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 the 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.
How difficult is the trek?
The Prashar lake trek is an easy one. The lake is located at a comfortable altitude of just over 9,000 feet. If you go in the months of April and May, the trail will have snow patches. This may make the trek slightly difficult. A physically active child of 6 years and above can do this trek. The trail has good road connectivity with cities like Delhi, Chandigarh, Dehradun. Easy access to cities considerably reduces the risk involved.
How to prepare for the trek?
On the Prashar lake trek a lot of altitude is gained in just two days. This can make the trek quite demanding, so you need to be really fit for the trek.Though, it’s just a two day trek, you need to carry things depending on the season you go in. If you are going early in the year, sunglasses are mandatory to prevent snow blindness.
Here’s a short itinerary for the Prashar Lake trek
Day 1: Assemble at Mandi at 6.30 am. Drive to Baggi (organised by Indiahikes). Baggi Village to Prashar Lake, 7.5 km, 4-5 hours
Day 2: Prashar Lake to Baggi Village, 7.5 km, 3-4 hours. You will reach Mandi between 6 pm and 7 pm.
Detailed trek itinerary
Day 1: Baggi Village to Prashar Lake (7.5 km, 4 to 5 hours)
- Altitude gained 1,353 m to 2,584 m
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: 1,799 m
- 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: 1,999 m
- 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: 2,369 m
- 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 feet
- 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 (7.5 km, 3-4 hours)
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 4039 feet to Prashar Lake. This can make the trek quite demanding.
On the Prashar Lake trek, you will cover an average of 7.5 km on both days. This requires a good amount of endurance. You can begin your fitness regime by jogging everyday. Jog at a slow pace to start off with and slowly keep increasing your pace day to day. You should be able to jog 4 km in 20 minutes before the start of the trek. It takes time to be able to cover this distance in the given time. Swimming, cycling and stair climbing without too many breaks in between can help too.
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. Do around 2 sets of squats, with 5 squats in each set.
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.
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. You can get Forclaz 100 from Decathlon. Sports shoes will not be comfortable enough. 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 Prashar Lake trek, though, is just a two day trek, you need to carry things depending on the season you go in.
- Three warm layers: The Prashar Lake campsite, is at a high altitude and the climatic may require you to have enough warm clothes. You will need at least three warm layers (two lights 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)
- 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)
- 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.)
- Disclaimer- Download PDF
If you’re shopping or packing for the trek, you can download this quick and simple checklist for offline use.
Trek fee: Rs. 2,750/-*
*Service tax at 4.5% is payable on the trek fee
- Accommodation during the trek (camping)
- All meals – vegetarian
- 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 519* plus service tax of 4.5%. Charges for last minute offloading during the trek will be Rs 335 per day plus service tax of 4.5%. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kgs. No suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will be allowed.
- Personal expenses of any kind
- Anything apart from the inclusions
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 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.
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.
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 e-mail us at email@example.com. Cancellation requests are not taken over phone.
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.
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 Indiahikestrek 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 feet 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.
How to get to the basecamp – Baggi
Delhi/Chandigarh → Mandi → Baggi Village
The Prashar Lake trek starts at Baggi. Baggi village is around 21 km from Mandi.
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.
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.
Transport will be arranged from Mandi bus stop at 6:30 am on day one of your trek.
Baggi Village → Mandi → Delhi/Chandigarh
Indiahikes drops trekkers back to Mandi by around 6 pm. Buses from Manali to Delhi pass through Mandi between 7 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