After my first solo trip with a bunch of strangers, I almost knew, this will become a new hobby. And guess what? I manifested my second trip in no time. This time, my calling came from the grand Prashar Lake; this time, I travelled with some old and new fellow travelers.
Day 1: The first leg of our journey began from a bus depot in New Delhi. We headed for Mandi. It was an overnight journey; we laughed, chatted, witness twinkling city lights amidst the darkness of surrounding mountains; stopped a couple of times to gulp in fresh air and made some great memories on our way.
Day 2: We woke up to a gorgeous sunshine on our faces; it felt like molten butter on our skin. The bus sped off and in no time we reached Mandi. After getting off, we discussed our further plans for the day; reached the hotel, got refreshed, had some wholesome breakfast and savoured upon an almost delectable view—it felt just like a movie. I was excited, like a little child. My heart couldn’t contain the beauty of nature. I wanted to bow down to the mighty mountains with so much grandeur. However, amidst so much glory, I somewhere sensed an iota of melancholy in my heart; I knew it’s just for a day, as I were to return to my concrete jungle the next day. Next, we left for Baagi (the base to start the trek for Prashar Lake).
We started at 11:30 am, carried some snacks for the trek, out on our hiking caps and started walking… The path was stony, occasionally interrupted by small rivulets…and finally surfaced the might mountains. It was not very stony in the beginning but patches of dried leaves made the path a little slippery. Our spirits were high as we climbed higher; music was our constant companion; we halted a couple of times to catch some breath; and every time we asked our guide, Govind Bhaiya how long will it take to reach our final destination, he would aptly reply, “abhi toh shuru hi hua hain; abhi toh adha hi hua hain.”
In the meantime, amidst all the hustle-bustle of climbing up, we paused for snacking. I rested my hand on a rock, and something moved; I freaked out and screamed so hard to discover a fern-shaped insect right in front of me; it was moving too! Our trek continued, and we started climbing faster as thundering clouds constantly kept threatening us in the backdrop with pride. And finally, we made it to Lake Prashar. It looked just the way, I had seen on the internet; so picturesque and out-of-the-world. It looked like succeeding waves, frozen in the mighty glory of the Himalayan Ocean.
After getting over the gorgeous view, we indulged in some local hot food – rajma, chawal and aloo kadi – absolutely mouthwatering. We were all nestled in atiny tent cum eatery, which was swaying rigorously to the rhythm of the strong winds. We lied on the lush green grass, watching the day unfold and witnessing the wind getting mightier and colder. We had two tents, which could accommodate four people in totality; however, we were six! So we ended up taking a room for the night. It was my first time in a tent, I was extremely excited about living inside one and learning to set it up, and I did! For the rest of the night, we initially planned to trek to Tunga Mata, but we ended up joining a colourful group of fellow trekkers, and spent the rest of the night singing, playing guitar and trying to light some fire to keep chilly winds at bay. This night, I saw the moon turn yellow to white, shinning like a bright diamond. As I went further uphill, the entire area turned silver in the awe of the moonlight.
Day 3: I woke up next morning to see a coy moon in the sunlit sky; and the winds never seem to retire to their chambers – their energy was infectious. We trekked a little higher to see the ocean of mountains rise.
Here I met DK uncle; he runs a small shop of souvenirs here. I bought a cute bracelet from his shop as a remembrance of this life-altering trip. We soaked in the sun for a little longer and departed for Mandi post a sumptuous lunch.
As we reached Mandi and moved into the city with hefty backpacks hanging down our shoulders, we did grab quite some eye balls. We waited for our bus to arrive, and had an early dinner at Raj Niwas Heritage hotel. It was a beautiful place; we dined in an open garden. As time passed by, the tiredness dawned upon all of us… I hate goodbyes, but I did leave, leaving a piece of me at the mountains, at DK uncle’s shop, at the bank of Lake Prashar and some of me at the moving rock.
P.S- the author of this article, Vidhi Bhargav is an avid traveler, an artist by nature and a visualizer by choice. You can read her blog posts at kutchtobhi.wordpress.com