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The Kashmir Alpine Lakes Trek also is known as the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek is one of the most popular treks in the Kashmir valley that unwrap the serene beauty of the Kashmir region secluded within the mountains. It is one of the treks in the Indian Himalayan region that whirls along the tracks to some of the high altitude lakes of India that glisters in the midst of vast alpine meadows, which are dotted with colourful orchids. The trek is a potpourri of alpine high altitude freshwater glacier lakes that consist of Vishnasar Lake, Krishnasar Lake, Yamsar Lake, Gadsar Lake, Satsar Lake, Nandkol and Gangabal Lake. The trek stretches from an elevation of 2,723 meters, in Sonamarg, which is often dubbed as the "meadows of gold", to an elevation of 4,300 meters, in Lul Gul pass. The Kashmir Alpine Lakes Trek is approximately 5 days of knackered knees and tortured toes BUT worth the challenge.
A pulsating escape for the demented travellers, the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek commences from Sonamarg, which is located at an altitude of 2,723 meters and leads to the floor of Nichnai Pass at an elevation of 3,500 meters. The easy climb passes through several shepherds' settlements and meadows dotted with colourful orchids. Further, the trail proceeds to Vishansar Lake en route to Kolahoi base camp at 4,140 meters and Lidderwat at 3,050 meters. As you get closer to the Kolahoi glacier the track becomes harder and the terrain rugged, but the increasingly spectacular views of the Kolahoi Peak urge you on. From here the trek heads to Gadsar Lake via the Gadsar Pass and passes through an untamed terrain. Moving deep into the Kashmir valley the trek leads to Megandob, a meadow that offers a bird's-eye view down the Sindh valley to the upper reaches of the Vale of Kashmir. Thence the trekking trail in the Kashmir Valley climbs up to Gaj Pass, from where one can get enchanting views of the Gaganbal and Nundkol Lakes. The sacred peak of Harimukh rises above the lake, making it a divine experience. It is said that pilgrimages to the base of Harimukh and Gaganbal long preceded the Amarnath Yatra.
Best season- July to September
Starting Point- Sonamarg
Difficulty level - Moderate
How would you feel to walk through heaven? And won’t it be memorable for a lifetime?
Let me tell you how I felt while trekking through Great Kashmir Lake.
This place has seven beautiful lakes, which will mesmerize you with its beauty; Deep Blue clear skies and its reflection on Dal lake while touching your soul. This trek has steep mountain slopes and sharp slopes, which will be calling you for adventure; Roads by the edge of mountains will give you the adrenaline rush. The unscathed virgin flora and fauna will take you to another world like a Disney movie does; letting you completely vanish away from hustle and bustle of city life.
The starting point of this trek is Sonamarg, meaning “meadows of gold”. Here you will find, Alpine and Snow clad mountains, misty clouds touching the cliff of mountains, boathouses floating in beautiful lakes to sleep in. The soul-soothing gurgling streams, trekking through the meadows and walking by the side of blue lakes beside snow-covered mountains.
Whether you are a nature lover, a trekker or a photographer, you are going to love this place. This trek is a few of the most beautiful treks in the world and that is why it is called paradise on earth.
In short, “ this place has gorgeous snow-covered mountains, divine lakes, green meadows, giggling streams and whatever you would imagine heaven would be like”
Though very beautiful, you surely need to come prepared to fully enjoy the trip.
Let me tell you it is a moderately difficult trek
you will be
- crossing 3 high passes
- ascending an altitude of 1500 ft every day (approx).
- covering a distance of 10-12 km per day.
- trekking for almost 6-7 hours a day
So I would recommend you to come prepared, so that you miss nothing, fully enjoy it and make it exclusively memorable.
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You will have to reach Srinagar on your own and meet the Explore Himalaya team at 2.30 pm. The drive to the base camp will take around 2 hours. Reach Shitkadi The trek begins at Shitkadi, which is a few kilometres ahead of Sonamarg.
The 04 km is the gradual ascent till the tabletop point. The trekkers are advised to fill two bottles of water for the day's trek. There is a Dhaba on the tabletop point where one can have tea /coffee/snacks. One can see the spectacular view of Sonamarg from the table top point. Then the hike will be continued till the lunch point. The tree line ends at the lunch point. It will take approx 1 hour from the table top point to the lunch point. Form the lunch there will be moderate ascents till the nichnai campsite.It would be around 3 pm or 4 pm by the time we reach the nachnai campsite. Enjoy your stay after arriving at camp.
After breakfast & some stretching excercise, we will start our trek around 8 AM, The first 5 km till Nachnai pass is normal ascent. one can get mobile network on the top of the Nachani pass there will be normal descent of 4km from the Nachani pass till the lunch point. From the lunch point to the campsite 2 km. This section of the trail crosses through beautiful and picturesque meadows. It will be a normal walk till Vishansar camping site. The camping site is near the vicinity of the beautiful Vishansar lake.
Today it's a long walk through meadows. The scenery keeps changing all the ways which are a treat for the senses. you will witness lots of flowers on the way. After 1 km normal ascent from Vishansar is the beautiful kishansar lake. After 45 minutes into the climb, The view of the twin lakes lasts till you reach the ridge top or the Pass. This is called the Gadsar pass – altitude 13,800 ft – the highest point on this trek. From gadsar Pass walk 4 km with lots of flowers on the way to reach gadsar lake– one of the prettiest and most pristine of the lakes on this trek. Gadsar is at the base of snow-clad cliffs. have lunch by the lakeside. After lunch walk to Gadsar army camp. All details of the visitors including original id cards are checked in the army camp which is nearby. Please keep original Id cards essentially with you. Camp for the night at Gadsar.
Carry enough water from base camp in your bottle as the source will be a bit far. Just after starting the trek, there will be a river crossing. After that an easy walk by the mountainside for 5 km with a normal ascent you will see Naga parvat of Pakistan, which mostly remains covered by clouds. Take a long rest and then the campsite is just 3 kms. There will a normal ascent, After which comes the army camp where your ID will be checked again. After the army camp will you see the 7 lakes. we will reach the campsite around 2 pm and then on arrival, you will be served with hot lunch.
After breakfast & some meditation, we will start our trek, You have to cross a 2 km boulder zone, Be careful of loose rocks while trekking. The view of Gangabal and Nandkol twin lakes from the top is something to look forward. Last few km are through Meadows. You can see the huge Harmukh peak from the Nandkul -Gangabal pass. Then you will have to climb a 2 km zig-zag ascent and 1 km down to reach Nandkul lake. You will reach Nandkul lake by lunchtime, Pass-through Nandakol lake & reach our destination for the day; Gangabal lake.
Like most treks, the trail on the last day is a steep descent. Be careful while trekking as most injuries happen on descents. You will see the most beautiful pine forests today. The trail passes through a meadow with pretty yellow flowers. Finally, we reach the road head of Naranag. The trek ends in Naranag. Here relax for some time, grab your lunch and then we will transfer you to Srinagar, You will reach there by 5 pm in the evening.