Snow Trek To Parashar

Amidst the hustle-bustle of the newly started semester of BTech, a group of 60 enthusiastic students, having backpacks filled with snacks on their shoulders started an adventurous journey towards one of the most prominent places of Mandi District, called the Parashar.

Packed in a couple of institute buses, as we left our college around 8:15 in the morning with the hot, blazing sun shining in all its glory, we started witnessing the breathtaking views of the beautiful and fabled Uhl river flowing at the foot of the magnificent and alluring mountains. As the bus kept moving forward along the Uhl river, we came across cascades, tiny shops and small villages with houses made of stone, leaving us wondering about the simple lifestyle of the local people and hardships they face in their day-to-day lives.

Planning and deciding the trek route is not an easy task as we need to keep the group intact as well as the trek on schedule. There are many ways to go to Prashar, one of the most common route starts from Baggi village which is at a distance of about 18 km from Prashar. The trail is rocky for about a kilometer looking over the Vyas river followed by 1.5 kilometers of a wide bridge walk. This beautiful trail offers going through thick and dense pine forest where one can admire the beauty of mother nature in various shades of green.

There were several other treks starting from various checkpoints but due to time constraints and the fact that the trail was covered with snow and the group size was large, we decided not to take these trails.

So, we went through Baggi, Suda and Kandhal villages to reach a place with a small shop called “Bogchi Cafe”, located at a distance of 7 kms from the Prashar Lake. Our hopes got high seeing the snow-capped mountains of the mighty Himalayas wearing the turban of fog and clouds. There, the trek leaders provided “Aloo parathas” for lunch and bananas for energy to all the people. Around 9:50 am we started the trek, going one after the other in a single line.

The spectacular view of Dhauladhar range from starting point

The initial part was the most difficult one as it was a steep ascend and many people started gasping and taking halts. We went on stony ladders followed by going through thorny bushes and stones with sticky mud. After some time we caught the sight of snow resting in our path but as it was hard, it made our trek more difficult by increasing the risk of slipping while ascending. Some experienced trekkers along with trek leaders made sure that no one lagged behind by checking on the last ones from time to time and helped us during difficult and very steep climbs. As the first half hour of trek passed, we finally came to the road which led directly to Prashar which made the remaining trek relatively quite easy.

The enchanting snow trail

As we moved forward, we felt an adrenaline rush going through our bodies as the various patches of melted ice got converted to “everything covered with snow”.

Our excitement was increasing rapidly as we marched to cover the remaining 4 kms.

Chilly air reminded us of the importance of toques, gloves, and warm layers. Around 3 km from Parashar, there came a picturesque view of a hill fully covered with snow.

Many people went uphill for snow-fighting, making snow-angels and most importantly, for sliding on snow, despite the fact that they will get wet and might get ill. At that time I realized that it’s sometimes important to let go of logistics and fears and become a child to just enjoy the present. Others too, started to climb that hill. Little did we know that we would come across a lot of surprises, not all pleasant ones. As we started ascending, our feet sank in the snow upto our knees. Any step forward and it had the same fate!! As we struggled to go up, getting stuck many times, one of us got an idea to put our foot in already-made-footprints made by others to reach the top. The struggle proved to be worthy as we got to see a 180 degree panoramic vistas of the Dhauladhar, Pir Panjal and Kinnaur mountain ranges. Our feet and hands got numb due to ice that got stuck in our clothes but at that time I saw none of us was shivering but rather, playing and celebrating this trip as if there was no tomorrow. That view cast a spell on all of us and we all wanted to just stay there to feel the scenery and to get submerged in its beauty. As we had limited time, we had to leave the place. With heavy hearts we bid goodbye to that beautiful place after creating lots of memories and capturing photos and videos on our smartphones. At that time I felt the phrase “Sometimes journeys are more important than the destinations”. The usual meadows with apple orchards, sheeps grazing and shepherds guarding them was replaced by the lone yet delightful view of meadows under the thick blanket of snow. Finally around noon as we reached our destination, all the tiredness and fatigue vanished. The crystal blue sky with lush green trees on the copper brown hills were a treat to the eyes. The lake , reflecting the rays of sun , sparkled like the twinkling stars of night.

The magnificent Prashar Lake

As mysterious and tranquil the lake is, it also has a lot of history. With deep blue waters, the lake is held sacred to the sage Prashar and he is regarded to have meditated there. The lake has small ridges on all sides, as if they are there to guard it. The 3-storey Pagoda temple, demonstrating the beautiful and riveting Himachali architecture, is said to have been built in the thirteenth century, blending perfectly with the landscape. Legend says it was built by a baby from a single Deodar tree. The lake has a floating island in it called “Tahla” in Hindi and it is said to be unclear how deep it is, with a diver not being able to determine its depth. Spiritual people relate the revolution of the floating island to the cycle of sins and virtuous deeds of people. Scientifically, it is due to the fact that the ratio of land to water of lake is same as that of the earth. There is even an arrangement for the devotees to stay there who come to visit the temple on 12th of April every year for the festival. The holy water of the lake is said to heal many illnesses.There are various small shops from where we can buy food, souvenirs and other religious material.

We broke into small groups there and while some climbed to the top to get a better view, click pictures and fly their drone, others visited the temple and felt serene and peaceful. The snow-laden mountains provided us the second opportunity for frolicking. About 2 pm as we were about to return, our luck dwindled as the clear bright sky transformed into a dark, dusky one , with hailstones downpouring heavily. Many of us panicked as to how we would continue in such bad weather. The trek leaders kept their calm and suggested continuing as it was possible that we would be stuck there for night if we waited there. We are slipping consistently, shivering with cold, struggling to gain control and moving like snails. As we worked unitedly, our fears disappeared. The weather cleared and we went back to “fun-mode” again. Around 4:30 pm we all got back to our starting point. As our amazing journey was coming to an end, we all had a faint smile with a hint of satisfaction and peacefulness.

Happiness amidst the challenging weather

This trek was organised by Hiking and Trekking Club, IIT Mandi, an adventure sports club that organizes hikes, treks and adventure sports activity for the students of IIT Mandi, you can follow us on Facebook and Instagram

Photo Courtesy: Tushar Tyagi, Rishabh Dharmani

Content Writer : Kriti Mehta

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For an IIT in the lap of Himalayas, a full-fledged Hiking and Trekking club caters to the spirit of adventure that resides in the students of IIT Mandi.

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Hiking & Trekking Club IIT Mandi

For an IIT in the lap of Himalayas, a full-fledged Hiking and Trekking club caters to the spirit of adventure that resides in the students of IIT Mandi.