A Hidden Lake, With A Feel Of Wanderlust: Parashar Lake, Himachal Pradesh
Parashar Lake is an high altitude fresh water sacred lake located in Mandi district of the Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh. Parashar lake is situated at an altitude of around 8,960 feet above sea level (2,730 metres).
It lies 49 km north of the town of Mandi and there are multiple ways of getting to the lake. The first option is to take the government bus which leaves in the morning at 08:00 HRS daily. It is better to confirm the timing of the bus a day prior to the journey. The bus takes around two and a half hours to reach Parashar Lake and leaves from the lake 30-40 minutes after reaching. The HRTC bus is the more economical way of getting to the lake.
The second option to reach the lake is to hire a taxi from Madi which makes the ride a lot more comfortable and faster but is also heaver on the pocket. The advantage of the taxi is that one can spend more time exploring the lake and the surrounding area.
The drive to Parashar Lake is very beautiful and takes travellers through a range of different terrains from arid mountains to unpaved muddy roads through the forest and then finally on top of a hill where one will see lush green pastures where sheep and goats can been seen grazing and a couple of small wooden huts along the way to the last point where vehicles can go up to which is about 98% of the way.
The last bit is a small hike which is more of an uphill climb with a walking path and a slight incline of around 50°. Once you enter a small gate and take a few steps forward one will be in awe struck by the sheer beauty of Parashar Lake. Travellers get a bird’s eye first view of the lake and a three storied pagoda-like temple dedicated to the sage Parashar and lush grass all around the place in summers and snow covered in winters.
With deep blue waters, the lake is considered very sacred to the sage Parashar and he is believed to have meditated there. Surrounded by snow-capped peaks and looking down on the fast flowing River Beas, the lake can be approached via Drang.
The temple was built in the 13th century and local legend has it that it was built by a baby from a single tree. The lake has a small floating island in it and it is said to be unclear how deep it is, with even divers not being able to determine its depth.
Accommodation provisions near Parashar Lake are very limited a couple of government rest houses which have to be pre-booked in the Himachal tourism office at Mandi and a handful of camping tents set up by the locals. One can even carry their own tent and pitch it on the hill over looking the lake.
The night sky at Parashar is so beautiful and one can easily see over a million stars and countless number of shooting stars. The village of Baggi 25 kms from the lake is the next closest village which has a couple of home stays and guest houses.
Food provisions are very basic with a couple of dhabas selling simple Maggie, dal rice and vegetable. The Maggie and chai (tea) served at the dhabas are a must try since they are cooked over fire wood which gives an extremely good taste and flavour.
Parashar Lake is accessible nearly all year round but the best time to visit the lake is during the summer months from March to May and during spring time from September to November. Warm clothes are always needed while visiting the lake since it gets really windy and cold up there.
The lake has plenty of big and furry mountain dogs which add to the beauty of the place and these dogs are extremely friendly and love posing for pictures. Parashar Lake is a place which is relatively still unknown and unexplored but just a single glimpse of the place and one will totally understand the meaning of wanderlust. The lake is a must visit for everyone.
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