The Kashmir Great Lakes Trek -

8 days, 7 nights
Visit : Shutkar, Nichnai, Vishansar Lake Area, Gadsar Lake, Maengandob, Gangabal Twin Lakes Area

It is only when you witness the disarming beauty of Kashmir on the Great Lakes Trek in person that you will believe the wistful musings of poets who famously described it as 'paradise upon earth'. With each meadow and massif you stumble upon on the way, the Great Lakes Trek in Kashmir is not just a traveller's dream but also a trekkers haven. Five alpine lakes each strive t ...

It is only when you witness the disarming beauty of Kashmir on the Great Lakes Trek in person that you will believe the wistful musings of poets who famously described it as 'paradise upon earth'. With each meadow and massif you stumble upon on the way, the Great Lakes Trek in Kashmir is not just a traveller's dream but also a trekkers haven. Five alpine lakes each strive to out-charm the other and connect across high mountain passes and long grazing patches, to form one of the most beautiful treks in India. On this week-long journey, be prepared to conquer new heights and be overwhelmed by breathtaking sights every day. During summers, views of sparkling streams and cascading waterfalls will hypnotise you, and in winters, the riverside chill and pristine snow will bring joy to your heart. The adrenaline coursing through your veins as you reach closer to each lake is a feeling you won't be able to forget easily. From the moment you embark on this extraordinary voyage to the Great Lakes, you will want time to stop in its tracks.

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  • Includes : Accomodation Insurance

IS THIS TRIP FOR ME?

  • With a moderate difficulty level, the trek to Great Lakes in Kashmir is suitable for experienced trekkers. As it involves three strenuous passes and long hours of considerable altitude gain every day, physical fitness and some trekking experience is essential to the journey.
  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Inclusions
  • Price
  • Dates
  • Accommodation
  • Things to Carry
  • Travel Tips
  • Terms & Conditions

Highlights

  • Relish the views of colourful houseboats in Srinagar
  • Gaze at mesmerising mountaintops from Sonamarg Valley
  • Touch the pinnacle of Gadsar Pass at 4,200 metres
  • Conquer every kind of terrain, from steep to flat
  • Lose yourself in undulating meadows of flowers
Start of Tour

Gadsar Lake

End of Tour

Gangabal Twin Lakes area

  • Day 1Arrive Srinagar - Sonamarg - Shutkar
    • On arrival in Srinagar early morning, we drive towards Sonamarg - a valley in the Ganderbal district where the Kalhoi, Amarnath, and Sirbal peaks reside. Situated approximately 85 kilometres from Srinagar, the drive gives us the golden opportunity to soak in the magnificence of the Himalayan range. Delight in views of Nilagrad River and Thajiwas Glacier before reaching the destination. From here, we take a short hike to Shutkar village, where we set up our first camp of the tour. Spend the first night of the trek to the Great Lakes taking adequate rest, as the big adventure begins tomorrow.

      Depending upon the number of members in the trekking group, we will arrange a pickup from Srinagar airport to drop you to Sonmarg. This will be shared equally by each member of the team and is to be paid directly to the driver in cash. Typically a Tata Sumo/Mahindra Maxx/Bolero charges Rs 3000 one way which can accommodate 6 to 8 people. This is NOT included in the TREK FEE and is payable directly to the driver.

    • Meals - Lunch and dinner.
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  • Day 2Shutkar - Nichnai
    • It's time to commence the Great Lakes Trek of Kashmir! After relishing a sumptuous breakfast, we pack up our campsite and make our way back to Sonamarg, from where we set out towards Nichnai. Before starting the trek, however, we head to a roadside eatery nearby and stack up on vital commodities for the day. Everything from plenty of water to biscuits and other edibles is available here. We follow the path that levels with the Sindh River, one of the longest rivers in Asia. This path will lead us into a beautiful meadow, walking through which is a delightful experience. For the next 90 minutes, the winding trail takes you through pine and maple forests, and as you gradually achieve height, you are rewarded with exquisite views of the Sonamarg valley. This is where the trail begins to descend, right until we reach the Shekdur Range. We halt to catch our breath and spend some time soaking in the beauty of the vicinity before we start walking towards Nichnai, at which point we will be standing over 3,500 metres above sea level. On reaching, we set up camp at a suitable location and stay here for the night.

    • Meals - Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
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  • Day 3Nichnai - Vishansar Lake area
    • As a new day dawns, new experiences await! Indulge in a fulfilling breakfast and prepare to spend the day trekking amidst plush valleys and gurgling streams. Our first milestone is Nichnai Pass, a tunnel-like pathway that opens to panoramic routes leading to Gadsar Lake, Krishansar Lake, Vishansar Lake, and Gangabal Lake. We will be able to spot the lakes from the pass, which is located at an altitude of 4,115 metres. The trek can get challenging here even for experienced climbers, as the speed and distance of ascent is quite great. However, the views along the way and beauty of our destination make it absolutely worth the effort. The trail starts to decline rapidly from this point onwards, though, reaching a path along the river laden with soft grass and dotted with vibrant flowers. We stop here for a few minutes and allow our senses to be captivated by everything that surrounds us. At the end of the valley, we come face-to-face with Vishansar Lake, flowing at an elevation of 3,710 metres. The lake runs a kilometre long and 0.6 kilometres wide and serves as the source of the Neelum River. It is truly a spectacle worth beholding. Camping space is abundant here, so after you have spent some time taking in the views, make sure to get plenty of rest.

    • Meals - Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
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  • Day 4Vishansar Lake area
    • We spend this day in and around the Vishansar Lake area doing small hikes. While not actually covering ground, this day is extremely vital to ensure that your body gets used to the thinner air and lower oxygen levels.

    • Meals - Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
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  • Day 5Vishansar Lake area - Gadsar via Krishansar Lake and Gadsar Pass
    • On the fourth day of our trek, we wake up to the challenge of surmounting Gadsar Pass, which stands at a height of 4,190 metres and is the highest point of our trek. Fill up on some hearty breakfast and set out on a road that stretches along the shore of a water reservoir. As we rise towards our destination, we pass by Krishansar Lake. Located less than a kilometre away from Vishansar Lake, Krishansar is set against the stunning backdrop of a mountain pass that leads to Gadsar Lake. Once we reach the top of the ridge, we will be confronted by one of the most beautiful views of the trek - Krishansar and Vishansar lakes calmly seated together, surrounded by the greenest of pastures. After basking in this marvel of nature, we continue scaling the path until we finally reach Gadsar Pass. It is now time to celebrate the successful accomplishment of this formidable feat by descending towards Gadsar Lake and simply gazing at the exotic blue flowers and silver snow that adorn both sides of its shore. The sheer beauty of this location makes it worthy of serving as our campsite for the night.

    • Meals - Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
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  • Day 6Gadsar - Maengandob
    • We begin our day trekking through the Great Lakes trek with a delicious breakfast followed by a walk across the stream. What lies ahead is a steep trail that takes us up the mountain. But don't worry, it won't be long before we reach flat terrain again. As we walk through meadows enveloped by mighty mountains, we hit a path riddled with deep craters. This is Maengandob. With a fascinating landscape and massive foothills all around, Maengandob is quite the destination. We retire here for the night and catch up on some much-needed sleep.

    • Meals - Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
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  • Day 7Maengandob - Gangabal Twin Lakes area
    • Today, things are going to reach a whole new level of excitement. The trek from our camp in Maengandob to the twin lakes in Gangabal will push us to our physical limits as it involves long, steep ascents and descents. After gorging on a gratifying breakfast, we start walking towards the biggest of the Satsar lakes, which is also the final one. From the moment we pass by the lake, our trail moves in a downward trajectory for some time, until we arrive near the entrance of the forest. Once again, we start trekking upwards, aiming for an altitude of 4,085 metres. Along the way, we witness several Gujjar huts positioned amidst tall pine trees. Once we scale the summit, we are met with an unforgettable view of the twin lakes: Gangabal and Nundkol, famous for trout-fishing. From here, we trek through a gravelly trail and pass through a shimmering stream that leads into a splendid meadow near Nundkol Lake. A short walk past the lake brings us to one of the most astounding spots in Kashmir - Gangabal Lake. We set up camp here overnight.

    • Meals - Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
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  • Day 8Depart Gangabal Twin Lakes area - Naranag - Srinagar
    • As this is the last day of the Great Lakes trek in Kashmir, we pack up our Gangabal camp and meander through grassy fields blossoming with yellow flowers until we reach Naranag, a tourist village situated in the Ganderbal district, 2,270 metres above sea level. The breathtaking lakes and mountains here make it a popular tourist destination. We enjoy the last leg of your trek to the fullest extent by clicking photographs and absorbing the beauty of our surroundings before driving back to Srinagar. Our journey might have come to an end, but the memories of the experience will live forever.

      Similar to the arrival day, we will arrange a vehicle to transfer you back to Srinagar. The cost of the vehicle will be shared equally between all members of the trekking group. Please share your feedback on adventure@trip360.com

    • Meals - Breakfast.
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Inclusions

  • 7 nights' accommodation in camps as mentioned in the itinerary.
  • All meals during the trek along with early morning tea and evening snacks.
  • Trip360 Outdoor Experience Leader (OEL) for a group of 8 or more people.
  • Experienced local guide.
  • All necessary support staff (cooks, helpers, porters etc.) as per the size of the group.
  • Travel insurance covering high altitude trekking trips.
  • All trekking arrangements with the necessary number of dome or ridge shaped tents, kitchen tent, dining tent, toilet tent etc.
  • Sleeping bag with mattress.
  • Transport of the trekking equipment.
  • Basic medical and first aid kit.
  • Royalty and permits, camping charges etc.

Exclusions

  • Any transportation to Sonmarg and from Naranag. The cost of the vehicle is to be paid in cash on the spot.
  • Porters or mules to carry your personal luggage. This can be arranged for you at an additional price of INR 2100. This will cover porterage of your personal luggage upto 10 kilograms for 06 trekking days.
  • Optional activities.
  • Entrance fees to monasteries / monuments.
  • Any meals and accommodation in Srinagar.
  • Personal expenses, tips, laundry, telephone calls, personal medicines, alcoholic beverages, etc.
  • Costs arising out of unforeseen circumstances such as bad weather, landslides, road conditions and any other circumstances beyond our control.
  • Evacuation charges and damage of any nature.
  • Any items / services not specifically mentioned under inclusions.
  • Tips for the local guide and support staff. This is as per your discretion and will be collected by the lead guide towards the end of the trip.
  • Goods and Services Tax of 5%.

Price - Valid till 31 Dec 2020

Hub Twin Sharing Accommodation Triple
Ex Srinagar 13,950 13,950
* These prices are applicable for 8-10 adventurers. But if you’re looking to venture off the beaten path with your own gang, we’ll be happy to craft an exclusive adventure for you!

Dates

  • Ex Srinagar

Accommodation

We stay in camps for all the 6 nights of this trip. The tents we use while camping are comfortable 2 or 3 man tents. We also provide clean and quality sleeping bags and mats which are absolutely necessary while camping. You can choose to have a whole tent to yourself by paying an additional premium, also known as the single traveller supplement. If you are travelling single, but don't mind sharing the tent with a fellow trekker of the same gender, you may pay the standard fee and Trip360 will either find you a tent mate or bear the cost of carrying an extra tent for you.

Things to Carry

    While walking the body heats up and all we need to wear is a T-shirt and cargos/ trousers. However all our warm clothes will come into play in the mornings / evenings when we aren't doing much physically. A good base layer which could be a thermal top (polypropylene), with a T-shirt on top will keep you warm and dry. Mid layers provide insulation so anything that is warm will do e.g. a medium thickness woolen jumper or a mid-weight fleece top, along with another lightweight fleece top will suffice. If you really feel the cold, substitute the thinner layer with a down jacket. The outer layer is the final layer between you and the elements and must be capable of keeping out the wind, rain and snow. Any good waterproof, windproof jacket would do the job. Leg wear in the form of thermal long johns are invaluable. A good sun hat is very essential. Sunglasses which offer 100% UV protection are necessary to combat strong daylight.

    The following is a list of things that we suggest that you take with you. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list, rather it is intended to act as a reminder of those items that we feel are essential for your comfort and convenience. However we recognize that you may have your own personal preferences for clothing which may be equally as suitable.

    • Ankle high trekking boots (worn in)
    • Clothing apart from the regular clothes
    • Thermal underwear (upper + lowers)
    • Quick dry trousers
    • Shirt / t- Shirt
    • Warm fleece / jacket
    • Insulating layers
    • Down clothing (optional)
    • Wind protection and rain protection gear

    Extremities:

    • Hands (gloves - 2 pair woollens or hard shell)
    • Feet (socks - 2/3 pair nylon + 2/3 pairs woollen)
    • Head (balaclavas / woollen, sun hat, bandana etc.)
    • A tough duffel bag / rucksack / soft travel bag which is carried by porters/ animals
    • A ruck pack which one needs to carry oneself (at least 40 litres)

    Other Gear:

    • Sunglasses
    • Headlamp / torchlight
    • Trekking poles (optional)
    • Water bottle - should have at least two 1 litre bottles (hard plastic to be able to fill in hot water at high camps)
    • Personal toiletries: toothbrush, comb, sunscreen, lip balm etc.
    • Personal recreation: camera and film, books, music, cards etc.(Important for those long boring times when the weather turns bad)
    • Hand sanitizer
    • Small personal first aid

Travel Tips

  • Type of Food

    The food menu during the trek will be regular nutritious Indian food. Nothing tastes better than the black tea we pass you through the flaps of your tent early in the morning. Your breakfast could have an option of sandwiches or chapatis with a vegetable. We may have packed lunch on some of the longer days of the trek. Your hot meals will be a delicious mix of local vegetables, rice, chapatti and a sweet surprise in the end. We try and incorporate a lot of fresh local produce into your meals. Your cook during the trip will also be a local. You could try and get a local secret recipe from the cook. We will provide you safe boiled drinking water throughout the trek. Milk and eggs will be provided if available.

  • Clothes to carry

    While walking the body heats up and all we need to wear is a T-shirt and cargos/ trousers. However all our warm clothes will come into play in the mornings / evenings when we aren't doing much physically. A good base layer which could be a thermal top (polypropylene), with a T-shirt on top will keep you warm and dry. Mid layers provide insulation so anything that is warm will do e.g. a medium thickness woolen jumper or a mid-weight fleece top, along with another lightweight fleece top will suffice. If you really feel the cold, substitute the thinner layer with a down jacket. The outer layer is the final layer between you and the elements and must be capable of keeping out the wind, rain and snow. Any good waterproof, windproof jacket would do the job. Leg wear in the form of thermal long johns are invaluable. A good sun hat is very essential. Sunglasses which offer 100% UV protection are necessary to combat strong daylight.

  • Equipment Checklist

    The following is a list of things that we suggest that you take with you. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list, rather it is intended to act as a reminder of those items that we feel are essential for your comfort and convenience. However we recognize that you may have your own personal preferences for clothing which may be equally as suitable.

    • Ankle high trekking boots (worn in)
    • Clothing apart from the regular clothes
    • Thermal underwear (upper + lowers)
    • Quick dry trousers
    • Shirt / t- Shirt
    • Warm fleece / jacket
    • Insulating layers
    • Down clothing (optional)
    • Wind protection and rain protection gear

    Extremities:

    • Hands (gloves - 2 pair woollens or hard shell)
    • Feet (socks - 2/3 pair nylon + 2/3 pairs woollen)
    • Head (balaclavas / woollen, sun hat, bandana etc.)
    • A tough duffel bag / rucksack / soft travel bag which is carried by porters/ animals
    • A ruck pack which one needs to carry oneself (at least 40 litres)

    Other Gear:

    • Sunglasses
    • Headlamp / torchlight
    • Trekking poles (optional)
    • Water bottle - should have at least two 1 litre bottles (hard plastic to be able to fill in hot water at high camps)
    • Personal toiletries: toothbrush, comb, sunscreen, lip balm etc.
    • Personal recreation: camera and film, books, music, cards etc.(Important for those long boring times when the weather turns bad)
    • Hand sanitizer
    • Small personal first aid

  • Optional Activities Available

    We can arrange stay in a houseboat in Srinagar or at a homestay in Naranag at the end of the trek. Please let us know before the trip in case you would like us to set this up.

  • Our Crew

    The number of people in the crew will be determined by the group size. In most cases the group consists of the Trip360 Outdoor Experience Leader (OEL), a local guide and additional support staff like cooks, helpers etc. Each one of these people are vital towards the successful completion of the trip and do their bit in assisting in the overall logistics of the trip.

  • Flight Information

    You will have to arrive in Srinagar early morning on day 1. We will start our drive to Sonamarg latest by around 8 AM so that we are able to reach the Shutkar campsite on time. If it is not possible to reach early, you could arrive a day prior and we could pick you up from a central location in Srinagar which will be communicated in advance.

  • Medication & First Aid

    It will be helpful for you to carry some easy to access medicines on the trip, for headaches, diarrhea, constipation, and some re-hydration powders like electral etc. It's also a good idea to have a roll of toilet paper accessible should you need to go.

  • Altitude considerations

    Travel to any part of the Indian Himalayas deserves a little more respect than many other mountain ranges because most of the regions lie in high altitudes 2500 meters (8000 ft.). This is not something that you should worry about. The human body is quite capable of adapting to a very wide range of barometric pressures and there is plenty of oxygen even at the highest point of our trips. Our trek leaders are widely experienced in these matters and will be able to give you good advice to help minimise any temporary discomfort that you might experience. If you have suffered serious problems at altitude before, you should seek the advice of your doctor or a specialist. We are always ready to give advice on this subject. We do not take heart or lung patients or pregnant mothers on such trips.

  • Luggage Info

    It's best to carry your belongings in a large, tough rucksack. A waist bag is handy to have your camera, film rolls, flashlights etc. Pack similar things such as clothes, washing things, camping equipment etc. in separate sacks or polythene bags so they are easier to pull out and add to the waterproofing in your bag. The facility of luggage offloading can be availed at an additional price of INR 2100 per person. This will cover for the porterage of your main luggage packed in a soft duffel bag or rucksack upto 10 kilograms for the 6 trekking days.

  • Books to Read

    Curfewed Night by Basharat Peer - The moving memoir encapsulates the author's experience of growing up in the war-torn state of Kashmir at the height of its many rebellions.

    The Kashmir Shawl by Rosie Thomas - This spellbinding tale follows dual timelines at once: the protagonist Mair's escapades in India as she discovers her ancestral roots, and her grandmother, Nerys, who lived in Kashmir before the war took over.

  • Typical Day on the Trip

    A day on a trek begins with breakfast at 7 AM by which time; you are expected to vacate your tent so packing can begin. Your help with setting up and packing up of tents is always welcome. We aim to usually be on the trail by 8:30 AM and reach our camp for the day by 2-3 PM, if not earlier. Long days on the trail may mean an earlier start and a 8-10 hour walking day. Lunch is usually had on the walk, and you would get into the camp for a welcome cup of tea.

  • Approximate Group Size

    3 to 16

  • Money to carry

    It is recommended that guests carry about Rs. 5000 cash in person during the trek. This may be required during an emergency. Also, according to practice, on the last night of the trek, the group tips the staff and cash will be required for this as well. Usually tips start from about 1500 for guide and cook and 1000 for rest of staff. Guests may choose to tip the staff more. The tip may be handed over to the trip leader.

  • Tipping

    All tipping is optional and by no means mandatory, however if you feel that your staff and drivers have performed at a good or excellent level, it is a great way to let them know you appreciate their efforts.