A beautiful and picturesque lake, the Kareri Lake seems like a place which has been picked straight out of a Hollywood movie. Also known as Kumarwah Lake, this is a shallow, freshwater lake that is situated to the south of the Dhauladhar range, about 9 kilometres to the northwest of Dharamshala, in the Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh. Located at an altitude of 2,934 metres above the sea level, the Kareri Lake is also a popular trekking destination in the Dhauladhar range other than being a major sightseeing attraction. Frequented mostly by the Gujjars and Gaddis who reside in the nearby villages because of the extensive pasturelands that the Kareri Lake houses, the lake also boasts of beautiful clusters of dense conifers and different kinds of colourful perennial flowers.
The snow melting from the Dhauladhar range serves as the water source for this high altitude lake, and the pristine water from the Kareri Lake then outflows in the form of a stream known as Nyund. Since the water supply to the lake is provided by melting snow, and the lake is quite shallow; the water visibility is very high, and in most of the places, the lake bed is visible.
While a majority of the backpackers who visit Himachal Pradesh are seen flocking to Triund or Indrahar Pass circuit, a short trek to the Kareri Lake makes for a more luxurious and quieter experience. The lake appears to be especially appealing during the winter months of December to March when the lake is frozen and an air of tranquillity envelopes it. A trip to the Kareri Lake is thus definitely not worth a miss, especially for nature lovers.
The adventurous trek through the Kareri Lake will give you a chance to explore the rich flora and fauna that inhabit this area. The area surrounding the lake is dotted with lush tropical pine forests. The forests are full of chir and chilgoza pines, along with broad-life species. The areas surrounding the Kareri Lake also host a large variety of birds which can easily be spotted because of the low canopies. In the second half of the trail, the tourist will find rocky grasslands, and pines and shrubs begin to dominate the forest.
The trek to the Kareri Lake commences from Mcleodganj and then leads up to the Kareri Village, which is located at an altitude of 1,800 metres above the sea level. This entire trek passes through a thick pine forest and a few small villages. What follows next is a gradual ascent to the Kareri Lake through narrow ridges and thick forests. While on this trail, you will always have to cross the Kareri Nallah several times over a wooden bridge.
Further, from the Kareri Lake, the trail descends to Bagga and then to Rewa for all those who wish to explore the area further and enjoy in the beauties of nature. The trek then proceeds directly to the Guna Devi Temple which is situated at an elevation of 2,120 metres above the sea level.
Since the Kareri Lake trek is located in the Indian Himalaya region and is one of the alpine treks, the trek is recommended only for experienced trekkers who have had some prior experience of trekking at such high altitudes.
One of the major attractions near the Kareri Lake is an ancient temple that is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Shakti. This fantastic temple is located on a hilltop and overlooks the breathtakingly beautiful lake. On the other side of the lake, you will also find a few gaddi kothis, which are areas that are used by the Gaddis as a grazing ground for their cattle.
Perhaps the most fun-filled and adventurous attraction here is the trek, which is the main reason while tourists visit this area. While on the trek, tourists can also take part in the local tours and adventure activities such as Tyrolean Traversing. The Kareri Lake also serves as a base for further trekking into the Dhauladhar range, and then to Chamba and Bharmour, via the Minkiani Pass (4250 metres above sea level) and Baleni Pass (3710 metres above the sea level).
The best time to visit the Kareri Lake is during the Indian summer season. May to July and September to November are the best months to visit the Kareri Lake.
The best way to reach the Kareri Lake is to hire a jeep from Dharamshala to Ghera village, which is around 20 kilometres away from the lake. From the main bazaar, proceed towards the bridge, crossing over Bhote Khosi. After crossing the bridge, take a left and trek upwards, straight along the Kareri stream. The trail diverges here. Stick to the one that goes along the river. Around 30 minutes into the hike, the forested trail will lead you to a government school. This is Sari Village. The trek from here is another two kilometre-long ascent to the Kareri Village.
Hikers carry their own tents and camps to stay at besides the lake. One can also stay at the temple complex which is located on the hill overlooking the lake. Unfortunately, most of the time, this temple is locked. The infrastructure of the temple is very basic and has two or three stone and thatched roofs for visitors to stay at.
Another option is to stay at is the gaddi kothis, which are located on the other side of the lake, under the Minkiani Pass. The Snow Monk Camp at the Salli Village is also a good option and has all the necessary equipment that is needed by trekkers.
1. Make sure that you carry clean drinking water along with you.
2. Wear comfortable clothes and proper sports shoes.
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