A recent road journey to Chanshal Pass concluded in a bombastic manner. Our tight itinerary was partly to blame. ‘You don’t drive all the way to Chanshal Pass and not explore its vicinity,” I kept mumbling to myself. I ended up scrambling to the 12,303 feet high Himalayan Neverland, Chanshal Ghati. To my utter despair, I could only salvage to take back few photographic memories.
A few months went by as I moved on from my debacle of Buran Ghati Pass. A visit to Chanshal Pass was accidental. But the memories endured like a loaf of fresh baked bread. I quickly reviewed my travel notes. A mention of ‘Saru Lake’ by a local Shepherd was haphazardly scribbled in my notebook. I have heard about Chandarnahan lake (and even a close rhyming Sara Lake). But this lake was news to me.
A quick search on the internet led me to a few useful leads. Spotting the lake on Google Earth was easy. The GPS Coordinates helped in tracking the lake. From the motorable road bend at Chanshal Pass, it appears to be a day’s hike to the lake.
Then I got a contact from an acquaintance from Shimla. Vaibhav Reekhan Instagram Feed had a few pictures and a video of the lake. I posted a quick message to him for the trail info. His reply came with useful insights.
I thought it to be fair to share all the information we collected.
- Start Point of Trek: Chanshal Top. Park your vehicle next to a sign board at Chanshal Pass Road Bend.
- Distance from Shimla/Rohru: 180 km from Shimla | 60 km approx. from Rohru – 4 to 5 hour drive.
- Trekking Distance: 8 km approx. (one way) | 3 hours (one way) to the lake.
- GPS Coordinates: Saru Lake Latitude: 31°10’26.26″ | Longitude: 77°56’21.26
- Elevation: Saru Lake: 11,865 feet | Chanshal Pass: 12,303 feet.
- Alternative Trek Route: A longer duration trek from Gadsari Village. Gadsari is 24 km from Rohru ahead of Chirgaon. It is a 3 to 4-day trek from with camping at Kharshali Village and Saru Lake. One can either return via same route or trek to Chanshal Pass. The distance is 20 km (Gadsari to Saru Lake). Take a local guide along for this forest trek.
- Things to keep in mind: Carry plenty drinking water. The lake water is not suitable for drinking purpose.
- Last Petrol Pump: Rohru
- Night stay/Hotel Option: Last hotel Stay is available at Larot (20 km before Chanshal Pass). Larot has a Himachal Pradesh PWD Guest House. Night Stay options are also available at Chirgaon and Maandali with Forest Department Guest House. Facilities are basic. A cooked meal on request.
- Mobile Signal and Phone connectivity: Mobile signal range is till Larot. BSNL Landline works in Chirgaon, Larot and Dodra-Kwar.
- Last Motor Mechanic on route: Chirgaon
- Nearest Hospital: Rohru
I wrote the Prelude to this Trek in haste. But the resolve to trek to Saru lake is ironclad. I plan to visit Saru Lake in June 2016.
Picture Credit: Vaibhav Reekhan