Kashmir Great lakes trek

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek

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Kashmir Great Lakes Trek Overview

Veritably called paradise on Earth, Kashmir offers some of the most visually spectacular and adrenaline pumping treks in the entire country. The Kashmir Great Lakes trek is one such expedition that is flanked by stunning beauty and promises the experience of a lifetime. Although this is one of the lesser known treks in the area, it attracts advanced and passionate expeditioners looking for an experience that’s almost therapeutic.

The trek begins at Sonamarg and trails through some of the most picturesque areas comprising a variety of ecological zones of the mighty Himalayas. The trail begins with temperate forests of pine, firs deodars, and spruces, as well as huge expanses of lush green meadows and grasslands. As you go along the trek, you will encounter pristine blue lakes and breathtaking views of snow clad mountain peaks. The trail is also dotted with quintessential rustic villages, unrestrained streams, and craggy terrains, all of which make your trekking experience truly special and unforgettable.

Experience Kashmir’s sheer beauty and nature’s abundance in its most raw and unspoiled form that are otherwise not accessible or motorable, with Kashmir Great Lakes Trek, an absolute must-try trek for adventure seekers.

Highlights of Kashmir Great Lakes Trek

Kashmir Great lakes trek

Maximum altitude: 13,715 ft

Grade: Moderate - Difficult, Level 2

Duration: 7 days

Trekking distance: 72 kms approximately

Trail type: This is a cross over trail through a number of passes starting at Sonamarg and ending at Naranag.

Rail head: Jammu is the nearest railway station

Airport: Srinagar Airport

Snow Season: Around the month of June - July

Service from: Sonamarg to Naranag

Base camp: Sonamarg, which is a 90 kms drive from Srinagar and takes about 3 hours

Best season: During the monsoon from the beginning of July to the middle of September

Region: Jammu and Kashmir

Who can participate: The trek is open for participants between the age of 12 and 55 years and are physically fit. Participants should have experience of any high altitude trek, should be able to carry a 12-kg backpack, and must have enough stamina to cover a distance of 6 kms in 30 minutes without stress.

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Kashmir Great Lakes Trek Itinerary

Itinerary at a glance/ Quick Itinerary

Day 1: Srinagar to Sonmarg, Welcome to the 'Meadow of Gold'

Day 2: Sonmarg to Nichnai via Shekdur, Walk beside the Overlooking Waterfalls

Day 3: Nichnai to Vishansar Lake, The Color Changing Lake

Day 4: Vishansar to Gadsar, The Mysterious Lake of Demon

Day 5: Gadsar to Satsar, Cross the First Glacier of your Trek

Day 6: Satsar to Gangabal, Twin Lakes, The Serene Nature's Delight

Day 7: Gangabal to Naranag, Descend with the Traditional Nomadic Hamlets

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Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7

Srinagar to Sonmarg, Welcome to the 'Meadow of Gold'

Altitude: 7800 ft

Distance: 90 kms drive

Duration: 3 hours approx

  • The Kashmir Great Lakes Trek commences at Srinagar from where you will be driven to the starting point of the trek at Sonamarg.

  • You will depart around afternoon from Srinagar and it will take around 3 hours to reach Sonamarg.

  • You can spend the first day of your trek enjoying the scenic beauty of Srinagar with its lakes, gardens, and houseboats.

  • Walk through the Mughal Gardens or take a Shikara ride on Dal Lake.

  • You will spend the night at the camp site in Sonmarg.

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What to Pack for KGL Trek

Kashmir Great lakes trek

Documents: Government photo identity card: Bring any identity proof in its original as well as photocopied form, this can either be your Aadhar card or passport. It will be required by the forest department for your identification.

Disclaimer certificate: You have to download the PDF, read it carefully and sign it. It is a legal requirement and needs to be handed over to your Trek Leader during the registration at the base camp.

Medical certificate: You need to take care of two individual parts of this, one of which must be filled by a practicing doctor and the other must be filled by you. Without this certificate, you will not be issued permission to trek by the forest department.

Other Essentials:

  • Sturdy trekking shoes with good grip, ankle support, and ability to handle snow.
  • A 50 to 60-liter backpack with good hip and shoulder support, and quick access pockets.
  • Clothes should include 3 t-shirts and 3 insulation layers, an outer layer, and 2 trek pants.
  • Sunglasses with UV protection to prevent snow blindness.
  • Synthetic hand gloves with waterproofing on the outside and a padded lining on the inside.
  • Sun cap to prevent headaches, sunstrokes, and quick dehydration.
  • Woolen cap that will cover your ears.
  • 3 pairs of socks including 2 pairs sports and 1 pair woolen socks.
  • Trekking poles for balance and stability.
  • Headlamp to leave your hands free.
  • Rainwear such as a poncho or a rain jacket.
  • Rain cover for backpack.
  • Daypack with rainwear, water bottles, headlamp, medical essentials, a warm layer, and snacks.
  • Cutlery with a lunch box, a mug, and a spoon.
  • Toilet kit with basics such as toothbrush, toothpaste, a small moisturizer, lip balm, small soap, toilet tissue roll, and a roll-on deodorant.
  • 3 or 4 plastic covers.
  • Medical kit.
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Know Before You Go to KGL Trek

Tips for Kashmir Great Lakes Trek
How to Reach
Best Time to Do

  • If you are planning to spend the night at Srinagar, stay in touristy areas like Dal Lake or Lal Chowk.
  • Tourist spaces are more protected and safer than downtown areas, so try to avoid such places. This will also keep you safe during times of unrest.
  • Try to merge in with the crowds by dressing and behaving like a local.
  • In case a curfew is imposed, keep indoors, wait for it to pass, and do not panic.
  • Consistently jog for 5 km and try to do it in under 32 minutes a few months prior to your trek, to prepare yourself for the long climb and steep ascents and descents.
  • Go for hopping exercises and strengthen your glutes and the muscles around your knees to get comfortable with intense boulder sections and difficult terrains.
  • If you feel sick or ill at ease, check your oxygen levels, rest, drink water, and go on a curative course of Diamox.
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General Trivia About KGL Trek

Kashmir Great lakes trek
  • You will come across the Naranag Temple in the course of your Kashmir Great Lakes trek which is a famous religious and archaeological site. It was built by Lalitaditya Muktapida of the ancient Kayastha Naga Karkota Dynasty and is believed to be built in the honor of Lord Shiva. You will witness a Shivling and multiple carvings that can be linked with Lord Shiva here. You can also discern characteristics of the Aryan style of the 8th century in the place that mostly lies in ruins today.

  • Although not known by many, the Kishansar and Vishansar lakes are connected and the same water flows in both. Surprisingly, Vishansar means ‘The home of Vishnu’ and Kishansar translates to ‘the lake of Krishna’. Besides this, both lakes show no signs of algae formation unlike the Gadsar lake which always appears green due to the algae growth.

  • According to local mythology, Lord Shiva resides at the top of the Harmukh mountain, at a height of more than 16,000 feet. A local folklore states that a man once set out on a treacherous journey up the mountain to meet Shiva and after 12 years of rigorous trek, he could not meet the god but ultimately achieved nirvana.

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Why to Go for Kashmir Great Lakes Trek?

The Kashmir Great Lakes Trek is one of the most beautiful treks in India that offers magnificent scenic beauty of the surrounding mountains, umpteen lakes, and forests along the way. The trek lasts almost seven to eight days during which time you get to explore about seven different valleys in the region. Each of these valleys and meadows are unique in themselves and have much to offer in terms of visual magnificence. Six of these valleys are also distinct grasslands or high altitude meadows that are inter-linked via high passes.

There is the Shekdur meadow set in the midst of Maples and Birch trees, the Nichnai grasslands that descend into acres of wildflowers alongside a gentle river. There is also the Gadsar meadow that is lined by narrow and jagged mountains on either side with vibrant flowers blooming in the entire area. The trek also encompasses some of the most spectacular and crystal clear high altitude lakes that are known to change color throughout the day.

FAQ's of Kashmir Great Lakes Trek

If I am a first-timer, is the Kashmir Great Lakes trek good for me?

Yes, for a first timer the Kashmir Great Lakes trek is a good start off, like it is for an experienced one. However, you should ensure that you maintain a good fitness level and are not suffering from ailments like Bronchitis, high blood pressure, asthma, TB, epilepsy, heart problem, or are on the higher BMI side. Moreover, if you have a medical history, you need to inform the team beforehand.

What is the age limit for the Kashmir Great Lakes trek?

The minimum age to go on a Kashmir Lake trek is about 12 to 15 years and the maximum age is 55 years. The maximum age however, can go higher depending upon your level of fitness.

Who will accompany the group on the KGL trek?

You will be accompanied by skilled and well qualified professionals who are equipped to handle any kind of emergency that may occur on the way. These include an experienced first-aid certified trek leader, a first-aid certified local guide, helpers, a cook, and other support staff.

Will I get a mobile network while during the KGL Trek?

There will be no network available during trekking. In Sonamarg you will get Airtel, BSNL, and Idea networks but not after that. In Kashmir, only postpaid connections work.

How can I handle extreme cold during the KGL trek?

You should layer up well during your trek and ensure that you eat full meals. Never go to sleep on an empty stomach. Use your sleeping bags in the proper way and make sure no empty space is left in it. Wear a thermal layer, full sleeves t-shirt, a fleece layer, thick jacket, and a waterproof or windproof jacket. On your lower body wear a thermal layer and hiking pants.

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