Mountains are the sanctuary of nature lovers and people looking for a short escape from the reality of concrete chaos. If you are a trailblazer who likes to trek, looking for places less known and less explored then keep reading on.
Himachal Pradesh– the foothills of Himalayas, showcases several exquisite surprises from the bounty of nature like- rivers, rivulets, coniferous stretches, glacier-fed lakes and abundant flora and fauna expanding into the plains of north India. One of these surprises hidden in plain sight is the Kareri Lake which also known as Kumarwah Lake is a shallow freshwater lake situated in the south of Dhauladhar range, approximately 9 kilometres northwest of Dharamshala, in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh.
While places like the Baijnath temple, Kangra Fort, Brajeshwari temple, Dhauladhar range, Indrahar pass trek and Mcleodganj attract a large number of tourists, located at an altitude of 2934 metres above the sea level, Kareri Lake manages to carve a niche in the hearts of the visitors who witness its unadulterated beauty.
The lake is fed by glaciers of the Dhauladhar range and further flowing down forms the stream named ‘Nyund’. Since melting snow is the source of Kareri Lake, the lake is shallow and very clear. It is so crystal clear that the bed of the lake is also visible to the naked eye!
The pristine lake is surrounded by clusters of dense conifers, colourful perennial flowers and pasture stretches which are frequently visited by the Gujjars and Gaddis and their cattle who reside in the nearby villages. The lake freezes during the winter months starting from November end up till April/May enveloping the area in mist and a surreal atmosphere that captures the imagination of nature enthusiasts.
Buses are available from Dharamshala to Ghera village starting from 8 AM. The distance between the two places is about 20 kilometres which can also be covered by a hired jeep or taxi.
The trek starts from the market in Ghera village. The village has a navigable road treading on which you will come across a bridge and continue moving on the route along the Khauli River. About 30 minutes into the trek you will pass Sari village and from here Kareri village is only 2 kilometres away.
The trail passes through dense rhododendron varieties leading the way to Kareri village. Walking ahead you will come across a wooden bridge over the Kareri stream; from here it will take approximately another 30 minutes to reach the village. The camping grounds and the forest guest house are just 10 minutes away from here.
Campers usually set up their camp in the meadows near the stream, 10 minutes away from Kareri village. There is a forest guest house available too for accommodation but it is advisable to speak with the forest ranger office in advance if you wish to book the guest house. Home-stay in the Kareri village is also a good option for the trekkers to consider.
The trail at the back of the forest guest house leads to a narrow valley which will lead to another wooden bridge. After a slightly steeper climb of about 200 metres and crossing another bridge, you will find yourself at a camping spot called ‘Harote’. From this spot, there will be another valley which will lead you to your destination- Kareri Lake.
Anytime around the year is a good time to visit Kareri Lake and the nearby attractions. It should be noted though that during November/December to May/April the lake remains frozen and extra caution is required when visiting the lake as the ice thickness can be unpredictable and the surface slippery.
Some other treks near McLeodganj that promise a calming break from the monotonous rhythm of life and breath-taking views are- Triund Trek, which is a very small and modest trek, Guna Devi Temple trek, Bhagsu trek and Indrehar Pass trek.
So open your calendars pack up your trekking shoes and start exploring!