Seven lakes Trek of Poonch is arguably a trekking heaven. This valley offers with a short trek of a couple of days with a delight of seven glacial alpine lakes. The lakes are in close vicinity to each other. The trail that goes to these lakes is equally rewarding. The trail offers long lush meadows, dancing river streams, and snow-capped mountains. The seven lakes that one sees in this trek are Nandan Sar, Gum Sar, Kal Dachni, Sukh Sar Neel Sar, Katori Sar, and Sarota Sar. Among all these lakes, Nandan Sar is the longest and the prettiest. The lake is around 1.5km in length.
The trek can be accessed from either Kashmir or Poonch.
Location of the Lakes in Seven Lakes Trek
These lakes are in the Girjan Valley of Poonch. This also forms the border of the Poonch and Shopian districts. The lakes are around 60 km from the district headquarters of Poonch and stand at an altitude of 3500m. The lakes are adjacently located and called in local parlance as sar. Girjan Valley starts from the famous Bharamgala mountain top. It is then spread till Raviwali Dhok.
This valley of seven lakes is the most picturesque in the area. The valley has the best snow-capped mountains, lush meadows, and shimmering river streams. It is also one of the coldest zones of the Pir Panjal Range.
The famous Mughal Road, which connects Kashmir to Jammu, touches the peripheral part of this valley. The valley has close to 30 lakes in and around its vicinity, however, the seven lakes are what is mostly visited for.
All these lakes are accessible during summer only. In winters, the landscape and the lakes are in the snow. The trail becomes inaccessible and difficult to traverse.
This valley gets its name Girjan from the famous king Girjin Dev. The word Girjan means “the thunder of elf”. It is locally believed and said that there is hardly any day that goes without the loud thundering and lightning in this area.
These lakes offer one of the best alpine lake trek option for an avid trekker. Mostly in Kashmir you see the beautiful Sheshnag Lake. But these lakes will give you the contrasting landscape and scenery.
Mythology related to Lakes
Seven lakes trek has many myths attached to it. As per ancient mythology, these lakes are siblings or once were siblings. The eldest one was Nandan Sar. He was very much aggressive and would inflict pain on his other brothers. But their compassionate and calm sister Kali Sar saved them always.
In another account, there is an ancient story woven around these lakes. It is believed that ancient King Girjan Dev, who ruled this valley, had one daughter and six sons. The names of his sons And Daughter were what today are the lake names. Apart from Kali which was his daughters’ name rest were all male names.
They say king Girjan was very much devotional and religious. One day he decided to abandon the world and seek God in the jungles. He sent out his children to look for the best aloof place for his worship. All of his kin obeyed. They all returned with the suggestions except Gum. When all of the family went to look for him, they found him at a scenic place. This place is presently where the Gum Sar is. They say he loved the place so much that he refused to come back to the kingdom. And decided to spend the rest of his days in the same place.
This made his father, the king, furious. Through his divine powers, he buried his son deep down into the earth and cursed him to never come out of it. He then went out with his other children to see what places they had chosen for his worship. When they showed him the places, he liked them at an instant. And in honor of them, he told them that the places would be converted into lakes and named after them. Hence the lakes he named after his children.
Routes going to Lakes
Pir Ki Gali
This is the easiest and most frequented route to the lakes. This is mostly taken by people coming from the Kashmir region. The trek through this route is around 5 hours of walk. The gradient of the walk is easy and goes over mostly flat land.
This is relatively a longer trial. This route offers some steep climbs. The first 6 km are of sharp ascend till Girjan Gali. Once the trail reaches the gully it then follows a descend and an easy trail for about 8 km. The trail goes through the lush meadow and walks along the famous Girjan River.
As one reaches the other side of Girjan, there is an ascend of around 2 km until Bayar meadow. Afterward, the trail is easy and goes over the wavy-shaped meadow. This meadow walk is for about 7 km until one sees the SukhSar. This is the first lake one sees while taking this trek route.
This is also a lengthy route. It takes almost an entire day of the steady and moderate walk to reach the lakes.
It starts with a gentle 6 km walk till it reaches Hasantham. Then it takes a sharp climb of around 5 km leading to Panjtari Gali. It then returns to the gradual plain walk of 4 km through this lush meadow of Panjtari. The walk then till the lake is rewarding and gives the best landscape of the area. Taking this route, you will get to see Gumsar before all other lakes.
To do the seven lakes trek, this is the easiest route and mostly taken by the people from Rajouri. The trek starts from a pristine village called Budhal. The trek is a blend of gently and steep trails.
While following these routes, one sees Sarota Sar first and then other lakes of this valley. The trail takes first the 13 km until Shakermarg from Budhkhawari. From Shakermarg it’s a 3 km trek to Sarota Sar. The trail goes along Girjan River and through lush meadows.
This route, unlike others, allows you to visit other lakes that fall in the vicinity of its trail. There are other alpine lakes like Jang Sar, Handu Sar, etc that one can visit along with the seven lakes.
This trek will be very much delightful if it is turned into a circuit trek. If you start from Pir Ki Gli, it’s better to finish this trek by some other routes