Aug 032012

Dhankar lake is situated above the Village of Dhankar at the height of 4136 meters (13570 feet) in the middle of hills. I asked to some local people about the best route to reach there. They suggested to climb directly over the hill in front of the guest house. There is also a good 3 kms trail going to the lake, but it takes more time in comparison to the direct climb on the hill. I decided to climb directly on the hill.

I started my trek from the guest house, which was at the base of the hills, where lake is situated. Nidhi was not interested in this trek, so she decided to stay back in the guest house. I took my camera gears and walked over the hill. For half an hour it was a good climb. There was small narrow trail leading towards the top of the hill. But, then suddenly that trail disappeared and the hill is left with loose pebbles scattered all around. There was a great chance of slip on those pebbles. I stopped for a while, looked below at Dhankar Village. From that height this lunar-shaped village situated on a cliff above the confluence of Pin River and Spiti River looked amazing.

Dhankar Village from the hill

I captured those beautiful moments and walked away further. It was too risky to walk on the loose pebbles, but I was not interested to go down to the village to take the another route. I used my tripod stand as a stick and with the help of that, climbed further. After 30 minutes of struggle, I reached at the top of that hill. Lake was further away behind another hill,but it was only a small walk and I reached there in next 15 minutes.

Loose pebbles at the hills

Risky climb trail on the hills

The lake is a beautiful site. There is a good amount of crystal clear water in the lake and it spreads over a large area. It is surrounded by the barren hills from the sides,but still there is a plenty space left on the bank of it giving an impression of a perfect camping site. Beyond the river valley, snow-capped peaks of Himalayas are clearly visible and their reflections in the lake water frame the perfect pictures for a photographer. I walked to the other side of the lake in search of the fishes, as told by a villager. But there were none. There is a small temple being build by the local people on a side of the lake. This temple is still under construction. There is a pole with lot of prayer flags on the other side of the lake.

Dhankar Lake

Dhankar Lake

Dhankar Lake

Prayer Flags on the bank of the Dhankar Lake

Perfect Camping Site

I could spend hours sitting there and looking at the snowy mountain peaks and their shadows in the water, but I wanted to explore more. It was only 1.30 PM. I had plenty of time for the day. I decided to explore the hills beyond the lake. I found a narrow trail going upwards on the hills. I walked further following the trail and reached at the top of the hill. There is another hill beyond that. I walked towards the top of that hill and then the third hill and so on. I kept walking in a no men’s land for next two hours, until I found a flat plateau that extend up to miles from there. A strong wind was blowing at that height with a mysterious sound. It was so strong that my tripod stand felt down twice, when I tried to click my pictures in auto mode, but luckily my camera was safe.

Snowy Mountain Peaks

Dhankar Lake and Surrounding View

I couldn’t find a single soul on the hills.It was a different feeling. I was happy as well as tired. My mind wanted to return back to Dhankar, but the heart wanted to stay there, even to move further for a while. I was on the top of a large plateau and there were mountains all around me.I could see Dhankar fort below the hills and beyond that, there was the confluence of Spiti and Pin River. I looked beyond the river valley and there were high-rise mountains with snow-capped peaks behind them. I could not imagine a landscape more beautiful than this in that cold desert. But then I had to return back to Dhankar before the dark, so I had no choice. I started walking down towards the lake.

Dhankar Fort from the top

Confluence of Spiti River and Pin River

Surrounding Landscapes

Surrounding Landscapes

Surrounding Landscapes

Surrounding Landscapes

Surrounding Landscapes

While returning back, I found a small kid trying to lit the fire on a side of the lake. That kid was from Dhankar Village. He was all alone in that wilderness. He told me that his mother and sister was collecting woods on nearby hills. They were in the mood of picnic, so the boy was trying to lit the fire to cook some food.

A local kid preparing for the food

Pin River through the mountains

A view of Dhankar Village

I moved further and took the popular trail route going to Dhankar Village. This rough trail is also full of boulders and dust, but descend was very comfortable in comparison to ascent.At last, I returned back to Dhankar village at 18.00 PM in the evening.

  17 Responses to “Trekking to Dhankar Lake and Beyond in a No Men’s Land”

  1. Thank you very much for all your great info…you are inspiring a lot my trip in Spiti valley. will do it in september. Can you suggest me a good place where to stay in Kaza? Thank you very much. Debora

  2. I think no one can experienced The serenity of Shimla to Kaza like you … You did great job By creating forum and narrating your adventures trip…… Soo helpful for others…

  3. Hi Solo Backpacker,

    I meant to post this query on the other blog (Visit To Dhankar Village & Its Monastery) but the comment for that blog is now closed. I apologize for the 2 year delay.

    Two quick questions on the hike fr Schiling to Dhankar.
    1. The 8 km hike up to Dhankar. Can you describe on the level of difficulty if I am to hike (in August)?

    2. At Schilling, how far is the bus stand (where the bus fr Kaza dropped you) to the entrance of the hike?

    I am a casual hiker with an average fitness level and wish to stay several nights in Dhankar. Will only use a cab should the difficulty of the hike prove too much (treacherous/ steep) with my 7 kg backpack. I will have to use a taxi then.

    Once again, apologize for my delay.

    • Hi,

      1. The 8 km hike up to Dhankar. Can you describe on the level of difficulty if I am to hike (in August)?

      This trek is not necessary. You can hire a vehicle or simply hitchhike to reach the village. A good motorable road goes upto the village. And, if you still wish to hike, it’s a motorable road with not so steep ascent. Comfortable and Easy hike on the level of difficulty.

      2. At Schilling, how far is the bus stand (where the bus fr Kaza dropped you) to the entrance of the hike?

      The road to Dhankar village branched off from the main road to Kaza, just outside Schichling village. The bus drops near the intersection of these two roads. A big concrete gate welcoming you to Dhankar village is right there at the beginning of the paved road to Dhankar village.

      Difficulty wise, entire trail is very easy with 7kg backpack. Hope you will enjoy it. For information, Comment form is closed to encourage people to use the forum section of this website. πŸ™‚

      • Thank you very much for your feedback. I am comforted by your advice and will hike up the 8 km. Slowly but surely, probably with many breaks. Thanks for your help again. Pleasant backpacking on your side.

  4. Planning to go to dhankar village this May mid by own car please suggest.

    • Hi, You can go there via Shimla-Reckong Peo-Tabo. Roads are good expect some bad patches. Since, its the month of May, I hope, there will be no landslides. But, it is also considered as one of the most dangerous roads in India due to very deep gorge of Satluj River on one side throughout the journey. You should be well versed with the mountain driving.

  5. A great blog – have become a fan of yours. πŸ™‚ The last photograph in this page, do you remember where from have you taken this? I am visiting Dhankar next month and looking to photograph from the same spot Thanks in advance !! πŸ™‚

    • Thanks. While descending back from Dhankar Lake to Dhankar village on the main track, you will find the same view. No specific point, one the village visible, the view will be all the way. Wish you a great trip there.

  6. No!!! Please don’t say that Dhankar has clear water! There is simply NO clear water in that lake. It is the muggiest lake ever! :/ πŸ˜€

  7. very useful info.

  8. Great Description …..

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