Region: Himalayan Ranges in India(Jammu and Kashmir). Trek Type: Group Adventure. Trek Begins and Ends at: Sonamarg / Naranag. Trekking Duration: 7 nights / 8 days. Difficulty level of the Trek: Medium. Total Trekking Distance: 71 Kilometres (approx). Maximum Altitude Gain: 4, 191 meters / 13, 750 feet. Type of Accommodation: Tent.
If you want to experience real trekking route with perfect natural sight over the Himalayan range you won’t regret taking eight days from your life. For eight days you will be engaged with seven high altitude lakes and you must be able to pass all that because it won’t be easy at all. So we wouldn’t recommend you to endure this trek if it is your first time. On this expedition, you will see all the major lakes such are Gadsar, Vishnusar, Krishansar, Nundkol and Gangabal. You will be close to these lakes, but you will be able to see much more from distance. This trekking trip for Kashmir Great Lakes will last eight days and you will explore different and unique parts of nature that will last as humankind itself. For many tourists and trekkers, this is mainly the best destination for trekking in Kashmir.
Day 1: Arrive at Sonmarg
This beautiful trekking route will begin when you reach Sonmarg region which is very close to the Srinagar capital city. You will need three hours to reach the first campsite that lies very close to Sindh River and the beautiful Shitkadi Village. You will arrive in Srinagar and drive to Sonmarg. This ride will be four hours long so that you could enjoy natural sight all around you. In Sonmarg you will adjust your campsite and rest for a night before the real trekking experience commence. Be sure to rest for a night because the next day will be difficult and exhausting, but it will give you something that you haven’t seen anywhere in this beautiful world.
Day 2: Sonmarg to Nichnai via Shekdur
The second day will begin when you get out of Sonmarg and pass three kilometres where you will find a lone Dhaba on your right. You could buy water and fast burning sugars that could give you strength for the follow-up trekking spot. The interesting thing is that you will not see any part of civilization until the end of the trek so take a good look before you continue. A jeep track will lead you to the Sindh River and after entering green meadow you will be able to overlook the Sonmarg town. After you get on top of the meadow you will get into Maple and Pine forest. You will be able to see Shekdur, snow powdered top. After three hours you will reach Shekdur and you could set camp site here around the Bhoj trees. If you have started from Srinagar you will rest in Shekdur, but if you started from Sonmarg it will be too early to camp so you will move ahead to Nichnai.
Day 3: Nichnai to Vishnusar Lake.
At the beginning of the third day, you will take a long walk on meadows and your first destination will be to cross the Nichnai pass. The Nichnai pass will feel like a wide tunnel on the altitude of 4,115 meters / 13,500 feet. On your left, you will see specific snow-clad Himalayan mountains and on your right gray and barren mountains. You will continue through the meadow until you reach the end of the valley. Now you will see stream flow from your left to right and this stream is at the Vishnusar Lake which will be on your left. You will not be able to see it yet and also from the camp site. You will set camp beside the stream.
Day 4: Explore Vishnusar and Krishansar twin lakes.
When you finish your camping you will get to the Vishnusar Lake that lies 0.5 km to the left and 100 feet high. It will take you seven minutes to reach it and the first thing you will think when you see it is its greatness. The Krishansar peak is headed 0.5 km away and it will reflect in the lake. It is very beautiful sight, of course, color of lake depends on the time of the day and clouds in the sky. If you want to engage in fishing you have to obtain a permit from Srinagar. The next stop is KrishansarLake which is just 0.5 km away and 500 feet higher than Vishnusar. It lies at the base of the Krishansar peak. It will take you forty-five minutes to reach this lake from the campsite. After you crossing its next stop will be setting camp and enjoying the view all around you.
Day 5: Vishnusar to Gadsar via Krishansar Lake and Gadsar Pass.
The fifth day will be exciting because you will get to the top of the ridge. After an hour and a half of climbing, you will be able to see both lakes in full view. After reaching Gadsar pass on altitude 13,800 feet you will go two hours over gently in the meadows. The first small lake you will see is Yamsar Lake. Beyond this lake is another nameless lake. When you get into the blue Iris area you are close to Gadsar one of the prettiest lakes on this track that is surrounded by snow-clad cliffs. You can choose Gadsar as your campsite, but if you choose not to camp next to it you should go to Gadsar army camp by walking on downward and after half an hour you will spot another lake on your left side.
Day 6: Gadsar to Satsar.
After you cross the stream, the next trail will go up the mountain. You will be surrounded by tree lines and the river valley will be visible bellow you. After an hour and a half climbing, you will be at 3, 505 meters / 11,500 feet. You will be surrounded by mountains and this place is called Maengandob. You will see isolated mountains in front and on the right small ridge. You will set camp between them on flat green bad with steam flowing. You will be able to see Satsar lakes, pretty big and beautiful green setting with mountains upfront. This will be the place for the campsite and rest.
Day 7: Satsar to Gangabal twin lakes.
You will begin your trek by going down. Half an hour after camping site you will reach the biggest lake Satsar. After this lake, you will start to descend. After 45 minutes you will see you on the top of the first ridge. You will have to reach two more ridges. After two hours of ascending you will reach the third ridge at 4, 084 meters / 13, 400 feet. You will be surprised by sight and if you look around you. You will see nameless small lakes and the biggest one yet Gangabal. Next, to Gangabal lies Nandkol. Your next destination will be 427 meters / 1, 400 feet below so the route ascends to the lake. After you reach green meadow you will cross a wooden log bridge and get to the shores of Nandkol Lake. After this lake, you will reach the Gangabal Lake twenty minutes away from Nandkol and there you will rest for a night.
Day 8: Gangabal to Naranag. Then drive to Srinagar
You will now descend and prepare because it will be difficult. You head down from Gangabal along the stream and ridge which will end when you enter a green meadow. The Harmukh peak will look astonishing when you look back, and green meadow is filled with yellow flowers that are so easy to break, so walk carefully. This will not be clearly descending route because you will go up and down, and that is the main trademark of this trekking route. After walking through the thick of the pines you will drop more than 914 meters / 3, 000 feet down. After you reach 2591 meters / 8, 500 feet in Naranag you will enter the stone-paved village track and enter the main road of Naranag. You will drive to Srinagar from this place.
What does it include?
Meals while on trek (Vegetarian and Eggetarian).
Trek equipments like sleeping bags, mattress, tents, kitchen tent, and toilet tent.
Required trekking permits
First aid medical kits with oxygen cylinder.
Qualified and experienced trek guide, assistance guide and support staff.
What it does not include?
Transport from Srinagar to Sonmarg and Narnag to Srinagar.
Accommodation in Srinagar.
Food during the transit.
Any kind of Insurance.
Mules or porters to carry personal luggage.
Anything not specifically mentioned in “What does it include” section.
Items to bring with you
Trekking Bag(60-70 Liters).
UV Protected Sun Glasses.
Best Quality Hiking Shoes (Preferably Water Proof).
Water disinfection Drops / Tablets.
Knapsack / Backpack / Rucksack.
Good jacket to protect from cold.
Thermals – Top and Bottom.
Poncho (for rain).
Knee Cap 1 Pair.
1 quick drying towel.
Sun blocks (SPF 50 and above) and Lip Salve with Sun blocks.
Wet-Tissue Papers/ Baby wipes.
Headlamp, Torch with spare batteries.
Gaiters for hiking in winter.
Basic First Aid Kit.
2 light weight trekking pants.
3 light weight trekking T-Shirt.
4 pairs trekking socks.
Dry Fruits and Chocolates.
INR. 12, 500*
*Service Tax will be applicable
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