A Re-kindling Affair with Manali & Parashar Lake
Manali was the last leg of the circuit starting from Delhi via Shimla to Manali and back to Delhi. Being warned about the off-road route from Chandratal to Manali, we started as early as 5.30am. It indeed was the most exhaustion route throughout the entire road trip until we reached Rohtang Pass. With a number of water streams violently flowing through the road, the level rises higher as the sun shines brighter and chances are high that your vehicle gets stuck. There are almost 20 to 23 water streams (Nalas) that you need to brave. The most challenging one is before reaching Rohtang Pass that directly flows from a massive waterfall right across the road, make sure you leave as early as possible from Chandratal.
- The only place you can grab some food before reaching Rohtang Pass is Chacha Chachi Dhaba at Batal. Make sure to pack something or have a good breakfast or else prepare to fast for the day. It is a long tiring journey.
- Start as early as possible from Chandratal or else you have to face the wrath of increasing water level making it difficult to cross.
- Stock up water, food and things needed because you won’t get anything while driving through the route.
- It is best if you can get an SUV for your road trip because it will make your journey if not much but better and comfortable.
Re-visiting Manali After 17 Years
Souvenirs in face of wooden frames painted freshly, little trinkets sold on the roadside, the smell of mouth-watering sweets – it all remained same. As I sat on the balcony of my resort, the twinkling lights amidst pine trees recreated the magic as the night rolled in – Dint I say some things never change? I took a plunge right back to the moment spent in Manali 17 years ago, my first visit as a silly school kid. I wondered – Indeed, it was an eventful journey of how far have I come in life.
The road trip to Spiti Valley was a beautiful exhaustion and Manali was the perfect alibi proving my tiredness from the journey. I did not want to do much but book a resort, sit in the balcony for a couple of hours at night and feel the breeze, which I did. I sat beguiled witnessing twinkling lights ornate the mountains and I surrendered to the moment as soft music played to my ear. It wasn’t until 2 am that I clumsily gave my back and eyes some rest and went off to sleep.
How to reach: There are direct buses available for Manali from New Delhi in case you are intending to travel to Manali.
Accommodation: There are so many resorts in Manali that accommodation is never a problem. The best place to stay is Old Manali because the charm never fades. I recommended Hotel Mountain Trail for the spectacular view from the balcony, something I found serenity in.
Manali to Parashar Lake – Journey Through Mist and Fog
I wasn’t very keen on spending hush rush time in Manali especially after glimpses of tourists hounding the streets of the quaint hill station. Having churned my brain for a while, Parashar Lake crawled in and finalised my impromptu plan. Having heard so much about the place and drooling over pictures splashed across internet, I could not hold my excitement to be finally going there.
About Parashar Lake
Parashar Lake is a captivating sight with panoramic mountain vistas of Dhauladhar ranges surrounding it. The oval-shaped lake located in Kullu Valley is a dramatic creation of nature with a small floating island. According to mythology, the lake represents water and Earth where 79% is represented by water and the dry floating Island represent 21% Earth. Right next to Parashar lake is a three-storied Pagoda styled temple dedicated to Saint Parashar. During monsoons, it leaves one spellbound with verdant environs surrounding the lake and winters bring the fresh laid white carpet of snow around the lake. The autumns aren’t the best season to go because it is barren around and quite a disappointment.
How to Reach Parashar Lake?
The closest accessible connecting city is Mandi which is around 43 km from Parashar Lake. There are direct buses available connecting Delhi to Mandi, Manali to Mandi and Chandigarh to Mandi. Unfortunately, since Parashar Lake is slightly off the route, you won’t get local transportation easily or shared cabs to Parashar Lake. To reach Parashar Lake, you need to hire a private cab from Mandi that will charge around Rs 1500 – 2000.
An HRTC bus is also known to operate from Mandi to Parashar via Kataula and Bagi that is expected to start from Mandi at around 7 am. The same bus as per sources leaves back for Mandi and reaches Parashar at around 1.15 am. (Although I am not very sure about the bus, you can check at Mandi Bus stop).
You can also opt to trek to Parashar Lake via Bagi village. There are many trek and tour organisers who conduct the trek.
The only accommodation at Parashar Lake is Forest Rest House which is mostly booked during peak seasons. If you intend to stay at Parashar, make sure you call and sort your bookings. The price for rooms is around Rs 500 to 1000/-. Please check online for the number, unfortunately, I don’t have it.
Alternatively, you can stay at Mandi. I opted to stay at Mandi as it is more accessible with more options. There are many budget hotels and resorts available in Mandi. I stayed at Hotel River Bank and booked my room via www.ibibo.com.
Why visit Parashar Lake?
Although, it isn’t the most beautiful place I visited but spectacular enough to catch you agape. It slowly rolls you in its magical whim as the mist, air and fog playfully entice you. Oh! Imagine a small high altitude lake, little floating island and all of it surrounded by so much green, as far as your eyes can see. Is not it magical enough for you to want to visit the place?
Even before reaching the lake, the roads dubiously lead you through pine trees and blanket of fog does not miss on making its appearance. It is a narrow, scary road but the beauty awakens even the most lackadaisical thoughts. It is a beautiful journey from Mandi to Parashar Lake – Himalayan roads, gorgeous view of mountains, misty and fresh zephyr, welcoming pine trees and meadows so beautiful, you see it all.
There is not much to do around until you are up for some adventure and climbing. The lake is surrounded by mountain ranges is a paradise for trekkers. With some extra time in hand or a day to spend at Parashar Lake, you can definitely climb the mountain foot, walk around and take a grand look from the top with the lake and temple in the same frame. Seek blessings at the temple dedicated to Saint Parashar before head out.
Wrapping up the epic road trip to Spiti Valley with Parashar Lake, next day it was time to leave for New Delhi. It was one of the most beautiful journeys of my life and everything will be cherished with perpetual happiness. We move on in life, we reach out to new destinations, meet new people but only a few things stay, this journey of 10 days is undoubtedly one of them.:-) 🙂