Of the many high-altitude lakes in the pristine mountains of Himachal Pradesh, Bhrigu Lake is, without a doubt, one of the most easily accessible, beautiful, and serene alpine lakes. While for the other Himalayan lakes it take at least a couple of days to get to high ground and the lake itself is a long distance away, here, on the second day itself, you are near the olive green marvel that is Bhrigu Lake. Bhrigu Lake is a unique destination that has what it takes to surprise first timers as well as the most experienced trekkers with its mix of larger-than-life vistas, royal green meadows, vibrant flowers, and of course the spiritual lake itself. It is beautifully settled amidst alluring snow-capped mountains at the height of 4,267M. During monsoons you can feel the soothing mild showers massaging your muscles on the trails of Bhrigu Lake. Herds of cattle and horses play, roam, and run wild and free. The clouds lose their inhibition, open up and embrace the land with their gentle whites.
The list of surprises is long. For a complete picture of the highlights of the trek to Bhrigu Lake, continue on.
Highlight 1: Drive from Manali to Gulaba (3,000M)
The drive from Manali to Gulaba is a crisp, exciting journey with plenty of splendid views. You might want to keep an eye on both sides of the road to avoid missing anything. There is never a dull moment on the 23 km to Gulaba which takes close to 2 hours to cover. For the first 20 minutes of the journey, the roads take you through the culturally rich lanes of the region giving you a glimpse into Himachali tradition with old heritage buildings, small flea markets and natives in their traditional attires and accessories just going about their business. They radiate the colours of simplicity. The mighty Beas River rushing its way through the city only adds to the splendour of the life you witness on the go. The river magically appears beneath us as we enter a huge metal bridge. When the sun's rays reflect on the surface of the Beas river, it is a scintillating sight.
The Beas River gently fades as you enter Rohtang Pass, around 45 minutes into the drive. Rohtang Pass is a popular destination for tourists, especially bikers, for the fine roads. You could count the number of fancy bikes cruising ahead of your vehicle on this stretch just for fun. The road diverts to the right from here and gains elevation. Lush green and golden apple trees wave their branches to welcome us on both sides. Fifteen km into the journey, we drive through a few mystical monsoon clouds that envelop the road. The drive is thrilling, to say the least. A fascinating friend appears here to check on us. Say hi to the Himalayan vultures; they are the heavy-duty hosts of Gulaba.
Highlight 2: A Walk with the Trees
After our drive till Gulaba, we start the trek with a few special guests. The trail takes us into the wild, where pine, oak, and maple trees stand tall to meet and greet us. Look at the small shrubs, vines, and wildflowers covering the sides of the tree, adorning our trail and the entire forest with their charm. Listen close and you will hear the sweet humming sound of the bees buzzing in joy, hopping from one flower to another. As we walk on the different textures of the trail, try to listen to the varied sound effects that accompany us. The moist moss, fallen leaves, and wild shrubs join the bee's hum and create a symphony. The melodies of the trail and the tree line end after 2 km, and a massive green carpet of the meadows extends before us bringing with it stunning views.
Highlight 3: The Spectacles of Rola Kholi
Camping in Rola Kholi is an exceptional experience. This Himalayan meadow is a natural podium nestled at the height of 3,810M with extensive views of landscapes. During the day, we can settle down on the comfortable grassland, stretch our legs, lean back, and observe the magnificence of peaks like the Seven Sisters, Deo Tibba, Solang Valley, Hanuman Tibba, and Beas Kund Valley. When the sun sets, simmering orange shades cover the entire valley unveiling a warm scenery in front of us. But, it does not just end here. The night has plenty more to offer. Millions of stars and stardust occupy the purple night sky. If you look around the campsite, you are likely to find experts and nature lovers using their fancy telescopes to study this tiny fraction in the sky, the Milky Way. Imagine the joy of laying down on the vast meadow, looking up at the night sky and guessing the names of constellations, making up shapes from the clusters of stars in the clear skies so barely visible in cities and counting shooting stars to send uncountable wishes into the universe. If that isn’t magic, what is?
Highlight 4: The Bhrigu Lake (4,267M)
On the second day of the trek, we cover a distance of 5 km in 4 hours to reach the beautiful Bhrigu Lake. This marvellous lake is considered sacred with spiritual powers by the locals. Legends and old tales say that the almighty sage Bhrigu went under deep meditation near the lake to unveil new insights about the universe. People also believe that divine beings from the sky took a dip in this serene lake to increase their divine prowess. So, to respect the sanctity of the place, remove your footwear before going near the lake. A fascinating part about this lake is that it changes its colour according to season. During monsoon and summer, it dons shades of olive green and emerald green. During winters, it completely gets frozen and changes to pearl white. Sitting on the shore, soaking in the serenity, and feeling the calmness of the lake and its surroundings is nature's exclusive therapy which holds the power to cleanse minds, bodies and souls! It is not only our testimony, but that of all our trekkers who’ve experienced it first-hand.
Highlight 5: The Free Life of Horses and Cattle
The grasslands on the trek to Bhrigu Lake are not only home to vibrant flowers and greenery but also serve as an abode for the wild and free. Horses, sheep, and dogs run free, drink from the mountain streams, and sleep on the soft grasslands. After having a heavy dose of fresh grass, the cows yawn and enjoy their sweet little nap. The funniest is when these animals try to converse with each other. They shout gibberish for hours together which takes your mind back to scenes from famous Hollywood movies like The Dogs Day Out and Spirit! The carefree life of these gentle souls going about their day is a good reminder of the simple philosophy of life which states that life is eternal now, and we have to live in the moment.
Highlight 6: Hide & Seek with the Clouds
The monsoon clouds on Bhrigu Lake are quite mysterious as well as mischievous. They like to build up the suspense and suddenly appear with a grand entrance. When we assume that the sky is clear and try to relish the view around us, the cotton clouds suddenly appear and envelope the entire landscape within seconds. The density of the clouds changes as we gain more altitude. When we walk on the trail from Rola Kholi to Bhrigu Lake, the clouds grow thicker, reducing visibility to almost zero. It is advisable to walk close to the group and the trek leader for its easy to lose your way in whiteouts. The true magic happens when the clouds clear to unveil the landscape. Like the introduction of villages in fairy tales, they gradually reveal the picturesque vistas of the mountains and rivers.
Highlight 7: Easy Descends
The final and thrilling part of the trek is descending down to Gulaba. Though Bhrigu Lake is just a 3-day trek and falls under the easy category, the first two days are filled with moderate ascents without any descents. This may be challenging and tiring for first-time trekkers, depending on their fitness. But, on the third day, the trails run slant with easy descents. We can forget the stress, relish the walk and feel the mountain breeze while descending. Have one last look at the massive valleys and lush green meadows. We enter into the tree line again and walk in the company of oak, pine, and maple trees until the trail's end.
The Bhrigu lake trek is a compact 3-day Himalayan wonder, a solution to your holiday problem, and an ideal option for first-timers. Pack your bags, spend a long weekend here and have the best time of your life.