The poet did not lie when famously proclaiming about Kashmir-- “If there is ever a heaven on
Earth, it is here, it is here, it is here...” Kashmir Great Lakes trek is emblematic of Kashmir’s fabled beauty. Five crystal watered lakes glistening in the sweet sun of the valley mark the way through the paradisiacal mountainscape of Kashmir. Bright snow patches nestled in the crooks of the mountain feed the waters with glacial melts. The ink blue color of the lake surface shows clusters of milky white icebergs floating, forming an appealing contrast with the soft green grassy lake shores. Camping close to the waters remains a great attraction on this route as are the meadow campings. You would be crossing many consecutive meadows in a day, making passages from one slope to another. Forests of maples and pines fringe the empty curvatures of these meadow highs. Rolling off the grass covered slopes, you arrive in the midst of wide valleys strewn with wildflowers, where horses and sheep come to graze from nearby villages. Unlike many Himalayan treks where you get to follow rocky dirt tracks, the Kashmir Great Lakes is in most parts a velveteen grassy bed to walk on. Trekkers love to take off their shores on a pleasant day to tenderly feel the touch of nature on the naked skin. Don’t keep yourself from the bliss of doing one of the most beautiful treks ever.
A beautiful trek, the Kashmir Great Lakes is a lyrical and meditative walk on velvet grass and turquoise lakes. Trekkers start off from Sonamarg and go coursing by the lakes-- Gadsar, Gangabal, Satsar, Nundkol, Dal Lake, Vishansar, Kishansar, and many more. These lakes fed with glacial snowmelt give rise to many inflows and outflows. Have you ever seen a river sprouting out of its very source? The Neelum River is found flowing peacefully out of the deep repository of Vishansar Lake located at 12171 ft. Its findings like these and the ethereal beauty of Kashmir that makes the Great Lakes trek a specialty. A 9-10 days itinerary involving passage through undulating valley hinterlands, setting camp in the most picturesque of locations, and merriment in the cool and pleasant valley weather, KGL leaves no room for physical distress. The entire trek remains within treeline and alpine grassy vegetative area on gentle gradients, from forests of silver birch to meadows surrounded with bhoj trees and soft grass thatched lake shores, the topography of Kashmir Great Lakes route is hardly physically exhausting. The only reason the trek might be considered moderately challenging is because of the substantial distance it covers each day of the trek.
The trek starts from Shitkadi near Sonamarg and proceeds along a picturesque lake trail, reaching the highest point of the trek at Gadsar Pass located at the altitude of 13,750 ft and concluding at Naranag at 7450 ft.
The best time considered for going on the Lakes Trek is from June to October. This time of the year, the meadows are found at their lushest green, and the streams and rivulets in the valley beautifully overflowing.
By Air: Srinagar Airport is the international airport nearest for the trek, located about 80 km Sonamarg - the start off point.
By Rail: Srinagar Railway Station enjoying good connectivity with cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai is the most convenient for the purpose of the Lakes Trek.
By Road: By road, Jammu and Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation buses connect Sonamarg with Srinagar, Gulmarg, Achbal, Pahalgam, etc.
Are There Any Shops Available on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek?
You can find shops on this trek till Sonamarg, after which the small villages on passing are found with handful of shops selling basic food and supplies.
Altitude sickness on the Lakes trek can be a possibility upon reaching the Gadsar Pass. Trekkers must take care regarding thorough hydration, proper diet, and prior attention to fitness.
The trek remains moderately trafficked at the peak seasons from June to October.