Prashar Lake trek – A perfect family trek in Himachal
Surrounded by the Dhauladhar ranges in Kullu Valley is a blue-water lake called Prashar. Prashar Lake is a well-kept secret in the Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh. The trek follows a charming trail through a forest and several rivulets. Meanwhile, one can enjoy the local culture as the trail goes through villages as well. The trek offers a 180 degree view of the Dhauladhar, Pir Panjal and Kinnaur mountain ranges.
Whom is this trek meant for?
The Parashar Lake trek makes for a great family trek. For those interested in architecture, the local temple of Prashar Rishi next to the lake, with its riveting Himachali architecture, blends perfectly with the landscape.
The Prashar lake trek is an easy-moderate one. The lake is located at a comfortable altitude of just over 9,000 ft. If you go in the months of April and May, the trail will have snow patches. This, clubbed with the fact that you gain a lot of altitude in just 2 days, may make the trek slightly difficult. However, a decent level of physical fitness will help you overcome challenges on the trail. Click here to learn how to prepare and get fit for the trek.
Here’s a short itinerary for the Prashar Lake trek
Day 1: Assemble at Mandi at 6.30 am. Drive to Baggi (4,439 ft) – organised by Indiahikes. Baggi Village to Prashar Lake (8,900 ft); 7.5 km, 4-5 hours
Day 2: Prashar Lake (8,900) ft to Baggi Village (4,439 ft); 7.5 km, 3-4 hours. You will reach Mandi between 6.00 pm and 7.00 pm.
Please note that you will be staying overnight in tents (3 per tent).
Detailed trek itinerary
Day 1: Baggi Village to Prashar Lake
- Altitude: 4,439 ft to 8,900 ft
- Time taken: 1 hour drive + trek for 4-5 hours, 7.5 km
- Trek gradient: Moderate. Gradual incline for about 40 minutes followed by a steep climb for a couple of hours which eases off into a 15 minute level walk. Steep incline from here on.
- Water sources: A mountain stream that you will pass within the first 5 minutes of starting your trek is the only water sources today. Ensure that you fill up your water bottles and carry 2 litres of water to last you till the end of the day’s trek.
The trek starts from Baggi Village, which is 26 km from Mandi. There is a motor road that goes up to half a km from Prashar Lake. The condition of this road could be bad due to stormy weather. The road may also be closed due to heavy accumulation of snow in the month of January and February.
Get off at the bus stop that stands beside a bunch of shops. Look out for a concrete rain shelter to the left of the road. Proceed straight from here. There is a stream across the road. Once you cross the stream, you will come across a dirt road going into the forested valley. The stream will remain on your left as the trail goes into the valley.
There are large boulders on the banks of this stream. After walking on the trail for 5 minutes, the road takes a U-turn; three scissor bends follow. Avoid these scissor bends. Instead, take the short cut that goes straight up and save time. This will take you another 10 minutes. The trail from here on is a gradual incline.
Look out for your first water source after a 5 minute walk. You will find a mountain stream on your right. The water from the stream is safe to drink. This will be the only water point throughout the trail so carry enough water to last you through the trek. A 15-20 minute walk on this trail will take you to a bend, where there is a small stream coming down from your right. This is your first landmark.
- Altitude: 5,902 ft
- Time taken: 40 minutes from Baggi
Get off the Jeep trail. Take a right and hike up the forested ridge to your right. Look for a small trail climbing up through the forest. After 2 minutes of an uphill hike, you’ll find a fork in the trail. Take the route going to the right. This is the start of a steep ascent passing through a fairly dense forest. Stay on the well-defined trail.
After 30-40 minutes of an uphill climb, the trail will momentarily ease out. Look for another fork in the trail. Take the trail to your right and continue walking through the forest. After 15 minutes on an uphill track, the forest cover will clear up for a brief moment. Take the trail up with a series of 2 scissor bends on the way.
The snow-capped Dhauladhar ranges come into view for the first time. The trail here may have snow in winter. It can get slippery here. So ensure you have a strong footing. Ten minutes of a steep ascent will take you to a small patch of leveled ground inside the forest. Look for a Trident of Lord Shiva pitched into the ground. This is the second landmark of the trek.
- Altitude: 6,558 ft
- Time taken: 1 hour 35 minutes from Baggi
There is a make-shift water pipe from Prashar Lake to Baggi. The pipe runs past this landmark. However, do not fill your bottles here. The water isn’t suitable for drinking. Resume your climb through the forest. The trail remains consistent for the next 30-45 minutes. You will now see the first in a series of 3 clearings.
Look out for snow or green grass depending on the time of the year. While crossing the third clearing, look out for electricity wires going all the way into the forest cover, up to Prashar. You will now enter the second forest ridge zone. After a 15 minute walk through the dense forest you will reach a level ground. This is the third landmark.
- Altitude: 7,772 ft
- Time taken: 3 hours 5 minutes from Baggi
The whole area may be covered with snow during winter. This section of the trail may have hard ice so tread with caution. The steep climb up to the fourth landmark is a 30-45 minutes of careful hike depending upon the amount of snow. The fourth landmark is a series of shepherd huts on a leveled space at the top of the hill.
- Altitude: 5,515 ft
- Time taken: 4 hours 10 minutes from Baggi
The huts belong to the villagers and are used in religious ceremonies in Prashar and during the festive season. Leaving the forest behind, the grand Dhauladhar, Pir Panjal and Kinnaur peaks are visible for the first time. The whole area is carpeted in snow and looks brilliant. Towards your true left is the trail that meanders towards Prashar. Look out for Prashar ridge towards your extreme left. Behind it is the beautiful Prashar Lake.
You will see a guest house maintained by the Forest Department on top, towards your right. Follow the trail going to your left. The large accumulation of snow may slow you down. Prashar is another 800 metres away from here.
As you approach the Prashar ridge, you will see the fenced boundary installed by the Forest Department. This demarcates the sacred ground of Prashar.
A 20-30 minute walk in the snow will take you to a steel gate with steel steps. Look for a series of wooden huts and a local temple next to a semi-frozen lake. You have now reached Prashar Lake.
Day 2: Prashar Lake to Baggi Village
- Altitude: 8,900 ft to 4,439 ft
- Times taken: 4-5 hours, 7.5 km
- Trek gradient: Moderate – difficult. Steep descent on the same route. Can get tricky if the trail is slippery or if there is hard ice.
- Water sources: Ensure that you fill up your water bottles and carry 2 litres of water to last you till the end of the day’s trek.
The approach to Baggi is the same route taken to reach Prashar. There may be numerous slippery spots while descending. Watch out for hard ice and walk around it.
Nearby excursions: A 12 km trek to Tunga Mata temple above the Prashar Lake is a viable excursion one can make while camping at Prashar Lake. The trail is a steep climb on the mountain ridge behind the lake. The view of the lake from here is stunning.
How to get fit for the Prashar Lake trek
The Prashar Lake trek is classified as an easy trek. From Baggi at 4,439 feet, you will gain about 4,039 feet to Prashar Lake. This can make the trek quite demanding.
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
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 – 3 sets of squats with 20 in each
This is another area you should work on. Comparatively, for a two day trek, the altitude gain is quite a lot. You may have to walk through snow depending on the months you go in and this could be taxing for your legs. For this, strengthening your legs will help. You can do some squats to strengthen them. Start with 3 sets of squats, with 8 squats in each set and work towards reaching the target in 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 Prashar Lake trek
- Trekking shoes: The terrain may be rough and you will need trekking shoes with good grip. Sports shoes will not be comfortable enough. You can watch this video to learn to choose the right trekking shoes.
- Backpack (20-30 litres): A backpack with sturdy straps and a supporting frame. Rain cover for backpack is essential.
Though Prashar Lake is only a 2 day trek, the number of things that you carry will depend on the season.
- Three warm layers: You will need at least three warm layers (two light layers such as fleece and woollen and one padded jacket) 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 one pair.
- 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.
- 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 is more
- Synthetic hand gloves: One pair of fleece or woolen hand gloves. One pair of water proof/resistant, wind proof gloves.
- Balaclava: You may use woollen scarves instead as well.
- Socks (2 pairs): Apart from two sports socks, you can take a pair of woollen 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 few extra plastic bags for wet clothes.
Mandatory Personal Medical Kit
- Diamox – 10 tablets (to prevent AMS)
- 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.)
- Disclaimer- 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 –
Trek fee: Rs. 2,750/-*
GST at 5% is payable on the trek fee
- Accommodation during the trek (camping -3 per tent)
- All meals – vegetarian
- Transport to and from the base camp (Mandi to Baggi village and back)
- Trekking permits and forest camping charges
- Trekking equipment (tents, sleeping bags, ice axes, ropes, etc.)
- Safety equipment (first aid, medical kit, oxygen cylinders, stretcher, etc.)
- Services of an expert trek leader (qualified in basic/advanced mountaineering courses)
- Services of an expert trek team (guides, cooks, helpers, porters/mules)
- Food during transit to and from the base camp
- Backpack offloading charges – Rs. 500 plus 5% GST. Charges will vary for last minute on slope offloading. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. No suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will be allowed.
- Stay at Mandi on the last day is not included
- Personal expenses of any kind
- Anything apart from the inclusions
Terms & Conditions
1. Cancellation: If a trek is called off at the last moment due to a natural calamity/unforseen 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 e-mail us at email@example.com. Cancellation requests are not taken over phone.
The cancellation charges are as under:
- Cancellations prior to 7 days from the start of the trek — full refund.
- Cancellations less than 7 days from 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 costs of the trek from the start at the Baggi village to the end at Bagggi, and transportation from and to Mandi.
3. Pick up: Trekkers are picked up from Mandi bus stand at 6.30 am. Usually, trekkers are clubbed together with other participants to make a group.
4. Transport: Transport from Mandi to Baggi village and return from Baggi village to Mandi will be arranged by us.
5. Backpack offloading: 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 charges -Rs.500/- plus GST of 5%. Charges for last minute offloading during the trek will be Rs. 335 per day plus GST 0f 5%. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. No suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will be allowed.
6. Emergency during trek: In a trek a medical emergency or any other emergency may arise. If for any reason you are sent down from the trek then 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.
7. 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. Therefore, on treks, cardiovascular training is critically important. You need to be able to jog a distance of 4.5 km in 30 mins before start of the trek. Unable to do so can make your trek difficult. In addition, preparation of trek needs to include strength and flexibility training. Registering for the trek is an understanding that you will undertake the mandated fitness training. Trekkers who have not adequately prepared may be asked to discontinue the trek at any point. Indiahikes has the right to reject candidates who do not meet our eligibility requirement at the base camp.
8. Non-liability: Indiahikes is not responsible for any loss/damage of your gears/equipment or other belongings on the trek.
9. Payment: Payment for the trek can be done online through credit/debit card or net banking. Cheque/draft or cash is not accepted.
10. 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.
11. Safety Protocol
a. While our itineraries are designed to allow for adequate acclimatisation, most treks in Indian Himalayas climb quickly, which is called forced accents. Unavailability of camp sites and the Indian Himalayan terrain are the reason 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 turn around a trekker 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.
How safe is the Prashar Lake trek?
The Prashar Lake trek by is supposed to be an easy trek. Though being an easy trek there are certain things that you must be aware of before you go on the trek. The first thing is that this trek has a lot of steep climbs in a really short time span. You climb an altitude of almost 4000 ft which is quite a lot. Second thing you must beware of are leeches. You will find a lot of leeches especially if you are going in the rainy season.
At Indiahikes, safety of a trekker comes first. You will experience it first hand on the slope. Your team is accompanied by experienced trek leaders, safety gears, high end trek equipment, high altitude first aid kits and most importantly the right information.
If there is a medical emergency on the trek, your trek leaders are trained to handle crisis, especially related to altitude and medical emergencies. Indiahikes team carries high altitude medical equipment, oxygen cylinders, and other emergency kits.
Most situations are resolved by the trek leader’s intervention. If, however, evacuation is required, it is carried out by the Indiahikes team. There are plenty of exit points throughout the trek so any evacuation needed is taken care of. The affected participant is moved down to the nearest emergency medical centre as soon as possible. This can take time, even 1-2 days, especially from high camps. Medical expenses, if required, at the medical centre are to be borne by the participant.
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 Prashar lake trek. Anyone who wants to register for the Prashar lake 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 Prashar 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.
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.
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.
Blogs about Prashar Lake
How to get to the basecamp – Baggi
Delhi/Chandigarh → Mandi → Baggi Village
The Prashar Lake trek starts at Baggi, around 27 km from Mandi. Indiahikes arranges transport from Mandi bus stop at 6.30 am on Day 1. The cost is included in your trek fee.
Reaching Mandi from Delhi
If you are using public transport, take a volvo bus from Delhi to Mandi in Himachal. Any bus plying to Kullu or Manali will go via Mandi. Volvo buses by Himachal Roadways and Himachal Tourism ply daily from Himachal Bhawan in Delhi. It takes around 10-12 hours (430 km) to reach Mandi from Delhi.
Reaching Mandi from Chandigarh
The volvo bus journey from Chandigarh to Mandi takes 6-7 hours. The roads are in good condition till Mandi, except for a few sections between Chandigarh and Bilaspur.
Baggi Village → Mandi → Delhi/Chandigarh
Indiahikes drops trekkers back to Mandi by around 6.00 pm. Buses from Manali to Delhi pass through Mandi between 7.00 and 8.30 pm. It is recommended that you book your tickets prior to the trek, and co-ordinate with the bus conductors for your pick up from Mandi.
“It was my first trek with Indiahikes and they lived up to my expectations. Looking forward to do more treks with Indiahikes.” – Puneet Kukreja, batch of November 2016
“Indiahikes offers the best of all I have seen in other groups! I must admit it that for the first time in my life I did something which took me out of my comfort zone. Not only this trek helped me to learn a lot of things but also helped me to inculcate discipline in my life.”-Abhishek Jain, batch of May 2016
“The trek was really awesome. I personally learnt a lot from the trek. Indiahikes provided us with good services, even at the time of emergencies. Also, the entire team is a group of concerned nature lovers!”-Aishwarya, batch of May 2016
“Indiahikes is by far the most organized and caring trek company I know, if safety is the point then Indiahikes is the best, also you have routes throughout the country.”-Paramahamsa Kolagani, batch of May 2016