It is said that the form of SHAKTI Nature and the beloved of SHIVA, Mata Parvati comes to bath in Dehnasar Lake during Bhadon (भाद्रमास ) falling between August and September.
Dehnasar Lake of SHAKTI
I had thought at least this stretch up to the lake should be trash free, but it was not, for the civilized “pilgrims” throng here
The name of this lake has been mutilated in many forms like Danser Lake, Dancer Lake, Dainasar Lake, Danasur Lake! Situated at an approximate height of 4280 meters (14,040 ft) above MSL. Surrounded by high edgy cliffs of mighty Dhauladhar Mountains, this is one of the high mountain lakes just like Lam Dal, Nag Dal and others.
Dropping off all of the fancy, as usual the vicinity of this lake is badly trashed by the so called pilgrims and trekkers alike. Right from the start of the trek and up to the lake, you will witness all kinds of trash along the trail.
Also behold you may also encounter some sun bathing snake, so walk and climb carefully. I had read about this lake very long back, but had no plans for it as there are many yet to see. But then one of the trek partner wanted to hit his first high mountain trek and he had Dainasar Lake on list, so got myself tagged with him.
We left for Barot on the evening of Friday of September 2019 and arrived there by 8:30 PM got a stay option in the room of another friend, though we had planned to pitch tent for the stay in Barot. That night we sought all kinds of information for the trek and duration for the same. Some of the replies and suggestions were disheartening and some were encouraging.
Anyhow slept through those mixed suggestions and on the next day, we were a bit of late, so hired a cab up to Polling the last village on trek after Lohardi. Started our trek from Polling, approximately by 8:30 AM, we walked through Polling village and it reminded me of the rough wood planks used on roofs in place of roofing slates, which I had seen in Bara Bhanghal.
After about 2 hours of walk we were at the place where Gujjars from Kullu had camped in and they told us about two more trekkers from Joginder Nagar, who were ahead of us and were heading to Dehnasar Lake.
Few turns later, we found them across the bridge and just before the steep climb. We took a break to refill drinking water from the stream and in the meantime exchanged information. As our point for the days trek was Madhi just at the base of Dehnasar Lake, so we left as soon were done with refilling.
The trail is well beaten and as per me is a good trail for solo trek, but one with good experience, all you need is to carry a tarpaulin and some cooking stuff.
Right on the trail we startled a baby snake with length of around 6 to 10 inches, to my bad this time I picked up the kid snake using a long twig and before letting it go, held it high for some time and as moved further another adult big snake just saw us and disappeared in the bush.
The trek is well beaten and littered so no chance of getting lost. Though the climb is tiring but then the native trees, huge Devdar provide plenty of shade all along the steep climb.
If you minus the trash on the trail then this is one of the beautiful and easy, but long trek with herbal flowers everywhere. But trash is something you cannot ignore.
While climbing up, I was wondering why people don’t give it a second thought before throwing their trash in open nature. Moreover even when they are in Dev Bhumi and heading for holy lake and going for bathing.
After the steep climb, as we reached the first flat spot, I was almost blown away by the sight of the awful trash, but soon was soothed by the fragrance of wild herbal flowers and grass! Some even had left around 500 GM of split red lentils mixed with salt and hung up on poly cloth bag!
The beauty of this long trail is astounding, but at the same time the sight of paper and foam cups and then empty bottles, bear cans were like an eye sore.
This is how the modern Himachalis behave with Dev Bhumi. Again this trail is no getting lost trail, unless someone has the intentions for that.
Some more of walk and the trail is like zig zag climb, with some short-cuts. Fog started to climb along with us but you will not feel tired in this trek.
With more of walking we came across the train of the mules and horse accompanied by their owners and they told that, it “just” two three turns and you will reach your first point of the trek at “Madhi”.
Well that two, three turns sure took some another 45 minutes of walk and climb. Anyhow we were in the Madhi by 04:00 PM almost accurate as was predicted by one of the buffalo herder/ Gujjar.
We could have utilized that “Madhi” an encircled shelter made of rock slabs with C shape and an entrance but we were missing a huge tarpaulin. So we pitched tent instead.
Here, I got to play the role of a Hostler for a few moments! For the first time I got to touch a horse…she had other one with her kid and they were out there and upon seeing us approached for the taste of Salt on Boulder rock.
I immediately took out half pack of salt from nearby rock shelter and spread over the rock and they were happy licking the salt…and I then pampered one of them on cheek…the kid was defensive though!
While there was incoming of fog so my trek partner preferred to stay inside the tent while I grabbed the umbrella and walked uphill and spent some good time in that thick fog.
After a while I climbed a little further before heading back to the tent. It was only 06:00 PM and since there was no option to make fire so laid out my sleeping bad and just slipped in. We tried to fill up our tummy with some snacks and went to sleep early by 07:00 PM. We were carrying three/four days ration but it went utilized.
It was only in the middle of the night when I was awakened because of the tiny mice started running inside my tummy begging for food and they were making it difficult for me to sleep.
So unpacked my packed lunch (which was meant for next day) and ate some two or three pooris mixed with pickle and it was only then the tummy let me sleep for another few hours.
Next day, were up by 05:00 AM for the early start for the lake, as we were to return the same day. But the early dark shade of the dawn was still strong and that would have bound us from seeing the trail for the lake.
After 45 minutes we started off. We were climbing up and up, here I had thought at least this stretch up to the lake should be trash free, but it was not, for the civilized “pilgrims” throng here.
Anyhow, as I was looking towards the possible location of the lake, because it is not easy to see that high holy lake from below.
But there is a general rule, follow the flowing water stream, whether you are climbing up for the lake or climbing down on unknown trail, as the flowing water will lead you to a possible human settlement or towards its source and that could be a huge lake or something like that. (Learned this from Discovery Channel)
Here I experienced the illusion of the mountains and realized how easy it is to get lost in the high mountains. Because at one point I felt that we are almost at the lake, but upon reaching that point, found that there is another hill to climb up before reaching the lake.
But here too, if you keep yourself aware then there is always time to retreat safely without getting lost. Just retrace your trail that you used to climb up and you will be fine.
As we climbed another hill, witnessed another mayhem, there is plenty means plenty of trash, egg shells, foam and paper cups, alcohol bottles, cans but then there was frost over the grass and golden sunshine streak over Thamsar Jot in long distance!
After that there was a single last climb with a sign board proudly signifying its importance as a messenger to the so called “pilgrims” and telling them not to litter around the lake but all in vain.
As usual the last climb takes toll, but it was not that hard, but the frost over the rocks was of concern as their top surface was slippery.
By 07:45 AM, we were beside the “high shores” of that holy lake Dehnasar, surrounded by cliffs of Dhauladhar Mountains. Trash is there too! But then a beautiful Sunrise welcomed in and another sign board in not so distant shoulders of the nearby mountain, which further leads you to Kullu and Manali.
Took some shots, but the dust in my camera lens did wonders with the video and the images!
I quickly untied my shoes and took a few dips in the lake water and it was refreshing with all sweat and tiredness gone with cold water of the holy lake.
Thanked Dhauladhar Mountains for another safe climb. Then from the other side of the mountain, appeared a shepherd dog and along with the shepherd. The dog was like “I don’t care and not afraid of you!”
He found the half eaten skin of the goat that probably was sacrificed and went busy munching that skin. The shepherd went busy with prayers. Later he mentioned that, he was from Luhardi village and has his “Dhan” Livestock of sheep and goat on the other side of the mountains towards Kullu.
He detailed how earlier the holiness of this lake was maintained by the laws of local Devta and how lower cast people never climbed up to the lake and bathed down the stream of the lake also that there was some arrogant guy who once walked up the lake wearing leather shoes and later he almost went blind but local Dev showered mercy to him by returning his eyesight!!
And now anyone can come up right up to the lake without any prohibition. To most of the point he was correct, as there is plenty of trash by the side of the lake itself. Later he went searching for empty bottle to carry drinking water.
The cliffs are close by and you can climb up to see what’s on the other side. If you want to cross over to Kullu, then can go right from here. If you want to go Bara Bhanghal then first you will have to climb down up to around 2500 meters and then climb up another 3800 meter or 4000 meters and climb down to touch Kaliheni Nala to follow the trail that comes from Kullu side and reach Bara Bhanghal.
Around 08:15 AM we started to climb down towards Madhi, where we had pitched our tent.
Once there packed our stuff and we collected some trash not all because we had not much time and no big trash bags.
On return I also climbed up to the temple of Jai Dev Pashakot, with wide stretch of the maze fields.
Climb down doesn’t take much time, but takes more energy and care. This time too we had not eaten breakfast or lunch like that and we walked straight 18 km from the lake Dehnasar to Polling and since there was no taxi in Polling village so another 3-5 km walk up to Lohardi only for tea break and then board bus up to Barot and then ride with the trek partner up to the more civilized world.
So we collected some trash what-ever was feasible and also along the trek.
Lesson re-learned Never SKIP your food on a long trek as it is not about record making! Next Kullu trek will be from here over Sari Pass or for Kaliheni Pass.