Saturday, 13 December 2014

Kareri Lake- Trekking in Dharamahala

Kareri lake
The Dhauladhar Ranges of Himachal Pradesh in India, possess abundant beauty, waterfalls, lakes and thick virgin forests. The higher Ranges of Dhuladhar are mainly inhabited by the tribes known as Gaddis, or shepherds, who graze their flocks in the summer and come down to the plains in winter, when the peaks get covered with snow. The paths used by them come as handy for the trekkers, who come to explore the magic of wonderful mountains. 
The Kareri is little known lake in Dhauladhars. It is also called the Kumarwah Lake. Situated at a high altitude of 10,000 feet above sea level this shallow, fresh water lake is a trekker’s paradise in the Dhauladhar ranges. The base of the lake is visible in sahllow and clear waters as the snow feeds the waters of the lake which flows out in a small rivulet called Nyund along which the track leads to the lake.
The lake is a base camp for further trekking into the Dhauladhar ranges up to Chamba and Bharmour through the Minkiani Pass at 13944 feet and Baleni Pass at 12172 feet.

Kareri Lake is not connected by a road. It lies at a distance of about 14 Km from the Kareri village of the Gaddis from which the name of the lake has been derived. The village has an approach road from Satobri. The Satobri village is connected by a road from Forsythgang about 6 Km from Dharamsala. About 7 Km from Satobri lies a place called Gehra, from where a steep climb for 3 hours is encountered by the trekkers. The track passes through thick forests, before one reaches Kareri. There is a forest rest house which was built in 1922 by the British.

After spending a night at the village, one sets out for the lake. There is a shorter route also which cuts straight across the mountain. It is a hard climb and is a little dangerous too. The preferred longer route is easy and more enjoyable. One can see the small houses interspersed with the small stair like fields.

Half way to lake is a Lieund nullah, which could be crossed through Rope Bridge. The journey is extremely tiring and it is advisable to carry the eatables. 
The lake appears like a bowl, to be bound on three sides by high cliffs. It is surrounded by lush green meadows and has small huts in its vicinity. The lake has been reduced in size, though the water is deep at several places. The lake remains frozen from December to April in winter and the surrounding areas get covered by a thick mantle of snow.
There are small huts of the shepherds or the gaddis called Kothis on one side of the lake. They graze their flock in the adjoining pasture. On a small hillock overlooking the lake is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Shakti. The trekkers have an option to bring the tents, or stay either in the temple complex or in the Kothis of the gaddis.
This lake once rivaled Khajjiar and Rewalsar in Himachal Pradesh, in beauty and picturesque surroundings, but is now lying neglected. Barring a few trekking expeditions organised by the Mountaineering Institute, there are very few visitors. The lake could be restored to its original size by removing the silt and debris from the lake.

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