Located in the Northern part of India, also known as the lands of the gods, Himachal Pradesh is a great destination for travel lovers. Himachal is famous for its wide range of flora and a wide range of travel destinations that can be visited throughout the year. Himachal is a great place for nature lovers, adventure enthusiasts, peace and travel lovers, and for one’s who are spiritually inclined. It emits a powerful aura of spirituality and peacefulness that attracts a number of people from far around the world. As known as the land of gods, there are hundreds of temples, monasteries, and other religious places in Himachal. Each and every place has its own scenic beauty and mysteries behind too. Prashar lake is one of those wonders whose majestic natural beauty attracts people to experience the peace and tranquility that the place offers.
A Glimpse of the Valley :
Surrounded by Dhauladhar ranges, Prashar Lake is one of the most beautiful and offbeat locations in Himachal Pradesh. Situated at 50km from the north of Mandi, Prashar Lake is an oval-shaped lake comprising a small floating island. With deep blue waters, Prashar lake offers an enormous 180degree view of the surrounding Dhauladhar, Pir Panjal, and Kinnaur mountain ranges. The lake is located at an elevation of 2730m (8,960 ft) above sea level and holds a number of mysteries. A three-storied pagoda-like temple is situated next to the lake, which is dedicated to the (sage) Rishi Prashar. It is believed that the Rishi Prashar used to meditate here, due to which the place is considered sacred by the locals. The pagoda-like temple was built in the 13th century under the patronage of Ban Sen(King of Mandi), with the help of the traditional Himachali architecture. It is believed that the whole temple is built on a single Deodar tree. There are a number of other stories about this place which makes this lake so mysterious.
The Prashar lake covers a circumference of 1.5kms and its primary water source is rainwater and glacier’s meltwater. The lake’s area has been surrounded by dense forest and is an awesome place for trekkers, nature lovers, and explorers. The fresh air and soothing environment here provides pleasant vibes filled with positiveness. After reaching the top of the valley, one can find a number of cows, lambs, and horses grazing there. Also, there are a number of small mud houses at the top of the place built by Gaddis and Gujjars. This pleasant location enriches you with a lot of positive vibes and is a great place for travellers who want to spend their precious time within the lapse of mother nature and want to explore the mysteries behind this sacred place.
Historical Significance :
There are a number of mysteries about this sacred place. Like other spiritual places in Himachal, this one too has a mythological history behind it. Some of the local groups of people here used to believe that the Rishi(sage) Prashar used to have meditation on the banks of this lake, due to which the lake derives its name as Prashar Lake. As discussed above, the three-story pagoda-shaped temple built here is dedicated to the Rishi Prashar.
Another group of people believed that this place has connections with the Pandavas. The story says, that after the Mahabharata War, the Pandavas were returning with the Lord Kamrunag. When they reached this place, then the Lord Kamrunag was stunned by the beauty of this place, he loved the peaceful environment here and decide to live here forever. So the Bheem, one of the Pandavas brothers who is believed to be one of the strongest warriors of that time, rammed his elbow into one of the mountains which created a big dent in the land. This dent later turns out to be today’s Prashar Lake.
Population and Livelihood :
Prashar Lake is isolated from any kind of track progress and development. People here live a simple life and are far away from modern technologies and scientific development. The climate here remains cold for around 6 months. During winters the place becomes extremely cold, which makes the locals’ life hard during winters. A meager population is residing here due to the adverse climate and terrain of the place. A maximum of the population here depends majorly upon the agricultural activities for their daily needs. Most of the people residing around the Prashar Lake are priests and are responsible for the maintenance of the temple. Other people here belong to the clans of Gaddis and Gujjars.
Here the communication, education, sanitation, electricity, medication, and health care facilities are not that great due to the slow development rate. In fact, the network coverage here is weak or almost no coverage due to which locals here are socially isolated from their relatives residing in the rest part of the world. The electricity supply here gets shut-off during landslides and winters. The people residing here are eagerly waiting for development and economic growth.
Reasons to Visit Here :
There are a couple of reasons to visit such an incredible place which are described below:
Location of the place: The main reason to visit here is the location of the place. As located in the middle of the captivating mountains, the Prashar provides a beautiful view of the surrounding mountain ranges. The place often looks like heaven during winters when the lake freezes and mountains get covered with snow which is quite delightful to watch. The lake water consists of a number of beautiful fishes which attracts the tourists visiting here. Since not many people come to this spot, which is the reason why this place remains peaceful throughout the year. This place is a must-visit for those who want to spend some time connecting with nature and want to experience inner-peace.
Mysteries behind the place: The place holds a number of mysteries behind it. Those who want to discover this mysterious must here once. One of the most famous mysteries here is the floating island within the lake, which here is locally called “Tehla” (referring to continuously moving). This island floats within the lake and constitutes 29% area of the lake and the rest 71% content is water(exactly the same case as of the earth’s landmass). Another mystery of this deep blue water lake is that no one till now knows the exact depth of the lake.
Trek to the Lake: Trekking is a great way to get connected with nature, it’s all about to discover the infiniteness and beauty of nature on each footstep. Trekking here will provide you a life remembering experience. It is one of the easiest treks and is a great way to discover the Himalayas. One of the easiest treks, the Prashar Lake trek is the best way to enter the world of mountains and experience the beauty of the hills. The trek is quite simple and can be completed by children too. There are various trekking routes to Prashar Lake depending upon one’s preferences.
Panoramic views of the sky: One of the main characteristics of this place is the beautiful view of the sky. The sky is as clear and blue here. The place provides one of the most eye-pleasing sunsets and sunrises. Just imagine, when the sun goes down behind the hill and the sky gets filled with a warm golden-yellow shade all around, how pleasing it is. While during the sunrise, the rays of the sun extending from the clouds give a golden glow to the lake and the temple and turn the whole place magical for a while. The experience of watching the sunsets and sunrises from the top of the hills is mesmerizing. Prashar Lake becomes completely phenomenal during nighttime. Even the sky here remains clear during nights, and one can clearly see the bright stars twinkling and the moon shining brightly in the infinite sky.
Best time to visit :
Summer Season: The valley is definitely a good place and retains a cool temperature throughout the whole year. It is a great place for those who want to escape the scorching heat during summer. The summer season here starts from the season of March and ends till June.
You can experience cool and calm air during the season and can wander between the beautiful green valley which pleasures your mind and body. You can also enjoy your day on the riverside. You can experience nature in its purest form during this season. Each year a local fair known as “SARANAUHALI MELA” is organized here in the month of June. Every year, a huge crowd of people gathers here at this fair. If you want to explore the Himachali deities and tradition, then visiting here during June will be the right choice.
Monsoon Season: The monsoon season here is from July to September. The lake here can be visited during the monsoon season too and even trek here can also be opted. But it is not advisable as the heavy rain can harm the fun and experience of the trek. During monsoon, the roads in such hilly areas can be damaged due to landslides which may cause trouble. It will be the best option if you plan to visit here just after the monsoon season. During this time of the year, the temperature becomes pleasant and there is greenery all around.
Winter Season: The winter months here are from November to February. During the winter season, the roads may get close here due to heavy snowfall. But depending upon the condition it is still possible for you to visit here and have a try at the Prashar Lake trek. The lake freezes here during this snowy season as the temperature drops down below zero degrees. If you love to play with snow then the winter season is the right time as you can enjoy the beauty of the frozen-lake surrounded by the snow-covered hills.
How to Reach :
Prashar Lake is easily accessible by road. The road leading to Prashar is very adventurous. You will get awesome breathtaking views during your journey to Prashar via road. The road passes through the dense jungle and a number of wild animals can be spotted on the way. The nearest village to the Prashar Lake is Baggi village whereas the nearest town to the Prashar lake is Mandi, which is around 50km from the lake. There are a couple of ways in which one can reach Prashar lake. To reach Prashar you have to first visit Mandi, from where you can head over to the Prashar. The different transportation modes for reaching Prashar Lake are described below:
By Road: There are two routes for reaching the Prashar Lake which is Mandi- Baggi -Prashar which is around 50km. Another route is from Kullu-Bhuntar-Baggi-Prashar which is approximately 65km. The best option among these is the Mandi-Prashar route. The journey of this Mandi route starts from Mandi via the Kataula route and goes through Katindhi, Kamand, Kataula, Shagli up to Baggi village. The condition of the road till Baggi is fine and thereafter the road becomes rough and difficult to drive. The distance from the Baggi village till Prashar is about 11km and it is the last village on the way to Prashar Lake. You can also trek from Baggi to Prashar Lake which will make your journey more enjoyable.
Bus: To reach Prashar An HRTC bus operates through Prsahar and Mandi on a daily basis. The bus journey starts from the mandi bus stand at 7:00 AM and reaches the Prashar Lake at around 11:15 AM. The same bus returns to Mandi starting from Prashar at 1:30PM and reaching Mandi at 5:00 PM approx. The bus journey will take around 3hours and costs somewhere between 30-40 INR. Buses do not operate at Prashar during the winter season because of the snowfall and bad road conditions.
The travellers heading from far location to Prashar via bus must reach Mandi. After reaching Mandi, one can reach Prashar by either bus or taxi. To reach Mandi there are a number of buses operating from Delhi, Chandigarh, and other major cities from Himachal. There are a couple of options available government-owned buses, private-owned buses, minivans, ordinary and deluxe buses depending upon your preference.
Taxi: A taxi from Mandi to Prashar lake will cost you around 1200 INR and the will take around 2.5 – 3hours to reach. You can book the taxi on a shared basis which will reduce the taxi fare.
Personal Vehicle: One can cover the entire journey in their own vehicle. It will be the best option as one can enjoy the beauty of the whole journey. Mandi is around 195km from Chandigarh, 130km from Shimla, and 425km from Delhi. Mandi is around 140 km from Shimla,180 km from Chandigarh, and 430 km from Delhi. This is a perfect option for those who love motorbiking.
By Air: Bhuntar Airport at Kullu is the nearest airport from Mandi at a distance of 55kms. Bhuntar airport connects to major cities like Delhi and Chandigarh. After reaching the airport, you will get a couple of local buses and taxi services to Mandi. The bus fare will be around 80-100 Rs approx. Whereas taxi will charge somewhere around 1100-1400 Rs. From Mandi, you can follow the same route to Prashar as described above.
By Train: The nearest railway station from Mandi is Joginder Nagar Railway station, located 65km away. The railway station is connected to the major Pathankot Railway terminal. Two passenger trains operate between Joginder Nagar and Pathankot railway stations. After reaching Joginder Nagar, you will get a couple of buses and taxi services to the Mandi. The bus fare will somewhere cost around 70-140 INR depending on the bus type. The taxi on the other hand will cost around 1300-1700 Rs.
ATM and Cash Availability :
There is not even a single ATM available on Prashar Lake. So, it is advisable to withdraw cash within Mandi itself before heading to Prashar Lake.
Network Availability :
The network coverage here is not that great. It is advisable to attend your important calls within Mandi itself.