The Gorgeous Hike To Mystical Bhrigu Lake

The mystical Bhrigu Lake sits on India’s Pir Panjal Range in Himachal Pradesh. It’s a three-day hike which takes you through lush grasslands and alpine meadows strewn with wildflowers, amidst breathtaking views of the mountains; the beauty, alive during the monsoon.

Wildflowers on the meados leading to Bhrigu Lake.
Hiking through the meadows of wildflowers. This is the Bhrigu Lake Meadows.

Is The Monsoon Season A Good Time To Visit India?

This depends on your destination. Mona and I were planning to return to Kashmir to experience one of the most beautiful hikes in India, the Kashmir Great Lakes. Also, during a monsoon-season hike, we were promised magnificent landscapes as we would weave through the altitude of the Zaskar Range.

But God is the best of planners and as meticulous as we were, our travel arrangements experienced the first of many alternatives.

Always Check On The Safety Of Your Destination

On the eve of our departure from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, a travel advisory was issued by the Indian government. Tourists were asked to leave Kashmir in the interest of their safety.

Reluctant to abort the trip altogether, we conferred with our Japanese friends, Kazu and Hiromi, who had already arrived in India. Deliberations followed and we agreed to detour to Manali, Himachal Pradesh instead.

The hike to Bhrigu Lake, made more enjoyable with good friends. (from left to right) Mona, Hiromi. Kazu and I.
Banded together, the four of us on our hike to Bhrigu Lake – (From left to right) Mona, Hiromi, Kazu and I.

Delhi To Manali Before The Bhrigu Lake Hike

Manali is a 540-kilometre journey by road or just an 80-minute flight away. We braved the former option as landing at Kullu airport, nearest to Manali, is often tenuous during the monsoon season.

Our rendezvous remained in New Delhi. However, despite the long journey ahead, we still had not set off at the crack of dawn. The privileges of our hotel, The Holiday Inn at New Delhi’s Aerocity kept us cocooned a tad longer, knowing that the days ahead would not afford us these comforts. By the time we inched our way through Delhi’s traffic, it was almost noon.

Be Prepared For What The Journey Entails

Indeed our spirits were high, buoyant with animated exchanges and sheer optimism that this journey wouldn’t take up to sixteen hours judging from Bubbaloo’s driving! Speedily weaving around buses and trucks heavily laden with passengers and goods; and other inevitable road-hoggers, surely our taxi would arrive sooner than later! Regardless, more so erring on caution, we each popped a motion sickness tablet.

The national highway took us through the states of Haryana and Punjab and just before nightfall we were winding up the mountains to Manali. “At long last” couldn’t have been a more apt expression in this instance; we finally checked into D’Country Villa, in the dead of night. By then, all we wanted was to stretch our travel-weary limbs, not even batting an eyelid at the modest accommodation before us.

Charmed By Old Manali Before Mystical Bhrigu Lake

Morning came sooner than later. The day’s walk through Old Manali with its gradual incline eased us into acclimatisation at an altitude of approximately 2,000 metres. The temperature averaged at 26°C, pleasant t-shirt-wearing climate.

We were enthralled by the meandering narrow streets, the tuk-tuks heaving themselves up and almost freewheeling down the slopes; the Manalsu River thundering through; the locals and visitors completing a potpourri of audio and visual landscape. We loved the charm of the old and let’s not even mention how much we adored the little shops that lined the hilly slopes. So yes, our acclimatisation was also subtly skewed towards acquainting ourselves with the Indian rupees!

The Manalsu River flows through Manali.
The river runs through it. The Manalsu River that geographically separates Old Manali and Manali.

The Trek To Bhrighu Lake Wasn’t Easy After All

Expectedly, it rained all night and through the early morning, leaving Mona and I quite nervous for the slippery climb that lay ahead. Our reservations were not unfounded. We set off from the tiny village of Kulang, scrambling up the slopes and the occasional boulder-hopping crossings across the river. The tricky footwork involved in negotiating the terrain and indeed the altitude gain undoubtedly contributed to the fatigue at the end of the day.

River crossings leading to Bhrigu Lake could either be on sturdy wooden bridges or stone-hopping adventures.
Hopping stones and slabs across the river.
A view of the valley as we head up to Bhrigu Lake.
The view we left behind, villages scattered in the valley below. A good 90-minute trek to reach this vantage point and we were not even half-way up!

The Ascent, Though Pleasant, Was Long

Once we had overcome the steeper incline, the trek, although marginally easier, was kinder to our beings, particularly our senses. The air was laced with the aroma of pine cones as we remained in the shadow of the alpine forest. The clearings saw distant mountains and valleys behind us, ahead looming trees and flowers dancing in the occasional sunlight. We crossed paths with locals scurrying along with supplies on donkeys, a couple of dogs and, on a couple of occasions we even heard a cow mooing from a distance!

One of the donkeys in a pack, bearing  supplies for the base camp to Bhrigu Lake.
Scurrying past us, a local villager and his donkey appeared from nowhere and were gone before we realised it.
Towering pine trees on the hike to Bhrigu Lake.
How to feel small! The pine trees tower above us on the hike to the base camp at Moridogu.
Standing in the shadow of the alpine forest on the way to Bhrigu Lake.
Our group with our guides from HimTrek. (From left to right) Azlina, Hiromi, Mona, Kazu, Rajat and Pawan.

Closer to our base camp at Moridogu, we walked through fields of pink Himalayan balsams that gradually grew taller, at times dwarfing us.  It was a good six-hour hike before we arrived at the camp; nestled amidst the flowers and the trees. Evening showers had by then formed a misty curtain over the horizon; the campsite took on an enchanting and even mystical air.

The pink Himalayan Blossoms on the slopes to Bhrigu Lake.
Pink Himalayan blossoms or Impatiens glandulifera on the slopes that just grew taller as we ascended.
On  the hike to Bhrigu Lake, we discovered that the Himalayan Balsam can grow up to five feet and beyond!
And eventually taller than me!
Our home for the next two nights, the base camp at Moridogu.
Our camp at Moridogu amidst the expanse of nature.

The Beautiful Trek Up To Mystical Bhrigu Lake

Scheduled for an eight-hour day trek, we quickly settled in for the night. The early morning start was a cautious and sure-footed one. The light rainfall through the night rendered the trail muddy and slippery. Mystical Bhrigu Lake is at an elevation of approximately 4,300 metres and promised an arduous ascent. Despite the acclimatisation and daily dosages of Diamox over the last five days, I experienced the occasional breathlessness.

Wild flowers everywhere on our way up to Bhrigu Lake.
Multi-coloured and cheerfully pleasing wildflowers, we were visually revived to propel onwards and upwards!
The backdrop of the Hanuman Tibba on the Dhauldhar Range.
Photo opportunities abound as we hike through Bhrigu Lake Meadows. The Hanuman Tibba and Seven Sisters peaks are the imposing backdrop of the trail.
A tiny dot in the expanse of the mountains and meadows leading to Bhrigu Lake.
Lagging behind, alone in the wilderness. I have to admit that at this point I was close to telling the team to go ahead and I shall rejoin them upon their return!
Grazing horses are a common sight on the hike to Bhrigu Lake.
Indeed, we were not alone! The Spiti Horse is a breed of small mountain horse or pony from the region. It takes its name from the Spiti River, and is found mainly in the Kullu, Lahaul and Spiti and Kinnaur districts of the state.

But really, it could well be the view before me that rendered me so. A seemingly endless carpet of wildflowers lay ahead, and behind were the endless mountains that make up this range; snow capped and gloriously outlined against the startling blue skies. Further up horses and sheep were grazing in the meadows, the occasional dog curiously sniffing about. Quite simply idyllic.

The Challenge To Bhrigu Lake

“Oh, a glacier. How thrilling!” I thought.

Quite suddenly a “white sheet” appeared before us. Although the crossing was for a very short distance, I was nervous. Despite the trekking poles, I was thrown off-guard by walking on hard snow. I could barely see into the misty distance and my anxiety took charge.

The glacier crossing to Bhrigu Lake
The crossings, though short, were enough to keep me nervous. I needed to plant my feet in the footprints of the men before me to secure my foothold on ice and needed the assurance of Pawan, one of the guides, beside me!

Three more glacier crossings followed, with scrambles over boulders and the rocky face. I was so intent on safe manoeuvres that I did not realise the mystical Bhrigu Lake was already before me.

Leading to Bhrigu Lake are stacked rocks. Essentially to gauge the  bearing and direction, these may also bear spiritual meaning, each rock signifying an intention of grace and a practice of patience and balance.
Stone slabs of varying sizes greeted us as we inched towards Bhrigu Lake.

The Revelation

The stage seemed set for mystical immersion. The mist hung low at first. We could barely make out the lake except for the water’s edge. In the stillness of the stony air, we gazed silently across, rapt in the serene landscape.

Quite suddenly the mist lifted, revealing the oval lake. The sacred site all the more evident. Maharishi Bhrigu had meditated here more than 10,000 years ago and apparently this is the reason why the lake never freezes completely.

The waters of Bhrigu Lake is crystal clear providing the perfect mirror image.
Mystical Bhrigu Lake, as we found her.
Yellow wildflowers by the shores of Bhrigu Lake.
Sparkling yellow contrasts by the lake shore.
Looking out to Bhrigu Lake before a quick and cold dip.
Andre, a fellow hiker from The Netherlands, on the shores of Bhrigu Lake; set for his immersion into the waters. The other men on our team decided to wade instead.

We descended from the mystical Bhrigu Lake and braved the glacier crossings again. The brief meditation and regrouping of strength did little to alleviate my trepidation! However once over, it was gloriously downhill all the way.

Bhrigu Lake, one the mist had lifted revealed the rocky shores.
Drinking in the atmosphere and capturing it for posterity.
Quick descent before the mist catches up.
Heading down to camp. (From left to rigtht): Hiromi, Pawan, Rajat, Kazu, Bubbaloo, Fleur and Andre.
The mist from Bhrigu Lake creeps down the mountainside as we descend to our campsite.
The mist seemingly following us, before long engulfing the slope we rested upon. (From left to right) Hiromi. Kazu, Pawan, Rajat, Bubbaloo, Andre and Azlina.

The following day’s return trek to Manali was not as beguiling. The occasional showers and mist had followed us down, along with the mud and minor grazes!

Overnight at the base camp in Moridogu before hiking up to Bhrigu Lake
Our yellow rooms in the enchanting wilderness hotel.
Misty landscape completes a mystical ambience on the hike to Bhrigu Lake.
The river on our return journey seems even more foreboding in the misty gloom.

No More Hikes For Us, Here’s To Plan B

The mystical Bhrigu Lake hike, best experienced during the monsoon for the lovely blooms that pave your way.
We could not get enough of these Himalayan Blossoms, so pretty in pink, it was certainly a welcome respite from the muddy descent.

The schedule for the next day was a hike through Hampta Pass, a crossover trail through the passes on the Pir Panjal range. While Kazu and Hiromi continued, Mona and I decided against a back-to-back hike. And so we schemed and plotted the alternatives.

Our Indian Odyssey had begun.

How We Got Here

You can easily enjoy India’s colourful landscape in Himachal Pradesh through various trekking companies. We contacted HimTrek at the following:

2208, C2-Vasant Kunj,
New Delhi – 110070, India

+91 9810 15 0346
+91 9643 15 3195

Photo credits: Thank you HimTrek, Masakazu Niwa and Mona Jamaluddin for sharing the beautiful captures.

About Azlina ALI

Veteran journalist, wife, mother, with an ever burning passion to write and tell stories. Then throw in a dose of healthy diet and an active lifestyle, Azlina is a force to be reckoned with. She's a lean, mean storytelling machine.

10 Replies to “The Gorgeous Hike To Mystical Bhrigu Lake”

  1. Pingback: Gunung Ledang: My Maiden Hike To The Summit - Espoletta

  2. Pingback: The Journey Through War-Torn Kashmir (Part 1 Of 2) - Espoletta

  3. What can I say? Amazing views but for the 8 hour hike I would say, yes! Add this to my bucket list. Alas, I fear I shall remain an armchair hiker and live vicariously through you. Thank you for sharing your amazing journey/experience with the world! Look forward to more of these, Insha Allah

    • The hike was indeed arduous in the monsoon … all that mud and slush! The views throughout were indeed just rewards. So appreciate your comments, they are indeed an encouragement for me to continue hiking and writing! In shaa Allah there will be more to come … watch this space.

  4. I truly enjoyed your narrative and felt like I was there with you. Thank you for sharing the wondrous vistas of the mountains and fields of color. I was right next to you in your trepidation of crossing the ice fields! We lived at an elevation of 8,200 feet in Colorado for many years, and I really understand the altitude sickness which sometimes assailed our family and friend visitors. Your journey brought me back to some lovely places. Looking forward to hearing about your next amazing trip!

    • I am absolutely delighted to have shared my adventure and extremely pleased that some of my experiences resonated with you. It would have been another amazing adventure in Colorado had I been able to visit before your move! Thank you for your encouraging words Faridah, do keep an eye out on more travel stories (and many others!) on Espoletta.

  5. Gorgeous pictures with an equally engaging narrative to your adventure, Azlina. I don’t know if I will ever get this one out of my heavy bucket list but I feel I’ve “journeyed” reading yours. Thank you for sharing! xxx

    • Thank you kindly for your response, Su Lin. It was indeed a pleasure to share the adventure! Regardless of whether you are spurred to go on a similar hike, my task is complete when you say that you have “journeyed” with me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *