3rd July 2017, Monday………Day (4) Prashar Lake to Barot 100 km
It was a memorable night inside the car at Prashar Lake……!!!
Mist and rain kept coming and going throughout the night, and so was the sleep and waking. I did not cover the car, as I usually do at most times, because I had the comfort that ‘Munna Bhai’ was sleeping inside the car nearby and also, the weather was so romantic, that I felt like going out walking through the mist all the time.
Surprisingly, one or two vehicles arrived in the wee hours as well. A driver of one of those slept inside the car too. I met both of the drivers in the morning. They told me it was not new for them, they keep on doing it quite often.
Morning walk in such a beautiful surrounding was surreal. Along the mist and clouds, cool breeze with the scent of million flowers and plants were making, my body and spirit both ooze with awe and freshness. Wild flowers of varied hues and colors red, pink, blue, purple, yellow and white were swaying merrily with the breeze.
After enjoying morning walk for over an hour I went up the grassy path, crossed the barbed fencing at the nearest entry gate and went walking towards the huts and tents hoping to see someone awake.
It was good to see public toilets right at the entrance of the gate. No one was there at the place but later in the day I saw a man and a woman sitting closeby, cleaning and collecting the dues from users.
Since I did not have dinner the previous night and feeling hungry, so the first thing I was looking for was a cup of tea and something to eat. I walked towards the guest houses and restaurants on a side of the lake. No one was awake as yet.
Let me try the temple premises I thought and walked down the beautiful paved path and neat cemented stairs. Temple priest was up and was busy with his routine rituals. Few cool looking devotees were present as well. On asking, the priest directed me towards a shop on the back side of the temple, which was open.
The man running the shop behind the temple was very efficient. He told me that along the tea, parathas were available too. I smiled and told him that that was exactly what I was looking for. Tea and mixed paratha with achar and curd was real good, very tasty, hygienic and fairly priced. Moreso I was hungry, so enjoyed it thoroughly.
After eating refreshing breakfast I went into the temple and sat quietly on the stairs in front of the main deity, watching the priest praying, putting tilak on the forehead of devotees and distributing prasad. Little later, I too kneeled, prayed, got an orange tilak on my forehead and prasad.
Situated at a height of 9000 ASL, Prashar Lake is a small natural lake with a floating island, in the Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh. A three story pagoda type, beautiful, 13th century temple, dedicated to sage Prashar lies on the banks of the lake.
The lake is situated in a pristine surroundings with big grasslands and panoramic views of majestic mountains all around. Due to its easy proximity and beautiful setting, the place has become very touristy lately.
After paying my respects at the temple, I went walking around the lake. With the fresh scent of grass, plants and flowers, cool breeze and light drizzle, the walk around the lake was heavenly. Since it was bit early and drizzling, I had the whole path to myself barring meeting an occasional soul.
After having the full round, I climbed up the hill on the other side of the temple premises from where I guessed I could have a bird’s eye view of the whole lake, temple premises and surroundings.
Since I had disk extrusion few months ago I had some concern about my spine. Moreso, the grass and path was slippery due to rains, there was a fear of slipping and fall, yet I decided to go for it using a stick, umbrella and tripod as support.
Since there were not many people around, these goats seemed to have gotten a little taken aback fearing someone trespassing into their territory and looked at me with surprise. There was a barbed wire fencing in between us though, yet it presented a good opportunity for a photo click.
After having two rounds of the lake, one around the normal path and the other on the top of the hills around the lake, I went back to the place where Lalpari was parked. It was a pleasant surprise to see JIO network functioning so well at the place, It enabled me to remain connected with friends and family.
I heard there was a good camping accommodation about one kilometer beyond the parking lot at Prashar Lake. Out of curiosity I decided to drive and check for myself. Unluckily there was too much slush, the car began skidding and I had to return back even though the tented colony was visible and closeby.
The atmosphere at the lake was so good that my heart refused to leave the place even though I had already spent enough time at the lake. So in order to spend some more time, I climbed on the highest hill around the lake.
On the way I saw few tents near one of the other entrance to the Lake. Since camping is not allowed inside the barbed fencing, tents were placed outside but very close to the entrance to the lake.
Ever since I had disc extrusion, even a small climbing has become a bit of a challenge. Yet, as my desire was stronger than the challenge, I could make it to the top of the highest hill around the lake albeit with some huffing and puffing.
Stayed at the top for more than half an hour but throughout my stay, the clouds had engulfed the whole area and hid the whole view of the lake. It was only when I began walking down, the clouds scattered a little giving me an opportunity to click the full view of the lake and surroundings.
By the afternoon I had had enough of the lake and surroundings, yet the atmosphere and weather around was so good, I would have stayed for another night but for the fact that our new home was under construction and a call to return back home was on its way anytime.
Keeping this in mind I began driving slowly back thinking about staying for the night at Barot, yet another place which I have been to many times but never had enough of it.
It was good to see the farms along the road full with ripe white, green cauliflower and other vegetables. The area seems to be rich in production of vegetables as throughout the drive I saw people with large packing of vegetables, waiting for trucks for transporting the produce to Punjab, Haryana and Delhi.
The drive and the road till Kataula was good. From Kataula the drive became bit dull and rough due to heat and traffic. The road quality improved from Kamand may be due to IIT Mandi campus. At Katindi I noticed a board mentioning Katindi-Jhatingri Road (28 km). Checked with the locals and got the confirmation that the road was good.
As a habit I always look to drive on new roads. This was a God sent opportunity. I immediately lapped onto it and instead of using main Drang-Ghatasni (NH 20) to Barot, I decided to drive and explore this road.
And boy what a fantastic decision it was. The entire 28 kilometers road was on a kind of ridge and at times I could see valleys on both sides of the road. The narrow road passed through beautiful pahadi villages, mesmerising landscape, farms brimming with ripe, green vegetables.
The entire 28 kilometers drive till Jhatingri was so good that I thought I would be back soon and spend some more time in the area. I noticed at least two rest houses on the route, an FRH at Dayana Park and an IPH rest house at Jogini Dhar. The only downside was encounter with few local drivers drenched with daroo even at the day time.
From Jhatingri onwards the drive was normal as I have been on the road a number of times. It was getting dark too. So did not click many pictures thereafter. Reached Barot at around 7pm. As usual situated on both sides of the beautiful river Uhl the towns of Multhan and Barot looked fabulous.
Evening in Barot was spent walking along the beautiful, fast flowing, furious River Uhl. Sat quitely, had few drinks while contemplating on this beautiful life. Lost in my thoughts I got bit late only to find the whole of Barot and Multhan closed and the only restaurant open at that time was Suryavanshi.
I was their last customer and the only dish available at that time was egg curry and chapati. Even that one was good enough for me. After dinner, as I watched the shutters of Suryavanshi Restaurant go down, I parked the car in front of it, amongst few already parked cars and went to sleep, first time inside the car at Barot……!!!