Team-BHP > Travelogues


Reply
 
8,679 views Search this Thread
Old 10th September 2023, 16:02   #1
BHPian
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 258
Thanked: 1,275 Times
Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?

That is a million Rupees Question and much like any other one which debates about the GOAT be it tennis,cricket or any other field every trekker would have their own take on it.

For me personally I feel that the KGL trek is definitely in the top 3 list of every trekker in India.The fact that on Aug 15th of this year there were over 800 horses and 2500 trekkers(albeit many only covering one leg of the trail) is a testimony to the popularity of this trail.It is also ranked in one of the best trails in the world along the other popular trail the Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand.Maybe the 7 lakes trek in Arunachal which is on my bucket list is yet to gain the traction of these 2 famous cousins.

I will let the pictures decide the verdict I guess.The trail officially covers about 85km over 6 days and reaches a maximum height of 13800 feet at Gadsar Pass and covers 7 pristine Alpine lakes (Counting the 7 lakes Satsar as one) and is said to be Moderate difficult mainly because you actually ascend and descend every day like a new separate trail every day of the trek.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kgl-50.jpg
The Serene Vishnusar Lake.The first lake to be green due to the algae which later spread to all the lakes due to the biodiversity.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-51.jpg
The twin Krishansar lake which can be viewed heading to the Gadsar Pass.Both the Visnusar-Krishansar lake with a couple of unnamed smaller lakes can be viewed in one frame.The color shades change from Blue to green to silver grey as we climb depending on the sunshine falling on the lakes.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-52.jpg
The Galcier fed Gadsar lake.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-53.jpg
Satsar Lake 1.The water levels had fallen this time of the year.


Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-5.jpg
The typical boulder strewn meadows.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-54.jpg
The twin Gangabal and Nandkul lakes.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-55.jpg
The sacred Gangabal lake was also the largest of the lot.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-56.jpg
The Nandkul lake where the camp site was.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-9.jpg
The campsites near Nandkul lake.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-10.jpg
Nandkul lake from up close.Crystal clear water.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-11.jpg
The Glacier fed mountain amongst the meadows.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-12.jpg
A dhaba which is so welcome after a hard days climb.

Last edited by vijayols : 13th September 2023 at 15:14.
vijayols is offline   (25) Thanks
Old 10th September 2023, 17:06   #2
BHPian
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 258
Thanked: 1,275 Times
Re: Kashmir Great Lakes Trek- The best trek in India?

Did the trek with YHAI with whom I had done the Valley of flowers earlier.Was part of a 22 member group with the lone representative of South India.

Day 1 after a flight from Bangalore to Srinagar via Delhi took me to the base camp near Dachigam National Park Srinagar.From Srinagar Airport you can either take a Taxi directly to Dachigam (The prepaid charges 2k but would suggest check the rate and then negotiate with the many drivers for around 1.5K) or take the typical Trekker option of a shared taxi till TRC stand for Rs 50 and then a shared taxi till Dachigam for Rs 75.

What to pack for the trek? Experience teaches you to pack minimum even erring in the side of packing less.Go through some blogs or videos on what to pack for that trek in that season.India Hikes have some excellent videos on the same.

Minimum for a Rain trek in August when temperatures are dropping and typically in the region of 5-10C and with the wind factor giving a feeling of being colder by 5C would be
1) Trek poles for the descend.
2) 3 layers or a max of 4 layers.(Sweater or Thermal/Jacket/T shirt)
3) 1 litre water bottle and a tiffin box with spoon.
4) 2 T shirts/underwear/trek pants/socks.
5) Poncho/hat and monkey cap.
6) Ankle height Trek shoes well worn in.
7) Medical pack/sun cream and snacks.
8) Battery packs for charging the phones.

No drones as I discovered in Kashmir.The above should not weigh more than 6-7 kgs and can be carried without offloading.

The Dachigam Park nearby was a delight being a 650 sq feet national park home to the red deer/leopards/black and brown bears and many more animals with a zoo of rescued animals who treat the Rescuer like their Dad and play with him.

The entry is online and costs Rs 25 with a safari for Rs 200 if shared with 6 others.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kgl-14.jpg
First glimpse of Kashmir from the Air.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-15.jpg
The kashmiri Naan with butter and chai is a must taste.Costs Rs 5/10.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-16.jpg
The park.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-17.jpg
Pretty Wall mural.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-18.jpg
A walk in the park.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-19.jpg

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-20.jpg

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-21.jpg
Park Entrance.
vijayols is offline   (21) Thanks
Old 10th September 2023, 22:01   #3
BHPian
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 258
Thanked: 1,275 Times
Re: Kashmir Great Lakes Trek- The best trek in India?

Day 1 ended with a session with Gulzar sir who explained about AMS/need for Hydration in the mountains/Pace to trek and signs to recognise and counter AMS.

Day 2 was an early start with chai and a gruelling warm up session where we were pushed till exhaustion point to prepare for the trek ahead and after a quick breakfast a preparatory 14 kms trek to a nearby hill side.

I guess the preparation made us wary of what lay ahead especially for the first timers and most of us actually took a call to offload some stuff instead of carrying it on the trek.A poor decision on hindsight by me at least.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg20.jpg
Out for the practise walk.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-22.jpg
And its the season of juicy kashmiri apples.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-23.jpg

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-24.jpg

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-25.jpg
And the famed Kashmiri Mirchi drying.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-26.jpg
The typical mosque here seemed unique in shape

Last edited by vijayols : 10th September 2023 at 22:17.
vijayols is offline   (21) Thanks
Old 10th September 2023, 23:20   #4
BHPian
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 258
Thanked: 1,275 Times
Re: Kashmir Great Lakes Trek- The best trek in India?

The next day was an early start as we had to leave by 5.30 to reach Sonmarg which was the starting point of the KGL trek.We also met the India Hikes team who were also starting off with us.We had started from srinagar at appx 7000 feet and were to gain about 4000 feet today to reach our first camp site of the day Nichnai Table top.

As always day 1 of the trek always seem the longest.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-30.jpg
Relaxing in the grass as me and our guide anwar wait for the others to catch up.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-31.jpg
Hmm so relaxing just staring at the mountains.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-32.jpg
And the mountains of Sonamarg.The thajwas Glacier at the far end.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-33.jpg
The Bhoj Patra trees were the final tree line we would see.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-34.jpg
Wild horses.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-35.jpg
and one more!

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-37.jpg
And the juiciest watermelon on Table top reminded me of the song watermelon sugar

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-38.jpg
A gujjars house.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-39.jpg
The endless meadows and the stream below!

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-40.jpg
Enjoying packed lunch by the river.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-41.jpg
Petting the dog as both set of groups stopped for some hot chai.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-42.jpg
Gurmeet pondering about the mysteries of life for a moment.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-43.jpg
Panoramic view of the topography.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-45.jpg
Spotting the campsite after a long day was a relief.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-57.jpg

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-58.jpg
The shy Nazia wanted a toffee.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-59.jpg
Take a moment to catch your breath and admire the view.

Last edited by vijayols : 11th September 2023 at 22:33.
vijayols is offline   (18) Thanks
Old 11th September 2023, 22:42   #5
BHPian
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 258
Thanked: 1,275 Times
Re: Kashmir Great Lakes Trek- The best trek in India?

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-60.jpg
The vastness of the land was humbling.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-61.jpg
Lots of colorful flowers.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-62.jpg
Wild flowers which were on their last legs as winter was approaching.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-63.jpg

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-64.jpg

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-66.jpg

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-67.jpg
Vishnu sar was the first lake we saw in the trek.This was late evening after we had reached the campsite.The water was silver grey in the setting sun.

Last edited by vijayols : 11th September 2023 at 23:08.
vijayols is offline   (16) Thanks
Old 11th September 2023, 23:24   #6
BHPian
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 258
Thanked: 1,275 Times
Re: Kashmir Great Lakes Trek- The best trek in India?

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-69.jpg
It was so soothing just staring at the serene lake.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-70.jpg
Last shot of the day of the lake.Its funny how water and a camera makes adults do the silliest of antics posing weirdly.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-71.jpg
Ba Ba black sheep have you any wool?

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-75.jpg
Tough Climb?I do this everyday

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-76.jpg
Small River Crossing.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-79.jpg
We met another group called Mountain Top who had several marathoners amongst them having done iconic runs like the Boston Marathon,New York Marathon and also the OG Marathon to Athens run.This from guys of my age group or older.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-80.jpg
The team spotted a couple of Marmots a typical inhabitant of these terrain as well as in Spiti and Ladakh.One of the guide ran and chased to film them successfully.Hope to get photos of the same shared to post.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-81.jpg
As we wait for the rest to catch up.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-82.jpg
On top of the world?Almost at least on this trek as this was halfway up to the Gadsar pass height.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-83.jpg



Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-77.jpg

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-78.jpg
So that's the target for today?The 3rd day was the toughest as we had to climb a hill and then once more to reach Gadsar Pass @ 13800 feet.

Last edited by vijayols : 12th September 2023 at 22:58.
vijayols is offline   (19) Thanks
Old 12th September 2023, 23:13   #7
BHPian
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 258
Thanked: 1,275 Times
Re: Kashmir Great Lakes Trek- The best trek in India?

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-84.jpg

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-85.jpg
Don't mess with out own Pathan.Amit who packs a mean punch!

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-86.jpg
Posing away to Glory.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-87.jpg
Sheep rule here.No messing with them.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-88.jpg
Day 2 Camp site

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-90-.jpg
The Vishnusar lake just a km away from our camp site in the morning sunshine.How different it looked in the morning as compared to the day time.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-91.jpg
Vishnusar looks different as we climb higher towards Gadar pass.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-92.jpg
The Krishnasar from ground level with the golden sun rays on the mountains.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-93.jpg

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-94.jpg
Krishnasar oh you beauty! but we need to ascend a bit more to view the Vishnusar and Krishnasar together.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-95.jpg
And Viola both of the beauties together with a hidden smaller one behind Krishnasar also visible.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-96.jpg
Celebrating the highest point with the national flag and patriotism bristles with joy.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-97.jpg
And then a simple board proclaiming the highest point of the trek.

Last edited by vijayols : 13th September 2023 at 21:36.
vijayols is offline   (15) Thanks
Old 13th September 2023, 21:41   #8
BHPian
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 258
Thanked: 1,275 Times
Re: Kashmir Great Lakes Trek- The best trek in India?

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-98.jpg
The Yamsar was the first lake after the descend from Gadsar Pass.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-99.jpg
The serene Gadsar lake.Reaching this glacier lake was an adventure as the heavens opened up and a hailstorm later the ground became so slippery that many of us had a tumble.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-100.jpg
Both the YHAI and IH groups converged at the dhaba to shelter from the hailstorm and have lunch.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-101.jpg

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-102.jpg
The purple wild flowers looked so pretty.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-103.jpg
Just after the Gadsar camp as we left in the morning towards our destination for day 4 the seven lakes of Satsar we had to cross an ice bridge and then a steep ascend to be made on all 4's to reach the path on the side of the mountain.It was both fun and scary as the threat of a slip up or the ice bridge collapsing under our combined weights was high.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-104.jpg
Today was a fairly straight forward walk with slight ascend and descend.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-107.jpg

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-108.jpg
We reached a valley after a couple of hours where there was a strong cold cross wind.The high point was that we were the only batch with a clear sky to spot the Naga parvat in Pakistan the 9th highest peak in the world from here.The phone camera couldn't capture the scene though.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-109.jpg
The satsar lake 1.Though there were 7 of these only satsar 1 and satsar 2 had water.The rest had dried and the rest would revive after the glaciers melt and the rains continue next year.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-105.jpg
Satsar lake 2.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-106.jpg

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-110.jpg
The Satsar lake camp.The next destination was the Gangabal and Nandkul lake camp.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-111.jpg
The next day starts with an hour of boulder path to be negotiated.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-112.jpg
Caution is the theme word today as a slip up could cause an ankle injury and a stretcher back to the next camp.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-113.jpg
Celebrating halfway through the section.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-114.jpg
A walk through the clouds as we cross the boulder section.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-115.jpg
A view of the Gangabal and the Nandkul lakes.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-120.jpg
We stop to take a breather from the steep descend and see the lakes yonder.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-122.jpg
Amit and Gurmeet approach the Gangabal up close.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-123.jpg

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-124.jpg
Me and Sharmaji with Liad and his friend from Israel.Liad a 22 year old was exploring India with 3 more of his friends.The duo amazed us by swimming in the ice cold waters of Gangabal.The quartet were trekking without any guide and were pitching their tents up close to the lakes.We constantly met them on all trek days.Good luck to you and your team Liad.

Last edited by vijayols : 14th September 2023 at 14:08.
vijayols is offline   (15) Thanks
Old 14th September 2023, 14:19   #9
BHPian
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 258
Thanked: 1,275 Times
Re: Kashmir Great Lakes Trek- The best trek in India?

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-125.jpg
The excess water from Gangabal feeds into the Nandkul lake.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-126.jpg
After having spent time to our hearts content enjoying the largest of the lakes Gangabal we walked to the Nadkul where our camps were set.On the shore of the Gangabal which seems to be very sacred to the kashmiri Pandits who come here to pray in end of September as also to immerse the ashes of the departed souls,there is a small temple.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-127.jpg
Our last lake of the trek.The Nandkul.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-128.jpg

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-130.jpg
An early morning 5.30 start for the day crossing the river.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-131.jpg

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-132.jpg

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-133.jpg

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-134.jpg
The dhaba where we enjoyed a hot cuppa Kahwa closed on 2nd Oct every year.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-135.jpg
With TV9 Drishyam Channel Akash.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-136.jpg
Celebrating completion of the trek.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-137.jpg
Naranag Temple ruins.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-138.jpg
We went for the safari at Dachigam Forest park in the battery operated Car.

How tough was the trek?

It is rated Moderate difficult.For anyone doing their first Himalayan trek it just means that you need to be physically fit before embarking on this one.For experienced Trekkers this trek this is just another Himalayan Trek.

How safe is trekking in kashmir?

This is my third travel and second trek to Kashmir.There is always an omnipresent threat to safety when one travels to Kashmir.But there is adequate security from the army who are doing their best to keep us safe.

The natives are friendly and have been genuinely invited by so many for tea and food at home.You hardly find this kind of warmth any where in India.

Overall I would say as generally tourists are not targeted that I have personally found Kashmir is a safe destination for travel of any kind.

Post the trek as I generally keep a buffer day or two for any unforeseen delays and have never had till date any reason to utilize the buffer for un expected delays the plan is generally to explore non touristy spots motor biking.

I once again rented from Kashmir Adventure Bikers in srinagar.The contact person Is Umar or Hisham 7006039159.This time it was a Himalayan bike @ Rs 1600 per day.

The destination was Gurez valley with a stop over at Wular Lake/Watlab lake

So lets start with the journey.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-139.jpg
The lovely roads leading from Srinagar on NH 1 towards Uri.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-140.jpg
Rice fields on the way to Watlab.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-141.jpg
Waterfall near Watlab Lake.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-142.jpg
Shikara on Watlab Lake.Personally found the lake dirty.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg143.jpg
The vast Wular lake.This was about 64 kms from Srinagar.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-144.jpg
Local Bakery to buy Kashmiri Naan.


Local mosque.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-146.jpg
My companion on the ride.
Attached Thumbnails
Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-145.jpg  


Last edited by vijayols : 14th September 2023 at 23:39.
vijayols is offline   (17) Thanks
Old 15th September 2023, 00:00   #10
BHPian
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 258
Thanked: 1,275 Times
Re: Kashmir Great Lakes Trek- The best trek in India?

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-147.jpg
On the way to Gurez which is about 125 kms from srinagar before the Razdan pass.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-148.jpg
The cobbled stone road @Razdan Pass.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-149.jpg
Dawar town about 18kms into Gurez valley.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-150.jpg
The army run Cafe at Gurez.I love Gurez which is the nerve centre of Dawar.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-151.jpg
My Bike ride companion from India Hikes Sameer form Mumbai.Sameer was the planner and ensured we started at 7 am for Chickwadi village the last village of India and pushed us to keep going despite bad slushy and stone filled roads.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-152.jpg

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-153.jpg
Several checks by the army made the journey slow and took us nearly 4 hours one way.The return was quicker at 2 hours.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-154.jpg
So near yet so far.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-155.jpg

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-156.jpg

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-157.jpg
We passed several small villages like this one.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-158.jpg
Then last point we were allowed up to a mere 7 kms from our target.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-159.jpg

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-160.jpg

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-161.jpg

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-162.jpg
Razdan pass view.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-170.jpg
As we bid adieu to Gurez.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?-kg-163.jpg
the final destination at Srinagar Lal Chowk for Dry fruits purchase before the return back to Bangalore and the end of the Kashmir trip.
vijayols is offline   (28) Thanks
Old 15th September 2023, 05:27   #11
Team-BHP Support
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 16,445
Thanked: 71,540 Times
Re: Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
Aditya is offline   (1) Thanks
Old 15th September 2023, 10:31   #12
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 720
Thanked: 2,770 Times
Re: Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?

Fantastic pics.

I just did the KGL trek last week, and while the trek is undoubtedly beautiful with the wide valleys, meadows, forest sections, the gorgeous alpine lakes, this trek is now attracting more "tourists" than "trekkers", resulting in rapid degradation of the environment.

While everyone talks about the beauty of this trek, I am just doing a quick reality check.

1. This is a tough trek. Almost every day you climb up a pass and descend. It is more like a series of treks than one single trek.

2. The trail is insanely crowded. Around 800 trekkers started on the day I started my trek. Some time in august, this touched close to 3000 (there were 273 toilet tents).

3. There are more and more "tourists" than "trekkers". Young folks in early 20s are doing the trail on mule-back, while seniors over 70 climb slowly and complete the trek. This is so disheartening to see. Most of the young folks seem to be there to capture Insta reels.

4. This trek has more mules than any other place. Carrying not just basic stuff - tents, food etc. but tables, chairs, bedding. This trail also sees the maximum mule deaths, and their bodies are left to rot around.

5. Many trekking companies do not follow rules. You are not allowed to setup your camps near the lakes, but most local companies care a damn.

6. On this trek, you will almost always be rushed - to avoid the crowd. The daily target will be to start early and rush up the pass to get a "relatively" calm experience at the pass top. Quite contrary to how trekking is normally done. This is the T20 of treks, that goes on for a test match duration.

I did not do this with YHAI, but a YHAI trek guide (whom I bumped into at Zostel) told me that very likely trekking on this trail will be banned for a couple of years to let the environment heal itself. This year, government was supposed to restrict the crowd on this trail - with each trekking organization being limited to 2 batches per week and each batch with not more than 12 people. However intense lobbying ensured that this did not come into effect. Plus with the landslides in HP, all the trekking crowd there was redirected to Kashmir. Hope we do not end up spoiling one of the relatively unspoilt environments that we still have in the nation.

A quick reality check video that I can now completely relate to (not my video)
sachinayak is offline   (9) Thanks
Old 15th September 2023, 12:36   #13
BHPian
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 258
Thanked: 1,275 Times
Re: Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?

First off Sachin what a lovely video and unbiased description of the trek.

Couldn't agree more on the fact that it is highly crowded and commercialised.YHAI had 36 daily batches of maybe an average ticket size of 15-20.

The trek lead @Amit from India Hikes did say IH is planning to discontinue and focus on new trails like Pir Panjal.

Though IH with green trails does its bit there is no doubt that all of us are responsible for putting immense strain on the fragile eco system.

It is also a moderate- difficult trek more so for under prepared first timers and yes older folks(Incl me) do seem to be better prepared physically and mentally for the grind not withstanding knee issues which is painful during descends(and there were so many of them in this trek)

But there is no denying that the rewards far outweigh the efforts with this kind of surreal beauty any where in the himalayas not just kashmir.

Trekking is a bug and if you are bitten the mountains keep calling out to you
vijayols is offline   (1) Thanks
Old 15th September 2023, 13:11   #14
BHPian
 
Join Date: Nov 2022
Location: Shimla
Posts: 41
Thanked: 131 Times
Re: Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?

Great frames. Thanks for sharing.

Quote:
The trail is insanely crowded. Around 800 trekkers started on the day I started my trek. Some time in august, this touched close to 3000 (there were 273 toilet tents).
What is the best time to avoid the crowds on this trek?

If you guys are into trekking Himalayan lakes, I'd recommend you to hike Temso lake. This ~5000 meter high lake is in Kinnaur. Explored by very few people.

There are actually two more lakes near Temso Lake. Only one is most frequented by the local people.
trippytragopan is offline  
Old 15th September 2023, 13:40   #15
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 163
Thanked: 525 Times
Re: Kashmir Great Lakes Trek | The best trek in India?

The photo labeled as "And its the season of juicy kashmiri apples." is that of pomegranates! Please see again
Brilliant post. Thanks so much for sharing.
niranjanprabhu is offline   (1) Thanks
Reply

Most Viewed
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Copyright 2000 - 2023, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks