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About the Destination:
Go on a Kashmir Great Lakes trek and get enchanted with Kashmir, a celestial land nothing short of a fairy tale. A surreal destination, there are many natural gems tucked away here. One of them is Srinagar, the summer capital of the state known for its refreshing gardens, lakes and houseboats. Another sought after place here is Sonamarg. Meaning the meadow of gold this is where frosty mountains cast against the clear deep blue sky make for a postcard image.
Pristine and untouched, the lakes over here be it Dal Lake, Vishansar Lake or Gangabal Twin lakes are surreal and a rare sight. Alpine and snow clad mountains, green meadows, rocky terrains, gurgling streams, silver birch and other untouched beauties of Mother Earth make for a varied and complete trekking experience of around 63km.
Rediscover serenity and uncover what makes Kashmir Great Lakes Trek a trove for adventure and nature enthusiasts seeking a thrilling experience of trekking in India. Kashmir Great Lakes best time to visit is from July to September.
Drive from Srinagar to Sonamarg
The first day of the Kashmir Lakes Trek, spend time in the dreamlike place of Srinagar known for its refreshing gardens, lakes and houseboats. If you wish, you can take an iconic shikara experience at Dal Lake or amble through Mughal Gardens that unravels many beauties along the way.
Leave by the evening and be driven to Sonamarg by night. Spend overnight at a campsite in Sonamarg.
Sonamarg to Nichnai via Shekdur (9 to 10 km)
Today will be first day of this enthralling Kashmir great lakes trek!
After having breakfast at the guesthouse, start with a 3-4km trek from the Sonamarg and reach a roadside eatery, from where you can bag up all the required commodities for the day. Here onwards, the trek will be a gradula one and alongside the Sindh River, it will take you through maple and pine forests. Completing the hike through the forests, you will be rewarded with the stunning views of the Sonamarg Valley and pictorial streams.
Here onwards, the trek will descend down and will take you to the snow-covered Shekdur Range. Relax around the vicinity for a while before you start trekking towards the Nichnai, which is located at around 11,500ft above the sea level. Upon arrival in Nichnai, check-in into the campsite; dinner and overnight stay in the camp.
Nichnai to Vishansar Lake (13 km)
Starting early in the morning; around 08:00AM, start the trek towards the Nichnai Pass and enjoy the stunning views of the lush valleys and the untouched beauty of the region. Hereafter, cross the river and continue hiking through the banks of the river and arrive at the Nichnai Pass or the Vishansar Berry. Arriving at the pass, which is located 13,500m above the sea lelvel, witness and enjoy the meticulous beauty of the pass and the snow-covered peaks all around it.
Hereafter, the trek will undergo a steep descend and will lead you to a pictorial meadow of colourful flowers; while on this trek, you can also catch glimpses of a cascade that finally joins a river. Here onwards, continue with the hike and upon arriving a flat valley, continue towards its end and arrive at the campsite. Gazing on the left of this trail, you can also behold captivating views of the Himalayan Range and also the Vishansar Lake; overnight stay in the camp.
Acclimatization day in Vishansar
This day of the Lakes in Kashmir Trek would be a light one as you acclimatise yourself to the weather and rest at Vishansar.
Trek from Vishansar to Gadsar (via Kishasar and Gadsar Pass) (11km)
This chilly morning, witness the Kishansar Peak casting its reflection on the azure lake waters. Start the trek for the day towards the lakeside and reach the Kishansar Peak, which is situated around 500ft above the campsite. Here onwards, ascend to the other side of the water reservoir. The trek till here comprises of both easy and tough terrains.
Later part of the day, trek towards the Kishansar Lake and and finally make it to the Gadsar Pass that is perched at a height of 13,800ft and is the highest point of this trek. From the pass, pass through a flowery meadow and some of the pictorial lakes; Yamsar is one of these lakes.
From here, continue with the descend and after crossing Iris, reach the Gadsar Lake. A picturesque lake, it is adorned with the stunning beauty of exotic flowers and snow on both the sides. Arriving at the lakeside, report to the nearest Army Camp and complete the formalities of getting permission to pass Gadsar; ID proofs are a must for this.
Gadsar to Satsar (12 km)
Your day will begin with a walk from the army camp towards the stream. Brace yourself for varied terrains from super steep, flat and even land. Take a short break at Maengandob that is fringed by mountains.
Reach the first of Satsar lakes, which is a group of seven different lakes and follow the same procedure of yesterday with the army officials and set camps near the surreal first lake of Satsar.
Satsar to Gangabal Twin lakes (9 km)
A true test of calibre, this is the day when you will have you push your physical and mental limits! Trudge through rocks and boulders ridden terrain, pass the last of the Satsar lakes, and start hiking downwards for half an hour till you arrive at the forest line.
Here onwards, start ascending upward and reach an altitude of 13,400ft; during this climb, you can witness several ridges at different heights and the quaint Gujjar huts as well. From the summit, you can also behold the fascinating views of the twin lakes: Gangabal and Nundkol, that are connected to each other by a picturesque stream and are known for trout-fisihng.
Post this; trek through a sharp and rocky trail and make it to a gurgling stream, passing which, you will reach a lush meadow that advent towards the Nundkol Lake, which is also a popular weekend getaway among the locals. Trekking for around 20 minutes from the Nundkol Lake, you will finally arrive at the Gangabal Lake and by crossing the bridge across the lake; you will arrive at the campsite; dinner and overnight stay in the camp.
Trek from Gangabal to Naranag (12 km, 7 hours)
On your final day of the Kashmir Lake Trek, start from the Gangabal camp, ramble on grassy land dotted with yellow flowers and pine forest. Descend are reach Naranag, the last leg of your trek. Reach Naranag Village in Ganderbal District. If you wish, you can visit Naranag Temple. Be driven back to Srinagar and unwind in guest house for the night.
Write Your Story
Rated : 5.0
The Kashmir Great Lakes trek is just amazingly beautiful, gorgeous beyond words. everyday it used to get better and beautiful. the pristine lakes, the endless meadows, the scenery, the view of twin lakes of gangabal and nandkul from 14000 ft zaj pass is all lifelong experience. this is the kashmir that one cant see on normal tourist itinerary and the hardwork is totally worth it . Our local operator has organized it pretty well, the trek lead and 2 guides were friendly, supportive and professional in their conduct. the food was just too good and never expected to have such yummy food on such remote high altitude trek. we were group of 13 n bonded really well. our batch was during the kashmir lock-down period but i'm glad that we didnt cancel it. the long walks were moderately tough so you definitely need prepare a bit for fitness but its totally manageable. the descent was daunting but thats always the case in my experience. we did face issues with accommodation n return transport on last day due to the curfew situation and operator could have done better job in co-ordinating it rather than just leaving us on our fate. that was the only sore point of the whole experience. I highly recommend this trek to anyone who wish to experience the real beauty of Kashmir and why its called jannat on the earth.
Rated : 4.0
I liked this trek. The change in climatic conditions and being on high altitude for days was a new and exciting experience.
Rated : 4.0
Among all the treks in North India, the Kashmir Great Lakes is overpoweringly the most gorgeous one. However, this can be the most dangerous trek that you might ever take. It is totally advisable to be cautious during the trek. That said, this is an enjoyable trek as well. It is 8 days of sheer fun. We had a lot of fun with this trek. I loved the fact that this trek was organized in a way where people can relax in camps in between the treks here and there. The cost of the trek is not that costly, but giving discounts would have helped a great deal. Nice trek!
Rated : 5.0
kashmir, the haven on earth is my favorite destinations and trekiing there was just like icing on the cake... really enjoyed my trek.. camping was also something I was looking forward to and it turned out to be awesome as well.... planning to go for another trek soon..
Rated : 5.0
Though we are familiar with the beauty of Kashmir from pictures and stories, watching them with the naked eyes was really exciting for me. I am not a regular traveler type but I like traveling. Last time, when I got one long weekend, I took three more days leave and went to Kashmir. Dal Lake, Vishansar Lake and one more lake were there in the package. We trekked to these places and many of the climbs were tough for me. I was feeling the adrenaline rush in me when I was looking from the top of a hill to the valleys down. But I should agree to a fact that, the entire location is a fairy tale kind of place. I was wondered to see the glittering mountain ranges and the utmost beauty prevailing in each village. Dal Lake was the most beautiful attraction in the whole region, I felt. Such an extensive lake with a lot of traditional boats decorated with flowers. That sight was really appreciable from the shores. We stayed in one of the hotels in Leh watching the nearby areas from the windows and the next days, we visited the monasteries located near to Leh. From Srinagar, we went to Sonamarg also. The availability of food was limited during the trekking trip to Sonamarg and the walking along the Sindh River was captivating. The river looked so pretty with many trees on its either side. Vishansar Lake is another bundle of beauty with full of flowers and green meadows around. There are a lot of hilly regions near to it. They make the lake so amazing in the middle. No doubt why people call Kashmir the paradise on Earth. Such beautiful places are not existing in any parts of the world.
Rated : 5.0
Sonamarg is indeed lovely. Kashmir is the unsung beauty of India and we had an amazing time while we were here with all our loved ones. It was truly an awe inspiring experience to traverse through the valleys and hills of this place.
Rated : 5.0
From the houseboats in Srinagar to the mountains, Kashmir is so beautiful!!! We came here for our second honeymoon , and believe me I was not disappointed. Truly awesome ambience and really friendly and warm people. We felt right at home here.
Rated : 5.0
Slice or paradise. Kashmir stood true to its name, amazing journey. I just can't get over the fact that something that beautiful is considered as sensitive region. the lakes, the greenery surrounding the place is equally impressive and breathtaking.
Rated : 5.0
An absolute treat of a trek passing through the lakes. It was surreal like heaven on earth. Trekking with my friends were fun and the camping and the clear night stars were very beautiful to look at. Loved this trek. Worth every penny I spent.
Rated : 5.0
My girlfriend and I were looking for something romantic and adventurous and then I noticed this Kashmir Great Lakes Trek on Thrillophilia. We came across so many beautiful sights and lake. A favourite was the Dal Lake. Even crossing the Nichnai Pass was quite an experience.
What is the fitness level required for this trek?
Optimum level of fitness is always required for the trek
What about the trek guides and leaders accompanying the trek?
Accompanying you is a professional Trek leader who complete Basic and Advance mountaineering course and certified in first-aid course
Do I always have to carry my own luggage?
No! In case you cannot or find it difficult to carry your own luggage, you should inform us 15 days in advance so that a porter or mule can be arranged for your convenience. However, this service comes at an additional cost (@Rs. 250 per day per bag).
What is the best time to go?
The best time to go Kashmir Great lake is July and August , that time the views are clear and glimpse view of all seven lakes. Although the trek is amazing all year around, just avoid teh monsoon months of July to September.
What is the level of fitness expected from the participants?
Moderate level of fitness is needed for this trek as it’s fairly moderately easy and can be availed by first timers as well.
What clothes and equipment should I carry?
Make sure to carry warm and comfortable clothing as temperature can drop, pack good quality trekking shoes, slippers and extra pair of socks. It’s advisable to carry sunscreen lotion or any other skin moisturisers as the sun at the top can be harsh. Water bottles and energy bars/snacks are advisable. A Flashlight (with spare batteries) will help once the sun goes down and it’s always smart to carry insect repellent and emergency medical kit.
Which type of shoes should I buy/carry?
Good quality and sturdy trekking shoes that cover your ankles. Refrain from usong sport shoes for your own safety and the trails are uneven and tricky hence requiring good grip trekking shoes. If you are buying new shoes for your trek, please remember to use them for at least a month before you commence your holiday.
What kind of food will be provided during this trek? What about safe drinking water?
You will be served Indian vegetarian food and eggs during this trek. Himalayan water is considered a clean and mineral water but to be on the safe side you will get boiled water with chlorine tablets.
Which all lakes will be covered in this trek?
Kashmiri Great Lake is an adventurous trip, which shall be enjoyed by the people watching the serene flowing of lakes in the place. Some of the lakes that are covered in this trip are, Dal lake, Vishansar lake, Gangabal and Nundkol lake, Azure lake waters, Yamsar lake, Gadsar lake, and Satsar lakes (group of seven lakes). It is overwhelmingly joyous and at the same time it will be a daring trip to cover. Just be prepared and plan adequate before visiting these places.
Will there be mobile connectivity during the trek?
If you want to make any important calls for your near and dear ones, please try to make it on the city limits. Srinagar would be best place for you to make the calls, as the signal would be in greater strength. But once the trip is started, we would be moving to forests and lakes, where the signal strength might be poor. In some areas, there will not be any signal on the device. So it is better to be safe than to be sorry.
What is difficulty level of this trek?
As you come across the word trek, there has to be slight amount of reflexes inside the body as it is going to be time bounded. So as far as this trek is concerned, the difficulty level involved is moderate and people who have much enthusiasm can actually try this trip to have great satisfaction in life. If you are having luggage, it must be prior informed as those luggage can be taken care of. It increases your difficulty level.
How much do we have to trek each day?
As the trip would be going on for eight days, the adequate plan for each day would be prior summarized and given to each of them. The travelers shall not worry, as there will not be any burden on the trekking part of each day. Sizeable portions of coverage will be done and there will be time for water, snacks, meal and for resting. We are also humans and not machines to exhaust all our energy on a single day. So be cool and get enjoyed with the trek.
Can we customize Kashmir Great Lakes Trek?
The customization shall be done only after the careful consideration of the lakes involved in the trek. All of the above lakes are covered in this trip and if you are planning to customize the trip, plan prior and make a list of the places that are actually near to each other. Once the trip is started, it is very minimal chances that it can be customized, as the trip is planned prior. Customization is difficult but it is not impossible. On the other note, it shall be arranged at additional cost.
Can we consume alcohol if it's really cold during the trek?
Going on top of the hill, makes everyone nerve biting. People will catch cold and many of them are afraid that their body temperature will shoot up. In this case, when travelers think of having alcohol to soothe the body temperature, it will be the biggest regret to let you know that alcohol and other alcoholic beverages are strictly prohibited for trekking. Consumption of alcohol will make the people to lose their control and while trekking, control is the main component to be saved.
Will there be frozen lakes too on this trek?
As far as this trip is concerned, the coverage of frozen lakes is not in the itinerary. We are having the coverage of the lakes which are the part of free flowing along the Himalayan range. It is heaven on the earth and you may see some lakes are icing on the cake. Camping would also be arranged. It is the unsung beauty of India and the trek will be worth of every penny.
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