Journey to Kashmir Great Lakes With complete Itinerary

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Journey to Kashmir Great Lakes

Brief Description

At first, we had planned to go to the Valley of Flowers trek in Uttarakhand by Himalayan Dream Treks managed by Sobi Negi [Sobendra Singh-+918089693825]. But after talking to a few trek managers and guides, we changed it to ‘Kashmir Great Lakes’. So Sobi made contact with Saddam [+919596389412], the manager of a local trekking group called Mountain & Dreams. We were 5 people from Karnataka [my friends with their wife and sibling], 2 from Andhra, 4 from Kerala, 1 from Kolkata, and 3 from Maharashtra [husband, wife, and 12-year-old son!]. All are mostly from IT backgrounds, working in software companies. With us, around 10 staff were there, including two local trek guides [Asif & Sajjad] with their horses ‘Badal’ and ‘Raju’, a cook from Nepal, and the rest of them were helpers for offloading, setting up camps etc

July 2nd: Bangalore to Srinagar

Landing at 12:55 PM. The Imy Guest House driver will pick us up from the airport. Roam around in Srinagar and stay in Imy Guest House

Imy Homestay driver Riyaz [+9191496454] known to Mr. Abdul [+919811171786] of Imy Homestay picked us up from the airport. Only All India Post-paid SIMs work in Srinagar. We didn’t have one, so we bought a new local Airtel prepaid sim card which works only till Day 1 and Day 7 of the trek. Any SIM does not work during the trek. Instead of lunch [Heavy Brunch Delhi Airport Lounge] in Krishna
Dhaba, we directly went to Shalimar Bhag Mughal Garden, Pari Mahal, Chashma Shahi Garden, Dal Lake Shikara ride (Ghat No. 27-Moghul Gate, Mission Kashmir, Lotus Lake, Water Lily, Floating Garden and Char Chinar). During the Shikara ride, they gave us Kahwa Tea.

We could not go to Hari Parbat fort and Shankaracharya temple due to lack of time. There are other gardens as well, like the Botanical Garden, Badamwari Park, and Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden [season from 15th March to 15th April, some say May/June]. We reached Imy homestay at around 8pm and freshened up. I had a pleasant home stay and good vegetarian food prepared by Mr. Nassir [+919682375339]. We had to get up early because the Amarnath yatra had begun, and there was a traffic jam. At around 9 am, we left for Sonmarg along with other trekkers who came there.

July 3rd Day 0: Srinagar to Sonmarg

Pick up from Imy Guest house by Mountain & Dreams to Sonmarg. The transport will be arranged at 12.30 pm from Srinagar to reach Sonmarg. Due to Yatra and blockage, transport was kept at 8.00 am We reached the Shutkadi campsite during the afternoon. They were preparing food. It was a very hot afternoon, so we thought the whole trek was going to be in direct sunlight, but that was not the case.

Sleeping in a tent was hot in the afternoon. We roamed around that area, searching for shade. In the evening, we slept for a while. We got to know how to use the toilet tent. We were briefed about the following day’s trek at night. We were given sleeping bags, and I slept for the first time in a tent. I did not get a good sleep. It was difficult to adjust to the 3-in-1 tent. My bag was very big, so I had to carry it around and keep it outside.

Note: Below, the kilometers mentioned vary.

July 4th Day 1: Sonamarg 7,780 ft to Nichnai 11,838 ft (11.6km, 6hrs) via Shekdur

Pick up from Imy Guest house by Mountain & Dreams to Sonmarg. The transport will be arranged at 12.30 pm from Srinagar to reach Sonmarg. Due to Yatra and blockage, transport was kept at 8.00 am We reached the Shutkadi campsite during the afternoon. They were preparing food. It was a very hot afternoon, so we thought the whole trek was going to be in direct sunlight, but that was not the case.

Sleeping in a tent was hot in the afternoon. We roamed around that area, searching for shade. In the evening, we slept for a while. We got to know how to use the toilet tent. We were briefed about the following day’s trek at night. We were given sleeping bags, and I slept for the first time in a tent. I did not get a good sleep. It was difficult to adjust to the 3-in-1 tent. My bag was very big, so I had to carry it around and keep it outside.

July 5th Day 2: Nichnai 11,838 ft to Vishansar 12,011 ft (13.5km, 7hr)

Starting early in the morning, around 08:00 AM, wake up to the scenic views and start the trek towards he Nichnai Pass and enjoy the stunning views of the lush valleys. Hereafter, cross the river and continue hiking along the banks of the river until you arrive at the Nichnai Pass or the Vishansar Berry. Arriving at the pass, which is located 13,500m above sea level, witnesses and enjoys the meticulous beauty of the pass and the snow-covered peaks all around it. There is a Dhaba in the pass that had omelets and Maggi.
Hereafter, the trek will undergo a steep descent and will lead you to a picturesque meadow of colourful flowers. After arriving at the campsite, you can also behold captivating views of the Himalayan Range and also the Vishansar Lake. Overnight stay in the camp near Vishansar Lake.

July 6th Day 3: Vishansar 12,011 ft to Gadsar via Gadsar pass 13,850 ft (16km, 8hr)

This was the toughest day of all the trek days. Everyone was scared because during the briefing the previous night they said if anyone fell sick, they would be taken back to the base camp. Thankfully, everyone completed the trek even though it was tough.
At the beginning, after passing through Vishansar lake, nearby was Krishansar lake. We passed through Krishansar lake and then the ascent started towards the peak with easy and tough terrain. Finally,make it to the Gadsar Pass, which is perched at a height of 13,800 ft and is the highest point of this trek. From the pass, you pass through a glacier, a flowery meadow, and some of picturesque lakes; Yamsar is one of these lakes. After passing Yamsar lake, we witnessed many marmots [large squirrels]. From here, continue with the descent and, after crossing Iris, reach Gadsar Lake. A picturesque lake, it is adorned with the stunning beauty of exotic flowers and snow on both sides. Upon arriving at the lakeside, report to the nearest army camp and complete the formalities of getting permission to pass Gadsar; ID proofs are a must for this. Overnight stay at Gadsar Lake. Never stand behind a horse that might get kicked by it! One of our teammates was kicked and it got better gradually

July 7th Day 4: Gadsar 12,011 ft to Satsar 12,100 ft (11.3km, 6hr)

Today would be a half-day trek, and we would arrive in the afternoon for a hot lunch. There was varied terrain, from super steep to flat and even land. Take a short break at Maengandob. There were also a few craters on both sides of the trail, way back from the 1965 Indo-Pak war. Here we saw a very unique phenomenon — a stream that was running along went inside the earth through an opening in the mountainside that is fringed by mountains. The place, therefore, is called Maengandob. Another noteworthy detail is that, midway through the trek, from one of the bends in the trail, one could catch a glimpse of the very distant Nanga Parbat peak in POK. On the way to Satsar, on one of the hills, we got a free horse ride. We reached the first of the Satsar (Sat = seven, Sar = lake) lakes, which is a group of seven different lakes, but on the way, we saw three lakes and set camps near the surreal other two lakes of Satsar. So, a total of five lakes could be reachable. A few people from our camp went to the other two lakes, which had to be climbed using boulders, but I stayed back and took a little rest. I caught a baby sheep and then played UNO cards. Overnight stay at Satsar

July 8th Day 5: Satsar 12,100 ft to Gangabal 11,651 ft (9km, 6hr)

This day we had to trudge through rocks and boulder-ridden terrain, pass the last of the Satsar lakes, and start hiking downwards for half an hour till you arrive at the forest line. We can see several ridges at different heights and the quaint Gujjar huts. On the way, we sighted shepherd dogs as well. The Zaj pass is the final pass of the trek and marks the end of the difficult section; from there, we could see Harmukh Mountain. the fascinating views of the twin lakes: Gangabal and Nundkol [Gangabal Twin Lakes], which are connected to each other by a picturesque stream and are known for trout fishing, after trekking for around 20 minutes from Nundkol Lake, we will finally arrive at Gangabal Lake, and by crossing the wooden bridge across the lake, we will arrive at the campsite. Passing the wooden bridge seemed to be easy at first, but the sight of our groupmate falling from the bridge and losing his One Plus phone and sunglasses was scary. So, we were a little more careful while crossing it. Once we reached the campsite in the early evening, I switched on my phone after switching it off on the first day of the trek, thinking it would have battery discharging issues due to cold weather. But keeping the phone in aeroplane mode helps retain the battery. We went for a casual walk near
the lake, took some pictures, and headed back to the campsite to celebrate our last day. There was a cake, and everybody danced to the music and thanked everyone for making the trek a huge success. Later, we drank, and everyone spoke about the trek experience. We got to know a few other trek groups as well, like ‘Trek N Tales’, Dashod Rangar, who previously worked in ‘India Hikes’, now joined ‘Cliffhanger’ and Mr. Pushpendra Singh (Guardian Angel) of ‘The Searching Soul’. Dashod and Pushpendra are from Uttarakhand

July 9th Day 6: Gangabal 11,500 ft to Naranag 7,450 ft (13km, 6hrs) and drive back to Srinagar.

We will reach Srinagar by 8pm. Stay at Imy Guest House.

Since this is the last day of the trek, report to the nearest army camp after a short trek and complete the formalities by showing ID proof to the Assam Rifles battalion. The Kannadigas were called separately by Major Vikas (from Mysore) and Major Singh (Punjab) of the Rashtriya Rifles battalion. We discussed with them the trek experience and our places, Dakshina Kannada and Udupi. They were deployed here due to the Amarnath Yatra. We clicked pictures with them and continued our trek. We were thinking this would be the best descending experience, but it was the worst later part of the trek. At the beginning ramble on grassy land dotted with yellow flowers and pine forest, we spotted a Black Yak as well, and while descending to reach Naranag, a lot of rocks were present and my knee and feet started hurting for the first time. Must be careful while descending because there are chances that some rocks might be tumbling downwards. One of my friends while trekking had a few meters’ rock fall experience. Reach Naranag Village in Ganderbal District. If you wish, you can visit Naranag Temple [which is in ruins!] We had our lunch in Naranag and collected our trekking certificate, but while travelling to Srinagar, we were stopped by police in Manigam Check Post, which was a huge hassle. Due to the Amarnath Yatra, make sure to cross any checkpoints [different districts] before 4.30pm [Time may change
depending on situation]. In our case, there was a cloud burst in Amarnath Yatra. Many people died in Yatra 1 or 2 days back, so all tourists were stopped after 4.30pm. A total of around 74 km had to be covered – which meant climbing up and down different valleys through very steep mountain passes. There are easier stretches of walking on flat meadows in these valleys, and there are long, unnerving climbs over rocky boulders. The overall food menu (Mentioned below) provided by them was followed but not in order. Food eaten during lunch time sometimes is a little hard. It may be due to weather.

July 10th: Flight to Bangalore via Amritsar departs at 10 a.m

Visit the Golden Temple (5-hour layover). Come back to the airport and catch a flight to Bangalore and land at 07.30PM. After landing in Amritsar, we booked a cab using Ola. He wanted cash, so we cancelled the booking and he took us to Jallianwala Bagh [Visited!], Golden Temple [Visited!], and the partition museum [we didn’t visit]. These three are adjacent and 30 minutes from the airport. We went to a Dhaba on the way to the Wagah-Attari border in Hardo Rattan, [another 30km away from the Golden Temple] and then dropped us off at the airport for a reasonable price. Maybe because of the heavy food and Lassi, we slept on the flight and anywhere possible. We saw the golden temple had a huge rush. We saw it from outside, took a few pics, and came out. Jallianwala Bagh had many galleries and a well where hundreds of freedom fighters were thrown into it. The Indian border had no Indian flag hoisted because ex-Japanese PM Shino Abe had died. It was overall a good experience. After that, we landed in Bangalore at around 7.30pm and took the airport bus

Other details related to the Trek

Expense:

 

  • Flight ticket each cost around: 16592/-
  • Cost of the trek Pick up & drop Srinagar: 14k/-
  • Trek Offloading: 1260/-
  • Expenses in Srinagar, Amritsar, Rentals, Sims & homestay: 6k/- to 7k/-
  • Total expense around 37k/-

 

Carry Items to the TREK

Things to Carry:

 

  1. Sturdy Trekking Shoes with good support and grip suitable for Himalayan Rented from X Dog Trekking in Bangalore- 650 for 10 days
  2. A strongly built Backpack (50 to 60 litres) with good support and Rain [Burrowed]

Note: Better to have zips/divide in between this big bag so that removing stuff from this bag is easier. If offloading this bag then carry small extra bag to carry tiffin, snacks, water, lip balm and sunscreen while trekking.

  1. Hiking Pole / Trekking pole (Aluminium) – Wooden sticks will be provided by them
  2. Poncho / Raincoat – [Burrowed]
  3. Power Bank [Burrowed]/ Mobile / Chargers /

Note: Power bank and Mobile discharges quickly. Better not to use it during cold weather, especially night time. Keep mobile in Airplane mode.

  1. Water Bottles (1 each) [Burrowed]

Note: Plastic bottles are easy to carry. If thermal flask then carries 1/2 litre. 1- liter thermal flask can be offloaded.

  1. Lunch – Tiffin box and spoon [Plate, Bowl, Cup from Trek group in camp]
  2. Sun protection cream [Should always Keep applying during Trek] / Cold Cream / Lip Balm / Sunglasses / Coconut Oil
  3. Slippers/ floaters
  4. Personal Toiletry Items (toothpaste, toothbrush, Toilet Paper, small hand wash

/paper soap, Face Wash etc.)

  1. Bath soap, Shampoo [Not Necessary – During trek no bath]
  2. Dry fruits, Dates, ready to eat snacks, Enerzal/ Glucon D and chocolate bars/ energy
  3. Headphones / Earphones
  4. Torch or Mobile torch [during night to toilet]
  5. Cards to play
  6. Download Maps / Music Offline
  7. Cash in hand (~= 3k per head)

Clothes to Carry:

 

  1. Trek Pants – Minimum 3
  2. Jeans – Minimum 1
  3. Thick T-shirts {Quick dry T-shirts preferably full sleeve} – Minimum 4 Note: Better to have full sleeve quick dry T-shirts for the harsh weather
  4. Thermals – vest and
  5. Thick Jacket – Minimum 1
  6. Pancha / quick dry Towel – Minimum 1
  7. Night wears – Minimum 2 pairs
  8. Pair of each – Woollen Gloves and Waterproof Gloves [Protection from Sun and harsh weather!]
  9. Woollen socks – Minimum 1 pair and trekking socks – Minimum 4 pairs
  10. Beanie/ monkey cap and Balaclava / Buffs / Sun cap

Note: 1 cap for cold weather and other cap for hot sunlight during trek

  1. Face Masks and hand sanitizer in enough quantities for entire days of the
  2. Plastic covers (to carry Wet cloths)
  3. Handkerchief

Medicines to Carry:

 

  1. Diamox (AMS)/Dexona – AMS-Acute Mountain Sickness
  2. Paracetamol/Crocin/Dolo
  3. Cotton (to cover ears), Volini/Moov spray
  4. Dettol, Band Aids [Not Necessary]

Mandatory Documents:

 

  1. Original and photocopy of government photo identity card- (Aadhar Card, Driving License, Voters ID, )
  2. Photographs – 3 [Not Necessary]
  3. Flight tickets – soft copy
  4. Trek related document if any – Medical Certificate

Rentals provided by Mountain & Dreams Trek Group

  1. Sturdy Trekking Shoes with good support and grip suitable for Himalayan trek. Rent [130/day] – Decathlon Shoe Size
  2. A strongly built Backpack (50 to 60 litres) with good support and Rain cover. Rent semi rainproof bag [100/day]
  3. Hiking Pole / Trekking pole (Aluminium). Rent [100/day]
  4. Poncho / Raincoat – Rent [120/day]
  5. Thick Jacket – Rent [120/day]

Food Menu provided by Mountain & Dreams Trek Group

BREAKFAST:

DAY 01 Bread, Butter, Jam, Coffee, Fruits
DAY 02 Upma, Fruits, Daliya
DAY 03 Poha, Omelette, Coffee, Fruits
DAY 04 Aloo Paratha, Milk Tea, Milk, Fruits
DAY 05 Veg Sandwich, Tea, Coffee, Fruits
DAY 06 Milk, Cornflakes, Fruits
DAY 07 Chola Puri, Tea

 

PACK LUNCH:

DAY 01 Aloo Roti, Juice, Chocolate, Fruit
DAY 02 Veg Pulao, Juice, Chocolate, Fruit
DAY 03 Fresh Green Beans, Roti, Juice, Chocolate, Fruit
DAY 04 Zeera Rice, Aloo, Juice, Chocolate, Fruit
DAY 05 Razma, Rice, Juice, Chocolate, Fruit
DAY 06 Roti, Mix Veg, Juice, Chocolate, Fruit
DAY 07 Puri, Chola, Juice, Chocolate

 

SNACKS:

DAY 01 Tea, Biscuit
DAY 02 Bread Pakoda, Tea
DAY 03 Matthi, Tea
DAY 04 Aloo Pakoda, Tea
DAY 05 Tea, Cake
DAY 06 Tea, Maggi
DAY 07 Tea, Pyaaz Pakoda

 

EVENING SOUPS:

DAY 01 Veg Soup
DAY 02 Soup, Papad
DAY 03 Tomato Soup
DAY 04 Kashmiri Kehwa
DAY 05 Corn Soup
DAY 06 Hot and Sour Soup
DAY 07 Soup, Papad

 

DINNER:

DAY 01 Rice, Roti, Daal, Mattar Paneer, Fruit Custard
DAY 02 Rice, Roti, Daal, Mix veg’s, Sewavia
DAY 03 Rice, Roti, Daal, Bengan Ka Barta, Salad, Kheer
DAY 04 Rice, Roti, Daal, Aloo and Gobbi, Halwa
DAY 05 Rice, Roti, Daal, Kudoo, Jalebi I Gaiiar ka Halwa
DAY 06 Rice, Roti, Daal, Aloo Mattar, Rasgolla
DAY 07 Rice, Roti, Daal, Green Beans, Born Vita

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Himalayan Dream Treks

Himalayan Dream Treks

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