Ever wondered what it means to ramble off the unbeaten track? I think about that a lot. And the vagabond soul in me just compels me to pack and leave every few months to discover someplace new.
And so I found myself enroute to Kareri Lake, nestled on the south of the mighty Dhauladhars. Kareri Lake gets its name from Kareri village, home to many gaddi families. It is a freshwater lake formed by the melting of the glaciers of the Milkhiani Pass and an absolute beauty to behold. Due to the high altitude the lake remains frozen in the winter months, and melts in the summer, making it the best time to attempt this trek.
The trek from the village to the lake is a 14km stretch, and I spent the night before with a local who was the very epitome of Himachali hospitality. He offered me food, a place to stay and many helpful tips for my journey the next day. The kindness of strangers really does humble you when you travel.
After ending up on the wrong trail the first time, a gaddi helpfully pointed me out in the right direction and I began again. This time I met a group of trekkers from Bangalore and decided to trek with them. We went at a relaxed pace, drinking in the beauty of nature. We also met a lot of gaddi shepherds and cattle herders heading towards the grazing grounds as it was the start of summer. Come evening we were still a few kilometres from the lake so we spent the night in a gaddi hamlet.
The stunning Kareri Lake, it is a clear and shallow lake, surrounded by lush rolling hills. Overlooking the lake, there is a Shiva-Sati temple complex, where we were to spend the night. Isolated, untouched and exquisite, we merely sat and enjoyed the view. It is still a relatively unknown trek and therefore there aren’t many travellers around as compared to other well-known trekking locations.
After admiring the lake for a while, I met a couple of elderly gaddis and we exchanged stories about their semi-nomadic lives and our semi-automated lives. They also showed me the trishul formed by three streams draining into the lake adding significance to the Shiva-Sati temple near the lake.
The lake itself is quite clear and shallow, so at points even the lake bed is plainly visible. As it was a clear day the sun was shining down and the water was as blue as the sky above, making it an absolutely unforgettable scene.