High Altitude Lakes of Kashmir…….Vishnasar, Krishnasar, Gadsar, Gangabal……..2019


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A trip to Kashmir is never enough, as you keep craving for another one. Kashmir Great Lakes trek can be considered as one of the best treks in Himalayas. Spectacular landscapes, crystal-clear lakes, picturesque scenery, High Mountain passes and much more to discover in the entire trek.

Vishnasar Lake

Gadsar Lake

Gangabal Twin Lake

Gadsar Pass


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Earlier in the year 2016 and 2018 due to local situation of Kashmir, I had to cancel my plan and in 2019 I again planned for Great Lakes Trek and lucky to complete it before another lockdown of Valley in the month of August 2019. I don’t have any friends to join with me for this difficult trek and hence I planned to join any other group. I finalized the trek guide Mr. Riyaz (Trekkashmir/Alpinelakestrek) who is well known to me due to my past trek in that region with him. He informed me that there is one group of foreign tourists for 13th July, 2019 batch and I decided to join them. It was ultimately superb experience with foreign citizens. There were 4 from Singapore, 2 from Taiwan, 6 from Thailand with a lone Indian Traveller making the count to 13.

Short itinerary

Day 1- 12th July 2019: Ahmedabad to Srinagar

Day 2- 13th July 2019: Srinagar to Sonamarg (Base Camp)

Day 3- 14th July 2019: Sonamarg to Nichnai

Day 4- 15th July 2019: Nichinai to Vishnusar Lake via Nichinai Pass

Day 5- 16th July 2019: Vishnusar and Kishansar Lake

Day 6- 17th July 2019: Vishnusar to Gadsar via Gadsar Pass

Day 7- 18th July 2019: Gadsar to Gangabal via Satsar (Very Long Day)

Day 8- 19th July 2019: Rest day at Gangabal lakes

Day 9- 20th July 2019: Gangabal to Naranag and Drive back to Srinagar.


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Day 1- 12th July 2019: Ahmedabad to Srinagar

Finally I started my journey from Ahmedabad Airport on 12th morning by Indigo Ahmedabad-Delhi-Srinagar. The Departure time was 6.15 am from Ahmedabad and 12.55 pm from Delhi. I deliberately kept 5 hours halt between the flights due to uncertain weather in July and Transfer from T1 to T2 as I had to catch my onward flight from T2. There were options available to reach T2 and I selected the available shuttle bus. I reached Srinagar around 2.30 pm and decided to JKSRTC bus to reach Taxi Stand opposite Tourist reception Centre. I had already called Riyaz and he came there to receive me. I decided to stay in hotel Pride Inn in Rajbaug area. Riyaz informed me that the other team members also stayed in nearby area and we planned to leave early next day to reach Sonamarg as the next day was 13th July which might impact the routine in the valley.



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Day 2- 13th July 2019: Srinagar to Sonamarg (Base Camp)

As decided we started towards Sonamarg in the morning around 7.30 am. Riyaz arranged one Tempo Traveller for us and he himself came to my hotel along with his brother Tariq (Cook) with whom I completed one trek before in 2014, and 4 Singapore guys. We then went to Nigeen Lake area to pick up a couple from Taiwan who arrived 3-4 days back in Srinagar. The remaining team mates expected to reach Srinagar Airport around 1.00 pm and would join us in the evening directly at base camp. I started to discuss the trekking experience with the team members and they all have no prior experience of trekking in Kashmir or India. We took a short break at Roadside restaurant for breakfast at Delhi Darbar Dhaba. We reached around 11.00 am at the place where one has to take left from the main road. There were so many groups already arrived and we also noticed that some trekkers were coming down. We were informed by the trek guide that due to heavy snow they could not cross the Gadsar Pass and came back from Vishnusar Lake. It was shocking for us to know the current situation of high passes. Still we were hopeful to complete the trek. The vehicle took us further approx. half km from where we started walking to reach the base camp. Finally we reached to base camp from where the small beautiful village was visible. The support crew started to set up the tents and we were served the lunch. I was allotted one person personal tent for my stay. The weather was pleasant with some showers in the afternoon. As expected the remaining team members arrived late evening and after finishing our dinner we all were back to our tents. Mobile network was available at this point.


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Day 3- 14th July 2019: Sonamarg to Nichnai

Today the actual trek started towards the great lakes. In the morning after having breakfast the team was ready to go for the first day trek. We started around 9.00 am and reached at the top of the meadow where Maple/ Pine trees start after first hour of climb. We can view the Sonamarg town and valley from this place along with panoramic view of mountains. All trekkers have to register their details here at the Army check post. Surprisingly I was allowed to go ahead without entry being Indian national while details of all the foreign tourists were given by our guide along with photo id for verification. Next we started amidst the dense forest. After about two hours climb we reached at the top from where we can observe the beautiful wide Sonamarg valley view. There was one dhaba which serves Maggi, Cold Drinks, Omelette, wafers etc. After having rest for few minutes we again started in the forest of Bhoj trees and continued to descend gently. As the forest trail finished we entered into the River valley. We all were feeling exhausted being the first day and not anticipated the very first day would so tough. We continued on section of boulders and crossed Snow Bridge also. It was around 2.00 pm when we took lunch break at the place where one can enjoy view of the river flowing underneath small glaciers. Our luggage horses crossed us now and went ahead on the trail. Finally we were informed by the guide that we had to go further for around 40-50 minutes to reach the camp site and finally we reached around 5.30 pm to our camp site. We finished our dinner and disappeared in our tents early.



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Day 4- 15th July 2019: Nichinai to Vishnusar Lake via Nichinai Pass

At the time of booking the trek, one dedicated horse also included for me on the entire trek. On first day due to shortage of horses the trek guide could not provide me the horse. Today he promised me to arrange one local horse upto the Nichinai pass and I decided to go upto the pass on horse. After finishing the breakfast early the team was ready to start at 8.00 am. We all started early to have enough time to enjoy the beauty of pass and meadows. The local horseman took me and decided to drop me at the Dhaba at the Nichinai pass top. There were so many other groups also with us and the entire trail occupied with trekkers. As I started on horse, I reached at the top around 9.30 am at the Dhaba. I was surprised as the Airtel Network on my mobile was working with 2G connectivity. I just updated at my home reg. my trek so far as there would not be network availability for next few days. As we climb Nichinai pass, a small lake filled with deep blue water can be seen from distance. My Casio Wrist watch measured 13,160 ft at the Pass. I met some local trekkers from Srinagar here who informed me the entire drama of Cricket World Cup Final played between England and New Zealand on 14th July 2019. I had to wait for others to come to move further and hence I decided to take some photos here. The weather was really nice and supportive at the top. When I looked on the other side of the pass, it was entirely covered with snow. After sometime there were many groups arrived at the top and the entire trail again occupied by them. My group also reached and after taking rest for sometime we all started to descend on the other side of the pass. It was difficult for all to walk in snow for us as well as the horses loaded with luggage. The rocky trail descends rapidly from here and walking on meadow section started afterwards towards Vishnusar Camp Site. After finishing the lunch we continued in the meadows. The landscape was changed entirely now, there were mountains on every side of us. We reached the camp site at 3.00 pm and decided to take rest for some time. The Vishnusar Lake is very near from the camp site but it was not visible from here. We had enough time to explore the lakes as the next day was rest day for us. In the evening, hot maggi was served which gave us the opportunity to discuss today’s experience of the trek. Till now I also became a guide and translator for the foreign group. It is one of the beautiful camp sites of the entire trek.