26th November 2011, Saturday….Day(4) Manali-Prashar Lake-Chail Chowk 219 km
During one of my visits to Mandi few months back, an old wise man had described to me the beauty of Prashar lake and panoramic view of surrounding hills and valleys from hill top near Prashar lake. I have a knack for visiting new places and newer roads. So opportunity presented itself and I decided to grab it.
Prashar lake on my mind, got up to a crisp, sunny, cool morning at Manali. Morning rituals, breakfast, check out and I was on my way. Soon I was driving on beautiful road along the beautiful Beas river to Kullu, Bhuntar and Bajaura.
All along beautiful Beas river, Bajaura is a 55 km pleasant drive from Manali on NH 21. The road passes through some of the most busiest, bustling towns of Kullu valley.
At bajaura I turned right on state highway to Mandi for Prashar lake. After 26 kilometer drive on a narrow, lonely, beautiful road, reached a ‘Y’ junction. Straight road continues for Mandi (25 km) and left leads to Prashar Lake (23 km).
The road from here is a dirt trek, passes through thick, dark but beautiful forest. There are a number of water crossings. One should not be surprised if one doesn’t see any human or vehicle for many miles even though there are some small villages enroute.
Parked the car at a parking lot along the road. From there it’s around half a mile walk up the hill on a autumn burnt dry grass. The lake and temple area is maintained by a trust and is fenced all around with barbed wire. There are small iron gates to enter the area.
After walking half a mile, the first glimpse of the lake and pagoda shaped temple is a pretty sight. Presence of few young college boys and girls were giving it a very colorful look to otherwise calm and serene surroundings.
The three story pagoda shaped wooden temple is said to be constructed in the 13th century and held sacred to Rishi Parashar.
The Prashar lake with its blue water, unmeasured depth, is located at about 9000 ft above sea level and has a floating landmass in the middle.
After paying my respects at the temple, walked around the lake and went up on a nearby hill. At one point, the hike and angle of the climb was such that I felt like falling and rolling down the hill on my back.
On reaching the highest hill in the area I felt like a winner. The panoramic view of the Himalayas and Valleys was just amazing . I thanked the old wise man of Mandi who had built my dream describing the beauty of the place and planting a seed in my mind. Here I was, a few months after, living that dream.
In order to absorb the beauty of the place I closed my eyes and sat in silence for a while. I did not know how time just flew, I saw people leave the place and soon the lake area gave a very deserted look. Very few people stay here for the night. Evening was setting in. So I also decided to leave. Descended down to the road where my lalpari was parked.
There was a nice forest rest house at the place. Looking at the beauty of the place, for a moment I got double minded whether to stay or move down to the next destination. The chill in the air, paucity of electricity and food at the rest house made me to leave the place for some other time.
View of the surroundings from up the hill
Prashar Lake and Temple complex as viewed from the hill above
Prashar Lake and Temple complex from up above the hill
Drove back to Bajaura through forests of Prashar dhar and reached NH 21 before dark. Not sure where would I spend the night, started checking hotels at Pandoh and after reassurance from one of the filling station attendants, decided to drive on a state road to Chail Chowk.
There were three reasons for my decision to drive to Chail Chowk.
1. I had forgotten my photon plus viz device at the Hotel Hill View, Naldehra on my way up, which I needed to collect back.
2. There was a chance of going to Janjehli and Shikari Devi, the next day.
3. I like this drive…from Chail Chowk to Shimla via naldehra.
Having these thoughts in mind, drove on a secluded dark road to Chail Chowk via Pandoh. I was not sure whether I would find any good accommodation at Chail Chowk. At Chail Chowk I met a gentleman named Pankaj whom I had given lift on my way up. He helped me in finding a good accommodation at forest rest house Chail Chowk.
The Stay at Chail Chowk forest rest house was absolutely fantastic. The rest house was large, neat and well kept. I was the only resident of the rest house on that night. On my request, the caretaker brought liquor from the market and cooked nice simple food for me.
Took few drinks, ate simple but wonderful food comprising dal, sabzi, roti and salad and went deep down in the fantasy of my dreams, thinking of going to Shikari Devi, the next day……………………………….!!!!