hence consumption of alcohol is absolutely prohibited on all Indiahikes treks. Anyone found with alcohol is immediately removed from the trek. Smoking, similarly, is not allowed on Indiahikes treks.
16. What kind of food do you serve on treks?
Indiahikes serves Indian vegetarian food, fruits and desserts. We use a well planned menu suitable for high altitude treks. Breakfast varies from bread and butter, semia, poha to sandwiches and cornflakes. Lunch mainly comprises of roti or puri with sabzi. Dinner is complete with Dal, rice, roti and dessert. Dry ration of biscuits and chikki will be provided as well. You may carry nuts and dry fruits if necessary.
17. What are the washroom/toilet facilities on the trek?
Toilet tents are set up along each campsite. There will be 2 to 4 of these toilet tents depending on the size of the group. A toilet tent will have a deep pit, where one can answer nature’s call. There will be a mound of soil and a shovel to cover it up. These are dry toilets, where you’ll have to use toilet paper. It’s the most hygienic and convenient way to answer nature’s call in the wild. Please use plain toilet paper and refrain from using wet wipes since there are not biodegradable.
18. Can I take my child along on this trek? What is the age limit?
Yes. Eligibility for this trek is 8 years and above. Make sure that your child also prepares and gets fit so that s/he can enjoy the trek.
19. Is a trekking pole mandatory for the trek?
Trekking pole is mandatory for the trek. This gives you stability and balance, and reduces fatigue. For those who do not wish to invest in a trekking pole, you can fashion a pole from dead wood on the forest floor. Watch this video to understand why you need a trekking pole.
20. Will I get mobile network on the trek? Are there any electricity charging points on the trek?
Manali would be the last place where you will find electricity and charging points on the trek. BSNL, Vodafone and Airtel networks are available up to Rola Khuli.
21. How long do we trek every day? What is the distance covered?
Day 1 is a drive from Manali to Gulaba. The campsite is about an hour’s trek from the point where you get off from the vehicle.
Day 2, the trek starts from Gulaba at the 14th scissor bend, to Rola Khuli, which is a 3-4 hours trek. This trail initially ascends gradually and then becomes steep for about 2 hours. You cover 5 km.
Day 3 is a long one. You trek for 5-6 hours, to go visit Bhrigu Lake and return to Rola Khuli. You cover 10 km.
Day 4 is short. It’ll take take you 3-4 hours to return to Gulaba from Rola Khuli.
Please refer to the trek itinerary for more details.
22. How difficult is the Bhrigu Lake trek?
Bhrigu lake is rated as a moderate level trek and you cover 20 km. The trek starts at an altitude of 9,500 ft at the 14th scissor bend. Though you ascend to 14,009 ft, the trek doesn’t get too strenuous. Trekking in snow in June might get tricky. However, the micro spikes that we provide you with will ensure that you get a good grip.
23. How do I manage the negative temperatures on the trek? Do I need special jackets?
At a 14,000 ft altitude, temperatures are sure to dip into negative at nights. For these extreme cold temperatures, you need to keep the rule of 3 in mind. The rule of 3 usually takes care of cold that dip to -10°C. It is a simple formula of wearing 3 layers of woolen, inners and lower wear.
Follow this guide:
Wear one thermal and two T-shirts, three layers of woolens (two sweaters and a jacket). For your lowers wear a thermal inner with two layers of track suit. If you are prone to more cold, just add a layer.
The temperatures dip only late in the evening and early mornings. During the day if the sun is out, then you may even be trekking in your T-shirts. Make sure you use your thermal wear only at night and not while trekking.
A woolen cap/balaclava and gloves are a must.
This video has tips on how to stay warm on a high altitude trek.
24. Do I need special snowshoes for the trek?
You don’t need special snow shoes. A good trekking shoe is sufficient for the trek. We recommend a pair that is water resistant. Keep sufficient spare socks for a quick change incase the snow wets the insides of the shoes. Indiahikes will provide gaiters and microspikes, if necessary, to prevent you from slipping on snow and to reduce the amount of snow getting in.
25. What all do I need to carry on the trek?
Click here to get the list of all the things you need to carry on the trek.
26. Is it safe to trek with Indiahikes?
All high altitude treks come with their share of risks. At Indiahikes, we pay utmost importance to safety of trekkers. While we do our bit to ensure a trekker is safe, we also expect any trekker who is enrolling with us to know what could go wrong, and if it does, how to tackle it. Before you go on the trek, make sure you’re thoroughly acquainted with the safety procedures followed on a trek.
27. What are the interesting places to visit if I have time before or after the trek?
You can spend time exploring the popular hill station of Manali and surrounding places. This is only a suggestion – Indiahikes does not make any arrangements for sightseeing.
How to reach the basecamp – Gulaba
Delhi → Manali → Gulaba
The Bhrigu lake starts from Gulaba, which is 24 km from Manali. Indiahikes organises transport for trekkers from Manali to Gulaba on Day 1 of the trek. The pick up is at 2.00 pm from Rambagh Circle in Manali. This is on Mall road, close to Manali Bus Stand. The exact location at Rambagh circle is the auditorium near the Nehru Statue. Please ensure that you reach Manali by 1.00 pm on Day 1.
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 or www.hrtc.gov.in. Choose government buses such as HPTDC and HRTC as they usually run on schedule.
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.
Gulaba→ Manali → Delhi
The Bhrigu Lake trek ends at Gulaba, around 1.30 pm on Day 4. We start on the drive back to Manali immediately. Indiahikes arranges transport from Gulaba to Manali. The drive takes 1 hour.
Buses leave from Manali for Delhi between 4.00 pm and 5.00 pm. They reach Delhi early in the morning. If you are travelling further on from Delhi immediately, do keep enough buffer time while booking your tickets.
Here’s what trekkers have to say about trekking with Indiahikes
“I loved it. It was everything I didn’t expect it to be ( in a good way ). The views were brilliant, the trek leader was lovely and always kept spirits up, the food was AMAZING ( freshly made gulabjamun? In the mountains? ), and our small group was just the right size for a quick trek up the mountains. I was the only girl and felt very taken care of, although I did not come with expectations of being pampered. Bhrigu Lake was not at its best this time, but the journey up offered priceless views. Trek was moderate, but I wouldn’t recommend it to complete beginners. It’s a good introduction to high altitude trekking for people who have already maintained a moderately fit lifestyle.” – Nurul Atiqah, batch of November 2016
“It was my first trek so I was a little anxious before it started. But as and when it progressed my fears started leaving me. Was it the beauty, the excitement of camping underneath the stars or the expertise of the trek leader, I don’t know but something did put me to ease. Then came the food. Even after reading about it in the blogs, boy was I not prepared to eat such delicious food in the mountains! We were a bunch of just 7 people and hence could fit in one tent to play games(it was really cold outside). I personally found the trek a little challenging maybe due to my low level of fitness (which I will improve before I take the next trek with you guys). I came back home with lots of memories and internal jokes. Thank you for this lovely experience!” –
Saloni Sheth, batch of October 2016
“The trek was really amazing. Everything was well arranged and organized. This was my second trek with IndiaHikes and loved it as much as i loved the previous one.” – Sonia Sharma, batch of October 2016
“Hats off to the Green Trail Initiative by India hikes.Also very well explained and executed by our Trek leader- Mr. Mayank as well as the trekkers.” – Omesh Changwani, batch of September 2016
“The Bhrigu Lake Trek was amazing, it was everything I have imagined and expected it to be. IndiaHikes has done an amazing job in organizing and managing it. I loved the food, very delicious. Never felt like I was starving. Mayank our trek leader was amazing, he made sure we all were well fed. He managed us as a group really well, especially on the 3rd day the 14 km hike when he made us walk as a team, it felt like we were part of something larger and bigger. Did not feel like we were trekking just for ourselves. Honestly, there was a moment when I wanted to turn back on day 2, when my friends decided to go down and not finish my trek. But I am so glad Rishi and I stuck with our plans on reaching the top. Its helped us confront our fears, made us become stronger as a couple, and helped us in so many ways I think that we also do know understand yet. I am comparing Trekking as the Vipassana for the body. I think its all in the mind to finish or not to finish a trek!” – Maitreyi Doshi, batch of September 2016
“3 Days 8k feet to 14k feet to and fro is the most amazing thing about this trek. It offered most diverse terrain of flowers valley, boulders, mud. The quantity and colors of flower was indeed great compared to Hampta pass.” –
“Really nice trek. Enjoyed a lot through out the trek. Its amazing experience to pass through the green trail full of flowers. Having experience to pass through boulders is exciting. Generous & supportive trek leader and staff. Nice food served through out the trek. Routine health check up and encouragement by the trekk leader Tanmay is really appreciable. He has taken care of everything to provide better facilities and to make the trek enjoyable.” –
“Well this was my first trek, I was told it will be difficult and honestly being obese it was difficult for me. But trek leaders like mukesh and sunil at indiahikes made it possible for me to fulfill my dream. They motivated me to climb and helped me at every single step of the trek. Food was delicious. Being a HM student i have a habit of judging, but hats off to the pahadi chefs who prepared the varied delicious food for us. Absolutely no reason to even think twice. I was tired of finding the purpose of my life and i know now what makes me happy – thats trekking! Absolutely mo regrets for choosing india hikes for my first experience and excited to go on my next. Manzalein abhi baki hai 😊” – Samya Kapur, batch of July 2016
“The trek was mesmerizing and my most beautiful experience till now. Our trek leader had the typical spirit of an adventurer. All in all, the trek was amazing!”- Ankit Jain, batch of June 2016
“Being my first trek, it was truly an exhilarating experience. I loved the uncertainty of it. There were so many moments where I had to pinch myself just to believe that I literally was in such a breathtaking place. Drinking water directly from the stream felt magical. And the local staff as well as our trek leader were amazing. If I can think of any downside, it’s just that right after coming back from such an ethereal place, it is difficult to stop thinking about it. Kudos to the entire staff for their excellent work. I would specially like to mention Kamal Bhaiya and Pohlu Bhaiya who were incredibly kind and supportive.”-Sanskriti, batch of June 2016
“I loved the trek. I can’t put it any simpler. When I first came in sight with my first snow bound peak (even though it was only along the horizon), my thrill knew no bounds. I enjoyed every day of the trek all the way from the muted meadows to the snowy slopes that lead to the lake. The trek leader was great and the guide, charismatic! And the food, was least expected to be this fantastic.”-Timothy Augustine, batch of June 2016
“It was well organized, the team had taken care of every minute details, trek leader Mayank and his team did a great job to guide the group, it was paced well to keep the entire group together. The staff supporting for food and managing logistics was excellent. I feel Indiahike team is well equipped to manage large groups irrespective of you being a trekker or first time trekker and overall experience is pleasant.” – Harsh Anand, batch of April 2016