Imagine Blue. Oceanic Blue!
Just a little thought of oceanic blue is enough to make people crazy. Because such is the magic of blue color, it is essentially romantic in nature. Now imagine a shade of blue and bring it to life by using the best of your imaginative powers. Done?
The frozen blues of Dashaur Lake would still surprise you. I can guarantee ‘at least’ that much.
The frozen waters of Dashaur Lake have a bluish tinge so sparklingly beautiful that you would not consider it real unless you touch it with your own hands.
Dashaur Lake is a high altitude lake (4200 meters) nestled amidst the towering mountains of Pir Panjals to its Northern side, where as the colossal rock wonders of the Dhauladhars’ guard its Southern side. I had been trying to reach here since last two years but I could not gather any concrete information. I could find only three written records of Dashaur expedition on the web; amongst which one was entirely incorrect.
I had also been trying to locate the Ghepan Peak (5870 meter) as there is enough confusion regarding its location. Even Shri Harish Kapaida got its location wrong in many of his maps. The Ghepan Goh peak is not the first conical peak that appears from the top of the Rohtang Pass. Not even the second one. The third peak, which completes the trishul formation, is the real Ghepan Peak.
Little did I know that I would come face to face with the Ghepan Peak on this expedition? My friend Anshul did point out to me once about the inaccurate naming of Ghepan Goh in the maps. It took me almost one year to believe him. (Click to see Anshul’s version here)
Seeing is believing, as they say!
Lake Dashaur is located almost six kilometer westwards from Rohtang Top. There are mainly two trails, one that offshoots directly from the top of the Rohtang Pass, which I believe is bit short but extremely strenuous. The other one, which we took, is relatively easy and it starts from the Rahni Nallah turn, approximately two kilometers or so before the Rohtang Top, while you are approaching from the Manali side. The gradient remains the same throughout the walk and its only when you get the first glimpse of the lake, the gradient flattens a bit. This trail is not well marked, not in July at least, and that’s what makes it little difficult to walk through this trail.
I left my home (Sundernagar) at 2100 hours on Friday and within seven hours; I was atop the Rohtang Pass, 190 kilometers in 7 hours. I was joined by Aayush in Kullu, a wonderful person and a daring trekker from Kullu. It was he who knew the route to the lake. Later I figured out that it was his first visit to the lake and all he was following was his instincts. And Google maps too.
Did I not mention daring?
There are cairns visible as you begin your walk but as you gain height, these cairns disappear gradually and you see them placed only at crucial turns, where the risk of losing the trail is considerably high. The lake is adorned with cairns and little stone idols across its periphery, which must be 500 meters in its liquefied state. Pilgrims take a holy dip here in the month of August –September (Bhadon -20, Hindu calendar) and that’s the best time to see the crystal waters of this lake.
And by far, this is one of the most beautiful lakes in the Himalayas I have come across. Ghepan Goh (5870 meters) and Hanuman Tibba (5960 meters) appear to be enticing the lake towards them by sending clouds, snow, and rain its way. And the lake just stands still, as if teasing these guarding towers.
If you remember, we once had a walk across the Sukh Dali Pass where from the holy abode of Lord Shiva, the Manimahesh Kailash, appears just a stone’s throw away. Same is the case with the Dashaur Lake. If you can jump, you can touch the highest peak of the Dhauladhar Himalayas; the Hanuman Tibba (5960 meters). And if you try a little harder, the majestic Ghepan Goh is an absolute possibility, poetically speaking.
And then there is the breathtaking view of the pride of the Pir Panjals; Deo Tibba (6001 meters) and Indrasan (6221 meters) to the east of the Dashaur Lake. These two mountains appear as two long lost brothers trying to embrace each other.
Now before we wrap up, run your imagination wild one more time. And be surprised again because Dashaur Lake is much more than your wildest dreams. A bluish shade never seen before, a frozen lake guarded by the towering pillars of the Himalayas, and the mad rush of Rohtang receding away from you. That, my friends, is how I can describe Dashaur Lake.
And I know, that’s not enough.
We had another companion, Aayush’s cousin (Pranav) who had come from Delhi. Although he was panting throughout the walk, not even once he talked about giving up. When the likes of Aayush found it difficult (and me too), you can imagine what that poor Delhi returned chap must be going through. He even had a fall on the glacier yet he managed to march on. Pranav, you have my respect my friend! Probably, we will do Bhrigu Lake together again.
P.S. Lord Gyephang or Ghepan is the presiding deity of Lahaul, the protector of people. In olden days people of Lahaul fought, their wars under the banner of Lord Gyephang. The temple of Lord Ghepan is in Sissu Village.
P.P.S The arduous Taintu La is just next to the Hanuman Tibba. And that means one more adventure semi-unlocked.