Indian Mythology has bestowed names to many destinations in India. Prashar Lake (or Parashar Lake) is one such place. Prashar, 50 km north of Mandi, Himachal Pradesh is famous for a temple and a lake.
Prashar Temple, a three-storied pagoda-like temple is dedicated to Sage Prashar. This wooden temple, made of Deodar tree, with Its intriguing architecture and complex carvings of animals and serpents are one of a kind. It is said to be built in the 14th century and took around 12 years to complete.
Prashar Lake, located at a height of approximately 9000 ft above the sea level, is a pride of Prashar valley. The magical feeling of serenity and tranquility can be experienced by strolling around the lake. This little lake, with a floating island in between and picturesque mountains in the backdrop, is the sight to behold. Yes, A Floating Island! This tiny island in the lake moves very slowly and changes its position according to the weather.
It is said that Sage Prashar use to meditate near the lake, and hence, the name Prashar. An interesting fact about Prashar Lake is that no one has ever been able to find it’s exact depth.
This place has magic which attracts spiritual people as well as nature lovers. On one hand, this place provides scenic views of Dhauladhar mountain ranges for nature lovers, on the other hand, sacred temple and lake provides a composed aura for meditation. Beautifully architectured temple, sacred little lake, dense forest, and panoramic mountains make for the best weekend getaways.
During winters, the place is covered in a thick blanket of snow, providing the stunning and alluring views of snow-capped mountain peaks.
About the Trek
During summers, Prashar is accessible via bus as well but many people trek to experience the beautiful trails. The Prashar Lake trek starts from a small village named Bagi, which is approximately 40 km from Mandi, Himachal Pradesh. The beautiful and mesmerizing views of Dhauladhar, Kinnaur & Pir Panjal mountain ranges during the trek can keep you motivated for the summit. Shimmering clouds, while passing through the forests, can surely amaze you.
The total distance of Prashar Lake trek is approximately 8 km which passes through dense forests and many small water streams. The route is a mix of moderate and steep ascent and can take approximately 5 hours to complete. It is advisable to carry packed lunch or some protein bars, as eatery shops are not in abundance.
In winters, the route is covered in a thick sheet of snow and the sight is heavenly. Trekking during the winters can give spikes in your adrenaline rush. Buses don’t ply till Prashar during winters, making trekking the only option to reach the serene place. If you are planning to trek in winters, come prepared with proper clothing and equipment.
Sunrise and Sunset from the top are so alluring that it can become a permanent part of your memory. The enchanting environment created after the sunset will surely take your breath away.
How to Reach
Mandi, Himachal Pradesh is the nearest connected town. If you are coming from Delhi, many buses ply from Delhi to Mandi on a daily bases. From Mandi, you can get a local bus directly till Prashar, which starts in the morning at 7:45 AM and drops you at Prashar at around 11:15 AM. The same bus comes back from Prashar to Mandi at 1:00 PM. If you want to trek, you can get down at Bagi, a small village 10 KM before Prashar. Another option is to book a private taxi, which will cost you around Rs 1000-1500 depending on the season.
- There is only a single bus that goes directly from Mandi to Prashar. So, plan your travel accordingly.
- During winters, buses go till Bagi village only, as the route further is covered in snow.
Best Time to Visit
The best part is that Prashar Lake is accessible all round the year. So, you can plan it any time of the year but it is advisable to avoid monsoon season due to many landslides in the area and slippery trails.
However, if you want to experience the lush green mountains and meadows, plan it in May-June & September-November and if you want to experience the white fairyland, plan it in December-February.
Prashar doesn’t have many accommodation options. Following are the number of options you can have:
- Forest Rest House, around 500 meters before the Prashar Lake is a beautiful guest house at a peaceful location. You can book it online from https://himachalecotourism.org/service/frh-prashar/ and its price is Rs 1000 per night.
- PWD guest house, opposite to forest rest house, is another great option. But they give priorities to government officials and they can confirm your accommodation only on the last day. So if you are visiting Prashar without any booking, you can try your luck here.
- Few tent accommodations are also available near the lake, which you can enquire upon reaching there.
- Prashar Temple also has some rooms available with very minimum amenities and is free of cost.
Following are food options available:
- If you staying in Forest Rest House or PWD Guest House, they have their own kitchen and can serve you delicious food.
- If you are staying in a tent or in the Temple, there are 2 small dhabas near the lake. Food options are limited here but good enough to fill your stomach.
How to Plan
As there is a single bus from Mandi to Prashar at 7:45 AM, plan to reach Mandi early in the morning and catch this bus. Even if you are planning to trek, starting early will be a good option. If you are directly going via bus, then you will reach Prashar at around 11:45 AM and if you are planning to trek, then you can reach by 4:00 PM. The day is at leisure, visit Prashar Lake and Temple, stroll around the place and get some rest. Catch the same bus the next day at 1:00 PM and come back to mandi and catch another bus for your further journey.
- Delhi – Mandi – Delhi (Volvo) – Rs 2500
- Mandi – Baggi & Prashar – Mandi – Rs 200
- 1 night (shared by 3 people) – Rs 1000/3 = Rs 333
- Food & Miscellaneous
- Rs 1500/head (approx)
Total Budget Cost = Rs 4,500/- (approx)
So, this was my experience with this abode of God! Let me know your views in the comments or if you want some more information.
Keep travelling & keep sharing experiences!