On our trip to Manali last November, we planned to carry out a short trek, which I didn’t have much experience in. I have had a trek once before this. Then in Manali, most of the treks were closed and the rest were about to, from the very few limited option we opted for Brighu Lake trek.
Bhrigu Lake is located at an altitude of 14,100 ft in Kullu district, Himachal Pradesh, India and to the east of Rohtang pass and 7 kilometers from Gulaba village. We started from “Chouda More” (14th turning from Gulaba village). We were a 4 people group and later I came to know this was the last group for the season. Our guide Ravi was an extremely qualified person who knew the mountains very well. Though it was a very short trek of 2 nights and 3 days, it was a bit hard. The trek included a steep climb straight up to Brighu Lake near about 10kms and then steep down. Our first destination Rola Kholi Camp Site at 3,830 meters and takes approximately 4 hours to cover the first 6 km.
At the starting of the first 15-20 mins, I was very excited and I was climbing very fast, in fact, faster than Ravi. Then, as expected, eventually I ended being the last one. After the first 20 mins, the climb was tough, really tough. For the first 1 hour, the trek was covered by thick forest of silver oak, cedar and birch trees. But, as soon as the forest started to disappear we had the real taste of trekking. It is hard to imagine that a few hours away from Manali one can enjoy such a European style meadow. It was actually a breathtaking view of the mountain range and the grassland. Although the grasses are dried up and turned into golden, it endorsed the sight when the sun was about to set. We in fact, stopped walking for an hour or so just to take pleasure in that phenomenal view of Mother Nature.
And then came the darkest nightmare of our lives. As soon as sunset in, the temperate drastically fall to a remarkable cold level. I won’t recommend doing this trek after October. The temperate dropped to -10 degrees at around 8 pm and it was really painful and next to impossible to even budge. I was wearing thermals, sweater, 2 jackets and thermal sleeping bag and 2 more windproof sleeping bag and was still shivering. I must say, one can easily get caught in acute mountain sickness.
Next morning we started as soon as sunlight touched our camp. Our first stop was what we came for, the Bhrigu Lake and then to Pandu Ropa camping ground which was slightly lower in altitude. The trek to the lake was very eye soothing, we crossed mountains, ridges, and cliffs and frequently we had to climb the slanted lands. After a couple of hour, we reached at Brighu Lake. To be very honest, I was disheartened. It’s just a lake nothing in it. I heard this lake changes its color occasionally which is a saga I guess.
By looking at the disappointment in my face Ravi proposed to do another 500 ft climb but “for what?” that’s a surprise, he said. So we trekked to the top of the mountain adjacent to that lake. In the whole trek, Ravi was climbing like spiderman and lit up a ‘bidi’ and waited for us. After half an hour of very steep climb when it was about to finish, Ravi shouted at me by saying “not from there”. And being a jackass from my childhood, I took a peek at the point. And believe me I don’t have words to explain it (for bongs it was like “Fete gechilo” or “Sukiye gechilo”). It was a straight 15000 ft cliff nothing was in between. It was not a slope but a dead straight drop. After watching this, all my bravery went to vein. I couldn’t even stand up, crawled to the edge of the cliff to be an attester of the spectacular Arial view of the valley. At first it looked like a 2D one but after noticing firmly I could discover a waterfall in that valley. It was the best experience ever in my life. We were started dancing after we climbed down from that cliff. You can catch a stunning panoramic view of Pir Pinjal and Dhauladhar ranges. Also, major peaks, Indrasen, Deo Tibba and Hanuman Tibba stand majestically before you.
From there to Pandu Ropa, it was steep and slippery path. Descended slowly. The meadow walk is refreshing all the way to rice fields of Pandu Ropa. From Pandu Ropa again all the forests are starting to be shown. We went down a bit to collect wood pieces and we did a bonfire to keep ourselves warm as there also we faced the same biting cold. Anyhow, we passed that night.
Next day trek was a fun one and a lot relaxing, although in some places it was very scary with a 2 feet wide muddy slope along with a cliff on one side. We trekked through the jungle, muddy steep slopes and through a stream too (Nalah). Once we departed from the forest ridge, a treat was waiting for us. The grand view of Kullu Valley. Below us, there are attractive apple orchards that Kullu Valley is famous for. The village trail from here all the way to Vashisht is well-defined. The trek ends at Vashisht. After reaching there we took a bath in the hot springs.
a few more photos