Kareri Lake (also known as Kumarwah Lake) is a high altitude, shallow, fresh water lake south of the Dhauladhar range approximately 9 km North West of Dharamsala in Kangra district, Himachal Pradesh. Its surface is 2934 metres above the sea level. Snow melting from the Dhauladhar range serves as the source of the lake and a stream, Nyund is the outflow. Since the source is fresh melting snow and the lake is shallow, water visibility is very high and in most places, the lake bed can be seen.
Kareri lake is best known for being a trekking destination in the Dhauladhars. The lake remains frozen from early December to March–April. There is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Shakti on a hilltop overlooking the lake.. A few gaddi kothis are present on the other side of the lake, an area which is used by the gaddis as a grazing ground for their animals. Kareri Lake serves as a base for trekking further into the Dhauladhar and onward to Chamba and Bharmour via the Minkiani Pass (4250m) and Baleni Pass (3710m).
Kareri Lake is not connected by a road. The closest roadhead is at Kareri (also known as Kareri Village), a village near Dharamshala. A 9km dirt road links Kareri to the nearest town, Ghera. Footpaths also connect Kareri to Ghera and are a bit shorter (5km). Ghera is accessed either by shared jeep from Dharamsala (17km, about one hour) or on foot from Naddi (about 2km by forest trails). As such, Kareri can be reached on foot from Mcleodganj, but its a bit too long for a return day hike. Most people who visit Kareri stay overnight in preparation for the hike to Kareri lake.
The schedule of jeeps from Dharamsala to Ghera is irregular, and jeeps from Ghera to Kareri even more so. A taxi from Ghera to Dharamsala costs 800 Rupees as of early 2016.
From Kareri, a 13km trail from Kareri leads to the lake. Most of this trail is along the Nyund stream right up to the lake. The trail is mostly well marked, but a guide may be required. It is a long but easy to moderate trail, steep in certain portions, up to the lake.
Hikers may carry their own tents, or stay in the temple complex on the hill overlooking the lake. There are 2-3 stone and thatched roof rooms that can accommodate people. Another option is to stay in the gaddi kothis, if travelling with a local guide, which are on the other side of the lake, under the Minkiani Pass.
Retrace the route taken to reach Kareri Lake from Ghera back
Kareri Lake is also the base camp to some exciting pass crossings over Dhauladhar.
Bleni Pass– (20 km from Kareri Lake to Bleni Pass and back to Kareri Lake). Towards the left of the valley is the trail leading to Bleni Pass (12,300 feet). Descend 5 km to a shepherd trail to Dhaledh (7,746 ft), a beautiful camping site next to Bleni rivulet. From here, the trail ascends sharply all the way to Bleni Pass, which is another 5 km moraine slog. From the pass, on a clear day, one can see the Dhauladhar – Pir Pinjal ranges to the north of the high peaks of Kishtwar Himalayas. Depending on the weather conditions, you may choose to camp overnight at Dhaledh or Charkotu, which is 3 km before Bleni Pass. Shepherd huts can be used for overnight stay.
Minkiani Pass – (4.5 km from Kareri Lake). Across the lake, the facing wall of Dhauladhar, is the route to reach Minkiani Pass (13,230 ft). The pass is a 4 hour’s steep climb over boulders, moraine and snow. One can cross over the pass and do a longer trek to the great lakes of Dhauladhar, concluding the trek at the shepherd land of Bharmour. One can also take an alternative route to Lam Dal and re-enter Kangra Valley by crossing the more popular Indrahar Pass.