At first I set about writing a travelogue; but then quickly realised I could do that later and instead share the photographs which had created quite a storm on social media, particularly instagram. All the captions are heartfelt memories 🙂 When I went on this trek, in July-August 2016 I was a bit skeptical especially after having already been on the Tarsar Marsar Trek too in 2015. All my doubts have been dispelled and how!
Now I can safely say, with regards to the effort vs reward ratio, the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek offers scenery and landscapes like none other, plus there are the LAKES!
Presenting some of the best photographs from Kashmir Great Lakes Trek.
Day 1 began at Sitkari and ended at Nichnai after ascending the meadows of Shekdur through a birch forest. We had chai at a dhaba on a place called Table Top. It started drizzling after an hour or two of beginning the trek and a water stream or nallah continues till the Nichnai campsite. The rain has caused the proceedings to get quite cold. There is a herd of sheep with a shepherd in the rain, and that creates a beautiful traffic jam. Near the campsite, it is nice to notice sheep and goats playing with the horses. The light in Nichnai is beautiful when it stops raining and snowy mountains around look inviting!
Day 2 Aligning earth’s heartbeat with mine at Vishnusar Lake. Morning clouds and it is very cold at 6 am. We have breakfast and tea and leave for Vishansar Lake (both spellings are right) at about 8-830 am when the sun comes out. I realise that both my shoes and jacket are still wet after bearing the brunt of the rain yesterday. It is a non-stop uphill climb to Nichnai pass that is at 4100m. There are beautiful views of the other side from the pass; of colourful wildflowers in blue, red, yellow, white on the trail. We cross numerous glacial water streams on our descent. It is a happy case of serendipity when we encounter a bakarwal with a few sheep grazing on the banks of the Vishansar Lake in the evening.
Kishansar and Vishansar (Vishnusar) Lakes as seen from the top of Gadsar Pass. It is a surreal moment in the night when some of us are gazing at the stars and suddenly we sight a blazing meteor go past us in the sky! We are speechless and don’t know how to react at the stunning speed at which it goes across the sky. In the morning we start at 8 am, and pass Vishansar Lake and keep climbing to Kishansar Lake. These are both glacial lakes and I am unable to spot a water source for both these lakes. There is no reflection in the waters of Vishansar Lake but the waters of Kishansar Lake are fabulously still.
A place where I slept during lunchtime on the trek. Memories.
Day 3 or 4
My favourite lake of the trek – Gadsar (sar means lake.)
Day 3 It is a steep climb to Gadsar Pass (4150m) and both the lakes are visible from the top of the pass at about 1030 am. The views are lovely from top of the pass; the valley widens and 2 small glacial lakes are visible. It is a riot of wildflowers on the descent; and interspersed with the flowing streams dotted by sheep and goats resembles a proverbial paradise. We encounter a hut of a bakarwal from Rajouri and he invites us to his home. We cross Gadsar lake and head to the campsite near Gadsar Post of the Indian Army.
Day (do you even care!)
So cheesy, but even the guides were going crazy here!
A shepherd dog had started barking on the other side of our campsite and we ran helter-skelter to save our lives!
Day 4 I remember it as being the easiest day of the entire Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. I get my camera battery that I had given for charging at the army guys at Gadsar Post. The campsite is akin to sleeping in the middle of a herd of sheep; since we are surrounded by shepherds. Once we start walking, it is a steep climb – first through a snowy path and then through a field of strawberries. The scenery is lush green and after 2-3 hours when we reach the Satsar Post; it is drizzling and gets quite cold.
The trail crosses multiple lakes and Satsar Post is a pretty site surrounded by yellow wildflowers! After an hour or so, we reach a place called Mangandop. The sheep grazing in the hilly grasslands, surrounded by clouds and high mountaintops with snow on them presents an alluring sight. The visibility is quite poor and a short drizzle begins. It is a long and arduous climb to Zaj Pass as the terrain is quite rocky. There is a little chunk of snow on top of the pass. Sunlight peeps in through the clouds and the pristine sight of the two lakes – Gangabal and Nandkhol Lake are visible. The descent is beautiful especially with the sight of these lakes! When we reach the campsite in the late afternoon it is a pleasing sight to see local Kashmiris playing basketball on the banks of the lake.
Clicked from the classily named Zaj Pass (Locals also spell it as Zach Pass).
Aimless walks by a lake in Kashmir.
Playing basketball, cricket and football on the banks of Nandkhol Lake remains an everlasting memory as do Kashmiri songs and dancing with the cooks and helpers.
It was one of those speechless moments. Local Kashmiris camped by the lake and enjoyed angling and their time away from the curfew.
It was easy to forget the troubles of the valley while on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek and I was astounded to see colossal ruins of 8th Century Hindu temples in Naranag.
Hope you like this photo-story, I may do a day wise post of this fantastic trek soon. Interested folks can email me if they are looking for a local Kashmiri operator (who helped me on this trek.)
A few of my personal favourites among memorable posts, other than Kashmir :
76 thoughts on “Kashmir Great Lakes Trek, in Pictures”
Very beautiful indeed, Shubham! You did this trek with YHAI or independently?
Thanks Swami 🙂 I was lucky to have been put in touch with a group by a local Kashmiri; so thats how it happened for me 😀
1. I loved all the pictures, but second last was the one I loved the most. 2. Other things I like about your blog: great language, passion for traveling reflects. 3. One of the very best among all blogs is where you wrote about a secret village not mentioning its name. I wonder if there are other such villages you traveled without giving out its name publicly. 4. All the best for your travels!
Thanks Nehal for this fantastic comment! It is so kind of you to take time out and make a detailed summary.
Sharing my journeys, slowly with the world… I don’t write as much as i travel and there are so many of these places to be written about.
As pretty a sight as it can get of the lake flanked by mountains! This is indeed heaven.
I always wish Kashmir was not a troubled part of India. But then that’s why the trouble is!
So so glad you liked it Alok. Thanks for taking the time out to post a comment. It was quite unbelievable to be amidst so much natural beauty while on this trek!
No other place can be as pristine as Kashmir. Your pictures and captions capture the same beautifully!! 🙂
Thats so so true. Kashmir has that incredible beauty about it, and this trek is even more beautiful than anything I’ve seen!
Beautiful photos! Kashmir is truely heaven on earth.
Agree with that! Many thanks for the appreciation 🙂
Breathtakingly beautiful! Stunning frames, Shubham.
Yay! Really was Niranjan. Kashmir has that something else about it, and this trek was the pinnacle of natural beauty!
Surreal. I have seen some of these on Instagram and watching them again here was an absolute delight! Some of them seem unreal. what a beauty!! <3 Hope to see it someday. I have heard this is one of the best treks in India from a friend who has trekked the Himalayas all her life.
Thank you for the appreciation!! I really can’t believe all the beauty that exists on this planet, and if I really saw this with my own eyes.
I would agree with that; in fact when I was on the trail I remember thinking – on a reward to difficulty ratio, the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek was arguably the most beautiful in India!
All the pictures are breathtaking. And yes, pictures do the talking. Hope I could trek the Himalayas some day. I will definitely go for this one.
Thanks Dipanwita for checking it out and the kind words of appreciation. Best wishes for the trek. 🙂
Many people visit the mountains as merely tourists but your captions can open up new vistas for them. I personally liked the pictures and also the fact that you got all types of weather on your trek – mist, sunny, cloudy. This is a trek I have been wanting to do since two years but I chose other places. Now your story has inspired me all over again for this trek and also to focus on the spiritual self while on the trek!
If you could tell me more about the travel company and the time of the year you made the trek it would be of great help. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Wow! Thank you so much Pulkit for the generous appreciation. I was really lucky to be on this trek and even luckier to see the landscapes in changing weather as you mentioned. Will be glad to share the information with you.
Awww Paradise on earth. Great photography. A very refreshing post. Aiming to see it all in real soon.
Thank you so much Vaishnavi for the appreciation. Best of luck 🙂
Great photography in the blog. did a fabulous job for writing the blog and keep writing in the future. so thank you so much for that.
Yay! Thanks Kunal for the kind and generous words 🙂
Hi ….I m speechless and almost felt like crying in joy….have gone in a few Himalayan treks…none so lethally attractive… do you think I it still is safe to be there….I see batches from all leading trek companies are full…
Hey! Wow, that comment made my day. I can’t say about the political situation in the state but the trek route is quite safe. Hope you get to see it someday 🙂 Best wishes.
Needless to say, your clicks are amazing and I loved all your comments. Hope to visit soon. Can this be done with kids ?
Thanks Swati for the constant appreciation. Best wishes for you to undertake this trek. Depends on whether the kids have prior trekking experience and the kind of terrain they have experienced earlier?
Last summer we did the Lambri trek from Jalori pass. Climbing down cliffs and slopes, they (in fact all of us) needed some help but we managed it :). How many hours in a day did you walk (on an average) ?
Thats a gorgeous region around Lambri Top. On the KGL trek, per day walking hours were around 8-9.
This is the way you describe Kashmir Great Lakes Trek great pics and I wish your dream of travelling across the planet. All the best for your journeys ahead.
Thanks so much for the appreciation and the kind words.
I want to travel Kashmir but concerned with the political situation / disturbance. Do you think it will be safe to plan in the coming weeks ?
One can never be sure about the political situation of Kashmir, ever. 🙁 Sigh.
Amazing pictures and a wonderful read! I have seen those photos on Instagram already, but still feel like looking at them again and again. Feeling a great urge to go to the trek. Can we have a post with the details of planning and execution of the trekking trip, along with the cost and all? Thanks!
Yay, thanks! Hehe, I totally get what you mean, this trek is really really beautiful! Hopefully I will write the post this year, even though for this trek it is recommended to go with a trekking company that basically means that everything is taken care of. 🙂
Excellent photos.. Can you share the contact of the local group. It will be nice instead of going with commercial group.
Thanks Vinoth. You can send me an email and I may then be able to send his details.
Hello shubham, I am planning on going for Tarsar Marsar trek this July. However, your article has got me thinking. My first choice was Kashmir great lakes trek but since I am going with my wife and sister I chose tarsar marsar. Is Kashmir great lakes too strenuous a trek for first time trekkers ?? Please share your opinion.
Hi Prateek; all these things totally depend on person to person. I won’t be able to comment on the same because I’m not aware of your fitness levels. Good luck 🙂
I too am in a similar situation! When have you booked tarsar Marsar for and with which group
I went on the Tarsar Marsar trek with GIO.
Hi! great snaps 🙂 can you please send details of your trek group ? email id : email@example.com. Thank you.
? Whats that supposed to mean. Thanks.
Can you please give details of trek organizer ? contact number of the company who arranged the trek for you.
You can send me an email. Cheers and best of luck.
Wonderful write up. I read you have done the aTarsar Marsar trek also. Can you help me choose between the two:)
I think only you alone can take that decision for yourself. 🙂 Best wishes and happy travels.
Hi, I am planning for a trek in kashmir in August. Confused between Kashmir Great Lakes and tarsar marsar. Which is better? Which one will you recommend?
Hi, I’d say both 🙂
Hi Shubham, These are like voww pics. Your pics are too good. Kashmir great lakes is my favourite trek till date. I liked it so much that i did it twice. Lovely pic of the Gadsar pass where one can see Vishansar and Kishansar lake in one frame.
Thanks Nazir! So so glad you liked the photographs. I had the pleasure of browsing through your website and loved the experiences 🙂
Beautiful pictures and your write-up make them more lively. Anyone who goes through this blog would want to go for this trek.
I’m planning for this trek this year and would like to know the group with which you did this trek. I liked that fun time you had with the group during your leisure time , which I think would really add joy and fun to the trek.
My email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Once again…. Very well ‘captured’ and ‘written’!!
Thanks so much Soumya for the kind words. So glad you liked checking the post out. Let me know what dates are you planning to go for and I’ll try and connect you with a trekking group.
Kashmir Great Lakes Trek is one of the most beautiful treks in the Ladakh region.
Ladakh region? I think you meant Kashmir region – or entire India ?
I have done Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. Reading this blog has refreshed my memories. Very soon I will do it again. Thanks for this inspiring article. Check my blog for trekking tips to Kashmir Great Lakes Trek which I wrote after my trek.
Great work Nazir. Glad you liked this post 🙂
Sure, will do Nazir. Thanks for checking 🙂
I have done Markha Valley Trek. Reading this blog has refreshed my memories. Very soon I will do it again. Thanks for this inspiring article. Check my blog for trekking tips to Markha Valley Trek which I wrote after my trek.
I loved your pictures and observations! Looks like a great trek to do 🙂 I am interested in visiting Kashmir this summer. Is July-August the best time to go? And is it possible to walk alone or do you need to join a guided group? Thanks for response,
Thanks Barbora! It is indeed a memorable trek. I’d recommend a guided group / a guide.
Great Job Sir You Are An Inspiration For adventurers keep doing it thankyou
Thanks so much Tarun for the appreciation.