In 2016, we attempted our first ever trek to the famous Kheerganga mountains. And the next week, we attempted another Himachal trek which was the alluring Prashar Lake trek. When we attempted both these treks, we were still new to traveling and were quite worried about the experience.
But what we didn’t realize is how these travel and trekking experiences will change us and make us who we are. Nowadays, you will find a lot of people going for the Prashar Lake trek on weekends. But till 3 years back, this was not such a famous trek and you wouldn’t see a lot of travelers around here.
Yet we enjoyed our experience of this amazing place and even made some great friends on the way. So, if you are planning to undertake the Prashar Lake trek too, then below we have noted down all the information. Sure, you can choose a travel company to plan your trek. However, if you want the best experience then we would advise you to plan your trek yourself, just like we did.
And guess what, you can easily manage the Prashar Lake trek from Delhi in just 2000 – 2500 INR!
Also Read: Kasol, Tosh and Malana Travel Guide
Prashar Lake Trek
Prashar Lake is located 60 km north of Mandi and lies next to a three-storeyed pagoda-like temple. Situated at an altitude of about 2730 m, Prashar Lake is surrounded by the mesmerizing Dhauladhar ranges. In fact, you get a 180-degree view of the Dhauladhar, Kinnaur, and Pir Pinjal mountain ranges from here.
The pagoda-like temple next to the lake uses the traditional Himachali architecture and is dedicated to sage Prashar. According to the locals, the temple was built in the 13th century by a baby using a single tree. It is also said that this is the place where sage Prashar used to meditate which is why this lake is considered quite sacred by the locals. But these are just a few of the many stories about this place which makes this lake so mysterious to the travelers.
here is also a small floating island located in the lake which moves around the lake. Made up of plant matter in different decomposition stages, the island floats due to the oxygen released by the plants’ roots. One of the most interesting things about this place is that no one knows the exact depth of this lake.
Why Should You Go to Prashar Lake?
One of the easier treks, Prashar Lake trek is the best way to enter the world of mountains. And since there is a motorable road connecting Baggi Village to Prashar, you can also take the easy way out. But honestly, the trek is quite simple and can be attempted with children as well.
Now, you might ask why you should go to Prashar Lake out of all the places in Himachal. Well, there are a couple of reasons why a trip to this place is a must.
Firstly, it is a beautiful spot where you are surrounded by gorgeous mountain ranges. On the entire trek, you will be presented with some incredible views which will make this 3-4 hour trek completely worth it. And since not many people still come to this spot, you can enjoy some peace and quiet as well.
Another reason why you should visit this place is that the night sky is completely magical here. On a clear night, you can see the stars and the moon shine brightly in the sky. So, if you are interested in astrophotography or just admiring the night sky, then this is definitely a good place to visit.
Also, you can enjoy the most amazing sunsets and sunrises from the hilltop here. You can watch the sun go down behind the hill, giving off a warm golden glow to the lake and the temple. And if you are an early bird then you can even catch a mesmerizing sunrise from the hilltop here.
In the morning, the first rays of the sun peek out from behind the clouds and wash away the whole place in a magical golden hue.
The Prashar Lake trek is in itself an amazing experience. It is not overly exerting or hard like other treks. However, it is a little challenging as you need to climb up the steep hill for 3-4 hours to reach the lake. And the meadow on the way is a must-stop place to witness the beauty of the surrounding mountain ranges.
Finally, visit this place to hear the stories about the mysterious lake from the locals. Also, if you notice, the small island in the lake changes positions. In fact, we ourselves witnessed it making a full round on our 2-day stay here.
How to reach Prashar Lake
As I mentioned before, Prashar Lake is accessible by a motorable road. So, there are a couple of ways in which you can reach here.
Below we have mentioned the different transportation options that you can choose in order to reach Prashar Lake.
For reaching Prashar Lake, you first need to reach Mandi. And since Mandi is a major hub in Himachal Pradesh, there are several ways to reach here.
Kullu airport is the nearest airport to Mandi at a distance of 75 km. You get regular flights to Kullu from Delhi and Shimla. So, if you are short on time then you can reach Delhi and take a flight to Kullu.
From Kullu, you will get both local buses and taxis to reach Mandi. The buses will cost around 50 – 100 INR from Kullu to Mandi, depending on the bus type. As for the taxis, they will easily charge you around 1000 INR for the 1.5 to 2-hour drive.
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Kalka is the nearest major railway station near Mandi. And it is well-connected to several major cities in India like Delhi, Chandigarh, Kolkata, and so on. So, you can easily take a train to the Kalka station which is around 175 km from Mandi.
From Kalka, you can take a taxi to Mandi for around 2500 – 3000 INR. Another option is to take the Himalayan Queen Express to reach Dharampur and then take a taxi to Mandi for 2000 – 2500 INR. But honestly, this is a long journey if you are coming from a distant location.
Finally, you can reach Mandi by road in your own transport or using public transportation. There are buses from Shimla, Delhi, Chandigarh, etc. to Mandi regularly. There are both private and public HRTC buses available. And you have an option to choose an ordinary, Volvo, or a minivan for your journey.
An ordinary bus from Delhi to Mandi will cost you around 550 – 580 INR whereas a Volvo will cost you 1250 INR. If you choose a private bus from one of the bus booking apps, then you might find a Volvo AC bus for 850 – 1000 INR. It takes around 12 hours to reach Mandi from Delhi in a bus. The cheapest bus from Chandigarh to Mandi will cost you around 300 INR and will take around 6 hours to reach.
As mentioned above, you can also drive to Mandi in your own car. Mandi is around 140 km from Shimla,180 km from Chandigarh, and 430 km from Delhi. So, you can easily enjoy a road trip to Mandi from these and other nearby locations. For state transport buses, you can check the prices here.
Mandi to Bagi Village
Once you have reached Mandi, you need to reach Bagi Village which is around 50 km away. It takes approximately 2-2.5 hours to reach this village. From Bagi village, Prashar lake is just 10 km by road and 5-6 km via the forest route.
There are majorly two ways in which you can reach the Bagi village: taxis and buses.
A taxi to Bagi Village will cost somewhere around 1000 INR and will take around 2 hours to reach. This is a good option if you are a group of people so that the cost can be shared.
After reaching Bagi village, you can choose to wait for the bus to Prashar Lake or you can trek through the forest route.
There are also buses for Bagi village which will take around 3 hours to reach and cost approximately 20 – 30 INR. But the frequency of these buses is quite low and there is only 1 bus leaving every hour for Bagi.
So, if you are short on time then this might not be the best option for you.
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Bagi Village to Prashar Lake
Once you have reached Bagi village, Prashar Lake is quite close. There are three ways for you to cover the Bagi to Prashar Lake distance.
And if you are planning to trek then this is also the starting point of the trek trail. You can either trek from Bagi to Prashar through the forest route which is shorter or you can hike along the road to Prashar from Bagi which is around 11-13 km. You also have an option to take the bus from Mandi to Prashar but there are only two buses which leave at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and would cost you around 20-30 bucks.
If you are short on time and are not a big fan of trekking then you can also take a taxi to Prashar Lake. A taxi from Mandi to Prashar Lake will cost you about 2000 – 2500 INR for one side. It will take around 2.5 to 3-hours to reach.
Another option is to take the buses to Prashar Lake which usually leaves Mandi at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. There are currently only 2 buses daily leaving for Prashar Lake. So if you miss these, you will have to either take a taxi or trek to the lake.
The cost of this bus is around 50 INR and takes around 4-5 hours to complete the journey.
Finally, if you are a trekking enthusiast then you can also trek from Bagi village to Prashar Lake. Prashar Lake trek is a 5-6 km trek through the forest path and will take around 3-4 hours to reach. The trek is mostly easy with a few steep ascents on the way. But you get to see gorgeous views and you can also rest in the meadows on the way.
Prashar Lake to Mandi
For coming back, you can trek to Bagi and take a bus from there to Mandi. Another option is to take the 1.30 p.m. bus from Prashar lake which will drop you off at Mandi around 5 p.m.
Also Read: Kheerganga Trekking Guide
Prashar Lake Trek Route Details
Prashar Lake is 10 km from Bagi via road and 5-6 km via the forest route. Make sure that you start early if you want to reach the lake on time. It is a 3-4 hour trek one side and you will be crossing a few forested areas and meadows on the way too.
If you would like to take the bus to Prashar, then you would need to reach Mandi by 9-9.30 a.m. However, if you plan to trek, then you need to start around 1 p.m. at the most from Bagi. If you start at this time, only then you would reach Prashar by 5 p.m. before the sunset.
Also, if you are trekking during the monsoon period then you will encounter a lot of leeches on the trail. Make sure your arms and legs are covered at all times. And do check periodically for any leeches on your clothes and shoes.
Prashar Lake trek is quite simple and easy. But as mentioned before, it is mostly an uphill route. So, you might tire easily when ascending on the hill. Also, it would be advisable to take a local guide with you who knows the route else you might get a little lost in the forest.
From Bagi village, you need to walk for at least 1-2 Kms on rocky terrain. After that, you will come across the forest trail which goes on for another 3-4 km. Remember that once you are in the forest region, stick to the right side uphill path. Do not go straight on the trail as you can get lost. Always, take the right side trail which is going uphill to stay on the Prashar Lake trek route.
After you complete 3-4 km, which will take around 1.5-2 hours, you will come across a small meadow. From here, you can enjoy a good view of the surrounding mountains. After you have crossed the meadow, you will re-enter the tree-covered area which would be a climb of 15-20 minutes.
After the climb, you will see a few huts which means you have almost completed the Prashar Lake trek. From here, Prashar is barely 1 km away. You just need to walk in the direction of the huts and buildings and after 20-30 minutes, you will see the main road.
A 5-10 minute walk on this road will take you to the Prashar Lake enclosure. Finally, you have completed the Prashar Lake trek and can choose to camp or stay for the night near the lake and then leave the next day.
You can take the 1.30 p.m. bus to Mandi the next day. But if you want to trek back, then you would need to leave early at around 9 a.m. This will help you reach Bagi on time to catch the bus leaving Prashar to Mandi.
Best time for Prashar Lake Trek
Although Prashar Lake trek can be completed throughout the year, each season offers something unique to the trekkers. Below, we have mentioned what you can expect in each season here.
Summer Season (March – June)
If you are trying to escape the heat then summertime is a good time to embark on the Prashar Lake trek. The air is cool at this time and you will enjoy camping near the lake. But make sure you carry sufficient water for the trek as you can get easily dehydrated on the way.
Monsoon Season (July – September)
You can opt to do the Prashar Lake all round the year but it is especially beautiful just after the monsoons and during the snowfall. If you are looking to spend some time during the lush greenery, then we would suggest you go just immediately after monsoons.
Do remember that the Prashar Lake trek trail will be muddy and slippery during this time. And there will be a lot of leeches on the way. So, dress appropriately and wear proper trekking shoes.
Although the roads are closed from December to February due to snowfall, it is still possible for you to undertake the Prashar Lake trek. However, you would need snow trekking equipment in order to attempt it.
And it would be wise to choose a trekking company or a local guide for the trek to Prashar Lake as the entire route is covered with snow. So, accidents are likely to occur if you aren’t careful.
ATMs in Prashar
You will find no ATM available on the Prashar Lake trek from Bagi Village. So, make sure you withdraw sufficient cash before leaving. There are a couple of ATMs in Suran and Kataula but these are likely to have no cash in them. So, if you need to withdraw cash, do it in Mandi itself.
Network Availability in Prashar
You won’t find a strong mobile network connection on the Prashar lake trek at any point. There won’t be any signal on the trail itself but once you reach the lake, you might get a little signal on JIO or BSNL sims.
However, the signal is quite intermittent so finish your important calls in Mandi.
Also Read: Tirthan Valley Travel Guide
Where to Stay near Prashar Lake
In terms of accommodation, you won’t find a lack of options here. So, once you complete the Prashar Lake trek, you have there are three options to choose from, depending on your budget.
In the past few years, a lot of camping sites have opened up around here so you can simply book a stay with them. These camp properties can charge you anywhere between 500 – 1200 INR for a day, depending on whether you choose to eat your meals there or not.
A few camping properties worth noting are Prashar Camps Flysports, Parashar Adventure Camps, and Prashar Lake Krishna Camp. One thing to note is that you will not find private washrooms here except in Krishna Camp. So, you will have to use the public washroom (which is dirty) or choose another stay option.
Bring Your Own Camp
One of the most popular options for a stay near Prashar Lake is to stay in tents. You can choose to get your own camping equipment or you can hire a tent for the night here. The camping tent will cost you around 300 – 500 INR per person here.
It gets really cold at night in Prashar. So, if you are getting your own tent, don’t forget to get a warm sleeping bag and sleeping mattress as well. If you don’t then you will end up shivering in cold the entire night.
There is also a toilet and a bathroom here. So, if you wish then you can take a bath here too. However, they are closed during the evenings so you will need to relieve yourself somewhere inconspicuously.
Also, the toilets and the bathrooms are quite bad near the lake so, I would advise you to avoid them if you can.
Forest Reserve Guesthouse and PWD Rest House
Another option is to take a room in the Forest Rest House or Trekker’s hut here. There are two guesthouses here, located around a km from the lake. There are limited rooms here so make sure you book in advance. You will see them on your Prashar Lake trek before you reach the lake itself.
You can call DFO Mandi at 01905-23536 or RFO Mandi at 01905-269485 to book a room for yourself. A room here is likely to cost you around 500-700 INR.
Dormitory at the Temple Complex
You can also stay in the dormitory in the Prashar temple. We aren’t sure of the cost but it shouldn’t cost you more than 300-400 INR for a night. But do remember that the facilities are quite basic here.
If you opt to stay in Mandi and just attempt Prashar Lake trek as a day trek, then you can check out stay options in this Search Finder.
Hotels and Homestays Near Prashar Lake
There are a few hotels and homestays also that have cropped up near Prashar Lake in the past couple of years. So, you can contact them in advance to book a room there. These hotels are around 7 – 10 km away from the lake and can easily be reached via trek or a car.
Where and What to Eat
You won’t find any food stalls or options available on the Prashar Lake trek trail. So, make sure you carry enough water and snacks with you for the trek. The last major village to stock up will be Bagi village and the prices are slightly on the higher side here.
At Prashar, you would find a couple of dhabas but they have limited food options. You would get Rajma Chawla and a few other dishes here, so don’t expect too much. Rajma Chawla is actually pretty great over here so, do try it out. A simple meal here will cost you around 70 – 100 INR and will be quite filling.
You can also take your own Maggi or Wai Wai and ask them to prepare it for you. They would take some service charge (around 10-20 INR) for it but they would do it for you.
Legends and Stories about Prashar Lake
Apart from the picturesque landscape and the exciting Prashar Lake trek, this place is also known for its interesting legends. There are several captivating stories associated with this lake which makes it an enticing mystery spot to visit. Here are a few of the top stories about this place.
Legend Number 1
It is said that this was the place where Prashar rishi used to meditate in the earlier times. And Prashar lake was the barrier against the demons who tried to enter the world. Sage Prashar had a faithful devotee who volunteered to go into the lake and kill the demons to protect the world once and for all.
According to the locals, the lake water started overflowing and threatened to drown this place. In order to stop this, sage Prashar’s devotee went into the lake and didn’t come out for another 4-5 days. No one knew if he was dead or alive. Finally, on the fifth day, he came out of the lake and water receded back to its original level.
From then on, he stayed with Prashar rishi here and made the Pagoda-like temple in his honor.
Legend Number 2
Another popular legend about this place is the formation of the lake. It is said that Bheema, one of the Pandavas, created this lake. According to the story, Pandavas were returning after the Kurukshetra war with Lord Kamrunag.
Lord Kamrunag fell in love with this place so Bheema used his elbow to create a dent which is Prashar Lake. According to the locals, the lake is in the shape of Bheema’s elbow which is why this region is known as Kamru valley. And the lake is also known as the Kamrunag lake.
Story Number 1
All the locals say that no one knows the exact depth of this lake. Many people have tried to find out the depth but all have failed. In fact, once a few people came with all the measuring devices and a long rope but they still couldn’t figure out the depth.
The locals have seen long trees being drowned in this lake with not a glimpse on the surface.
Story Number 2
The small island inside the lake moves according to the climate. When it is going to be bad weather, it moves to the left side of the temple. And when it is going to be warm, it moves to the right side. This is what the locals believe but we don’t have any proof for it.
But we did witness the floating island moving and make a full circle of the lake.
These are all the stories told to us by the locals to us. We don’t claim these to be 100% true.
Also Read: Rajgundha Valley Trek Guide
Prashar Lake is one of the lesser frequented treks these days. This is because there is a proper road leading to this lake. However, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a beautiful and worthy trek to attempt. If you are new to trekking or if it is your first time, then Prashar lake trek is a good choice for you.
The route is easy and you have so many amazing views to enjoy on the way. But make sure that you are properly prepared for the trek and have the necessary equipment and trekking items with you. I hope this article helps you plan your trek to this beautiful, mysterious location.
And if there are some new updates on the prices or the facilities, do let us know in the comments. 🙂
Important Note: If you are female travelers, you don’t need to worry much. Prashar is a safe place for female travelers and you can stay in a tent without much of an issue.
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