Trekking In Kashmir

The ideal trekking months stretch from April to November; No specialpermits are required, though registration with the nearest touristoffice is necessary. The state affords some spectacular contrasts innature with its alpine pastures, barren wastelands and ruggedmountains.Srinagar is a good take off point for trekking in the Kashmirvalley or in Zanskar (by road to kargil).In the Ladakh region,Leh isthe best point for base camp. Gulmarg is 50km east of Srinagarat an altitude of 2,900 meters. The quiet township is in a large bowlshaped meadow that is covered with wild flowers in the spring andsummer months. It has an 18-hole golf course (the highest in the world)that hosts a number of prestigious tournaments every year and offerssome interesting challenges. The town's main attractions are its walksthat run through thick pine forests rich with bird life. Gulmarg isalso the base for short treks into the Pir Panjal Mountains. A popularday hike is to Khilanmarg and Alpathar Lake. Khilanmarg is a lushmeadow surrounded by thick pine forests, five kilometres from Gulmargat 3,000 metres; Alpathar is a further 8 km on a pony track. Alpatharis a frozen lake and one of the most scenic spots in the Pir Panjalrange. Another popular short trek is to Ningel Nallah, a pleasant 8 kmwalk along brooks and through forests and meadows. More intrepidtrekkers can take the five-day walk to Tosamaidan. The trek originatesat Gulmarg, and branches off from the Ferozpur Nala and beyond to thehamlets of Danwas, Tejjan, and Tosamaidan Sonmarg means a'meadow of gold'. The most important township in the fertile Sindvalley, Sonmarg is the last major township on the road to Ladakh.Sonmarg is also the staging point for some of the most popular treks tohigher altitudes. A pleasant one-day excursion from Sonmarg is to theThajiwas glacier 8km away, approachable by a pony over awell-maintained track. The most popular trek originating from Sonmargis the Kashmir Lake Trek. It covers the lakes of Gangabal, Vishansar,Kishansar, and goes close to the Harrnukh peak. The trail first crossesthe Nichinai Pass (13,387 ft) and then enters the alpine valleys thateventually lead to the Gangabal Lake. Vishansar (Vishnu’s Lake) is atjust over 12,000 feet and slightly larger than the 12,500 feetKishansar (Krishna's Lake). Gangabal Lake is the highlight of thistrip. Protected by the three peaks of Mount Harrnukh, Gangabal is 5miles in circumference and offers the finest trout fishing anywhere inKashmir. Pahalgam is a township situated on the banks of theLidder River at an altitude of 7,000 ft. For the day visitor, thefavorite pastime at Pahalgam is to hire a pony and ride along theLidder River and the Aru Stream. There are also a number of troutfishing beats in the Pahalgam area, but permits have to be obtained inadvance from Srinagar. The resort also offers a number of shortday-hikes to the neighboring mountains and glades. One popular day walkis to Aru (12 km) on a trail that follows the road almost all the wayto Aru. Enroute are spectacular views looking back down the valley toPahalgam. Another excellent day hike is to follow the pony trail toBhai Saran (7,500 ft), just 5 km from Pahalgam. The trekker can alsocontinue from Bhai Saran to the Tuliyan Lake, 12 km further, for anovernight trek.