Kashmir Great Lakes, a.ka. KGL trek became increasingly popular and is now probably the foremost coveted trek during monsoons in the Indian Himalayas. Kashmir – “The paradise on earth” is actually unfurled during this 7 days walk covering a distance of 65 Km. Several high-altitude lakes, alpine meadows dotted with tiny wildflowers, and exquisite campsites make this journey a desirable one. Consequently, the KGL trail is the Best of Kashmir, what locals call Jannat E Kashmir, a bit of paradise on earth. Not only does one see six fairly large alpine lakes on this trail but one gets an all-around hiking flavor in Kashmir Valley. Jannat doesn’t need an extended introduction. As they assert, “A picture is worth a thousand words”, let’s undergo this incredible hiking experience visually.
Best Time To Visit
Kashmir treks are best done between July to September then is the KGL trek. There are not any theoretical summer monsoons in Kashmir. This region receives maximum precipitation as snow during winters thanks to the western disturbances.
The season starts as early as the latter half of June when snow becomes minimal. Although there’s no monsoon, July and August do get rain showers. In the mountains, afternoon showers are common in summer and monsoon. Thanks to rain and warmer temperatures, valleys turn greener with vibrant wildflowers.
From September autumn sets in. Rains are lesser during this month of the season. Meadows turn yellow to golden as we advance. Shepherds and Bakkarwals return to their base with their cattle after the grazing season.
Finally, in our opinion, mid-July to late August is the best window to visit the Kashmir Great Lakes trek within the possible season of late June to late September.
How To Reach
Our trek base Sitkari is around 3 hour drive from Srinagar via Kangan and Gangangir. Similarly trek end point Naranag is around 60 Km faraway from Srinagar. We’ll arrange a car pick up from the airport/city center to trek base Sitkari and from trek end point Naranag to Srinagar back. You pay the driver equally.
The most convenient way to reach Srinagar is via flight. Sheik Ul-Alam International Airport in Srinagar (Code: SXR) is around 10 Km far away from the city center.
Otherwise, the closest railway station is in Jammu (Station Code: JAT) and it takes around 10 -12 hours to reach Srinagar, covering ~ 280 Km.
Reasons To Undertake To
Often we overlook the particular residents, i.e. the varied species of plants and animals or birds on a hiking trail. Kashmir valley is usually famous for its alpine wildflowers, and you can spot more than 50 species easily on this trail alone. Hyacinths, Lilies, Jasmine, Marigold, and Kashmir Iris are some common ones.
Among birds, gold and rose finches, wagtails and pipits are easy to identify. You’ll spot a colony of Himalayan marmots on the rocky side walls of the valley.
Places To Visit To
The best places to visit in Kashmir Great Lakes Trek are as follows:
- Gadsar Lake
- Nundkol Lake
- Vishansar Lake
- Gangabal Lake
- Krishansar Lake
- Satsar Lake
Level Of Difficulty
Kashmir Great Lakes Trek is a moderate to difficult type of trek. However, during the rain it becomes difficult. This trail goes over passes and untamed valleys which have sharp to moderate ascends and descends. The leading difficult descent is on your last day of the trek and the most difficult ascend is on the day you would be reaching the Gadsar Pass.
Things To Carry
- Head torch
- Walking stick
- Backpack (50-60l)
- Day pack (20-30l)
- Hiking shoes
- Rain cover
- Warm clothes
- Water bottle
- Extra pair of socks
- Get your expectations as a trekker fulfilled by experiencing the ‘Kashmir Great Lakes Trek’ as this trek will provide a perfect flavor of all hues of terrain- innumerable meadows, snow-clad glaciers, passes, rocky barren lands, and struggling streams.
- Make your experience international as you’d be questioning your existence in India while on this trek as you will be bound to feel that the sights are photoshopped pictures from some Scandinavian country.
- Get mesmerized by the views of Vishansar Lake which is referred to because of the color-changing lake while witnessing the out-of-the-world sight of the reflection of 4 valleys in the lake
- Camp near the foremost alluring – Gangabal Lake where one side of the lake opens out to lush meadows while the other is overlooked by mountains covered by playful clouds
- Walk through the beautiful valley next to a water stream with a waterfall overlooking all of us where you will behold the views that it offers and embrace the time with open arms while you are here.
While trekking in Kashmir continues to be ravaged by uncertainties, there’s no taking away the fact that two of the greatest treks of Kashmir were brought out to Indian trekking — the Kashmir Great Lakes (or KGL) and the Tarsar Marsar. If it wasn’t for Kashmir, Green Trails wouldn’t be such a big movement as it is today. Trekkers wouldn’t be trekking in Kashmir with the ease they have today.