The Complete Guide To Neelkanth Mahadev Lake Trek

The Neelkanth Mahadev Lake trek is a hidden gem located deep in the interiors of magnificent Lahaul. The emerald-green alpine lake is believed to be the abode of Lord Shiva.

Legend has it that this is the spot where Lord Neelkanth underwent Tapasya - an austere, deep meditation to control one’s mind, speech, thoughts, and bodily desires. 

Prepare for a trek that has it all – breathtaking valley views, mountain panoramas, and a stunning high-altitude lake. Experience exhilarating water crossings en route – at least five and counting! The contrasting landscapes of Kullu and Lahaul provide the perfect backdrop for this adventure.

How we explored and documented this trek

When the Atal Tunnel opened in 2020, it suddenly made the Lahaul region accessible to trekkers. At a distance of just 4 hours from Manali,  Lahaul was an untouched destination waiting to be explored.

Intent on finding hidden trails, we sent out teams to explore Lahaul. We first documented and opened a gem of a trek in Miyar Valley. It was followed by the striking blue Ghepan Lake.

In July 2022, the team explored the relatively uncharted terrain leading up to Neelkanth Mahadev Lake. Heavy rains made the trek difficult to navigate, and the team was unable to complete the trek. A second exploration team went again in September 2022 and successfully completed the trek.

➤Table Of Contents

To navigate through the documentation easily, use this section of the Table of Contents. You will get all the information required to do the Neelkanth Mahadev trek on your own.

  • Highlights from Neelkanth Mahadev Trek
  • Quick Itinerary
  • Trail Information
  • GPX File for the trek
  • Best Season to do the trek
  • How to Reach the base of the trek
  • Difficult Sections
  • How to get fit for the trek
  • Things to Take for the trek
  • Permission, Stay, and other finer details about the trek
  • Nearby Places to Visit after the trek

➤ Highlights from the Neelkanth Mahadev Lake Trek

1. Beautiful valley views within the first few minutes of the trek 

The trek starts from a picturesque village named Nainghar. At 11004 feet, Nainghar is already at a high altitude and an excellent preview of the thrilling walk and sights ahead. The first five minutes are a leisurely walk inside the sleepy village. Soon, the trail opens up into the vast Tappan valley, with its grand mountains and the first complete view of Thirot Nala. The walk continues into the valley, providing breath-taking mountain views every 100 metres until you reach the first campsite.

Along with this, the contrasting landscapes of Kullu and Lahaul are something to watch out for. The drive towards the trek's base village is a treat for the senses. Witness a stark contrast in scenery - from the lush greenery of Kullu Valley to the arid brown beauty of Lahaul Valley. This is where you transition from the Lesser Himalayan Range to the majestic Greater Himalayas.

The trail opening to the vast valley with grand mountain views. Picture by Kavinaya

2. Grand mountain vistas

Besides being a pilgrimage, the trail to Neelkanth Mahadev is every mountain lover’s paradise. It’s hard to miss the majestic peaks enroute – mountains so close that you could almost touch them. 

Nainghar Choti (19357 feet), from which the base village gets its name, is visible within the first half hour of walking. After this point in the hike, prepare yourself for breath-taking sights of other Great Mountain peaks: Saltu Da Par 1 & 2, (18265 & 19932 feet, respectively), Siri Parbat (18718 feet), Tentu (15555 feet), Shilling (17724 feet), and Neelkanth Peak (17533 feet). Additionally, watch out for views of the Gangstang glacier and peak.

The grand views on the trek of Neelkanth Mahadev. Picture by Kavinaya

3. Adventurous water crossings

If you enjoy the thrill of a water crossing on a trek, the trek will not disappoint. The Neelkanth Mahadev Lake trek is famous for five stream crossings, with the Gadbad Nala being the most notorious. The water is icy cold since the streams originate from glaciers. Agility and good core strength are imperative to cross. Channel your inner mountain goat, nimble and quick on your feet, to hop onto boulders and cross successfully.

The excitement of crossing multiple stream. Picture by Kavinaya

4. Trails with vibrant Himalayan flora

Flowers on a trail are always a welcome sight for weary muscles and spirits. On this trek, they make the experience twice as special. The vibrant flowers offer a dramatic contrast to the legendary barren mountains of the Lahaul region. Over 17 kinds of flowers and their numerous subspecies grow abundantly along the waterways and on stretches of grasslands. Keep an eye out for pops of colour along the trail, often peeking out when you least expect it.

The valley is vibrant with many variety of flowers. Picture by Kavinaya

➤ Quick Itinerary

Day 1: Drive from Manali to Nainghar

Drive distance: 104.2 km | Duration: 6-7 hours
Altitude gain: 6,730 ft to 11,004 ft

A bus departs daily at 11:40 am from the Manali HRTC bus stand to Nainghar village. The bus fare from Manali to Nainghar is INR 250 for men. Women can avail of discounts on bus rates at INR 118. You will also find buses that go to the town of Keylong in Lahaul, from where there are connecting buses to Nainghar. 

Day 2: Trek from Nainghar to Aaliyas Campsite

Trek distance: 8.8 km | Duration: 8 hours
Altitude loss and gain: 11,004 ft to 13255 ft
Trek Type: Day 2 is a gradual climb from Nainghar village, with steep boulder sections before and after stream crossings. This day has three stream crossings. 

Day 3: Trek from Aaliyas Campsite and back to Aaliyas Campsite, via Neelkanth Mahadev Lake

Trek distance: 8.6 km | Duration: 7-8 hours
Altitude gain: 13,255 ft to 14,639 ft
Trek Type: Day 3 has challenging ascents through boulders during the first hour. Later on in the trail, you have two tricky stream crossings to navigate. The trail gradually ascends until the base of the mountain lake. The final stretch to reach the lake involves a steep climb.

Day 4: Trek from Aaliyas Campsite to Nainghar Village

Trek distance: 8.6 km | Duration: 5-6 hours
Altitude loss: 13,225 ft to 11,004 ft
Trek Type: On Day 4, the path gradually winds downhill until the end of the second valley opening. You will encounter three stream crossings on the way to Nainghar. Take the marked trail going uphill through the grasslands for a scenic return journey.

Day 5: Drive from Nainghar to Manali

Drive distance: 104.2 km | Duration: 6-7 hours
Altitude loss:  11,004 ft to 6,730 ft

Catch the same bus that comes to Nainghar from Manali every day. The bus leaves Nainghar at 6:30 am sharp. The bus fare for men is INR 250, and for women, it is INR 118.

➤ Trail Information

Our aim is to ensure that trekkers are well-prepared before embarking on a Himalayan trek.  Knowledge is crucial to plan a safe, successful, and enjoyable trek. This section contains information about what to expect each day and how to prepare for the Neelkanth Mahadev Lake trek. We strongly recommend reading this section before setting out on your journey.

What each day looks like

Day 1: Drive from Manali to Nainghar

Drive distance: 104.2 km | Duration: 6-7 hours
Altitude: 6,730 ft to 11,004 ft

We recommend arriving a day early in Manali. Take a direct bus from the Manali HRTC bus stand to Nainghar the following day. Alternatively, you can take a bus to Keylong and switch to a connecting bus to reach Nainghar.

Journeying through this part of Himachal Pradesh is a highlight itself, taking you from the lush Kullu valley to the arid mountains of Lahaul. From Manali, the drive is through small and charming villages before reaching the 9 km Atal Tunnel - one of the world’s longest highway tunnels above 10,000 ft. Stark and arid landscapes of Lahaul appear as soon as you exit the tunnel. It is almost as if you have teleported to a different land. After all, you just drove through the vibrant greenery of Kullu. 

Setting foot into Lahaul region. Picture by Kavinaya

You travel along the Chandra River, past farms growing various vegetables, including broccoli, green peas, cabbage, lettuce, and cauliflower. On the drive to Lahaul, you will see striking rock formations as if meticulously carved into their shapes.

After 6 hours of driving, you arrive at a diversion that leads to Nainghar. Before arriving at this diversion, the bus will stop for a tea break in the village before Nainghar. Remember to stock up on any last-minute essentials here. Phone networks will not work beyond this point, except BSNL which works in Nainghar. 

Nainghar is a quaint village that is home to 240 people and a total count of nine houses. On arriving, you can’t miss the "Thirot Nala" – a stream that flows through this village and originates from glaciers near the Neelkanth Mahadev Lake.

Neelkanth Homestay in Nainghar is a good accommodation option, especially for solo travellers. Get a good night’s sleep before your trek the next morning.

Day 2: Trek from Nainghar to Aaliyas Campsite

Trek distance: 8.8 km | Duration: 8 hours
Altitude: 11,004 ft to 13255 ft

Trek gradient: Easy to Moderate. The trail combines gradual and steep ascents through boulders and grasslands. Today you will navigate three stream crossings and multiple smaller stream crossings.

Water sources: There are multiple freshwater sources from the mountains on the left of the trail. You will find water sources on the trail the entire day.

Start your trek early from the sleepy village of Nainghar - the last village in the Lahaul district. The first part of your trek is a walk through the entire village which takes all of five minutes.

The inital trail from Nainghar. Picture by Kavinaya

On exiting the village, you enter a vast valley and hear the tranquil sounds of the Thirot Nala flowing nearby. The valley comes up on you suddenly – a pleasant surprise that will stop you in your tracks and leave you awestruck. The expansive valley runs parallel to farms that belong to the residents. Continue walking along this stretch for 2 km.

Leaving behind the farms and following the Thirot Nala. Picture by Kavinaya

After a series of gradual ascents and descents, the trail leaves the farmlands behind and heads towards the Thirot stream. Although there is an alternative route from the hilltop, it is better suited for the return journey. 

The trail today takes you through boulders and involves a gradual incline. You can also expect some steep climbs after each stream crossing.

The mountain views today are breath-taking, with most peaks standing tall at 18000 ft and above. While crossing the streams, keep an eye out for the Himalayan Blue Sheep, also known as the Bharal. With a bit of luck, you might just spot them grazing on the other side of the stream.

Traversing the trail through boulders and stream crossings. Picture by Kavinaya

The path through the boulders is clear, ensuring you stay on the trail and don't miss a thing. As you approach the 4km mark, you will find yourself surrounded by a lush hill grassland and a small freshwater stream - the perfect spot to rest and take in the stunning valley views.

Don't forget to stop and smell the flowers. The trail is full of them, adding even more beauty to an already lovely day. Take your time, enjoy the journey, and soak up all the natural wonders that this day has to offer.

You will be surprised to see patches of grasslands in between. Picture by Kavinaya

Beyond the 4.5km mark, the trail gradually opens into grasslands with vibrant blankets of Himalayan Bistorts - also known as Fleece flowers.  As you continue along the trail, a boulder-filled terrain greets you for the next 4km. From this point, you catch glimpses of what is in store the next day - hanging glaciers and the valley's end. Do remember to stay on the clearly-marked trail as it can be easy to get lost in this rugged terrain. 

Look out for the Aaliyas Campsite from this point. Your landmark is a small red mountain that looks like it is wearing a blanket of bistorts. While there are plenty of camping sites to choose from, the one designated in the GPX file is the safest option.

You will reach the Aaliyas campsite by early evening - a welcome sight after a long day of trekking. Look for relatively flat terrain near the water stream, where you can settle in for the night.

Heading towards the first campsite of Aaliyas. Picture by Kavinaya

Before setting up camp, remember that the water from the stream contains silt. Ensure that you strain the water before drinking. Once that is taken care of, it is time to set up camp, have an early dinner, and get some much-needed rest. Today has been a long day and tomorrow promises to be just as challenging.

If you are feeling adventurous and have some time to spare, why not scout the trail for tomorrow? This will give you a head start and make it easier to navigate the trail in the morning. It is always best to be prepared the night before, considering the challenging trek to the lake that awaits the next day.

Day 3: Trek from Aaliyas Campsite and back to Aaliyas Campsite, via Neelkanth Mahadev Lake

Trek distance: 8.6 km | Duration: 7-8 hours
Altitude: 13,255 ft to 13,225 ft via 14,639 ft
Trek gradient: Easy to Moderate. Get ready for a long day of walking with not one, but two big climbs – one at the start of the trek and the other near the lake. The terrain is a mix of boulders that run through the Thirot delta.

Water sources: The trail has only one fresh water source today, right after the first climb ends. Refer to your GPX file and plan accordingly.

Start as early as possible and brace yourself for the initial climb through boulders on a well-laid path. Keep a lookout for a wide path and stay on track. The scenery becomes more picturesque as you move to the snout of Thirot Nala.

The rewards are well worth the effort of completing the first climb. You will find yourself on a gradual trail with stunning views of the towering Neelkanth Peak (which resembles a shark fin), Gangstang Peak, and the majestic Neelkanth Glacier. The trail becomes increasingly more pleasant, taking you through boulders, sand, and the delta region.

Start your day early from the campsite. Picture by Kavinaya

After the first climb, keep walking straight on a gradual ascent alongside the mountains on your left. The trail continues for approximately 3 km from Aaliyas. After this point, look for a diversion that leads you towards the lake. If you keep walking straight, you will instead end up at a small pond called Chota Jheel.

Keep moving towards the hill you see in front of you. You will also reach Thirot Nala, which marks the first river crossing of the day. Take your time to find a safe spot to cross. The rapids are powerful and the water flow is strong. Exercise caution and stay alert as you navigate the waters.

Once you have successfully crossed Thirot Nala, you will see a small hill with a trishul placed at its peak. Choose the gradual trail and keep moving forward. Keep following the trail since several paths lead to the hilltop. 

It is a pleasurable experience trekking alongside the Thirot Nala. Picture by Kavinaya

Beautiful views await you at the top. You will catch glimpses of the path ahead leading to Neelkanth Lake. The stunning valley stretches as far as the eye can see and enclosing it are towering mountains. 

Each step you take unveils a fascinating story of the earth's history. The terrain bears remnants and evidence of the continental drift that occurred millions of years ago, resulting in the birth of the Himalayas.

The area is home to distinctive plant species, vines, and white sand. On your right stands the magnificent Neelkanth Glacier in its full glory. Take a moment to appreciate the magnificent landscape before continuing your journey.

Looking back at the valley where you have trekked from. Picture by Kavinaya

Walk towards the hill where a trishul marks your way. From the top of the hill, a descent through muddy terrain begins for approximately 200-300 meters before you arrive at the second stream crossing. You will see several stones already placed in the water. Hop onto the stones and cross over to the other side. 

Look closely and you will notice that the Thirot stream is fed by two water bodies - one from Chota Jheel and the other from Neelkanth Lake.

After crossing the river, the trail takes you through the fertile lands of the delta region covered in soft silt. It is a picturesque 2 km walk that you won't forget anytime soon. If you happen to be here in September, the delta region comes alive in beautiful autumn colours.

A relief on the legs when we enter the delta region. Picture by Kavinaya

After covering 5 km, it is time for the final climb towards Neelkanth Mahadev Lake. The 2 km trail towards the lake has several trishuls and cairns dotting it. Pilgrims have been making the journey to Neelkanth Mahadev Lake long before adventure seekers set foot in the area.  

Make your way through the barren rocks and gradually ascend towards the foothill of the lake. Brace yourself for a 100-metre steep climb to the top. The rewards at the end of this climb are completely worth it. A mesmerising turquoise lake greets you after reaching the top. The colours of the lake will take your breath away.

The first sight of the Neelkanth Mahadev Lake. Picture by Kavinaya

It is finally time to explore the stunning Neelkanth Mahadev Lake. To get there, make a 100-foot descent down the hill.  Spend quality time at the lake. Take in the sights and sounds around you. A small shrine stands right beside the lake, further enhancing the spiritual aura of the area.

After soaking in the sights at the lake, make your way back up the hill. As you reach the top, don't forget to look towards your left and admire the majestic Neelkanth Glacier, stretching an impressive 40-50 km in length from its base.

Start making your way back towards the Aaliyas campsite. Try and cross the two streams before or around 12 pm since the water levels rise steadily by afternoon. 

The way back to Aaliyas is an easy 8km trek. The sun will be higher in the sky by then. You might notice how it casts new light on the scenery around you.

A stunning contrast and feels like a different valley on the way back. Picture by Kavinaya

The landscape looks remarkably different from what you saw on your way to the lake. The streams you crossed earlier take on a striking hue – appearing blue, green, and brown all at once, and as if by magic. This play of colours is unique to the Lahaul and Spiti mountains – an incredible kaleidoscope where the landscape transforms throughout the day.

Day 4: Trek from Aaliyas Campsite to Nainghar village

Trek distance: 8.6 km | Duration: 5-6 hours
Altitude: 13,225 ft to 11,004 ft
Trek gradient: Easy to Moderate. The trek is a mix of gradual and steep ascents through boulders and grasslands. You will navigate three major stream crossings and multiple smaller streams.

Water sources: The trail has sufficient water sources all day. You will find multiple freshwater sources coming from the mountains on the left of the trail.

The route back is familiar - a gentle downhill slope and a mix of flat terrain. Start early in the day since there are three stream crossings along the way. Try crossing all three before 12 pm as water levels tend to rise in the afternoon. Keep an eye out for cairns or stone structures that work as markers to keep you on the trail.

Returning back to the starting point of Nainghar. Picture by Kavinaya

As you reach the 5 km mark, you will see a trail branching off towards the top of the hill. Don’t miss this route. The trail runs through stunning grasslands, making it the perfect way to end your trek. There are a few gentle ascents and descents enroute.

The trail eventually descends to the farms you passed by on the first day of the trek. It will be sunset by the time you arrive. The warm golden hues of the evening sun will rejuvenate your senses and wash away all the exhaustion from walking.

Rest and eat well once you arrive at Nainghar. You can either stay at the Neelkanth Homestay or pitch your tent in the garden next to the homestay.

Day 5: Drive from Nainghar to Manali

Drive distance: 104.2 km | Duration: 6-7 hours
Altitude:  11,004 ft to 6,730 ft.

Catch the HRTC Bus that departs from Nainghar at 6:30 am. Ideally, try and reach the bus stand by 6:15 am. The bus ride back to Manali has beautiful sunrise views. You will drive past mountains, sleepy villages, farms, and streams that dot the landscape. You should arrive in Manali around noon.

How Difficult Is The Neelkanth Mahadev Lake Trek

The Neelkanth Mahadev Lake trek takes you to an altitude of 14,693 ft and is classified as a moderate trek. The only reason for its moderate rating is the longer trekking days compared to other easy-moderate treks such as Dayara Bugyal, Kedarkantha, or Deoriatal-Chandrashila. 

The trek features marginally longer trekking days with a few steep climbs and challenging stream crossings (such as the climb to Neelkanth Mahadev Lake and crossing Thirot Nala). The Neelkanth Mahadev Lake trek is a notch more difficult than other easy-moderate treks, but still immensely achievable with preparation and determination. 

For perspective, trekkers cover a total of 26 km in 4 days on the Neelkanth Mahadev Lake trek, with an altitude gain of over 2000 ft every day. The altitude gain is 3693 ft over 4 days, which is relatively mild. Trekkers cover an average of only 8 km per day, with both uphill and downhill stretches. 

The key is to pace yourself well. The itinerary outlined in this guide allows for a comfortable pace that ensures your body acclimatises to the altitude. 

If you are thinking of cutting the trek short (say, trekking back to Nainghar on the same day as the climb to the lake), here are some pointers to keep in mind. 

First, you will be trekking 26 km in one day (including the climb to the lake), increasing the chances of post-trek fatigue and fever. Second, you will gain almost 4000-5000 ft in altitude, which exposes you to the risk of AMS. 

If you still decide to cut the trek short, please be cautious and attentive to any discomfort in your body that may indicate AMS. The best approach is to allow your body to adjust to the higher altitude gradually.

How to reach base village of Nainghar

A bus departs daily at 11:40 am from the Manali HRTC bus stand to Nainghar. The bus fare from Manali to Nainghar is INR 250 for Men and INR 118 for women. You can also find buses that go to Keylong, where there are connecting buses to Nainghar.

To know more about how to reach Manali, you can go through the information below:

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.

Best time to do the Neelkanth Mahadev Lake trek

The trek has a short window during which weather conditions are ideal - specifically, the period before the monsoon season and before winter arrives.

September to October is the best time for the Neelkanth Mahadev Lake Trek. Alternatively, you could also do the trek anytime between the end of May and June. 

The landscape is particularly stunning during these months. You are guaranteed the best views and an unforgettable trek. Additionally, the rivers are calmer and less unpredictable - making the water crossings on the trek easier to navigate. Staying safe on the trek is paramount, especially so while trekking independently.

➤ Frequently Asked Questions About Nafran Valley Trek


Trekkers don’t require official permits to visit the Neelkanth Mahadev Lake. All you need to do is show up and start your trek. 

As a general rule, remember to inform the guesthouse owners or other people in the village about your plans. This ensures that you have someone looking out for your safety.


If you are new to trekking or feel uneasy about high altitudes and tricky terrain, it is a good idea to hire a local guide from Nainghar. 

The locals know these mountains inside out. A guide can also help you navigate some of the trickier patches on the trek such as the stream crossings.

How much money to carry on the trek

If you are starting from Manali, INR 3000 is more than enough to cover expenses for food, travel, and accommodation. Women can take advantage of bus fare discounts and get by with INR 2500 for the entire journey.


Neelkanth Homestay in Naingarh is clean, affordable, and serves breakfast and dinner if needed. 


The toilet systems at the base village, Nainghar are excellent and well-constructed. There are no permanent toilet systems anywhere else on the Neelkanth Mahadev Lake trek. 

If your visit coincides with a yatra (pilgrimage), you might find temporary pit toilets at certain points along the trek.  

Is this the same as the Neelkanth Temple near Rishikesh?

This trek does not take you to the famous Neelkanth Temple. Neelkanth Temple is located approximately 32 kilometers from Rishikesh in Uttarakhand. The Neelkanth Mahadev Lake trek is in the Lahaul district of Himachal Pradesh.

Is the Neelkanth Mahadev Lake Trek Safe?

The Neelkanth Mahadev Lake trek is a safe trek. Anyone can do the trek independently with adequate preparation and dedication. Trekkers can also hire local guides from the base village, Naingarh.

Are women allowed at the Neelkanth Mahadev Lake trek?

The locals strictly prohibit women from approaching or visiting the lake. They believe misfortune will fall on the region if women visit the lake. Trekkers must be mindful of the community's religious and cultural sentiments. Please avoid doing or saying anything that may offend the community

Trek Contribution

Trek explored by Sharwari Brahme, Kavinaya and Moksh Chauhan
Trek documented by Sharwari Brahme
Trek Edited by Janusa Sangma