An odyssey to the glen


Kashmir Great Lakes trek (hereinafter referred to as ‘KGL Trek’) is considered to be one of the most picturesque treks in India. Everyone will get a chance to examine the much exalted mystical status of Kashmir being ‘the heaven on earth’. This trek is marked by the refulgent presence of many alpine lakes amidst glacial setting.The KGL trek is also conspicuous by the verdant meadows infested with wild horses and sheeps. The very lush green pasture lands wear a surreal and sylvan cloak during the monsoon season. What makes the trek even prettier is the harmonious juxtaposition of turquoise lake on the one hand and the milky white snow patches that feed those alpine lakes on the other.

One will stand captivated at the sight of milky white icebergs floating on the turquoise surface of alpine lakes. Everyday one will behold the panoramic view of the rugged mountain trail with snowy peaks piping into, viz. Mt. Harmukh.


Best time to visit

Monsoon is the best time to opt for the KGL trek. During the month of July to mid-September, the valley turns into a floral wonderland due to the exquisite bloom of wildflowers, thereby rendering an ethereal ambience altogether. From the month of October till may, this route remains inaccessible.


Duration: 8 days from Srinagar to Srinagar. Additional buffer day is advisable in consideration of the vagaries of nature during the monsoon.

Highest Point: Gadsar Pass~ 4200 m/13750 ft.

Length: 65 Km

Prerequisite: Prior trekking experience is desirable. The aspiring trekker must have a moderate level of fitness to comfortably walk on the mountain.

Other than the trek- Click Here to spend your additional days in Kashmir(hyperlink) as per your convenience.



Day-1: Drive to Sonamarg: 90 Km-3 Hours

Reach Srinagar as early as possible and board either cab to reach your base camp  Sonamarg on the bank of river Indus which is flowing in its full rigour. Here you will be acquianted with your trek guides and porters.

Day-2 : Acclimatisation Day  

You can have a casual sauntering to Thajiwas glacier in Sonamarg as part of an acclimatisation drive. If you are a seasoned trekker, you may start your trek straightway.

Day-3: Trek to Nichnai: 11 Km-7/8 Hours

This is the start of your trek towards Nichnai base camp. Enroute you will see the verdant meadows infested with wild horses and sheeps. After a trek of 5-6 hours, you will reach the campsite which is totally surrounded by majestic mountains. You will come across many meandering brooks and cascades on the way.

Day-4: Trek to Vishansar via Nichnai Pass: 12 Km- 6/7 Hours

You have to start early for Vishansar which is an oligotrophic alpine lake amidst a glacial setting. After an arduous trek, you will reach the campsite.


Day5: Trek to Gadsar via Gadsar Pass: 12 Km-  7/8 Hours

This is the D-day of your trek. Enroute, you will witness the colony of Himalayan Maramots residing in the rock walls of the valley. The view from the Gadsar pass will keep your exhaustion at bay.

Day-6: Trek to Satsar:10 Km- 6/7 Hours 

This day will be full of uphill treks , crossing seasonal streams on the way. In case of rain, the path may become a bit slippery. The campsite will be at the bank of Satsar lake.    


Day-7: Trek to Gangabal vis Zaj Pass:10 Km-6/7 Hours

This day is the most appealing and beautiful day of this trek. You will leave for Gangabal, a pristine alpine lake amidst snow capped peaks. The most captivating view is the sighting of twin lakes, viz. Gangabal and Nandkol from the top of Zaj pass.

Twin Lakes

You are bound to stand bewildered at the breathtaking beauty of the campsite that you will reach successfully in the late afternoon. After reaching the campsite, espy the exquisite view of Mt.Harmukh.  Enroute, you will get a chance to pay obeisance to the holy Shiva temple on the remembrance of which Gangabal yatra takes place every year.

Day8: Trek to Naranag: 11 Km-6/7 Hours and Drive to Srinagar:70 Km-2.5 Hours


With a heavy heart, you have to leave the best campsite of the trek. On this day, you will come across a harmonious concoction of verdant meadows, snow capped peaks, pine clad valleys and gushing brooks along the way. The first quarter of the  drive from Naranag to Srinagar will be along the roaring Indus.

Thus your KGL trek will end up on a placid note with a lot of indelieble memories to be cherished forever.

Flora and Fauna on KGL Trail

The true nature lover will never lose sight of the plants, animals and birds on a hiking trail. This trek route will not bring any insipid experience to the aforesaid point of view. You will come across many wild flowers enroute these glacial lakes during the monsoon, thereby making the route postcard perfect. All the trekkers will listen to the chirping of Rose Finches, wagtail, Pipits to mention a few. Last but not the least, there is every likelihood that you will encounter the colony of mountain rats known as Himalayan Maramots along the way.

How to reach

By Train

One can reach upto Jammu station or Udhampur station by train directly from any place of India. Then take either bus or cab  to reach Srinagar by 6-8 hours.. Sonamarg, basecamp of this trek is well connected from Srinagar through various means ranging from shared car to reserved cars. The taxi stand for  Sonamrg is in front of the Nishat Garden, well connected from Srinagar.

By Air

If you are planning to reach Srinagar by flight, Srinagar airport is well connected with most of the major airports of India. A Shared taxi network connects the airport with downtown, making it very convenient to reach Srinagar. From Srinagar, there are ample options of conveyance to reach Sonamarg.

Difficulty Level

The KGL trek is a moderate to difficult level trek. The trekker has to traverse 7-8 km per day which may take a maximum of seven hours. Though an incessant downpour may make the trail slippery, yet it is not otherwise difficult at all.

Cultural Dimension


The hidden gems of the trek is the extremely venerated temple of Lord Shiva in the Gangabal Lake. The lake is fed by the glacier perched on Mt. Harmukh. The Gangabal Lake finds an exclusive mention in the magnum opus “Rajatarangini” by Kalhan. It is said that the stream of Kashmiri history flows from the glacier of Rajatarangini. This pious lake has been revered by the Kashmiri Pandits(KP ).The Pandits of the Kashmir used to climb-up to the mountain and immerse the ashes of the dead in the lake of Gangabal, and do the obligatory-“Shraddh”-of their ancestors. This lake is as pious as the Ganga at Haridwar.  The date of the annual pilgrimage used to be the 8th day of the waxing moon in the month of Bhadra. The Day was also known among the Kashmiri Hindus as “Ganga-Ashtami”. During the peak time of terrorists oufit, this pilgrimage stood closed. However, with the scrapping of Article 370, the Gangabal yatra again has come to prominence. It is like the holy Amarnath Yatra in microcosm. District administration with close coordination with the Union Home Ministry arranges proper security measure, logistics in order to facilitate the pilgrimage to this holy lake.

Local Cuisine

The ultimate ceremonial feast in Kashmir is known as “Wazwan” and consists of mostly meat-based dishes, though very costly. However, other popular dishes are Mutton Rogan Josh, Gushtaba, Yogurt Lamb Curry, Kashmiri Polao to mention a few.

There are no dearth of restaurants in Srinagar and its outskirts, however the most famous and nostalgic being the Mughal Durbar. It is also pertinent to note that many fake restaurants are running under the banner of this name. Always ask your driver to take you to the original one. Thus your trekking expedition has every likelihood to end up on a foddie note.

Shopping Spree

Landing on the “Heaven on Earth”, it will be very difficult to curb your inherent temptation for shopping as the splendid market, both in terms of ambience and variety will make you succumb to a shopping frolic. Some famous markets are Lal Chawk, Maharaja Market to mention a few. The listicle is given below ad seriatim:

  1. Kashmiri shawls and stoles made up of Pashmina wool are conspicuous by its softness and warmth. However, there is a chance of being hoodwinked and ended up buying a duplicate Pashmina Shawl. It is better to visit any renowned shop, though the original ones will be a little costly. Kashmiri sarees are full of appealing fabric and delicate nature of embroidered pattern. Most common ones include pashmina sarees, Kashmiri silk sarees, crepe saree and georgette saree..
  2. All cricket lovers will surely cast a salacious glance at the Kashmir Willow Bats which are available at pocket-friendly rate.
  3. Kashmir is said to be the haven for fruit lovers. It is the land of plenty of fruits like apple, peach, apricot, kiwi,cherry to mention a few. Also dry friuts are must buy from Kashmir. The trip will be deemed incomplete without buying a handful of dry mulberry, raspberry, kiwi for the near and dear ones.
  4. Jewellery lovers may also put silverware items in their bucket list. Last but not the least, the most remarkable items to buy are the Paper Mache products as a kashmiri souvenir. The art of converting the waste paper int the most beautiful decorative thing is what Paper Mache is all about. Some attractive items made up of Paper Mache are flower vases, boxes, coaster sets etc.

What to pack for this trek?

Mandatory Documents

  1. Any identity proof like Aadhaar card, Passport etc. along with two passport size photos.
  2. You must carry a fitness certificate from a bona fide medical practitioner with his stamp and seal. It is an essential requisite, if you go with a trekking company like Youth Hostel, Trek the Himalaya, Indiahikes to mention a few.

The Essentials

Personal Medical Kit

How can a good playlist make the trip memorable?

  1. There exists a common thread amongst love, music and trip. Any trip can also be viewed through the lens of various perspectives, viz. rumination of sweet memories, resurgence of youthful vim, fledgling romance and its concomitant utopia, heart-wrenching happenings to mention a few. A good playlist suited to the tune of the jaunt can push the frontier of euphoria by several notches.The selection of playlist can be made only after factoring in many aspects which are stated as under:
    •  Character of the rendezvous-hill station, jungle or sea beach etc.
    •  Category of the jaunt-leisure tour or trek etc.
    • Season of travelling.
    • Whether visited before or visiting afresh.
    • Any sweet or sad memory associated with the place, if any.

    Another notable aspect is the randomising the order of the playlist in order to keep the mundane feelings at bay and to suit the temperament of co-travellers. The playlist must include some highs and lows to keep the ambience winsome all the while. A go-to-sleep playlist will act as a sedative. Let it fade off into white noise or silence at the ending, for example, on the last day of the trip a melancholy number may make an inroad into the emotional upbeat of the travellers.

    In a synoptic resume of the same, a trip is always eagerly longed for in order to get solace in solitude and a modicum of opportunity for rumination. The lilting playlist adds further grist to this penchant. A good playlist will help all connect each and every moment of the jaunt with their heart, thus leaving a lasting imprint of jovial on their mind.





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