The Kashmir Great Lakes trek is one of the most beautiful and challenging treks in India. With its stunning scenery, crystal-clear lakes and snow-capped mountains, it is an unforgettable experience for trekkers. The trek starts from Sonamarg and passes through some of the most picturesque valleys, meadows and forests in the region. In this article, we will look at all the key information that you need to know before embarking on the Kashmir Great Lakes trek.
Location and Accessibility
The trek is located in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, in the northern part of the country. The starting point for the trek is Sonamarg, which is approximately 85 km from Srinagar, the capital of Jammu and Kashmir. The trek can be accessed by road from Srinagar, which is well connected by air and road to major cities in India.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit the Kashmir Great Lakes trek is between June and September, when the weather is clear and the skies are free of clouds. During this time, the temperatures are pleasant and the snow has melted, making it easier to trek. However, it is also possible to trek in other months, but the weather may be more challenging, and there may be more snow on the ground.
Duration of the Trek
The Kashmir Great Lakes trek is a moderate to challenging trek, and it takes approximately 7 to 8 days to complete. This includes travel time from Srinagar to Sonamarg, and back.
Route and Trekking Experience
The trek starts from Sonamarg and passes through several beautiful valleys, meadows, and forests, before reaching the first of the seven great lakes. The route then continues past several other stunning lakes, including Vishansar, Kishansar, Gangbal and Tarsar, before reaching the final destination, Marsar Lake. The trek is challenging and involves steep climbs, but the stunning scenery, crystal-clear lakes and snow-capped mountains make it an unforgettable experience.
Accommodation and Food
During the trek, trekkers can stay in tents or local guesthouses, which are available at several points along the route. The food is typically basic and consists of simple vegetarian dishes, such as rice, dal and vegetables. Some of the guesthouses also offer non-vegetarian options, but it is best to check with the owner before booking.
Equipment and Clothing
The trek requires trekkers to carry their own equipment, including a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, and food. Trekkers should also carry warm clothing, as temperatures can drop significantly at night, even during the summer months. Good quality hiking boots are also essential, as the trek involves steep climbs and rocky terrain.
Permits and Regulations
The Kashmir Great Lakes trek is located in a restricted area and trekkers are required to obtain a permit from the relevant authorities before starting the trek. This permit can be obtained from the Ministry of Home Affairs in Delhi or from the District Commissioner’s office in Srinagar. It is important to check the latest regulations and restrictions before embarking on the trek, as these may change depending on the security situation in the region.
Altitude and Fitness Level
The Kashmir Great Lakes trek takes trekkers to an altitude of up to 4,000 meters, so it is important to be in good physical shape and acclimatize properly before starting the trek. Trekkers should be able to walk for several hours a day, and carry a heavy backpack, as the trek involves steep climbs and rocky terrain. If you have any medical conditions or concerns, it is advisable to consult with a doctor before embarking on the trek.
Guide and Support
While the trek is possible to do independently, it is recommended to go with a guide or a local trekking company. This will ensure that you have the necessary support and information to complete the trek safely, and also provide access to local knowledge and expertise. Trekking companies can also arrange for local porters to carry equipment and supplies, which can make the trek easier and more enjoyable.
The Kashmir Great Lakes trek is a challenging, yet unforgettable experience for trekkers. With its stunning scenery, crystal-clear lakes and snow-capped mountains, it is an ideal destination for those looking for a challenge and an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Whether you are a seasoned trekker or a beginner, the Kashmir Great Lakes trek is a must-visit destination for anyone looking for a unique and rewarding trekking experience.