This trek is one of the most fascinating treks which is done to see the Kashmir great lakes. Kashmir is called the paradise on earth and taking this trel will explain to you why. The great lakes of Kashmir are all nestled between mountains and so this alpine trek will make you cross rocky terrains, paths which go through snow-clad mountains and beautiful meadows.
On the Kashmir great lakes trek, you will cover 5 valleys and around 7 lakes. And as you walk from one destination to another, you will see blue alpine lakes, rugged mountains and rolling meadows all around you, giving you the feel that you are in the middle of an exotic film shoot location. This trek should be on every trekker’s bucket list. The trek is a perfect one as it involves glaciers, passes, a number of meadows and will make you go across streams and barren lands.
While you are on this trek which is about Kashmir great lakes, you might find it hard to believe that you are still in the country. The natural beauty is unbelievable and will make you regret why you weren’t here earlier. It is similar to the mind-blowing images of foreign places that you have seen on the internet.
Do you know about Vishansar lake? It is also known as the colour-changing lake.The lake will offer you a view that is simply unforgettable as you will be able to see the reflection of four different valleys on the clear water of the lake.
The Gangabal twin lakes is a great camping site. The two lakes are Gangabal lake and Nandkol lake. There are lush meadows on one side of the Gangabal lake and mountains which are partially covered with clouds on the other.
Beside a stream, there are beautiful valleys on which you will trek like the Sonamarg valley and alpine flower valley and the view from these valleys will make you want to stay there forever!
The 7-day trek will offer you a slice of countryside life that you will never experience anywhere else. Whether you opt for a package trip or not, we would still love to help trekkers like you with information that might help you in future. This trekking trail is a comparatively new one, so you might not be very aware of it. So read on to know more about this amazing trek.
This trek will need seven days and six nights from your busy schedule. The difficulty of this trek can be put as medium to hard. If you love to go on a trek, wouldn’t you love to walk through wildflowers of different colours, thick forest, lakes with clear blue water, climb steep slopes, trek through mountain passes and climb down on rocky terrains? We are sure you would. Our package comprises food during treks, camping facilities, mules to carry luggage, transportation from Srinagar to Sonamarg on the first day of the trek and frm Naranag to Srinagar on the final day of the trek.
We have provided a list below on the things you should carry while going on this trek and we would advise you to strictly follow it. It would also be wise to read up more articles on the internet on what you should essentially carry on this trip. You are probably going to use everything that has been listed as the weather there can be highly fluctuating. During the days, the heat of the sun might be uncomfortable and also there might be days when the cold wind and rain will freeze you! This is the reason that you will find that different types of clothes have been listed for packing. We would say the packing list consists of necessities, so if you do not have something, you should be really buying them. You can borrow from your friends or hire whatever possible if you want to save money, but do not miss out on bringing the essentials. Absolutely do not forget to carry your id because you will face many checkposts on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek.
While you start planning and researching about this trek, you must get back into some kind of fitness regime. Working out regularly will help you during the difficult parts of the trekking route. You will trek through different terrains, so even if you cannot go through endurance training at a gym, you can go for an hour of running daily and do stretching exercises and climb up and down the stairs of your building. These are quite sufficient for maintaining a good fitness level. But do not worry if you consider yourself unfit, generally people who do not exercise regularly have also completed the trek. The thing that matters most here and can make the most difference is your mental strength. So keep the belief in yourself and keep that ‘can-do’ attitude high! But of course, if you go through training, you will happily complete the trek without any grunting or moaning! For trouble-free acclimatisation, taking a Diamox at the right time helps.
The actual trip will start after a day you reach Srinagar. Our representative is going to pick you up from the airport and take you to Sonamarg. There are grassy patches, especially beside a stream and people camp here for a night. You are going to be doing the same. Whether you are travelling with us or not, this is an itinerary which most follow.
Considering the day you reached Srinagar to be the first day, on Day 2 you can start the trek from Sonamarg valley and reach Nichnai after covering nine kilometers. The steep climb in the starting will almost continue for three hours and over the next hour, the climb will scale down to moderate. Then again you will have to climb up for around three to four hours to arrive at Nichnai where the altitude is 11,500 feet. This is the campsite for ending Day 2.
Day 3 is the day when you see Vishansar Lake. Tourists can enjoy eating fresh trout fish which have been caught from the Vishansar lake Sonamarg. This is also called the Vishnusar lake and it is located at a height of 12,700 feet. Because you will be crossing the Nichnai pass on this day, the trail will have very little similarity with the one day of the last day. You will be ascending and descending to cover huge meadows which involves hiking for six to seven hours! We will be descending through the alpine flower valley before we reach the lake. As camping right beside the lake is not allowed, you will be camping at a plain land which is one hill away from the lake.
Day 4 is going to be a difficult day on a mind-boggling trail and you will reach the campsite after about 8 hours of trekking. This is the day when you will go from Vishnar to Gadsar. The Gadsar lake Kashmir is a tourist draw and as you go through the Gadsar pass located at a height of 13, 750 feet, you will also see the Gadsar lake. You will cover meadows which look so beautiful that they will make you feel fresh in spite of the difficult trail. You will be able to see the two lakes – Vishansar lake and Kishansar lake. The trail plays with your mind because on one hand the beauty of nature is going to be a treat to all your senses, the trekking is going to tire you out and will test your determination. The Satsar lake trekking day will give you an opportunity to see as many as seven small lakes. The day will end with camping at Megandoab.
Day 5 is the day when we go from Gadsar to Satsar. Compared to the other days, this day is going to be much easier as it will involve five hours of trekking, which is mostly plain hiking. E will also trek Zajibal pass, before camping for the night by the Satsar lake. The Zajibal pass is at a height of 4180 meter. As you climb up to the trek’s last pass, the scenery is bound to wash away all your fatigue. Another thing to note that about twenty minutes before reaching Satsar, you most probably will be taken to an army camp where they will see your and note down the required details.
Day 6 will require you to do a six hour hike to go to Gangabal lakes from Satsar. It is the famous Gangabal twin lakes trek that you will be doing. You will be seeing the two gorgeous lakes – the Gangabal lake and the Nandkol lakes, known as the twin lakes. Both the lakes are good for camping for one night. After trekking for about 9 kilometers, we will reach the lakes and it is here by the Gangabal lake that we will camp overnight.
Day 7 is the day where you will be climbing down to reach Naranag, leaving Nandkol and Gangabal lakes behind. The descent can be mad and make your knees hurt. On the final day, you will be crossing hillocks, trunkol meadows and walking on a trail which goes via beautiful pine forests of bodhpathri. After hiking for about three hours, the slope becomes rocky. The path is strewn with rocks of all sizes. You will also be walking on slippery sand which will make you feel tired. But once you reach Narang, the pain that you have been feeling will quickly be replaced by a sense of victory, now that you have successfully completed the trek. After walking for about 11 kilometers, you will reach the Naranag village. From here you will leave for Srinagar airport which will take approximately 3 hours by car.
During all the camping at nights, spend some lovely time looking at the sky. You will be seeing clear skies every night if you are fortunate. If you are lucky enough to get that, you will also be seeing shooting stars after a gap of some minutes!
So to put in a gist, if you are to go on a trek covering the Kashmir great lakes, remember that the trek route starts from Sonamarg and concludes at the Narang village. This trek is open in the months of July to September as this is when trekking here is allowed too. You will easily find the Kashmir great lakes trek map on Google, shared by many travel websites. It is a seven day trip but we have kept the 8th day as a buffer day, It will be considered in case of unforeseen conditions. You can also keep it as a rest day if you are going on the trek.
Now that we have given a detailed description of the trek, we will try and answer some questions which we think might naturally arise in your mind. The first question very obviously might be that is it safe to travel to Kashmir, right? Well, we wouldn’t start a planned trip if it was unsafe. We would never consider taking tourists there if there is any danger. It will be risking our lives too! If you read up travel blogs, you will find trekkers, even solo travellers, have not felt unsafe when they had stepped out in full darkness.
The second most probable question is about getting mobile networks. We are greatly dependent on our mobiles and rightfully so. It helps us in staying connected, finding ways and getting information while travelling. It also helps in looking for help when required. So how is mobile connectivity? As the trek is at a really high altitude, the truth is that unfortunately, you will not get mobile connectivity. Maybe just for a small amount of time when you will be crossing the Nichnai pass on the third day of the trek, you might get hold of a working network. If you have an Airtel sim or a postpaid BSNL connection, you will be able to make calls to your loved ones from the Srinagar airport, informing them that you are going to start the trek or that you have safely finished the trek and are about to fly back!
The third is something which we consider whenever we are going on any trek or tour. You must be wondering about the toiletries that you must or should carry. This is not a trek where you will be taking baths, so packing the most basic toiletries would be sufficient. Yes you ill be visiting many lakes, but for your own good, we hope that you are not foolish enough to show your bravery by jumping in the freezing water! If you are an experienced trekker, you might already have gotten an idea that carrying two rolls of toilet paper, face wash and a sachet of detergent is what you should be ideally carrying, and of course your toothpaste, toothbrush and/or mouthwash.
Okay, now for the probable fourth question. We are guessing it is something about having to carry your own luggage throughout the hectic trekking. Yes you will have to carry your backpack yourself. But you can also relax knowing that there will be mules or horses to carry everything else. Our crew will tie up common luggages like things related to food and tents on the backs of the horses and bring them to every campsite.
Now about the other essentials, you must be thinking about how you will survive, meaning what about drinking water and meals? Whether you will be travelling with us or any other group, travel crews mostly carry food items with them right from Srinagar. Our food cycle will begin with dinner on the first day and the last meal will be lunch on the final day, that is day 7, which we will provide. You can expect to get fresh but basic meals which will be tasty nevertheless. Travel organisers carry food items like tea, rice. Vegetables, wheat, eggs, tinned or packet soups and even livestocks. So discard any worry that you might be having regarding the availability of food. Fresh water will be available in abundance. You will camp regularly by some streams which are a great source of drinking water. You will be crossing so many lakes through your trek that there is zero chance of running out of potable water.
Why is the buffer day included is something that might occupy your mind. Or would you really need an extra day for resting? We have kept an extra day but there are travel companies which do not include one in their itinerary. You will not require a day just for resting, we are not going to provide that too. It has been included for safety and will be taken into consideration when the situation is unavoidable. Day 5 is a day when the trekking is quite easy and it serves as a break from hectic trekking, which eliminates the need for a rest day.
With all these information, we hope you feel ready for experiencing the Kashmir great lakes trip, whether you plan to do this solo with fellow trekkers or in a group, with your friends.
Our representative will pick up from the Srinagar airport. They will take you to Sonamarg in a car.
Trek will start after having breakfast at 6 am. It is a 5 hour trek through Shekdur. It is a golden meadow with the scenic Sind river adjacent to it. Luggages will be loaded on horses at Shitkshri before starting the trek. The trail goes through meadows and steep slopes and goes through a birch forest at Shokdari before ending at the vast Nichnai meadow - our camping site for the night.
The trek again starts at 6 am after breakfast. We will start from the Nichnai meadow to cross Nichnai pass which is at a height of 4000 meters. We will go through pastures where we will see sheep grazing on them. We will enter the Vishansar valley which is a valley having many medicinal plants. We will camp at the Vishansar lake after climbing down through the alpine flower valley.
We will start the 5-hour trek after having breakfast. Leaving Gadsar valley behind, we will climb up the Kustoor Kout and enter the Rasbal meadow. Here you will see a flowing river disappearing underground. The trekking will continue through the lakes of Satsar which are small but there will be seven lakes. On the foothills of Zajiibal pass, we will camp at a place called Megandoab
We will climb up the Zajibal pass, which is at a height of 4180m after having breakfast. After we reach the top, all the fatigue will be gone after seeing the refreshing scenery. We will continue trekking till Satsar lake for camping overnight.
This day involves a six hour hike which will start after breakfast. Mount Harmukh (5300m) will be facing us. The twin alpine lakes called Gangabal and Nunkol are at its foothills. For the night, we will camp by the Gangabal lake
We will leave the twin lakes after breakfast and start our 6 hour trek through the Trunkol meadow. We will be descending to reach the Naranag village. The trail will be through Bodhpatri’s pine forests. The trek ends at Naranag as we will leave for Srinagar airport from this village
This day has been added for safety or convenience as the weather is unpredictable. An additional amount of 1500 will be charged if the trip extends till the 8th day.