Prashar Lake is a beautiful and small blue water lake located around 50 km away from Mandi town in Prashar forest range.
The three tiered Pagoda like temple nearby the lake is dedicated to sage Prashar. The lake is located at 2730 meters. There is big camping ground near the lake. There is small island in the lake which changes its position. The lake has religious significance and needs to be respected according to local traditions. It had become a good trekking spot lately because of its proximity to plains as well as peaceful and breathtaking views.
There is a motorable road all the way up to the lake. You can take the 7.45 AM bus from Mandi which reaches Prashar lake (via Kataula and Bagi) at around 11.15 AM and returns from Prashar lake at 1.15 PM reaching Mandi at around 4.15 PM daily. Buses do not ply in peak winters when it snows as the road is not in good condition. You can also take a bus till Bagi and trek through the forest.
Taxis can be hired from Mandi to Prashar lake which may cost around ₹1000 to ₹1500 depending on season and weather. Bargaining is suggested.
Prashar lake is a day picnic spot for nearby locals. Enjoy the beautiful Dhauladhar ranges from the top and while en-route. Enjoy the sunrise and sunset views. Meditate and enjoy the nature. It snows at Prashar lake in winters (December end to February).
Another 12 km trek to Tunga Mata can be done.
- Prashar Lake Trek. A popular weekend trek among the Himalaya lovers. Generally the trek can be done in 2 days with overnight camping on first night at the beautiful camping site beside the lake. You can carry your own tent and pitch there. Otherwise you can take help from the guide or other organizers. You can start the trek from Bagi village (around 26 km from Mandi via Kataula). Do note that there is another village named Baggi in Himachal Pradesh as well and Bagi is not to be confused with Baggi. Trek distance is 7.5 km and it will take around 4-5 hours to trek all the way. The trek is mostly uphill and the route is not marked. Its better to consult locals in case of confusion as they are friendly and helpful. Carry enough water with you for the trek as there is no water point once you start uphill. Kataula is relatively bigger village where you can find almost all the basic utility items including primary health facilities.
There are a couple of small restaurants while serve basic food at very reasonable prices (₹60 for a meal) which might not be operational in winters. No place to eat en-route the trek path.
Since the lake is of religious importance, drinking alcohol is not allowed nearby and tourists are expected to respect the local traditions.
There is a PWD and Forest rest house at the top. You can stay there in case the rooms are available. Electricity is available in both the rest houses and the rooms are large and clean. Toilets are equipped with geysers as well. Enquire about the availability of food before staying. There are a couple of small restaurants as well near the lake which might be closed in winters. Kataula (around 22 km from Mandi) is the main village in this valley where you might get a place to stay overnight. Both the resthouses are available at ₹500 per night (Oct' 2014 price). Meal cost is extra.
Temple campus can also allow accommodation for free if asked for. Do not expect any luxury and facilities. There is large camping ground as well near the lake.