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Kashmir Great Lakes

From US$ 225 per person
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An overwhelmingly beautiful trek unknown to many
Day 1: Getting to the base camp – Sonamarg
Time taken: 4 hours
Depart from Srinagar by 2 pm and drive down to Sonamarg in coordinated vehicles. You reach Sonamarg by 6 pm. Camping begins from the first day of trek.
Day 2: Sonamarg to Nichnai via Shekdur
Altitude: 7,800 feet to 11,500 feet
Distance: 9 km
Time taken: 6 hours
3 kms down on the Sonamarg down stands a lone dhaba. Trekking begins from here. Now 3 hours of ascent, followed by an hour of descent and two hours of gradual ascent awaits you amidst the alpine setting of Kashmir. And then you reach the next camp – Nichnai.
Enroute comes a meadow that’s lined on the left by Silver Birch trees. It’s a 40 feet meadow dotted with brooks that serve as water source. To the right are snow-capped mountains. This is Shekhdur. It’s a campsite surrounded by beautiful Bhoj trees. And it’s a couple of hours away from Nichnai now.
45 minutes after the Birch forest ends you enter a river valley. This is the beginning of Nichanai. This valley widens up after an hour and you see a green meadow between two mountain ranges. A flat ground is chosen as campsite now. First day of trekking comes to an end here.
Day 3: Nichnai to Vishnusar lake
Altitude: 11,500 feet to 13,500 feet
Distance: 12 km
Time: 6 hours
The second day begins at 8 am, and is a long day of trek in the meadows. The first major trek point to be crossed is the Nichanai Pass or Vishnusar Berry. It’s an hour’s climb to 13,500 feet. And follows a short descent on meadow to Vishnusar lake.
Vishnusar is right at the foot of the mountains. Sight of the ridge now can be deceptive. It looks closer than it actually is. That is because the trail runs inwards twice. And only after that does you reach Nichanai Pass. BSNL network works here.
Nichanai Pass seems like a wide tunnel. To its left stand snow peaked ranges. The trail descends from here. It a rapid, rocky descend. And a river flows down the pass into the meadow now. To your left is a big waterfall that joins the river.
It’s a rapid descend from here. And a couple of icy river crossings lie ahead. And tents are pitched where rivers meet each other perpendicularly.
Day 4: Explore Vishnusar and Kishansar twin lakes
100 feet higher to the left of the campsite lies Vishnusar lake. And the kishansar peak, that stands half a kilometre away is reflected in the serene waters of this lake. The water of Vishnusar is a brilliant blue early in the morning.
Half a kilometre away, just at the base of Kishansar peak lies the Kishansar lake. It’s situated 500 feet above Vishnusar lake. Kishansar is also big and blue. And both these lakes are filled with trouts.
Post this, the trail climbs sharply to the top of the ridge to Gadsar pass. But we camp at the Kishansar side of the trail for the day.
Day 5: Vishnusar to Gadsar via Kishansar lake and Gadsar Pass
Altitude: 12,000 feet to 13,750 feet
Distance: 10km
Time taken: 5 hours
The day begins with a 45 minute climb to Gadsar Pass. The twin lakes are spectacularly visible from the top of the Gadsar Pass. And this view remains till the Pass lasts. Altitude here is 13,800 feet. Now the trek is steep ascent for a couple of hours followed by steep descent and a gradual walk through the meadows.
A couple of small lakes are visible on the other side of Gadsar Pass. And far away you see snow clad peaks that lie outside our Line Of Control.
The first small lake on left is called Yamsar lake, and locals believe it has some association to Lord Yama. Beyond that is a nameless lake. Now lies an hour of descent that takes you to a flat meadow which has red coloured flowers that give way to blue and purple Iris flowers later.
The area of blue Iris hints that you are close to Gadsar lake. This is the prettiest and most pristine lake of the trek that lies at the base of snow-clad cliffs. Gadsar lake is at 12,500 feet.
Choose to make Gadsar you campsite for its sheer beauty but only if you can vow to leave the ground as neat as you found it to be. No one camps at Gadsar. There is a small abandoned army shelter near Gadsar.
The trail continues downward to Gadsar army camp. There lies another blue lakeon the left of the valley. The Gadsar army camp houses 5-8 army men. And tyou need permission from Head Quarters to move beyond this point. This Head Quarter is 3 miles away, in a village.
It takes 2-3 hours for their green signal to come through. All details of the trekkers and staff including original identity cards are recorded, collected and checked.

Day 6: Gadsar to Satsar
Altitude: 12,000 feet
Distance: 12 km
Time taken: 6 hours
Trail beyond Gadsar Pass looks similar to the Western Ghats. After trekking for a couple of hours, deep craters pop up to the right. This place is Maengandob.
The next camp is near Satsar – a combination of seven lakes. It is near the Third Line of Defence. The landscape ahead is captivating. Isolated mountains stand in front. Towards the right is a small ridge. In between is a flat green bed with a stream flowing in between.
Beyond the ridge on the right is the Satsar army check post.10 minutes ahead of the army camp is the first Satsar lakes. It’s big and looks picturesque in its green setting with mountains in front. This is the camping site.
Day 7: Satsar to Gangabal twin lakes
Altitude: 12,000 feet to 11, 500 feet
Distance: 9 km
Time taken: 6 hours
Half an hour after beginning the trek you find yourself at the biggest of Satsar lake. And after the last of Satsar lakes are passed the trail begins to descend. After half an hour it’s time to gain height again to reach 11,800 feet. The mountains on this side are barren, as opposed to the green on the other side.
There’s a ridge, after almost two hours of ascent from where Gangabal and Nundkol lakes are visible. They are 14000 feet below you now. A steep, rocky descent lies ahead now. There is just one stream on your way from where bottles can be filled.
A couple of hours later comes the Nundkol lake. It’s isn’t as pristine as the other lakes. That’s because weekenders from neighbouring areas trek from Naranag to Gangabal over the weekend.
The Nundkhol lake lies at the base of the Harmukh peak. The Harmukh glacier hangs on the the sides of the rocky edges of the mountain. Both the Gangabal and Nundkhol are famous for trout fishing.
The Gangabal lake is about 20 minutes away from Nundkhol. A fiery stream flows on the right of the two lakes connecting them. The stream has to be crossed to go to Gangabal from Nandkol. Do not try to cross the stream at the lower levels but go all the way to the bank of Gangabal and on the right you find a good man made bridge laid out. Gangabal is huge. A parikrama of either of the lakes will easily take an hour.
Day 8: Gangabal to Naranag

Altitude: 11,500 feet to 7,450 feet
Distance: 11 km
Time taken: 6 hours
The last day is hard on your toes and knees because it’s a gradual ascent though a steep descent. On your way, avoid walking by the stream. Instead, take the ridge walk. Aircel begins to catch range 30 mins into the trek. As you walk down, the imposing Harmukh peak keeps a constant watch on your back. The ridge ends in a meadow, that’s sprinkled with pretty little yellow flowers.
There is a gradual ascend from 10,800 feet to 11,000 feet. But after that the trail drops more than 3000 feet in 4 kilometers. This happen within the tree line. The steep descent trails amongst the tall pine trees.
At 8500 feet, Naranag comes into view. In the last leg of the trek a village paved with stone track comes up. Soon, the trail ends and you hit the road.
You can reach Srinagar by 6.30 pm and stay overnight.

Day 1: Arrive at Srinagar. Depart Srinagar by 2 pm and drive to Sonamarg base camp (4 hrs).

Day 2: Sonamarg to Nichani via Shekdur

Day 3: Nichnai to Vishnusar lake

Day 4: Explore Vishnusar and Kishansar twin lakes.

Day 5: Vishnusar lake to Gadsar lake via Kishansar lake

Day 6: Gadsar lake to Satsar lake

Day 7: Satsar lake to Gangabal twin lakes

Day 8: Gangabal lake to Naranag. Drive to Srinagar and reach by 6.30 pm. Stay overnight at Srinagar.
what’s included
  • Vegetarian food as per menu on the trek
  • Forest camping charges
  • Trek permits
  • Tents
  • Sleeping bags
  • Safety equipment
  • Guides
  • Cooks
  • Helpers
  • Mule charges
  • Services of a trek leader
what’s excluded
  • Any travel or food costs incurred while reaching till Sonamarg.
Tour details
Availability Available Daily
Duration 8 days
Minimum Participants 5 people
guiding method Live guide/instructor
guide language English & Indian
meeting/Start point Bangalore, India
other information
Indiahikes / Product Category: Trekking
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