KASHMIR GREAT LAKES - THROUGH THE EYES OF DEV

Kashmir Great Lakes trek “The Prettiest Trek in India” with 7 majestic high altitude treks was merely a coincidence which made a place in the deepest part of my heart. 
 

kashmir great lakes

DEV KULSHRESHTHA

24-year-old mountain lover, and adventure seeker.  

It took me a few high altitude treks and four mountaineering courses in the high Himalayas to introduce myself as a trekker and mountaineer. And my dream goes beyond climbing the highest mountain on earth. 

My dream is to explore and trek through all variants of mountains, small and big, difficult and easy as the dream is to see more and learn more. 

Why did you choose Trekking as a Sport?

I believe mountains bring the best out of you and it’s the perfect place to test yourself and grow better day by day understanding what is real and what makes you happy along with the positive energy in life.
 

 

How Kashmir Great Lakes Happened? 

Kashmir Great Lakes trek “The Prettiest Trek in India” with 7 majestic high altitude treks was merely a coincidence which made a place in the deepest part of my heart. 

I was in to Jammu as an escape from my day to day life and I planned to meet my Instructor from Basic Mountaineering course who happened to live in Jammu after spending two days with him at his place and I got a phone call from my friends who were planning for Kashmir Great Lakes Trek the next day and I had missed the last bus Srinagar to Sonamarg and short of money because of the unplanned trip I had no money to stay in a nice hotel and I ended up staying the night at a Bus ticket counter after a generous Kashmiri offered me the small bench in his ticket counter. The next morning I hitchhiked to Sonamarg and met four of my friends who were waiting for me excited and ready to start the trek.

kashmir great lakes

Day 1 - Bad weather and new trekker friends in trails en route Nichnai

We started grabbing everything from dry ration to warm caps we needed for the next 5-6 days to come.

We started our day 1 of a trek from Sonamarg to Nichnai at around 2 PM and after two hours of walking we took a halt at a tea house and had some Maggie and when we took off again it had already started raining and I now wish if I had my Trek 500 Rain Jacket from Decathlon then. It would have saved my day.

Looking at the weather we were already collecting flammable tree barks as suggested by the local Gujjar. 11,500ft from seat level at Nichnai we lighted a fire to cook for the night beside our tent and a trekking group camping a little further came back and offered us some dal and that was the best meal offered by the kindest people in the mountains at the right time till date and not to forget it saved our limited ration during the trek.

kashmir great lakes

Day 2 - Generous Gujjars en route Kishansar Lake 

Next morning after a quick breakfast we headed to Kishansar Lake. This day was not about gaining altitude but walking on flat trails with tremendously beautiful view in every turn we took. This day was walking through the grasslands of heaven which almost felt unreal to me for a selfish human race that has done nothing but destroyed all natural beauties.

After walking a few kilometers we were hungry and tired and we met a Gujjar family with their cattle and they offered us some bread which lasted less than two seconds to a pack of hungry unplanned wanderers. Seeing this, the Gujjar family invited us for lunch which they had prepared for themselves. And this overwhelming experience is a treasure of my life in the mountains. 

kashmir great lakes

Day 3 - The Himalayan Dogs, Sheep Milk, and Gadsar Lake

This day was dedicated to reaching Gadsar Lake via Gadsar Pass 13,800ft walking through widespread snow patch which was a task along with the gained altitude today with a 22kg Rucksack at my back.

This day was another chitchat and lunch day at another Gujjar hut and this was the only day when I had sheep’s milk. It was almost dark and the head of the Gujjar family dropped us till Gadsar lake camping point along with is two Himalayan dogs which they keep to protect their sheep from wild animals in the wild.

kashmir great lakes

Day 4 - Skipped a campsite to reach Gangabal twin Lake  

This day we walked faster, fastest in this trail powered by the experiences we had in these past days and the Unparalleled natural beauty fuelling our motivation in every step of the way.

Gangabal Twin Lakes has the view I had never witnessed, I had been to several mountains small and big, beautiful and tough but the view in Gangabal Twin Lakes and Jaj Pass were one of a kind and It had the power to cure any troubled heart and hold a human captive in mountains forever. And I couldn’t stop myself from taking a dip in Gangabal Lake.

We spent more than an hour at Jaj pass just enjoying the view and the clouds perform their favorite dance.

I call this the most beautiful spot of this heavenly trek.
 

kashmir great lakes

Day 5 - The Last day in Trail to Naranag

This day was a steep descent to Naranag from Gangabal. During our descent we met a local Kashmiri who was carrying campsite grocery  for a trekking company to Gangabal in a Mule, The mule was injured and the stuff was all over the place and the helpless Local was sitting beside the mule helpless and clueless as he can neither go up or decent with injured mule with so much grocery, gas cylinder, and other equipment.

We distributed the load among us and brought the grocery and the injured Mule to the road head and this is how we ended the best trek of my life.
And we spent the night at his place as he won’t let us leave with a night’s stay at his campsite with the most heart-warming hospitality.

kashmir great lakes

LEARNINGS

*I found the real humanity at the rarest and the farthest corner of the mountain among the people who had very little but eager to share it with utmost love even with an outsider.

*In life and in mountains there are moments where you want to quit at times and it’s important to fight the odds as the most beautiful lakes in the high Himalayas comes after the toughest climb.

*It is important to have the right gear while trekking in mountains which I was not carrying during this trek
 

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