The Beas Kund trek is one of the most popular trails that one can do on a longer weekend in Manali. The trek takes you away from the hustle and bustle of Manali city.
Following the banks of Beas River expect great views of Pir Pinjal ranges. The meadows of Dhundi & Bakarthach are spectacular in its beauty. As you climb higher you reach the origin of River Beas. A small glacial lake fed by melting snow glaciers from higher peaks around. This trek is suitable for all age groups and a basic fitness level should be more than enough.
Why I personally loved Beas Kund
Some people prefer mountains and some ocean. And then there are some who have a soft spot in their heart for rivers, meadows, flora or fauna, and would travel endless hours just to witness such isolated miracles of nature rarely witnessed in the proximity of any human settlements.
Similarly, I have always had a fascination with high altitude alpine lakes.
Towards the right you can see a lake nestled in the laps of peaks around. Picture By: Akhil Menon
The contrasting sight of a peaceful water body nestled between jagged mountain peaks has always managed to get my pulses racing.
Already in Manali on Friday evening and with the weekend in hand to do a trek, the urge to visit such a lake and camp next to its shores helped me zero in on the Beas Kund trek in Kullu valley.
How I did my trek
Day 1: Solang Valley to Beas Kund (14 km, 8-9 hours).
- Solang Valley (2483 meters) to Dhundi (2840 meters) – 8 Km
- Dhundi to Bakar Thach (3270 meters) – 3 Km
- Bakar Thach to Beas Kund (3690 meters) – 3 Kms
The trail to Beas Kund crosses the Solang Valley and branches towards a small hamlet called Dhundi which lies about 8 km North West.
The entire 8 km stretch is on paved road and if you are lucky, you can hitch a ride on any of the numerous trucks that pass you going towards the construction site next to Dhundi. The South end of the famed 8.8 km Rohtang Tunnel which will make Leh accessible by road throughout the year is being constructed here and private and public vehicles are strictly prohibited from this entire stretch of road.
Dhundi is the last village in the Solang valley and this is where Beas River meets its first tributary converging from Beas Kund and Rohtang Pass. With a brief stopover here and refilling your water bottles, the trail now heads West towards the camp site of Bakar Thach (thach means meadows locally) which is a comfortable 2 hour hike from here.
The Dhundi campsite. Picture By: Akhil Menon
The trail is well trodden throughout except in the winter months when most of the trail is covered in snow. It is a gradual ascent towards the meadows of Bakar Thach which is usually the first camping site on this trek. With the raging Beas River to your left and a plethora of blooming flowers in a variety of hues to your right, the hike only starts getting more alluring and enjoyable.
Crossing the various streams on this trail can get a little tricky- at times requiring you to hop over from one slippery rock to another, or otherwise balancing yourself deftly over slender wooden planks placed by the shepherds.
The contrasting greens of various species on both sides of the valley are an added delight to the soulful tumble of the boiling river. After about an hour, you should be able to spot some Gujjar huts to the left of the river. The trail then takes a sudden turn to the right and skirts around a small patch of hefty rocks and a plummeting waterfall, after which it takes you over a snow bridge to cross over to the other side of the virile river.
When I did this trek in the middle of June, the snow bridge was still evidently strong as a large boulder was sitting in the middle of it. But as the summer advances and later when monsoon rain bolsters the river, there is a real risk of the snow bridge being weak and ruptured. When this happens, shepherds build a make shift bridge made of tree logs and wooden planks to facilitate crossing of the river. The trail then rises slightly and you will find yourself walking on the modest meadows of Bhoj Patra (meaning Birch trees) with the Gujjar huts now directly behind you.
Crossing the river to reach Bakarthach. Pictue By: Akhil Menon
To the West, you will be able to spot the extensive hill of boulders that needs to be crossed to reach the Beas Kund Lake. Look behind and you might be able to steal a peek of the majestic Indrasan (6221 Mts.) and Deo Tibba (6001 Mts.) peaks.
Keep following the trail that leads you towards the boulder field and in less than 30 minutes, you will reach the camp site of Bakar Thach. Bakar Thach is a high altitude ‘shepherd field’, a marvellous expanse of greenery all around, where the shepherds let their cattle and bovines graze during summers and a majority part of the monsoons.
During the summer months, the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Manali (ABVIMAS), establish their base camp here to train aspiring mountaineers on snow and ice craft. If you wish to set camp and prefer solitude, you may want to return to the pastures of Bhoj Patra which is only a few minutes’ walk behind you. There is no dearth of water sources on both campsites as there are numerous tiny springs all around the meadows.
Huge Pine and Birch trees can be found on the trails. Picture By: Akhil Menon.
The almost flat walk from the meadows of Bakar Thach then gradually gives way to moraines and stray boulders deposited on river silt. As you approach the boulder field, the climb starts getting steeper. Sticking to the left bank of the enraged river, keep climbing from boulder to boulder till it allows you to cross the river. Now stick to the right flank of the boulder field and keep climbing which will eventually take you to a ridge. The way to the ridge is marked with systematically placed cairns.
Cairns are a pile of delicately balanced rocks on top of boulders used to find your way through such mazes especially when the clouds are hanging low and visibility diminishes to all but zero. Thirty minutes into the climb, you should be approaching the ridge from where you get commanding views of the Beas Kund Valley to the West and the Bakar Thach camp site to the South East.
After 15 minutes of traversing the ridge, turn right and now start descending the boulder field which will lead you to the Beas Kund Valley. It should take not more than 30 minutes to reach the wide flatland with various streams from all corners cutting across it. A lanky waterfall about 300 meters ahead of you might make you think you have reached the lake but it is just one of the many streams flowing down from the mountains carrying the melted waters from the glacier.
Keep crossing the numerous streams and head towards the waterfall until the valley opens up all around you. Spot the rightmost waterfall gushing down the flat slates of rock from a ‘green’ mountain and head in its direction to reach the lake. The lake remains illusory till the time you are almost directly upon it.
Lohali is another place before the Beas Kund where you can camp. Picture By: Akhil Menon.
The pristine blue lake of Beas Kund is hidden to the outer eye but suddenly reveals itself and it is this lake where it is believed that Rishi (sage) Vyas, the author of Mahabharata took his daily bath. The term Beas Kund seems to have been derived from Vyas, the sage; and Kund, a lake. Dip your feet in the icy cold glacial waters of the lake and feel the fatigue slowly desert you!
The final trail to the summit peak. Picture By: Akhil Menon
With plenty of clearing all around, it was easy for me to find a place to set camp. The thought of spending the night surrounded by serene streams all around and the spectacular peaks of the Pir Panjal range on all sides was just too magical to let go. Hence, I decided to pitch tent about 200 meters from the lake for the night and watch the sun overtaken by blustery clouds.
Day 2: Beas Kund to Solang Valley (14 km, 6 to 7 hours)
To reach Solang, follow the same trail that was taken yesterday. At the boulder field while returning, stick to the left flank and descend steadily over the boulders. From Solang, you can hire a jeep/ taxi or even take a bus to Manali if it is not too late in the evening.
The Solang village in the distance. Picture By: Tanmay Bain
That’s about the Beas Kund trek. If you’d like to do it by yourself, it’s a great option over a weekend. Make it in summer or post monsoon to experience the best of the trek.
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