Hiking - Destination

Trek to Bhrigu Lake: The Glacial Lake in Himachal that changes Shape and Colour

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You must have seen your friends escaping to the hills of Himachal Pradesh and posting pictures captioned as “happiness is being in Himachal” or something like that. But let us tell that happiness (to some of us) is, in fact, rolling in nature’s lap, basking in the warm winter sun, and enjoying life at a calmer pace. And if you and I think alike then pack your bags, call up friends (or not) and take a trek to the Bhrigu Lake in Himachal Pradesh.

Don’t worry it’s easy!

Overview of Bhrigu Lake Trek
Bhrigu Lake

Read on to know about:

  • A Brief history of Bhrigu Lake
  • Bhrigu Lake Trek - Description
  • Whom is this trek meant for?
  • An Itinerary & Map of the Bhrigu Lake Trek
  • How to get fit 
  • What to take
  • Safety measures
  • Basic FAQ on the Bhrigu Lake trek

A brief History Of Bhrigu Lake

Situated high up in the valleys of Kullu and lying east of the famous Rohtang pass, the Bhrigu Lake floats at an altitude of 14,000 ft. The enigmatic lake is considered to have divine streaks because, despite the cold conditions and sinking temperature, it never freezes completely!

According to folklores, the lake has been rendered sacred by Maharishi Bhrigu who used to meditate by the lake. And the locals believe that hence it never freezes. The lake was named “Bhrigu” after the sage as well.

So, aside from divinity, what makes the Brigu Lake Trek so special?

While it is definitely worth getting to the semi-frozen lake, it is the experience and the vistas on the way to the lake that makes the trek unique and unparalleled. The walk to the exclusive Bhrigu lake through lush green meadows and humble hillocks is aesthetically refreshing.

The Bhrigu Lake Trek is an out and out meadow trek. The undulating trek trail is a dreamy route that takes you through a thick forest of oak and cedar, with wild and gorgeous alpine flooring on either side, free horses galloping, and lazy sheep grazing.

 bhrigu lake manali
Bhrigu Lake Trek

You see, high altitude meadows are a rare glimpse in India and to step onto one takes about 2-3 days of hard trekking. But you will be surprised to meet luscious, green, high altitude meadows on your trek to the Bhrigu lake within 10 minutes from Gulaba, the starting point, and that’s the USP of the Bhrigu Lake Trek.

Sitting on the grassy knolls you are surrounded by alpine blossoms and a skyline of snow-capped mountains against the brilliantly blue sky. Isn’t is mesmerizing?

As you keeping scaling the meadows, they change color, shape, and texture but never leave your side until the Bhrigu lake.

And the Bhrigu lake is no less fascinating; at 14000 feet, the glacial lake changes shape and colour almost every week! Sometimes it is half-frozen, sometimes royal blue. At times, emerald green while sometimes a silver hue.

Whom is this trek meant for

Bhrigu Lake Trek Description

Where is it located- Manali
Number of trekking days- 4-5 Days 
Trekking Grade- Easy
Best season to do- Between May and October
Max Altitude- 14000
Ft 
Trekking distance- 26 kms

Whom is this trek meant for

The Bhrigu Lake Trek is a grade easy level trek. The total trek distance is 29 Kms. As we said, the Bhrigu Lake Trek is an easy expedition, any person with competent physical fitness can undertake the walk. From children above 12 years to old people with a healthy heart and hearty health can enjoy the Bhrigu Lake Trek.

It can be called a beginner’s trek as you do not need prior experience of hiking to enjoy the privilege of trekking to the Bhrigu lake.

Bhrigu Lake Trek: A Perfect Itinerary & Map that You'll Need

The best time to do the Bhrigu Lake is in the sunny days or  It is a four-day hike that starts from Manali in Himachal Pradesh.

In case you plan to venture alone, then here's our Bhrigu Lake Trek plan for you. Take a look! 

bhrigu lake trek map
Bhrigu Lake Trek Description (source)

How to reach Manali - The base camp

You can either take a flight or drive to Manali from Delhi. The nearest airport is Bhuntar, 52 km from Manali. From there, take a cab to Manali. The taxi services cost about Rs. 700- Rs1000. On another note, Bhuntar is well connected to Delhi with quite a few airline options operating flights between Delhi, Chandigarh, and Kullu.

On a second thought, taking the road to Manali from Delhi isn’t a bad idea too. Take an overnight bus from Delhi and you will reach Manali in 12-14 hours. Usually, most Volvo private buses leave Delhi by 6 pm; the last govt bus leaves at 8.30 pm from ISBT Kashmere Gate.

You can also take a train to Pathankot which is the nearest rail head to Manali, the base camp.

best time to visit bhrigu lake
How to reach Manali

Now let’s assume that you have reached Manali, had a good sight-seeing of the beautiful resort town and is ready to kick off the Bhrigu Lake Trek. So, what would you want to know next?

The trekking itinerary of course!

The Bhrigu Lake Trek trail is a round trail, meaning the trek starts from Manali and ends at Manali.

Here’s a detailed Bhrigu Lake Trek itinerary campsite-wise, check out!

Reaching Gulaba campsite

bhrigu lake weather
Gulaba campsite
  • Altitude: 10,370 ft
  • Time: 1-hour drive from Manali + 20 minutes trek to Gulaba Meadows

The exciting Bhrigu Lake Trek commences from Manali. Your first day of the trek is reaching Gulaba, the first campsite. Gulaba is a pictorial village located approximately 22 km away from Manali. With snow clad mountains and warm greenery around, the drive to Gulaba on the famous Manali-Rohtang pass road will present a teaser of the surprises that the following trek holds. You should reach Gulaba within two hours of your drive from Manali.

After reaching Gulaba village, you trek 3 kms to the Gulaba Meadows camp, situated at 10,370 ft. It is just an hour trek coursing through paved tracks and well-built pathways with steep ascents.

Trek from Gulaba to Rola Kholi

Gulaba campsite
Trek from Gulaba to Rola Kholi
  • Altitude: 12,500 ft
  • 7 kms trek, 4-5 hours

Your destination for the second day is hiking to 12,500 feet to reach Rola Kholi. The trail gradient is moderate with steep ascent for the first one and a half hours. And then a gradual ascent via Kolang Nallah till Rola Kholi. The trek trail runs through forest and meadows with breathtaking views of Manali and the Solang valley in the background. Peaks spotted on the way are Mt. Hanuman Tibba and the Seven Sister peaks in the Beas Kund Valley.

Rola Khuli pastoral grazing ground located at the base of Bhrigu Lake. The campsite is covered by mountains on three sides, protecting it from the freezing mountain breeze. Water source here is Chor Nallah, a gentle stream flowing across the camping ground.

Rola Kholi to Bhrigu Lake to Pandu Ropa

best time to visit bhrigu lake
Bhrigu Lake to Pandu Ropa (source)
  • Altitude: Bhrigu Lake at 14,000 ft and Pandu Ropa at 11,800 ft
  • 10 kms trek, approx. 8 hours.

Wake up early to view the Himalayan sunrise from Rola Kholi. Start your trek with an adequate amount of water as it is going to be a long hike. The Bhrigu Lake Trek gradient is moderate. It begins on a stony trail with steep ascent for two hours followed by a 10-minute descent. Then a 15-minute level walk before taking a steep ascent to the lake in the final one hour.

The surreal Bhrigu lake nestles between two high-altitude ridges. Depending on the time of the year, you will either find it in the semi-frozen state with snow powdered around it or as a placid glacial lake surrounded by fresh grass and alpine flowers. The lake is normally enshrouded in fog which can make finding the route tricky. Hiring a local guide is always advisable.

Peaks spotted: On a clear day, catch a panoramic glimpse of Pir Pinjal and Dhauladhar ranges. Other peaks standing majestically before you are Indrasen, Deo Tibba and Hanuman Tibba.

After sharing an experience o a lifetime in the charming location, take a steep descent to the Pandu Ropa. The descending journey to Pandu Ropa, amidst green meadows and beds of multi colored wild flowers, takes about six hours. The spot is a serene meadow that gives you a 360º view of the Kullu valley and the town of Manali.

Pandu Ropa to Vashist to Manali

manali to bhrigu lake
Pandu Ropa to Vashist to Manali
  • Altitude: Vashist at 6,900 ft and Manali at 6,700 ft
  • 8 kms trek, approx. 7 hours

Your last day of the trek is a continuous descend from Pandu Roopa to Vashist, another unmissable location at an altitude of 6900 feet. Vashist is famous for its beautiful temples, extravagant scenery, and hot water springs. The walk could get laborious as it is an 8-km long trek and takes about seven hours. And the only motivation that goads you is the inspiring sight of the stunning mountains, spectacular apple orchards, and vast stretches of paddy fields. Beware of your footing as the trail is quite steep and slippery at few places.

Upon reaching Vashist, refresh and check out the notable places such as the temples of Vashist Muni and Lord Rama and the hot sulpher water spring. After a short break, prepare to leave for Manali. You will find taxis and buses from the Vashist village to Manali and reach in another 30 minutes.

How to get fit for the Bhrigu Lake trek

The Bhrigu Lake Trek is an easy but a demanding trek. You start from an altitude of 8,530 ft at Gulaba and you reach the highest point of 14,009 ft at the lake. This means that you gain around 5,480 ft in just two days of trekking! And that makes the trekking a bit taxing on your legs. Therefore, you have to work on your endurance and stamina level before you start the trek. Below are a few exercises that should make you fit to take on this trek.

Cardiovascular endurance

You’ll require a good amount of cardiovascular endurance for the trek. Begin by jogging every day; start at a slower pace and gradually increase your pace. For a high-altitude trek, you should have a good command on both- distance and speed. Prepare yourself in the following order-

  • In the beginning, target completing 5 km in 45 minutes
  • Gradually target completing 7 km in 63 minutes
  • Before the trek, try to walk at least 10 km at a stretch in 90 minutes

In terms of speed, be sure that you’re able to jog 5 km in 35 minutes before you go on the trek. If trekkers are 45 years old and above, make sure you can complete at least 3 km in 30 minutes before you go on the trek.

Strength

Muscle strength is another important area to work on. The terrain from Rola Kholi to Bhrigu Lake isn’t too friendly. In fact, with steep ascents and sharp turns, the trek from Rola Khuli to Bhrigu lake is the most difficult climb in the entire journey. You have to walk through snow which could be taxing for your legs if you are a beginner. Therefore, to strengthen your legs, do the following workout-

  • 3 sets of squats, with 8 squats in each set. Work towards reaching your target in 3 weeks.
  • Gradually, target 3 sets of squats with 15 in each set.


Flexibility

Trekking with a backpack around the hills and the highlands requires some effort and agile muscles. To increase your agility and strength, do stretching exercises such as hamstrings stretches, quadriceps, hip flexors, lower back muscles, and shoulders stretches regularly.

Livingit Tip:
Do not outdo yourself. It is important that you arrive on the trek with relaxed muscles.

What to take on the Bhrigu Lake Trek

bhrigu lake temperature
The Bhrigu Lake in winters

Every trek calls for some necessary items to load on because you are going away from human civilization and mother nature could be harsh if you aren’t equipped well.

Following is a list of things to be packed while you go hiking to the Bhrigu Lake. Take notes!

Bare Necessities

  1. Trekking shoes: Solid trekking shoes with good grip is required for this trek. Your humble sports shoes will not be very comfortable here.
  2. Backpack (40-60 liters): A backpack with sturdy straps and a supporting frame is quite essential. The external frame helps to keep your posture straight while trekking and the shoulder straps provide comfort and stability. If trekking during the months of April and May, do not forget the backpack rain cover.

Trekking Clothes

At high altitude campsites like Rola Kholi and Bhrigu Base camp, the temperature can drop to around 2-6 degrees. Therefore, you will need a good set of warm clothes to keep the mountain breeze at bay. In addition, wear sun-protective garments to shun skin burning in the day.

  1. Warm layers: Wear at least three warm layers for this trek- two light layers such as fleece or woollen and one padded jacket. During winter, add another top layer.
  2. Trek pants: Carry three pairs trek pants. Wear one pair and carry the rest.
  3. Three collared t-shirts: Carry light, full sleeved sun-protective t-shirts to prevent sun burns on the neck and arms. Again, wear one and carry two.
  4. Thermals: It will be pretty cold and if you are more susceptible to cold, it is always advisable to carry thermals for the nights. Whereas is it mandatory to carry them from December to March.

Livingit Tip:
Remember to change your t-shirts often. The body tends to sweat a lot on such rigorous walking trips.
Trekkers who don’t change into fresh clothes fall ill due to wet clothes.

Accessories

  1. Sunglasses: Goggles and sunglasses are a must to prevent snow blindness and further protect the eyes from dust, wind, and others.
  2. Suncap: The sun is intense at higher altitudes. So, bring a sun cap/hat with a broad brim to safeguard your face and neck from sunburns.
  3. Hand gloves: Cary at least two pairs- one pair of fleece or woolen hand gloves and a pair of water proof gloves.
  4. Balaclava: This woollen helmet helps to keep your ears and neck covered and protected from cold winds. You may replace them with woolen scarves instead.
  5. Socks: Carry at least three pairs. Two/three sports socks to wear while trekking and a pair of woolen socks for the night.
  6. Illumination: Carry flashlights, headlights, headlamps, LED torch. And don’t forget extra batteries.
  7. Trekking pole: Trekking poles make the trek comfortable! You can save up to 40% energy with this useful trekking equipment. It provides you with extra balance and stability to keep going on the rough terrain and share your load on steep accents.

Others

  1. Daypack (20 litres): Carry a smaller backpack to carry water, medical kit, and some light snacks. That way you needn’t unload your backpack at regular intervals.
  2. Toiletries: Sunscreen, moisturizer, lip balm, light towel, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, toilet paper. Carry a Ziploc bag to discard the used tissues and napkins. Do not dump the Ziploc bags in the mountains. Plastics and tissues are not biodegradable.
  3. Cutlery: Carry a spoon, coffee mug, and a lunch box. For hygiene reasons, bring your own cutlery.
  4. Two water bottles: 1 litre each.
  5. Plastic covers: Use plastic bags to compartmentalize things while packing. Carry extra plastic bags for wet clothes.

Personal Medical Kit

A medical/first-aid kit is trek prerequisite. Minor cuts and characteristic medical conditions like dizziness, nausea, constipation may occur. So, be prepared with a personal medical kit. Include the following medicines and items in your medical kit- 

Diamox – 10 tablets (to prevent AMS)
Dexamethasone – one strip
Avomine – 4 tablets (motion sickness)
Nifedipine – 5 tablets
Crocin – 6 tablets (fever)
Avil 25mg – 4 tablets (allergies)
Combiflam – 4 tablets (Painkiller)
Norflox TZ & Lomofen– 6 tablets each (diarrhea)
Digene – 10 tablets (acidity)
Omez/Rantadine – 10 tablets (antacids)
Crepe bandage – 3 to 5 meters
Gauze – 1 small roll
Band-aid – 10 strips
Cotton – 1 small roll
ORS – 10 packets
Betadine or any antiseptic cream
Moov spray (aches, & sprains)

Safety Guidelines on the Bhrigu Lake Trek

A registered trek organization will take safety procedures to ensure your complete safety during the trek. But if you are on your own then consider the below safety rules-

1. High Altitude Trek Equipment

Equip yourself with the appropriate and required tools and equipment. While trekking in the mountains, wear shoes with microspikes, gaiters, high altitude rated sleeping bags, and probe.

2. Being hydrated and well-nourished

Drink at least 4 liters of water every day during the trek to ensure proper hydration. Dehydration can make you lose energy very quickly and intensify the effects of AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness). Carry nutritious snacks and avoid skipping meals. Not eating properly can lead to serious health emergencies on high altitudes.

3. Acute Mountain Sickness:

Trekking to high-altitude locations can trigger the chances being hit by Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). The Himalayan ascents are quite rapid and you may not have enough time to realize before AMS hit you right in the face. Therefore, understand the below AMS symptoms and learn its remedies.

AMS Symptoms-

  • Persistent headache
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty in sleeping

Remedies-

  • Take rest. Give your body time to get acclimatize to less oxygen availability
  • Life-saving medicine- Diamox, Dexamethasone, and Nifedipine
  • Alert your trek members about your condition

Livingit Tip:
AMS condition can worsen to go to advanced stages – High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE).
These advanced conditions are fatal

Having said that, let us give a quick overview of the Bhrigu Lake Trek through a FAQ.

Basic FAQs on Bhrigu Lake Trek

  1. When is the best time to go on Bhrigu Lake Trek?
    The best season to go trekking to the Bhrigu lake is from May to October. Avoid doing this trek in the Monsoons as the trail could get very slippery. There is a high possibility of landslides in the region as well.
  2. What is the weather like?
    Weather in the Himalayas is quite unpredictable. Pack at least three layers of warm clothing, a waterproof tent, and a waterproof poncho.
  3. What is the average temperature?
    During summers, the daytime temperature hovers around 20º-25ºC and at night, it drops to 5º-7ºC. On the contrary, in winter the temperature climbs not more than 10º-15ºC around daytime and plummets nearly 0º to -7ºC at night.
  4. How difficult is the Trek?
    The Bhrigu Lake Trek is grade easy or moderately difficult for the beginners. With good endurance and stamina combined with strong leg muscles, one can easily do this four-day trek.
  5. How much will I trek every day?
    On an average, you will have to trek seven hours a day, the longest being the Rola Kholi-Bhrigu Lake trek. However, these are calculated estimations only. They could vary depending upon the condition of the trekking group, the level of the trekkers, weather conditions, and various other factors.
  6. Should I carry any documents?
    It is advisable to carry an original ID and a photograph.
  7. What is the duration of the entire trek?
    The Bhrigu Lake Trek is a four-day trek that starts from Manali and ends at Manali.
  8. Can children and senior citizens do the trek?
    Easily! A child above 12-years and an elderly individual with an active lifestyle can easily scale the heights to the Bhrigu lake and enjoy the stunning natural beauty breathing at the 14,000 ft.

And with that, we wrap up our virtual tour to Lake Bhrigu. Hope we have painted a vividly colorful picture of the organic beauty that words fail to define. Who would have imagined that there are more beauty- mind-blowing alpine meadows existing quietly just above Manali?

Who would have believed that there lies a divine lake that never freezes completely?

And to believe, to witness such untouched beauty you should plan a trip to the Bhrigu lake.

bhrigu lake manali
Frozen Bhrigu Lake 

If you cannot do a strenuous Himalayan trek but have the urge to take in the grandeur of the mountains and experience the high-altitude meadow beauty, then the Bhrigu Lake Trek is your best bet!

Tell us about your first trek experience or the time when you undertook the hardest terrain walk in your life. We are happy to tell your story to the world.

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