Duration: 9 Days/ 8 Nights

Altitude: 14,469 Ft. 

Pickup: Srinagar

Difficulty: Difficult 

Duration: 9 Days/ 8 Nights

Altitude: 14,469 Ft.

Difficulty: Difficult Trek

Pickup: Srinagar

Warwan Valley Trek is a high-altitude Trans-Himalayan trek. This is the most exotic and offbeat trek in India. Unlike other treks, this trek offers fascinating serenity and a bundle of nature’s delights. This trek traverses over grasslands, pastures, vast meadows of wildflowers, deltas, and glaciers. It exposes you to the most offbeat, least frequented trail.
Crossing over from Kargil to Kashmir, this trek spans a vast landscape. It gives you varied and contrasting features of Kargil and Kashmir. From the barren yet colorful mountains of Panikhar to the sumptuous greenery of Warwan valley, this trek gives you a glimpse of two worlds of nature. One of the striking features of this trek is traversing on a long patch of glacier spreading on around 10kms.
Warwan valley, where the trek ends, is isolated and still unbelievably untouched by modernity. It has the same traditional and ancient way of living life.
The place remains cut off from the rest of the world for winters and in summers there is a scant flow of tourists. Only those who are passionate about the offbeat and quiet place. This place is least explored in India and thankfully least exploited. It has remained a go-to place for trekkers for centuries now and was part of an ancient route that connected Kargil to Kashmir. This trail is one of the ancient Trans-Himalayan routes.
The gradient of Warwan Valley trek is difficult. It is recommended for seasoned trekkers or those having a solid fitness level.

Highlights of Warwan Valley Trek

Sumdo’s River Delta Basin

Sumdo is a breathtaking valley that is the confluence of two rivers. You will be fascinated by the vast river basin formed in the valley. The river turns into small rivulets cutting the basin in many forms and ways. You will be walking through these lush meadows alongside these little rivulets in Sumdo.

Bracken Glacier Traverse

The glacier traverse in Panikhar Warwan Trek is the most difficult part. This is the longest and most tiring day. It takes around 12 hours of continuous trekking to reach the campsite. What makes it difficult is the glacier traverse. This bracken glacier comes within an hour of a walk after Lomvilad Pass. It is greyish and it is fascinating to look at it from a distance and then to traverse it. This is what will remain in your memory in the years ahead.

Grasslands

Imagine the sight of vast grasslands with horses grazing charmingly, the mountains in the background, and the complete serenity. This is what you will encounter in the grassland that comes between Humpet and Kaintal.

Warwan Village

As you will start entering Kashmir, you will see a striking difference in the landscape. Here in Warwan, the landscape is lush and green. It is in this beautiful warwan valley there is a settlement. The houses are traditional, people are hospitable and kind and least exposed to modern life. The trail goes through the village with beautiful fencing done. A fresh river stream, cuts in the middle of the village. This village is the perfect shot for wallpaper or scenery back home.

Short Itinerary

Day 1: Drive from Srinagar to Panikhar

  • Altitude: 8,795 to 10,700 ft
  • Distance: 185 km drive
  • Duration: 7-8 hour drive

Day 2 :Panikhar Acclimatization and Exploration

Day 3: Panikhar to Denora 

  • Altitude: 10,700 ft to 12,350 ft
  • Distance: 14 km
  • Duration: 5-6 hours

Day 4: Denora to Kalapari

  • Altitude: 12,350 ft to 12,875 ft
  • Distance: 3 km
  • Duration: 1.5 hours

Day 5: Kalapari to Kaintal via Lomvilad Pass

  • Altitude: 12,875 ft to 11,550 ft via 14,550 ft
  • Distance: 17 km
  • Duration: 11 hours

Day 6: Kaintal to Humpet

  • Altitude: 11,550 ft to 10,950 ft
  • Distance: 16.5 km
  • Duration: 6 hours

Day 7: Humpet to Sukhnai

  • Altitude: 10,950 ft to 9,225 ft
  • Distance: 16 km
  • Duration: 7-8 hours

Day 8: Sukhnai to Chaudraiman

  • Altitude: 9,225 ft to 8,300 ft
  • Distance: 17.5 km
  • Duration: 6-7 hours

Day 9: Chaudraiman to Srinagar

  • Distance: 153 km drive
  • Duration:8-9 hour drive.

 

Fixed Departure Dates : August: 6th, 13th, 20th; September: 3rd, 10th, 17th 

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Day 1 : Srinagar to Panikhar

The Warwan Valley Trek starts with a long drive from Srinagar Airport. The drive takes a full day and is around 185km.
The dive goes via a famous tourist place in Kashmir called Sonamarg. The drive till Sonamarg is extremely scenic with the Sindh river running parallel to the road and the breathtaking snow-capped mountains on both of your sides. The drive goes through villages and paddy fields and gives you the best highlight of Kashmir’s landscape. The Sindh river you will see towards your right, eternally dancing down. The river is the tributary of the Jhelum River.
From Sonamarg, you will road winds up towards the Zojila Pass. It is an uphill drive and gives your breathtaking panoramas. Zojila Pass is a high-altitude pass that connects Kashmir to the Ladakh region. The altitude of the pass is 3,528m. And it takes a couple of hours to reach the top of this pass. From the pass, the drive descends into the Ladakh region. It is a rewarding drive with long ranges of mountains on both sides and the valleys and meadows spreading in front of you. In a couple of hours, you will reach the first village of the Kargil region of Ladakh. The drive will then go via Drass. Drass is the second coldest inhabited place in the world. In winters, the place has freezing temperatures and in summers Drass turns into heaven for offbeat travelers.
Stop here for lunch and experience and see this quaint village. The people here are untouched by modernity and live traditional and cultural life. Post your lunch, the drive will go via the main Kargil market to Panikhar campsite.
Panikhar is a small village that falls in Suru valley. Tucked away in complete serenity, you will feel the unspoiled nature here with long paddy fields at the foot of surrounding mountains. The population is scant and quite welcoming to travelers.
You will have to make all of your essential purchases at Srinagar or Kargil itself. Panikhar has only a few shops. The altitude of Panikhar is around 10,800ft
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Day 2 :Panikhar Acclimatization and Exploration

This is a rest and acclimatization day before you start for this long Trans-Himalayan Trek. Explore the beautiful Panikhar landscape and village. Since this trek is challenging and goes to high altitude, it is essential to spend a day here for acclimatization. It has a way that goes to Zanskar and towards the Nun Kun Expedition. You will see villagers busy in their farming life and will relish their hospitability.

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Day 3 : Panikhar to Sumdo/Denora

The first day of trekking takes you first to the shimmering Panikhar Nallah. The trail walks parallel to this nallah and then crosses the bridge and goes to the other side of the nallah.
In a short walk, the village recedes and vanishes. The trail is wide goes through a narrow valley and has a gradual ascend. The landscape in the surroundings is barren. To the right side of the trail, the river cascades down beautifully.
As you walk along the trail, it unfolds varied attractions. There is a bridge crossing and a fantastic lush grassy meadow that has river streams cutting through it. You will come across on your way to the shepherd settlement. Immediately afterward, you reach the Sumdo campsite. This is the place of confluence of two rivers.
The trail now narrows down to a wide walking track. Continue walking on the trail. Another half-hour later, over a wide curve, you get the first glimpse of the two intersecting valleys up ahead. Below which is Sumdo, your camp of the day. The campsite is scenic with rivers, meadows and mountain chains in your surroundings.
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Day 4 : Sumdo to Kalapari

On this day there are many river streams you will have to cross. These multiple streams that are close to each other take around half an hour to cross. The water is cold and makes your feet numb. Panikhar nallah is in your vicinity. This valley has another shepherd settlement.
Start the day by taking off your shoes. Multiple streams need to be crossed to get to the other end of the basin. The direction to take is the valley to the left, sticking to the right of the Nala that rushes down the valley. Immediately after the river crossings, you will see the basin of Denora and Sumdo. This is the gorgeous view. The landscape and this basin are quite wide and unending. The meadows are strewn with colorful flowers around you.
Shortly, you will see the meadow of Kalapari. You will camp in this meadow beside the river stream.
This is the shortest trek day and the gradient of the day is easy. All other days are challenging.
5

Day 5 : Kalapari to Kaintal via Lomvilas Gully

This is the longest and the toughest day of the trek. You will have to start early in the morning. After having a hearty breakfast, gear yourself for the tough trek day. The trail is definite. However, what makes the day difficult is the length of around 17km, and the glacier traverse. The glacier trekking here does not need any equipment other than trekking poles. This quite a safe maneuver. The trail goes through moraines.
Shortly after you have left the campsite, you will go via moraines and get a view of Kalapari summit and glacier. From the top look back towards your campsite, it looks so much spanning and vast and gives a panoramic view of the valley down.
You will now see the famous and only lake on the trail. The lake is fed by the glacier and has chunks of snow floating in it. The trail is beside the lake and then exposes you to the long glacier of about 1km wide. This is the brackish glacier and is called the Kaintal Glacier.
After the glacier walk, the trail leads to the valley. After this valley is another glacier, you will be walking on the moraines and then get you below the Kalapari mountain. Shortly after his glacier, you will have to ascent towards the pass. The pass stands at an altitude of around 14,550m. You will see multiple lakes on your way most of them almost frozen.
Large snowfields lead out from the pass. They are gently sloping and easy to walk on. Get on to the snowfield in front, keeping a general direction towards the valley opening towards your right. It takes about half an hour to get there.
On your right, a large lake, almost frozen, is in your view. There is a steep boulder section that can be difficult to negotiate as you descend. This is until you get close to the opening of the valley. At the opening to the valley, you get your first view of what lies in store on the other side.
The descent from the pass has little patches of snow walking and it leads to the famous Bracken glacier here. This patch of a glacier is quite hard and icy. You need to be careful with your steps. The icy glacier recedes and then comes the rocky moraines. Immediately afterward, you will see the Kaintal valley below. This valley has a rocky trail and then turns into a vast grassland. The campsite is amid this grassland.
It takes over two hours to descend through the moraines to get to the edge of the glacier and a faint upper grassy area. It is another hour of descent through very rough moraines before you get to the basin of the river that emerges from the bottom of the glacier.
Although the trek is challenging, the campsite is rewarding. This is the patch of heaven here.
6

Day 6 : Kaintal to Humpet

This day is long with continuous ascents and descents dominating the trail. From Kaintal the trail goes alongside the river and passes through shepherd huts. The trail has many river streams till Humpet.
The grass fields and meadows are long with horses grazing charmingly. The trail within a short distance takes you to the top of the hump which gives you a spectacular view. There are many such humps till the next campsite.
The trail on its way has many river basins. After almost every grassland you will see a couple of river crossings. The water is shallow but cold. You need to remove your shoes to ford these streams.
There is one famous grassland called Sar grassland. Post this grassland, the bracken glacier is out of view. A couple of hours of the trek after the Sar grassland, you get the view of the Humpet.
Humpet gives you a contrasting view of both Kashmir and Ladakh. To the west are far-stretching lush mountains of Kashmir and to the East are barren mountains of Ladakh.
The campsite of Humpet is at a grassland. From the campsite, you get a fantastic view of the shepherd village called Thangkam.
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Day 7 : Humpet to Sukhnai

This day of the trek is a long downward trek towards Sukhnai Valley. On the way, one gets the view of the route that leads to Amarnath Yatra. Sukhnai is in Warwan valley which holds varied 285 plant species of which 26 species are said to be threatened.
The trail starts with an ascent and then a long descent for about 4 hours. The descent takes you to the beautiful grasslands and gorgeous Sukhnai Village.
A trek of a couple of hours takes you to the junctions where a clean river merges with Kaintal Nala and becomes a wider river. Towards your one side is the mountain range and the trail that reaches to famous Sheeshnag lake and the Amarnath Yatra.
From this junction si what starts the exotic Warwan valley. The valley is not wide and has many river crossings like in the previous days. The trail is decent from here. You will see a bridge here and near to it is the trail going to Sheshnag lake. 
On this day you will have to cross some overhanging, you need to be careful with your steps. Be confident and careful while traversing these overhanging.
Immediately afterward, you will get a fantastic view of Sukhnai. The view is of long grasslands. It takes further 2 hours of trek to reach the village of Sukhnai. The trail goes through farms with short fences. This gives it a countryside look of Europe. This part of the trail is superbly beautiful.
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Day 8 : Sukhnai to Chaudraiman

This is the last trekking day of this trans-Himalayan trek. This day of the trek beholds the beautiful grasslands and Marwah river and the pretty village Rekenwas. The trail is strewn with ascends and descends. After a couple of hours of walking, you will see the beautiful Rekenwas village.
The striking feature of the day is the succession of pristine villages and the Marwah river. One such village is Basmina. It is a lightly bigger village than others. It has few shops and a hustle-bustle. The people live here with traditions and are untouched by modernity. The people here are welcoming and curiously will ask where from you travelled. The village has a river on one side. From this village, the endpoint of the trek i.e Chaudraiman is around 5km. By evening you will reach the campsite.
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Day 9 :Chaudraiman to Srinagar

This is the last day of the trekking trip. Drive from Chaudraiman to Srinagar. The drive is long and takes you first to the famous Margan Top and then descends to Anantnag district. Passing via villages and orchards, the road merges with NH1 highway and takes you to Srinagar.

What is the distance from Srinagar to Warwan Valley?

The distance between Srinagar and Warwan Valley is around 150km. The route goes via HN1 National Highway and then goes through Anantnag District and winds up via Margan Top to Warwan Valley. The drive takes around 6 hours.

How difficult is Panikhar Warwan Trek?

This trek is difficult in grade. The trek has almost all days where you will be walking for an entire day. The longes day is when you will be doing glacier traverse and crossing over Lomvilas Gully. This day takes around 12 hours of continuous walk. It tests your endurance and resilience in trekking.

What is Kishtwar famous for?

Kishtwar is most famous for Sapphire and the pure quality of Saffron. It is also famous for old traditional trek routes and was part of an ancient route connecting Kashmir to Kargil and Leh.

Kishtwar District

The fascinating warwan valley is situated in Kishtwar. Kishtwar is famously known as the land of Sapphire and Saffron. It is a unique place in Jammu and Kashmir that has both Sapphire and Saffron the two costly bounties of nature. The altitude of Kishtwar varies between 3000 to 15000ft. It is situated on the banks of the River Chenab.

Kishtwar is the bridge between Kashmir and Kargil. It was frequented during the old-time by shepherds and travelers to cross over to Kargil from Srinagar or to Srinagar to Kargil.

At Bhandarkoot, many tributaries like Fambar Nallah, Chingam Nallah meet the eternal flowing Chenab River. Warwan valley is located around the river Marusudhar.

This entire area is known for lofty peaks and trekking destinations and has been very much famous right from the British era. It has mountain peaks like Brahma Peak, Shivling Peak, Aushuko Peak, etc and some are situated in its remotes area called Paddar. The altitude of these peaks ranges from 20,000 ft to 21,000 ft. Some of the best treks that are in Paddar are Omasla terk, Potla trek, Sarsangle trek etc. The trekking area is best mentioned in the travelogues by British writers like Otto Rothfield in his book With Pen and Rifle in Kashmir.

However, the most famous trek in Kistwar has remained Panikhar Warwan Trek. Trekkers across the globe do this trek to see the most pristine and fantastic landscape of this place.