Duration: 8 Days
Max Altitude: 13,800 feet
Best Season: June to September
Max group size: 12
If there is paradise on earth then this is where it is. Trekking in the valleys of Kashmir mesmerizes you as we pass through high-altitude lakes offering spectacular views of the surrounding peaks, and camp in alpine meadows of flowers. Few of the lakes frequented by the trekkers are Dal, Nagin, Anchar, Ganbar, Wular, Manasbal Lake and the twin Lakes Vishansar and Krishnasar. The trek is a seven day expedition, starting from Srinagar and ending with Naranag. From the beautiful hillstation of Sonamarg, the trail follows ancient routes trodden for centuries by the gujjars, the nomadic shepherds of Kashmir. A physically demanding trek, this is ideal for trekkers with some experience of mountain walking and a taste for the remoteness of the Himalayas.
Day 1: Arrive at Srinagar, Drive to Sonamarg
Day 2: Sonamarg to Nichnai via Shekdur (9 to 10 kms, 7 hours)
Day 3: Nichnai to Vishansar Lake (13 kms, 8 hours)
Day 4: Acclimatization + Rest Day Explore Vishnusar and Kishansar twin lakes
Day 5: Vishansar to Gadsar via Kishasar Lake and Gadsar pass (11 kms, 6 hours)
Day 6: Gadsar to Satsar (12 kms, 7 hours)
Day 7: Satsar to Gangabal Twin Lakes (9 kms, 7 hours)
Day 8: Gangabal to Naranag (12 kms, 7 hours)
Day 01: Arrive at Srinagar, Drive to Sonamarg
On the first day, trekkers will spend the day in Srinagar. You can explore this beautiful city and visit the most famous Dal Lake and take a short ride on Shikaras. Srinagar is also famous for Mughal Gardens that includes Chashma Shahi, the royal fountain; Pari Mahal, fairies' palace; Nishat Bhag, the garden of spring; Shalimar and Naseem Bhag. The trek actually begins from Sonamarg, which is a three hour drive from Srinagar. Reach Sonmarg by night and camp in tents. Actual trek starts on day two.
Day 02: Sonamarg (7,800 ft) to Nichnai (11,500 ft) via Shekdur (9 to 10 kms, 7 hours)
The trek starts 3 kms out of Sonamarg, on the Srinagar road. Sonamarg is 7,800 ft above sea level. The trekking trail starts along the track and enters the green meadows following the beautiful Sindh River. The meadow directly overlooks the Sonamarg town. The first three to four hours will be a steady ascent through magnificent maple and pine trees and beautiful tiny streams. Walking on the green bed of grass amidst the Maples is an experience unique to Kashmir. The Maple forest ends at the top of the ridge and the other side a meadow gently slopes down. Spend a few moments at the ridge taking in the views of the Sonamarg and its neighboring valley. The streams, the meadows, the pines and the town nestled make a wonderful picture. From here, the descent starts towards Shekdur. Shekdur is a collection of small peaks powdered with snow. And another three hours trek will take us to meadows of Shekdur , which is a beautiful campsite surrounded by Bhoj trees. It is the ideal place to rest for sometime and break for lunch before moving ahead. The descent will end in bhoj forest or silver birch. The golden setting sun is worth watching from here. After the silver birch trees, the trail will lead us up towards a river, which is the beginning of Nichnai. The river here is connected to Sindh River from Sonamarg. The river valley widens towards the end of the first day of trek and guides us to a triangular cluster of snow clad peaks, Nichnai. Nichnai is 11, 500 ft above sea level and the second day's night camp site.
Day 03: Nichnai (11,500 ft) to Vishansar Lake (12,000 ft) (13 kms, 8 hours)
The third day of the trek is a long walk on meadows with the scenery changing for the better all along. Start by 8 am to give you enough time en route to enjoy the meadows. Your first destination for the day is to cross the Nichnai pass or Vishansar Berry. It will take an hour to cross the river and another hour walk on the banks of it. After crossing the river, the next hour would be to mount the Nichnai pass. On passing we will view a deep blue small lake, which is just a deception of Vishansar Lake. The Nichnai pass is quite wide with pure white snow clad mountains on the left and high land on the right. The pass is 13, 500 ft above sea level and is a steep climb. But once we reach the highest peak, the trail descends rapidly from here. We would come across stunning meadows adorned with small bright red flowers. We can also see a clear, lively waterfall, falling from the adjoining cliff and meeting the river below. The descent will end on flat meadows. To the left of the track, we would observe astonishing Himalayan Mountains worth capturing in cameras. From here we have to follow the meadows and soon we would reach the end of the valley. A clear streams flows to our left. This stream meets the Vishansar Lake half a km away. We can camp for the day anywhere near the stream. One can take a view of the gigantic Vishansar Lake by walking along the stream, seven minutes from the camp site. The lake is magnificently large and is nestled in between four mountains.
Day 4: Acclimatization + Rest Day to Explore Vishansar and Kishansar twin lakes
The Vishansar lake lies 100ft higher from the campsite. The first impression you get on seeing the Vishansar lake is that it is big. It lies nestled below 4 mountains. The Kishansar peak reflects in the lake. The reflections are wonderful when the lake is still. The color of the lake depends on the time of the day and the clouds in the sky. The lake starts getting its colors when the sun shines. On a clear sunny morning, the water is absolutely blue. Clouds and the evening sun make it look greenish blue in the later half of the day. Whatever be the color the lake looks wonderful and it is worth catching a glimpse of the lake in all its hues. These lakes are full of trouts and trout fishing is popular.The next lake in series is the Kishansar lake. The Kishansar lake lies just about ½ km away and 500ft higher than Vishansar. The lake lies at the base of the Kishansar peak. Kishansar is also big and blue. It has a big meadow stretching on its right. The lake and the meadow is bordered on the farther side by a ridge line that raises sharply. The trail climbs up to the top of the ridge and on the top of the ridge is the Gadsar pass. Spend time at the Kishansar meadows photographing the lake from various angles.
Day 5: Vishansar (12,000 ft.) to Gadsar (12,000 ft.) via Kishasar Lake and Gadsar pass (13,800 ft.) (11 kms, 6 hours)
The next part of the trek is from Kishansar lake side to the top of the ridge. While climbing, you will be treated to one of the loveliest views you can ever imagine. Both the Kishansar and Vishansar lakes are in full view together. The view of the twin lakes lasts till you reach the ridge top or the Pass. This is called as the Gadsar pass – altitude 13,800ft – the highest point on this trek. On the other side of the Gadsar pass stretches a long valley with 2-3 small lakes visible. Far in the distance lie a series of snow clad peaks. The peaks lie outside our Line of Control. We will start to descend from this point to flat meadows, covered with bright colored flowers. In between the descent, we will come across a famous small lake called Yamsar. Gadsar Lake is one of the prettiest and most pristine of the lakes on this trek. . The lake is covered with blue flower beds on one side and snow covered mountains on the other side. Gadsar is again at 12,500ft. We can either camp at Gadsar for its sheer beauty or at nearby army camp. Gadsar army camp is just a small hut housing 5-8 army men. We have to report at the army camp along with our ID proofs so as to acquire permission to pass Gadsar.
Day 6: Gadsar (12,000 ft) to Satsar (12,000 ft) (12 kms, 7 hours)
The day will commence with a walk from the army camp towards the stream. The best way to head up the mountains is to cross the river. There is one more way to cross the river, through the over bridge one km from the camp site. The trail from here becomes steeper with every passing minute. Almost after a two hour climb, we would enter a flat terrain. Thereafter, the land will be even, surrounded by mountains and deep craters to our right. This place is known as Maengandob. We can take a short break here and move forward and cover little more distance to reach the first of Satsar lakes. Satsar, as the name itself says, is a group of seven lakes. We can notice the Army check post, which is the third line of defence from LOC at a distance. We should finish the same procedure with army officials as we had the day before and set our camps near the first lake of Satsar. The lake is beautiful, with mountains overlooking the water. Its surrounding gives a pleasant inner feeling and a peaceful night to sleep.
Day 7: Satsar (12,000 ft) to Gangabal Twin Lakes (11,500 ft) (9 kms, 7 hours)
Day 7 is the toughest among all days. Mentally and physically you will be challenged. The only way to keep going is the zeal to complete the wonderful trek. We start the day by reaching the biggest of the Satsar Lakes. The terrain today will be rocky and full of boulders. After passing the last of the Satsar lakes, we would start to descend. Half an hour walk later, we will arrive at the forest line. From the forest line, we would climb up the mountains to reach the desired altitude of 11, 800 ft. In between, you would come across few ridges at different altitudes. From here we can spot the Gujjar huts on the opposite mountains. After two more hours of steady mount, we will reach the final ridge at an altitude of 13,400ft. The best part of the day’s journey lies in here. From the top of the ridge, we will witness the view of the amazing twin lakes, Gangabal and Nundkol. The bigger one is the Gangabal. The lakes are connected with each other by a stream. On either side of the lakes, at a distant are two smaller lakes. From here, we will face a steep rocky descent. we will cross a stream in between. By following the meadows and a stream, we will finally get to Nundkol Lake which lies at the base of the Harmukh peak. The Harmukh glacier hangs on the sides of the rocky edges of the mountain. The twin lakes are famous for fishing. Trout fishes are popular here. Ganagabal Lake is twenty minutes from Nundkol Lake and to get there we will have to cross the stream by a man made bridge. We shall camp at the banks of Gangabal Lake for the night.
Day 8: Gangabal to Naranag (12 kms, 7 hours)
Today is the final day of our trekking expedition. Yes, physically we will be tired and exhausted, but the thought of reaching our final destination will give us an extra strength and willpower to move on. We would start walking from the Gangabal camp site towards the tree line following the stream. After a half hour walk, we would enter a grassy land filled with pretty yellow flowers. After few kilometers, we will touch pine trees forest. Follow the forest line and walk for the next 6 to 7 kilometers. Thereafter, we would start to descend steadily for 4 kms and arrive at Naranag. This is the last leg of the trek. Few more meters and would finally reach our trek destination, Naranag Village, Ganderbal District. We can visit the Naranag Temple if not tired and ridden. We now drive back to Srinagar and settle down in guest house for the night.
Kashmir Great Lake trek is one trekking experience you would never forget. It is overwhelmingly the most beautiful one. It is just a tragedy that it is unknown to most people.
June End to July day time 15C to 20C and night 7C to 1C August - September , day time 15C to 10C and night 5C to -3C
1. Shirts / T-shirts
2. Trousers / Track Pants
3. Windproof jacket
4. Fleece / Full-sleeve Woolen sweater
5. Thermal inner wear (upper & lower)
6. Woolen cap
7. Mittens (Woolen gloves)
9. Woolen socks (extra pairs to be carried)
10. Comfortable Trekking/Hiking shoes (shoes with a thick sole are recommended)
11. Raincoat / Poncho
13. Water bottle
14. Cap / Hat
15. Walking stick / Trekking pole
16. Sunscreen Lotion
17. Lip Balm
18. Torch / Flashlight (with extra batteries)
19. Medicines, if requiring any specific medication
22. Personal toiletries
23. Books, if you like reading
1. Accommodation. (Guest house, Home stay, Camping)
2. Meals while on trek (Veg.) (Egg)
3. Trek equipments.
5. First aid medical kits and oxygen cylinder.
6. Qualified & experienced Professional trek Leader, Guide and Support staff
7. Transport from Srinagar and return.
In the event of cancellation of trek/adventure activity services due to any avoidable / unavoidable reasons we must be notified of the same in writing. Cancellation charges will be effective from the date we receive advice in writing, and cancellation charges would be as follows: -
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