Kashmir trekking is famous all over India for its high number of alpine lakes. If you spot a mountain line anywhere here in Kashmir, you are probably looking towards an alpine lake. The lakes here are glacier-fed and clean and many of these lakes are home to varied fish and water life. The fantastic feature of some of these alpine lakes is accessibility. Many of these you finish within a day or it takes only a couple of days to see more than one lake. Lidder valley and its surrounding is such a famous place that has many alpine lakes. Locals and tourists throng these places in summer to savor the serenity of these lakes and trekking that they involve. You probably must have already heard about some of the famous lakes here like Sheeshnag and Tulian Lake. However, more lakes are equally luring and mesmerizing. They somehow have remained offbeat and less known in the travel community. Which, however, makes them less prone to exploitation. 6 of those breathtaking lakes are covered in Charinag Lakes Trek. Among such less known offbeat lakes are Charinag and the lakes in its close vicinity. There are a total of 6 lakes in this area that are close to each other. They are tucked far away from hustle bustle into the calmness of nature. These 6 lakes are glacial lakes and remain open throughout the summer. Charinag Lakes or Chari Nag Lakes has an equally enchanting trail that takes you to these lakes. The trail runs through jungle and meadow with breathtaking panoramic views, river crossings and mountain range. Two lakes fall in the name category of Charinag – Charinag I and Charinag II. Close to these twin lakes is a gorgeous small lake called Zeesar Lake. Further it leads to the
Khemsar Yemsar Lakes Trek Khemsar Yemsar Lakes Trek is one of the fantastic offbeat treks of Kashmir. The trek takes you to the surreal two beautiful lakes of Khemsar and Yemsar. The trail is lush and surrounded by vast meadows and goes via the jungle. The place is an ancient grazing place of the local shepherds and has remained so for centuries. The place is less traveled and less explored. This offers a unique opportunity for a trekker to see the complete offbeat trail that is all scenic and picturesque. The trek starts from Kullan village which is at a short distance before the famous Sonamarg. And around 35km from Srinagar airport. It starts off with a bridge below which flows the shimmering Sindh nallah. The trail begins afterward from local mud houses and meadows. The meadow is lush and spans a long distance. It quickly blends well into the jungle walk. The jungles here are thick. Following the curvy trial and then passes a few mountain hems, it opens into an open meadow. The meadow gives a panoramic view of the surrounding peaks and valleys. It then goes through a slanting trail that terminates in the famous Khemsar Lake. The next lake is just in the vicinity. The trail is over a small mound of a mountain. The Yemsar lake sits beautifully in the middle of the surrounding mountains The gradient of the trek is difficult. It is a climb all along. This trek offers an ethereal beauty to explore and cherish. The trek reaches the highest altitude of 3750m. Adjacent to the lakes is the legendary Yemhar Pass. This pass has remained the go-to place for the local population. Shepherds use this pass to shuffle their stock from Lidder valley to Sindh valley or back. Khemsar Yemsar Lakes
Hirpora Lakes is the largest cluster of alpine lakes in Kashmir. There are 30 lakes in and around Hirpora. And among them, 20 lakes are relatively closer to each other. The lakes are well fed from glaciers. The mountain ranges form part of three districts of Jammu and Kashmir – Shopian, Rajouri, and Poonch. Hirapora has remained famous for the Wildlife Sanctuary it holds. The sanctuary is famous for Pir Panjal Markhor. This markhor is critically endangered and became the prime reason for the establishment of this sanctuary. The Hirpora Lakes Trek starts from Pir Ki Gali of Shopian District. This is a drive of around 90km from Srinagar. The drive to Pir Ki Gali is scenic. As the drive winds from Srinagar, it goes through gorgeous orchard fields that stretch to a seemingly unfinished length. After covering the orchards of the Shopian district, the road takes an uphill path while going up to Pir Ki Gali. The road is a traditional road called Mughal Road. Pir Ki Gali itself is a beautiful location. This offers a panoramic view of the surrounding valleys and mountains. It is precisely from Dongi Marg where this trek is mostly started. The gradient of the trek is difficult. It in no way is for beginners. Handusar Lake. Pic taken by Inayatullah Bhat Why do we call Hirpora Lakes Trek the Marathon Trek of Alpine Lakes? This trek takes you to the 20 high-altitude alpine lakes. The concentration of these lakes is in the middle of the mountain ranges that connect the Shopian, Poonch, and Rajouri districts together. In a single day, you will be seeing more than 5 lakes around which is not what we get to see in all of the treks here in India. This is probably the first-ever trek that has
Basmai Pass Trek is a fascinating trek in Kashmir. This trail of this trek is what shepherds for centuries have followed. The trek starts just a few kilometers from Sonamarg. It goes over the famous Basmai Pass and crosses over to Lidder valley. This trail from Sindh river to Lidder river is what makes this trek interesting. The lush and large meadows are the highlight of this trek. This trek starts from Gagangir which falls 70 km off Srinagar. Just beside the Sindh river is the trail going into the jungle and leading to Basmai Pass. While on this trek, you will rarely see a trekker. Occasionally, you might see shepherds flocking their cattle. The trek is completely offbeat and is a paradise to someone looking for a desolated trail. The entire trek gradient is moderate. It is a 40-km trek and the most followed itinerary is of 5 trekking days. Basmai Pass This pass is among the five traditional and famous passes that connect Sindh Valley to Lidder Valley. The shepherds used these passes to shuffle their flock between Sonamarg and Pahalgam. The four passes are Kolahoi Pass, Yemhar Pass, Basmai Pass, and Sonmos Pass. Kolahoi Pass is the toughest among all to cross over. But, Basmai Pass and Sonmos Pass are relatively easier. Detailed Itenerary of Basmai Pass Trek Day 1 Srinagar to Gagangir. Drive Distance: 70km On the first day of the trek, you will be driving to the base camp. The base camp is at Gagangir which is around 70 km from Srinagar. By 4 o clock in the evening, you will have to report to the campsite. The drive to Gagangir is quite scenic. You will be driving beside Sindh River and with a fantastic mountain view. The drive winds through the National Highway.
It has remained our pursuit to open up offbeat treks in Kashmir. Salnai Lakes Trek is one such offbeat trek. This is arguably the best offbeat treks here in Kashmir. It offers the best of its meadows, mountains, panoramas, jungle walks, and alpine lakes. This trek transports you from the hustle-bustle of daily life. The trails are less traveled. You will only see a few shepherds and locals from the surrounding villages. If you want a trek completely away from the modern world, then this trek is for you. Salnai Lakes Trek is very much less opted by trekkers. This trek is absolutely less explored and thankfully less exploited. Its entire trail holds the vibe of originality and fullness. Its jungles won't give you that sad feeling of seeing the fallen trees. The jungle is all full and thick. It lakes are clean and blue. Its meadows are untouched. They make you feel how nature is pure and rejuvenating when it remains unexploited by us humans. Salnai valley has a sister valley called Lashnai valley. Together, they are called Salnai Lashnai Valley. Locally, people name them together. You can visit Lashnai valley on your exploration day from the Salnai campsite. These twin valleys have been traditional pastures for shepherds and nomads. For centuries, people have been flocking their cattle to graze here. The trek gives a unique blend of mountains, meadows, streams, lakes, and shepherd life. One sees the pristine life of shepherds, their culture, and customs. You will be walking by their mud houses. this trek is quite underrated and unfairly less talked about. Yet, the main reason remains that it is less explored and less known. This trek starts from Naranag a village that holds ancient temple ruins. This village is the base camp for many best treks in
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