I am not new to trekking but visiting the Kashmir Great Lakes was my very first time. I had heard from my friends that Kashmir is heaven on earth, so I had some extremely high expectations. I went to Travel Banjare and booked a Kashmir Great Lakes trekking package of 7 nights and 8 days and was ready to have an experience of a lifetime. I booked my package in July, which is known as the best time to visit the Great Lakes. The highest altitude of the Kashmir Great Lakes is 13697 feet, but the difficulty level as per my experience was moderate.
It is located above Sonamarg, which means right before the Zozila Pass of the Srinagar-Leh highway. The best part of the location is its hidden valleys which are beautiful beyond words and cannot actually be accessed by road. Trekking my way to them is something I will never forget.
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- After reaching Nichnai in a late afternoon from Sonamarg, I remember thinking to myself that this trekking trip is so far the best one I’ve had in years.
- After that, we headed towards the Satsar Lake which is located in a narrow alpine valley.
- I was fascinated by these stories and developed quite an interest in knowing all the details.
After reaching Nichnai in a late afternoon from Sonamarg, I remember thinking to myself that this trekking trip is so far the best one I’ve had in years.
I would also like to give some credit to Travel Banjare’s meal package for providing the most amazing food and not making me miss the home cooked food at all. As I approached Kishansar via Vishansar Lake on Day 3, I could feel my mood darkening a little bit due to lack of sleep. But then, one of Travel Banjare’s qualified team leader started narrating some of his funny trek experiences and my mood lifted up in a few minutes itself.
And then we witnessed the most amazing lush valleys where almost all of us stopped and clicked pictures as we couldn’t believe something as amazing as this existed. We spent a night there and enjoyed to the fullest.
The 4th day got over in exploring the Vishansar and Kishansar Lake. It was almost 100 feet above our campsite. By our 5th day of the trek and we had to leave for Gadsar Pass right after breakfast. Once we reached there, we got a wider view of the Vishansar and Kishansar lake and I have to tell you, that sight has got to be the prettiest of all.
After that, we headed towards the Satsar Lake which is located in a narrow alpine valley.
The name ‘Satsar’ meant a group of seven interconnected lakes. Moving ahead, the small teahouses and lodges tempted me to get some bottled water, hot Maggie, biscuits, or chewing pan. By our 7th day, we managed to cross the Satsar lake and head towards the Gangabal Lake via Gaj pass.
The path was full of rocky terrains and boulders. On our way, we stopped at the great Mount Harmukh. The Harmukh peak is called the abode of Lord Shiva by the Kashmiris residing there. They believe that it is impossible for human feet to touch the Harmukh summit. Furthermore, it is said that there are no poisonous snakes present at the peak of Harmukh.
I was fascinated by these stories and developed quite an interest in knowing all the details.
My trekking trip actually turned out to be knowledgeable, thanks to these stories. One of my team members fell sick during this time, but our team leader was quick to rescue and provided him with necessary medical aid. We traveled a few more kilometers through the meadows and then stopped at our camp at the Gangabal Lake.
Then came Day 8, my last day of the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. The plan was to reach Naranag. We reached the destination via a pine forest and some grassy lands. I was feeling content as well as sad as I didn’t want the trek to end. We reached Naranag and bid adieu to each other and sat in our respective jeeps to leave for Srinagar.
On my way back home, I scrolled through my picture gallery and reminisced about the stunning beauty I had the pleasure of witnessing. I finally understood the reason why Kashmir was called “heaven on earth”.
Featured image source: AntHill Adventures
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