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.
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.
Day 1: Kantlu to Prashar Lake
- Altitude: 6,050 ft (1,844 m) to 8,900 ft (2,713 m)
- Time taken: 1 hour drive + trek for 5 hours, 7.05 km
- Trek gradient: Moderate. Steep ascent for 500 metres followed by a gradual ascent for about 4 km. Another steep ascent for 3oo metres followed by an easy walk.
- Water sources: Carry two litres of water. There is one water source at Til, around 2.6 km into the trek. You can refill your water bottles here.
Kantlu is about 2 hours from Mandi. Reach Mandi by 7.00 am and head straight to Kantlu. Have breakfast here and begin trekking.
The trail begins with a steep ascent for about 500 metres through open land. You will see the valley on ur right.
After this, you enter a jungle, which mainly consists of rhododendron. The trail eases a little here to become a gradual ascent. In 400 metres, you reach a clearing from where you get the full view of the Dhauadhar range. Take a break here. It’s a good spot to click some photographs.
On you cross the clearing, the trail enters an oak forest. It continues to ascend gradually. After walking in the jungle for 1 km, you reach another clearing. This is also a good spot to take a break.
From this clearing, the trail gets on to the motorable road. Walk on this for the next 700 metres. You will then reach a place named Til. There are a lot of shops here.
From Til, seek the kachha road. Ascend on this for about 600 metres till you reach another small meadow. Break here for lunch. The views are great from here.
Once you start trekking from the meadow, you will come across apple orchards. Make sure you do not pluck any apples. After 700 metres, you will cross the motorable road again. From here, the trail ascends steeply for 300 metres. This section is a little strenuous. You reach a clearing right after this.
The views from here are outstanding. The mountain that you see from left to right are Triund, Dhauladhar Matterhorn, Kap Chuli, Man Hill, Hanuman Tibba, Sikar Beh, Mukar Beh, Manali peak, Friendship peak, Mukila, Ali Ratni Tibba and several smaller ones surrounding a beautiful valley. Rest here for a while.
In 300 metres, you enter another forest. The trail here is flat, followed by a short ascent. At the end of this section, you will see a beautiful lake below. But this is is not Prashar Lake. Go down to the lake and explore around. You will also find two shepherds’ huts here.
From the lake, follow the mkotorable road for 1.7 km. You’ll see few houses before reaching Prashar. Take a turn once you cross these. A low ground is visible from here. Once you reach the edge of this low ground, a beautiful lake comes into view – this is Prashar.
Prashar lake is protected by a fence so you cannot enter it. There is a round, floating island inside the lake. If you are lucky, you can see the island move while you are there.
There is a beautiful temple dedicated to the sage Prashar next to the lake. Its architecture is unique and attractive.
Walk to the nearest ‘top’ from the lake to view the sunset and return early the next morning for the sunrise. You get to see whole mountains from here including Papsura and Dharmsura. Rest for the night at the dormitory.
Day 2: Prashar Lake to Kantlu
- Altitude: 8,900 ft (2,713 m) to 6,050 ft (1,844 m)
- Times taken: 3.5 hours, 7.7 km
- Trek gradient: Easy. Mostly descending trail with few, short ascents.
- Water sources: Carry two litres of water. You can refill your water bottles from the small pump that you reach 2.2 km after starting the trek.
You will return to Kantlu today but through a different route.
Walk on the motorable lake from Prashar lake f0r 1.5 km. From here, leave the mkotorable road and turn towards the right. This is a narrow path through grasslands. After 700 metres on this path, you will see a small water pump house. This, is an absolutely quiet, beautiful place surrounded by forests. The only sound hear is that of water. You can refill your water bottles here.
The trail enters dense forest from here. There’s another diversion after 500 metres, where you need to take the trail on the right. The trail descends gradually after the pump house. After 1.2 km, you will reach an ascent
The trail enters dense forest from here. There’s another diversion after 500 metres, where you need to take the trail on the right. The trail descends gradually after the pump house. After 1.2 km, you will reach an ascent. Once you cross this, a house beautiful house set in a clearing appears out of nowhere to your right. In front of the house is an apple orchard, which is filled with apples in May and June.
Behind the house is a beautiful valley. You can see the Dhauladhar range, Mukila and Hanuman Tibba peaks from here.
In about 200 metres from the house, you will cross the mkotorable road again and enter a forest. This is filled with pine, oak and rhododendron trees. After 1 km, the forest thins down. On your left will be a small reservoir. Within 100 metres you will reach a small village named Halgarh. This village has only a few houses. You get a clear view of Kantlu and the valley from here.
Begin descending again from this point. In a short while, you reach the a part of the route taken on Day 1. Follow this to reach Kantlu, which is 2 km from Halgarh.
Have lunch at Kantlu and depart for Mandi.
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.
Banner Image by Rohit Singla
Day 1: Assemble at Mandi at 6.30 am. Drive to Kantlu (organised by Indiahikes). Kantlu Village (6,050 ft) to Prashar Lake (8,900 ft); 7.5 km, 4-5 hours
Day 2: Prashar Lake (8,900 ft) to Kantlu Village (6,050 ft); 7.5 km, 3-4 hours. You will reach Mandi between 6 pm and 7 pm.
Please note that you will be staying overnight in dorms.
It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo id for entry at forest check posts on the trek.
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.
How to get fit for the Prashar Lake trek
The Prashar Lake trek is classified as an easy trek. From Kantlu at 6,050 feet, you will gain about 2,000 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.
Here’s a fitness routine that works:
In case you’re just starting with a regular fitness routine, phase out your distance targets in the following manner –
–>Target completing 5 km in 45 minutes when you begin.
–> Gradually increase your pace by running 4 times a week and bring it down to 5 km in 40 mins.
–>If you are 45 years or above, try to cover 5km in less than 45 minutes.
If you are somebody you prefers cycling over running, then try to cover 18 km in 60 minutes.
How to send us a proof of your fitness routine? It is not mandatory on this trek, but you can still send us.
Record your run on an app like Nike Run. Start recording your run when you start running. At the end of your run, hit the stop button.
Take a screenshot of the summary of your run and upload.
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.
On a trek, carry fewer clothes than you would normally need. Do not pack for ‘what if situations’. That will only add to the weight of your backpack and not be used on the trek. Once your clothes get warmed up on a trek, you will not feel like changing. Just maintain personal hygiene.
- 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. Denim/jeans and shorts are not suitable for trekking.
- 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. Let one of these be a dri-fit t-shirt. It will dry quickly in case you are trekking on a rainy day. 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 after reaching the campsite 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: A suncap can help prevent dehydration when trekking during long day spells.
- 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.
- Ponchos: At high altitudes, snowfall and rain are quite common and hence it’s mandatory to carry a poncho so that you don’t get wet.
Indiahikes offers rentals on this trek. You can now rent trekking shoes, trekking pole, padded jacket and poncho instead of buying them. You can collect these directly at the base camp and return them there after the trek. Get the details here.
- 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. Do not carry wet wipes since these are not biodegradable. If you do happen to use wet wipes to clean up after a trek, make sure you bring them back with you. The same holds for used sanitary napkins. Carry a zip lock bag to put used wet 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)
- 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)
- Knee cap, if you are prone to knee injury
- Anti fungal powder
- 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 –
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 4,000 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
This will help us ensure that your body is acclimatising as required. Your blood pressure levels will be checked if the need arises.
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.
We will open up dates shortly. Click here to see other similar treks that might have dates.