The Trek and more about us.
The Great Lakes Trek will lead you to turquoise lakes, via high altitude passes thru the breathtaking scenery of the Kashmir Himalayas. If you choose us as your tour operator there is nothing you need to organize. We do that all for you. It already starts with the pick up at Srinagar airport, continues with all the transports required for this trek, goes on with all the equipment like tent, kitchen gear, food, ponies to carry the gear (not your own, but can be arranged) and doesn´t even finish with a beer/wine beside the logfire at night. All we ask you to do is to enjoy the beautiful scenery of our mountains. Our crew loves the nature as much as you do and is therefore able to tell you a lot about the local geology, botany and the native animals which live along our trekking route. All our guides are locals of Kashmir and therefore know the routes and the mountains like the back of one´s hand. The tour includes breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner on every day.
Great Lakes trek – overview.
Name: Kashmir Great Lakes Trek
Duration: 9 – 11 days
Trek grade: moderate
Highest altitude: 4.280 – 4.300 meters above sealevel
Routing: starts in Sonamarg – ends in Naranag, near Sonamarg
Trip dates: 31st of May – 5th of October 2014, starts Saturdays
Includes: all transports
all camping gear
porters, ponies, guides
pick up at Srinagar Airport
drop off at Srinagar Airport
last night on houseboat on Dal Lake
optional: visit Gulmarg
- THE TREK AT A GLANCE.
- TREK DESCRIPTION.
- GULMARG IN SUMMER.
- DETAILED MAP.
- HOW TO GET THERE.
- PACK LIST.
- BOOK THE TREK.
A brief itinerary.
Day 1: arrival in Srinagar – proceed towards your hotel in Sonamarg
Day 2 : trek from Sonamarg to Nichnai base camp
Day 3 : trek towards the Vishensar & Kishensar Lakes
Day 4 : hiking to Gadsar Lake passing the highest point at Gadsar pass – 13,750 ft.
Day 5 : proceed from Gadsar towards Satsaran
Day 6 : hiking to Gangbal Lake
Day 7 : exploring and staying at Gangbal lake – day trip towards Harmukh peak
Day 8 : trek towards Naranag and travel to your houseboat on Dal Lake in Srinagar – optional from Naranag to Gulmarg – depending on your flight schedule / further travel plans.
Day 9 : Srinagar – leaving the house boat and proceed to Srinagar airport
Day 9 : Gulmarg – riding the worlds highest Gondola towards Mt. Apharwat – having a picnic on 14,000 ft and enjoying the view of the Gulmarg meadows with the scenery of Nanga Prabat and Mt. Harmukh
Day 10: drive from Gulmarg to Dal Lake in Srinagar and spending the last night on a houseboat.
Day 11: leaving the house boat and proceed to Srinagar airport
About the trek.
The name of the trek describes it as it´s best. Yes it´s just great and you will get to see a lot of fresh water lakes with trout to catch in the majestic, beautiful and breathtaking scenery of the Kashmir Himalayas. Everyday after some moderate trekking you will be rewarded with a sunset that colours the sky into beautiful shades of orange and purple. We will enjoy a dinner with some wine or beer by a romantic log fire. The altitude plus the remoteness of the trek will leave all the stress and hectic of busting cities and an all day routine behind you. You will be able to relax and find tranquility. This feeling will be underlined by a stunning scenery with deep blue couloured mountain chains covered by lush green meadows with pine trees and flower meadows like nowhere else in the world. It´s simply magnificient. Of course you will get to see a lot of cultural highlights as well. One for sure is to meet some shepherds with their families and herds druing our trek. On your way from Srinagar to Sonamarg and as well on the houseboat you will get an idea of the local culture, food and religion in Kashmir. Everything is very colourful and you will get to see a lot of mosques and religous people on your way.
Detailed description of the Great Lakes trek.
Day 1 – Arriving in Srinagar
We will welcome your group personally at the airport of Srinagar and proceed together to our hotel in Sonamarg. The drive takes approx 3 hours. We have organized the car with a safe and experienced driver already.
Day 2 – Trek to base camp at Nichnai passing Shekdur
After breakfast in the lush green meadows and rising sun from the peaks we will move towards Nichnai. It’s a gradual ascend to this place in almost 4 hours. A little bit after the start you will spot a Dhaba which is the last evidence of civilisation till the end of our trek in Naranag. Continuing to a beautiful meadow from where we can see Sonamarg from above. Maple and Pine trees surround this meadow. Nichnai base camp is a very beautiful place with ice cold, crystal clear streams flowing from the mountains; one will love to see the shepherds with their sheeps. After our crew has pitched the tents we will prepare for our overnight stay in the mountain camp area. We will have a log fire like nearly every night and enjoy the sunset with a beer or wine.
Day 3 – Trek from Nichnai to Vishensar Lake
In the morning our group will start ascending towards Vishensar pass which is at an altitude of around 12,000 ft. To reach the pass it will take about 2 – 3 hours. Hiking down to Vishensar lake will take another 2 hours. Vishensar lake is a natural spring water lake with a total radius of 2 – 2.5 kilometers. The water remains warm throughout the whole year. The total area of the Vishensar lake is about 9 squarekilometers. The quality of trout fish is fantastic. It´s a red spotted brown trout which is originally from Australia. Long back the seeds were put in the lake. Our camp will be at Vishensar overnight stay. Vishensar is the 1st lake in the Great Lake Trek and very famous for its water and fish quality. You as a trekkers will love to see the sun set in the evening with some chilled beer.
Day 4 – Trek from Vishesnsar to Gadsar
In the early morning we will start moving towards Kishensar Lake which is lake No. 2 in the Great Lake Trek. Kishensar lake is located above Vishensar lake and below Gadsar pass. Here you will see the route towards Gadsar Pass which is a barren mountain with no trees but a lot of green. The Kishensar peak can be seen very clearly. It will take about 1hour from Vishensar lake to reach to Kishensar with a mid gradual ascend. After a stop over by the water our group will start ascending Gadsar pass which will take about 2 – 3 hours to reach the top. From here you will see both the lakes at the same time from above. Believe us: it looks magnificiant and fantastic. Beyond ones imagination – from here we will come down to Gadsar lake which is another 2 – 3 hours descend to reach. This is lake no 3. Surrounded by mountains and sharp peaks believe us; we are rating it as the most beautiful lake during our trek. We will have our packed lunch here, rest and move towards Gadsar valley and its stream. Our camp for the night will be here. An army camp is here and we have to show our identity wehther that is your passport or some other valid ID proof. As our guides are professionals and possess the whole “kashmir valley guide licence” therefore we have no restriction to pitch our tents at the camp site whereever we desire – no need to stay within the army area.
Day 5 – Trek from Gadsar to Satsaran
In the morning of our 5th day we are moving from Gadasar valley to Satsaran lake which will take about 4 – 5 hours. It´s a medium up hill walk through beautiful meadows and you will get to see wild strawberries. They are easy to spot in the green grass. Go and eat some – they are delicious and juicy. After reaching Satsaran lake we move towards Satsaran mountain and pass by an army camp area and have again to show our identity cards. We continue moving towards the camp site of Mangandub. This is our overnight stay and if you are into meat we can have a mountain goat from the shepherds which live here – it´s a great add on for our dinner – meat as fresh as you can get it.
Day 6 – Trek from Satsaran to Gangbal
This morning our group is moving from Mangandub to Zajibal Pass which is on an altitude of around 12,500-13,500 ft. and it will take us about 3 – 4 hours. It´s a medium difficult ascend to reach Zajibal mountain. Usually the weather is clear at Zajibal mountain. As a trekker in the nature from this spot you can see Harigandan lake, Harmukh lake, Harmukh mountain (16,500 ft.) as well as big and small Gangbal lake. We will start ascending towards the small Gangbal lake and camp within the lake area.
Day 7 – Stay At Gangbal
Starting the day with the sunrise at small Gangbal lake. After our breakfast we will go to see big Gangbal lake which is huge (one could think it´s an ocean) at an altitude of 11,500 – 12,500 ft. Here we will divide you into small groups and take the groups around the lake – duration: about 2 hours. We will explore the source of water coming into the lake and will also introduce you to the local geology and botany. Besides there is a a big ancient rock – in former days the pandiths brahmans (a class of people who lived with muslims in the kashmir valley) used to drop there remains of dead bodies after burning them into the big Gangbal lake. They used the shortest way from Naranag to reach Gangbal and do this ritual. After a day full of new impressions we will come down to the camp site for tea, go fishing and enjoy the sunset. We will have a log fire with Kashmiri folk songs, dance, play small skits and enjoy a starry night in the wilderness as this will be our last one in the mountains.
Day 8 – Trek towards Naranag
A gradual descent followed by a steep descent into Naranag, a walk of about 5 – 6 hours. The end point of the trek will be here. At the end the entire group will assemble and we have a little surprise for you. Your overnight stay will be either in Srinagar on a romantic housebaot or you choose the Gulmarg option and proceed from Sonamarg in our arranged taxi straight to Gulmarg. The drive to Gulmarg will take you around 3 hours. The drive to the houseboat in Srinagar is of course arranged as well and will take you around 3 hours. You have the option to choose.
Day 9 : Srinagar – after you spent the night on a handcrafted wooden house boat you should make the effort and get up early in the morning to enjoy the picturesque flaoting market on Dal Lake. Your holiday in Kashmir has unfortunately come to an end and our driver will bring you to Srinagar airport.
Day 9 : Gulmarg – In Gulmarg you get to ride the worlds highest Gondola towards Mt. Apharwat (14,000 ft.). We will take you for a picnic on 14,000 ft and you will enjoy the view of Gulmarg meadows with the scenery of Nanga Prabat and Mt. Harmukh in the background. We can also hike to frozen Lake which takes approx. an easy 2 hours walk from the Gondola and hike down to Gulmarg. If your legs are tired from all the hiking in the last couple of days no worries – we have a Gondola in Gulmarg.
Day 10: drive from Gulmarg to Dal Lake in Srinagar to spend the last night on a houseboat.
Day 11: After you spent the night on a handcrafted wooden house boat you should make the effort and get up early in the morning to enjoy the picturesque flaoting market on Dal Lake. Your holiday in Kashmir has unfortunately come to an end and our driver wil leaving the house boat and proceed to Srinagar airport.
Gulmarg is located west of Srinagar at a distance of around 50 kilometers and nestled on an altitude of 8,500 ft.. The drive from Srinagar to Gulmarg will take approximately one hour depending on the traffic. From Sonamarg it will take around 3 hours to reach Gulmarg.
It´s not just a ski resort in winter. No it´s definitely worth a visit in summer. With pleasant temperatures around 20 – 30°C, Gulmarg is perfect for outdoor activities like trekking, mountain biking, horese riding fishing or golfing. Yeah that´s right Gulmarg has the highest golf course in the world.
Gulmarg means “meadow of flowers” if you translate it. And of course so it is. It´s beautiful lush green surrounded by pine trees and high rising mountains. Just an impressive scenery. Gulmarg has been the location for shooting of lots of Bollywood movies.
Apart from that you can ride the worlds highest Gondola up to the 14,000 ft high Mt. Apharwat.
Also if you just go down a little bit from Gulmarg towards Tangmarg you will bump into Baba reshi which has a shrine and Baba reshi is a typical kashmiri village.
The hotels are built in a typical design only found in Kashmir. Most of them are covered in pine wood and have colorful roofs. All hotels are outfitted with a so called “Bhukari” which is a typical wood fired oven in the living room. It gives the room a very cozy and warm feeling if needed in summer. After a tasteful and traditional dinner with herbs, spices and meal combinations you’ll find nowhere else in this world you can enjoy for e.g. the markets in Gulmarg “downtown” and buy some souvenirs or just get some food if you like to.
The local bank offers currency exchange for you to change your foreign currency into Indian rupees. All hotels provide a Wi-Fi connection for their customers. At the markets in Gulmarg you’ll find a huge variety of fresh fruits and vegetables for a decent price. Typically Kashmiri handicraft and pashmina shawls are also available in a huge variety at several stores.
Impressions of the Great Lakes Trek – Kashmir Himalayas.
Good to know.
When is the best time for the Great Lakes Trek in Kashmir ?
The best time to do the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek is from May – October. All thru those months you will get a clear view oft he entire mountain range.
How difficult is the Kashmir Great Lake trek ?
Kashmir great Lake trek is moderate and recommended to first timer also. Most of the days you will cross 10,000 ft – 12,000 ft passes.
What are the temperatures like during the trek ?
The higher we get, the colder it will be. So please make sure you have some very good cloth with you which keeps you warm in minus temperatures at night time. From July to August during the day time it will be around 25 – 30°C. Some nights go down to 1°C and in extreme cases it can be -4°C at night time.
How long do we walk each day ?
It varies each day. In an average we walk around 5 – 7 hours each day.
Who is included in the crew and who will be the leader ?
The trek is always led by one of our professional guides. They have a degree in mountaineering but more important a very good education in first aid training. We always take one riding pony along with us which can carry you in the worst case you have an injury. Of course our crew is joned by chefs as well as lots of other helpers and porters.
What´s the size of our trekking group?
Our aim is quality not quantity. We want to make this an unforgettable trekking holiday for you. So as a maximum we take 10 people. Therefore you will get a personalized atmosphere within the group thruout the whole trip. Also your guide can tell you a lot about Kashmir and the local area as they are all locals and grew up here. We need a minimum of 6 people to start the trip on our fixed dates.
How many trekkers will be in one tent?
Our tents are 3 men tents. But we put 2 poeple in one tent. Unless you have a different number, just let us know.
Can you arrange that someone will carry my gear?
Sure, that´s no problem at all. But please let us know well in advance so we can organize a porter/pony for your equipment.
What kind of shoes do you recommend for the trek?
Good trekking shoes are very important. So don´t save some money on this item. They should be waterproof and go well over your ankle. The sole should have a sufficient profile and the most important thing: wear them in before you come trekking with us.
What is the level of fitness required?
A high fitness level is of a big advantage. In general you should of course be sportish without any issues. But the most important thing: you should enjoy sport and the nature.
What kind of food will we have during the trek?
We will serve typically kashmiri food which will be prepared on an open fire. Depending on you food preference we can make it vegeterian or non vegetarian.
Where do we get the drinking water from during the trek?
We get drinking water during the trek from fresh water streams which is absolutely safe to drink. However we can boil the same water if required. We also carry chlorine tabs with us – just in case.
What type of ground transportation is used on your tours?
The vehicles we are using is called Sumo or Tavera in which 6 people fit in comfortably.
Will a doctor accompany us?
No. But your tour guides all have undergone a first aid course and are aware ot high altitude sickness. Apart from that we carry along a first aid kit which includes all important medicine. We also have one extra riding pony along with us in case of injury or any other requirement.
It´s always advisable to have some „standard“ medication like, aspirin, diclofenac or medicine against diarrhea with you. Also you should carry along some tape, wound plasters and plaster against blisters on your feet.
Our TRAVEL INFORMATION will provide you with all the necessary facts about how to get to Srinagar wehter if you come from overseas or somewhere within India.
• a good and comfortable backpack for your belongings
• rubber grip, ankle high shoes which are water proof
• rain coat and / or umbrella.
• water bottle for refilling
• warm jacket which is water proof
• sweater / warmer / pullover
• torch / headtorch
• cap / any type of headcover
• trekking poles
• medicine like Paracetamol, etc.
• sun sreen
• passport / ID-Card
Within our company we will answer your questions personally and process your bookings by ourselfes. So it´s simple: you just write us an E-mail and tell us how many of you want to come and which trek option you would like to choose. Please also mention the dates you are ready for your adventure. We are happy to tell you that we have contact partners in Kashmir and Germany. Don´t hesitate to call or contact us for your trekking adventure in the Kashmir Himalayas.
We are looking forward to welcome you soon in Kashmir.
The package – overview.
• pick up / drop off at Srinagar airport
• all transports
• hotel in Sonamarg – and Gulmarg if option chosen –
• all camping gear
• all porters incl. ponies to carry the gear
• all meals veg. + non veg.
• last night on a houseboat on Dal Lake in Srinagar
• logfire at our night camp
• trekking permits
• experienced, fluent in english and funny trekking guides
– all locals of Kashmir –
• small groups – max. 10 trekkers per guide –
• extra riding pony in case of injury
• a wonderful trekking holiday at a special place on earth
- includes Gulmarg
- per person
- only 740 USD* / 49,999 INR
- only 890 USD* / 59,999 INR
We kindly advise you that the payment must be the amount in Indian Rupees. Your booking is confirmed when the complete funds are received and processed by Kashmir Heliski.