The trek to Bhrigu Lake is one of the most popular treks amongst adventure lovers.
The lake was named in honour of Maharishi Bhrigu, who was considered a great sage in Hinduism.
According to popular belief, the lake is considered as sacred because the sage used to meditate near it every day. Locals believe that the lake never freezes entirely.
What’s interesting about this particular trek is that both the lake and the journey seem to change every few days! Hikers visiting the lake in early June say that the lake is frozen with the trail covered in swathes of snow; while those visiting in July or later claim that the trail is full of green meadows, with trees full of life, and a strikingly blue lake at the end.
Note: It is compulsory for hikers to submit a copy of their ID at various check posts on this trek.
Day 1: Reach Kothi, Gulaba, or Vashisht.
To reach Bhrigu Lake, there are three ways to start your trek. You may start and/or end your trek through any of these 3 places: Kothi, Gulaba, and Vashisht.
The trek to Bhrigu Lake begins at Kothi, Himachal Pradesh. Kothi is about 13-15 kilometres away from Manali, and rests at an altitude of approximately 8200 feet above sea level.
The level of difficulty on this route is moderate.
This trek takes about 4 to 5 kilometres from the village of Kothi to reach the first resting point, the meadows. You will find that the slope is pretty steep all the way through this route. You can easily follow the human trails that lead the way.
The route from Kothi takes you across some very beautiful pine forests. The forest itself may not be very dense, but you will find that sunlight is very sparse under the cover of the forest. You will see a large variety of alpine trees and wildflowers, but wildlife will be seen only in a few numbers.
Note: Make sure that you are carrying at least 2 litres of water, and sufficient food with you as there are only a limited number of water bodies on this route.
Alternatively, you may start your trek from Gulaba, Himachal Pradesh. Gulaba is approximately 25 kilometres away from the Rohtang pass, and about 27 kilometres away from Manali.
You may choose to go to Gulaba directly from Manali, or via Kothi, which is about 3 to 4 kilometres away.
Gulaba is at 10,370 feet above sea level in altitude.
This route will also take you through pine forests. It will take you about an hour to reach the open meadows, where your first resting point is located.
Note: Make sure that you are carrying at least 2 litres of water, and sufficient food with you as there are only a limited number of water bodies on this route as well.
The last route to Bhrigu Lake starts from the Vashisht Temple in Manali. The altitude at Vashisht is about 6800 feet above sea level.
The distance between Vashisht and Pandu Ropa is a walk of approximately 8 kilometres. This will take one about 6 hours on average. The altitude at Pandu Ropa is approximately 11,500 feet above sea level.
From Pandu Ropa, you will have to trek for another 14 kilometres to reach Bhrigu Lake. The journey may take about 10 hours on average.
Day 2: Jonker Thatch to Rola Khuli (when going via Kothi or Gulaba)
The next resting point is Jonker Thatch, at an altitude of 10,370 feet above sea level. There is little to no vegetation here, only wild herbs, shrubs, and flowers. The next resting point from Jonker Thatch is Rola Khuli, also popularly known as Bhrigu Lake’s base camp.
The distance between Jonker Thatch, and Rola Khuli is about 4 to 5 kilometres, which will take one approximately 4 hours on average to cover.
This route has a steep gradient. You will come across many well-known species of trees along the way, such as oaks, cedars, and birch.
The route opens up into a lush meadow, where you can see shepherds roaming around freely with their herd. These meadows are alpine meadows, with an abundance of green grass everywhere. Mount Hanuman Tibba, and many other peaks can be easily seen from this point onwards.
You will encounter another short stretch of woods before reaching Rola Khuli. Rola Khuli is also a favourite of shepherds who come here to graze their sheep or cattle. It is also commonly known as the ‘base camp’ due to its location at the base of Bhrigu Lake.
The altitude at Rola Khuli is approximately 12,566 feet above sea level. The nights here are calm, but can turn very cold. One can easily see the stars and constellations if there are no clouds in the sky.
Some campers like to pitch their tents near Chor Nallah, which is nearby, and an excellent water source.
Day 3: Rola Khuli to Bhrigu Lake and back to Rola Khuli (when going via Kothi or Gulaba)
If you are going to the Bhrigu Lake in early June, the snowfields start as soon as you cross Chor Nallah.
Therefore, you should begin your trek early in the morning, preferably before the sun has risen. Once the sun has risen considerably, the snow begins to melt, and it is a lot more difficult to walk on the snow.
The trek to Bhrigu Lake from Rola Khuli is about 8 kilometres or more. The journey takes about 5-7 hours on average.
The lake is located between two high altitude ridges. The lake itself is at an altitude of approximately 14,009 feet above sea level. You can see the lake once you have reached the first ridge. It’s oval in shape, nearly frozen, and surrounded by snow. If you’re visiting in July or later, you may see that the lake is surrounded by fresh grass and flowers.
Descending from Bhrigu Lake
After spending some time at the lake, it’s time for the descent.
Again, you have three routes to choose from: Kothi, Gulaba, and Vashisht.
You can choose to go back through the same route you came from, or you can try a different route back for a different journey back to Manali.