When you trek with MHE, you can be assured that we are backed by many years in the business of providing safe and sustainable adventure trips. The staff you deal with in the office, all the way through to the guides and porters on trek, have years of experience in safe and enjoyable trekking behind them. We can advise you on the right gear, the right training, and no question is too crazy for us to answer.
Our trips are designed for your maximum enjoyment and comfort, taking into consideration the environment and conditions, wherever you are. And since we firmly believe that an "army marches on its stomach", our chefs on the expedition will try their best to cook up a storm!
We use the best available camping and safety equipment and try to ensure you are as comfortable as possible. Please remember though, that you are in a remote and difficult location, and your expectations should be reduced accordingly.
We believe in sustainable, ethical and responsible tourism. Our guides are all CPR-trained and First Aid certified, the porters receive above standard wages, and we do not allow them to carry more than 30 kg (the international standard set by IPPG). Our crew are all insured, and provided with suitable clothing and equipment.
We support the local economy wherever possible, and do NOT encourage giving any gifts of sweets, pens etc to the charming local children you meet along the trail. If you are really interested to donate something, please discuss with us first.
Our "all inclusive" trip means that you aren't constantly rummaging for money, and you know up front what is included.
Trip starts from: Srinagar No. of days of the trip: 11 No. of trekking days: 8 Maximum altitude: 3,710 Vishansar Lake Trekking Grade: Moderately Challenging All-Inclusive Cost: 51,635 per head based on an 8 person group We are adventure lovers here at MHE and want to make adventure travel accessible to any one who yearns it. That is why we've introduced the Pay Monthly scheme. That's right, you can now pay in manageable monthly instalments for the Everest Base Camp and Gokyo Lakes trek! Simply call us for more details.
DAY 1: ARRIVE IN SRINAGAR, DRIVE TO SONAMARG
After your arrival in Srinagar we take some lunch
before driving to Sonamarg where we’ll spend the night and get ready to
leave early for The Kashmir Great Lakes Trek.
DAY 2: TREK SONAMARG TO NICHNAI, 6 HRS, 3,458M
After breakfast we take a short drive to the start of our Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. We overlook Sonamarg town, and walk through groves of maple trees, on green meadows, past mountain streams until we reach Shekdur for lunch. This pretty place is a meadow lined by Silver Birch trees with some shepherd’s huts, and as a backdrop snow dusted mountains. After lunch, a slow section over rocks soon transforms into another alpine meadow walk. We’ll make camp here in the meadow with the distant mountains to enjoy.
DAY 3: TREK NICHNAI TO VISHANSAR LAKE, 6 HRS,3,710M
We start early to enjoy the scenic walk through the lush meadow. Thereafter we climb to the Nichnai Pass, a gradual ascent. We have a river crossing, and on the way we encounter the first small lake of this Kashmir trek. The relatively rapid ascent on only the second day of the trek means that you may feel a slight headache and breathlessness from the altitude, but don’t be alarmed. The rocky trail descends rapidly and soon you will be in amongst the meadows again. Enjoy views of the waterfall, the classic snow clad Himalayan mountains, alpine flowers of many hues, as we reach our campsite by the side of the stream which is fed by the lake. Feel free to go fishing here if you have your permit from Srinagar. Vishansar means the lake of Lord Vishnu. Stretching about 1 KM long and 0.6 KM wide, this lake is the main source of the Neelum river.
DAY 4: REST DAY
Day 4 is a rest day - leaving you to explore this gorgeous setting and acclimatize to the altitude.
Overnight at camp.
DAY 5: TREK VISHANSAR LAKE TO GADSAR LAKE, 5 HRS, 3,600M
Today we see the next lake on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek, Kishansar, after taking either the steep path with best photo opportunities, or the gentler less stunningly scenic route. En route to the Gadsar Pass you will be treated to a perfectly lovely view of Kishansar and Vishansar Lakes together, as you head for the highest point of this trek - Gadsar Pass at 13,800 ft (4181 M). Over the pass you will see a few small lakes, and a series of snow clad peaks in the distance which are beyond India’s LOC.
After the two lakes you enter a flat meadow valley with mountain ranges on either side where irises of the most lovely red, blue and purple grow. We camp here at Gadsar, possibly the prettiest of all the Kashmir Great Lakes with its snow clad mountains and valley flowers. This is a campsite you will want many pictures of.
DAY 6: TREK GADSAR TO SATSAR, 6HRS, 3,636M
After breakfast in this stunningly beautiful campsite, we head across the stream and up the mountain, above the treeline, surrounded by mountains. You start with a gentle descent for about an hour, which would make you think this is the easy part of the trek until you encounter the steep ascent for about three hours. A flat meadow walk is your just reward after this challenging section. Finally we reach Satsar, which literally means seven lakes. The Satsar Lake is a series of seven small lakes connected with each other in a cascade formation. The season you trek will determine how many of the lakes have water in them. We pass the Army Camp before camping by the first lake.
DAY 7: TREK SATSAL TO GANGABAR TWIN LAKES, 6 HRS, 3,485M
The Kashmir Great Lakes trek today starts with a boulder-y trail to the main Satsar Lake, before we descend to a forest and climb to a ridge. This pattern of up and down continues throughout the day, but you will be rewarded with some spectacular views of the twin lakes of Gangabal and Nundkol. A final steep descent gets you to the meadows from where a brief climb and a bridge crossing delivers you to the shores of Nundkol Lake. The lake is at the base of Harmukh Peak, and you can see the Harmukh glacier overhanging. Both these lakes are famous for trout fishing so be sure to have your permit and fishing gear ready.
Gangabal Lake is about 20 minutes way from Nundkol and a parikrama of both will take at least an hour.
DAY 8: REST DAY
Day 8 is a rest day - leaving you to sit back, relax and enjoy the stunning views!
DAY 9: TREK GANGABAL TO NARANAG, 6 HRS, 2,258M
Your knees and toes won’t thank you as there is a long steep descent on the Kashmir Great Lakes trek today, so take care. After the pine trees and meadows at the beginning of the day, the steep muddy descent through the pines can seem like a hard slog. The final stretch is along stone paved village track before you reach Naranag and can finally stop walking!
It’s about 50 kms back to Srinagar where you can finally slip off your trekking boots and relax on one of the city’s famous houseboats. Now you finally have time to check all those photos you took!
DAY 10: SRINAGAR SIGHTSEEING OR RELAX
Take an early morning shikara ride to the floating vegetable market, take a stroll around the Dal lake, and visit the justly famous Mughal Gardens of Srinagar. Or you could simply sit on the houseboat verandah with a cup of tea and wait for the traders to come to you!
Our costs are always "all inclusive". There are no hidden costs - your porters and ponies are all part of the costing and so is your local transport. We'd rather you enjoy the vistas than constantly be rummaging for money!
Airport and other transfers in Srinagar as required by the itinerary.
Ten nights accommodation in houseboat/expedition tents on twin sharing basis, including sleeping bags for the trek.
Horses for your personal luggage (you need to carry only a day pack)
All Meals: 10 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, and 10 Dinners.
Guided trek led by qualified guide with adequate number of porters.
All qualified staff including trekking chef, kitchen helpers, service staff etc.
Shikara ride on the Dal Lake
Medical-Kit with necessary medications.
Wages and expenses incurred by our trek crew.
Adventure travel insurance which covers you for hospitalization, medical evacuation and repatriation if necessary.
All currently applicable Taxes and Permits.
Costs Do Not Include:
Local sightseeing in Srinagar on rest day - optional.
International/Domestic air fare or train fare.
Unforeseen expenses that demand a change in itinerary like natural forces, changes in weather, road blockages, flight/train cancellations and illness.
Medical, Travel, or Evacuation insurance.
Personal medical expenses and costs related to rescue evacuation.
Any extra charges incurred due to the hiring of extra horses in case of medical issues etc.
Expenses of a personal nature - tips and gratuity to staff at the end of the trek, laundry, phone calls, beverages.
When we have groups of 4+ people we supply a comprehensive first aid kit carried by your guide. For individual trekkers and small groups (less than 4 people) we supply a basic first aid kit carried by your guide.
All guides and porters are fully equipped with gear and clothing (snow gear, warm gear, sleeping gear).
Sleeping bag and inner based on the altitude (this is supplied is most of our treks. Do check the inclusions under price details to be doubly sure).
What gear you will need to bring with you:
Sleeping bag and liner – a 3 or 4 season bag is recommended, depending on your trek (if it's not in your inclusions already or if you prefer to use your personal one).
Down jacket – need for this depends on the season and where you are going.
Kit / duffel bag – required to pack your gear in (suitcases are not suitable).
Please note: Unless you advise us otherwise we will assume you are bringing these items with you. If you need help to buy or rent them, please just let us know, we’re more than happy to help.
Other items that we recommend you take on trek:
Loose comfortable T-Shirts NOT COTTON or long sleeved shirts for sun protection
Long trousers (for cultural reasons, we request you not to wear tight pants or
shorts. If you really want to wear shorts, please make them loose fitting and long)
A warm jacket / fleece pullover
A thermal layer (shirt and pants)
A water and wind proof layer (jacket and pants)
Woollen or thermal gloves
Sun hat and sun glasses
Woollen or fleece hat
Scarf / stretchy ‘buff’
Socks – depending on the season bring either warm, woollen socks or cool, breathable cotton socks
Comfortable and worn in trekking boots
Sandals or flip flops for camp
A comfortable day pack with adjustable waist and shoulder straps
Personal toiletries - shampoo, soap, shavers, moisturizer, travel towel, etc
Ziplock bags are handy for convenient leak-proof storage
Sun block and lip balm
Dust mask/ scarf / stretchy ‘buff’ for dusty trails
Personal first aid kit + any personal medications you need to take + water treatment tablets/drops
Camera, batteries and charger, music, book
Airtight and waterproof ‘dry bags’ are great for 1) keeping your clothes dry and 2) storing your dirty
laundry separate from clean clothes!
Sleeping bag liner – either silk, cotton or fleece
WATER BOTTLES - please be able to carry 2 litres of water and have bottles that can handle boiling/hot water
HEAD TORCH and spare batteries
Your sense of humour and adventure!
What to take with you in your day pack:
Please carry the following in your day pack, as a minimum:
2 litres of water (please make sure your water bottles will take boiling/hot water)
Sunscreen, sun glasses, sun hat, lip balm, dust mask / scarf / ‘buff’ to help on dusty trails
Warm fleece or thermal layer and gloves
Water proof layer
Any money you want for snacks/drinks along the trail
CRITICAL – take any personal medications you require during the day – you will not see your kit bag until evening.
The rest you can put into your kit bag which will be carried by the porters, whom you won’t see until camp in the evening. It’s a great idea to use dry bags (ie airtight/waterproof) in your kit bag to store your dry clothes in to keep them DRY in case it rains and one to put your dirty laundry in (to keep from making everything else in your bag smell bad!).
Food on trek:
You will probably be surprised by the menu items on an MHE trek. We know how important food is, and we don't stint by giving you 2-minute noodles and Cup a Soup. You'll get real food, home cooked style. And plenty of it!
If you have any special dietary requirements, please advise us when booking your trek so that we can cater for you. Note: sometimes not all dietary requirements are able to be met, but please inform us and we will certainly do our best!
Some tips for staying healthy:
Do NOT drink tap water or untreated water!
Drink only properly boiled water or use water purification tablets, such as iodine. Bottled water is available, but as the plastic cannot be recycled we request you to consider the waste impact of your bottles – we recommend you drink boiled water or use iodine.
Your hands are perhaps your biggest enemy in terms of your health as they get very dirty during the day. Wash your hands before every meal or snack. People often think they get sick from the food, but it’s far more likely they forgot to wash their hands!
During the trek DO NOT try to test your fitness and walk too high, too quickly! Listen to your guide and take their advice as they are trained to look after your safety. Altitude sickness is a killer and you MUST take it seriously.
It is recommended that your personal medical kit includes not only your preferred painkillers, but also throat lozenges, plasters, strapping tape for blisters, etc. If you are taking regular medication you MUST bring those medicines with you PLUS an extra supply in case one pack is lost.
If you have any allergies and/or take any medications, you MUST advise us when booking your trek!
Trekking trails vary from wide, road-like avenues to narrow, slippery paths built out over enormous drops. In many places, a fall from the trail would be fatal. One must pay attention at all times to where you are placing your feet. Be especially careful not to move while looking through the view finder of your camera!
Be prepared for the weather:
Each altitude has its own weather, from tropical heat to arctic cold. In the main trekking seasons in the spring and autumn, the weather is generally stable and even the high passes may be free of snow and relatively easy to traverse at times.
Some trekkers who have encountered an easy day at altitude may spread the word that boots and warm clothing are not required. This is a mistake. Sudden storms occur at any time, dumping snow on the passes without warning. At that point, anyone poorly equipped will not be able to proceed and may even be stranded for a number of days risking their life and the lives of others.
You are heading into the worlds highest mountain range. Be prepared for changes in temperature and weather!!
Altitude and preventing Altitude Sickness
Being in a hurry in the mountains can be deadly. Acclimatization is the word used to describe the adjustments your body makes as it ascends to higher altitudes.
Ascending slowly, with appropriate rest days and drinking plenty of water is one of the best ways not to get Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). Data indicates that drinking 3-4 litres of fluids (water, soup etc) per day to avoid dehydration helps in the acclimatization process.
You should not plan to go to high altitude if you have heart disease, difficulty breathing at sea level or are pregnant. You should consult your doctor about any known medical conditions if you are considering trekking in high altitude (over 2500m).
Avoid sleeping pills, alcohol and smoking while at altitude as they tend to decrease breathing and lead to AMS.
The first aid kit carried by your guide includes Diamox and other altitude medications and he/she is trained in the identification of AMS symptoms and their treatment. You MUST take their advice. If anything happens to your guide the first aid kit has a Wilderness Medicine handbook with comprehensive information about altitude sickness and other ailments.
When relevant, your pre-trek briefing will include information about what to expect and what to do to avoid AMS before embarking on your trek.
Tipping and cash requirements:
While all main meals are provided on trek, do not forget to bring some money for drinks or snacks that you might purchase on the way. You will be surprised by what is available on the popular trekking routes.
The amount to carry on the trekking routes depends on the area you are going to trek in, so please ask your guide for advice. Tipping is now common but there is no strict rule about how much the tip should be. Needless to say, you should only tip if you are satisfied with the service.
Photographing and interacting with local people:
During your trek you will have many opportunities to photograph local people and the amazing scenery and you will use tons of film/memory space! When you want to take a photo of a person, please ask them first and respect their right to refuse – you will be surprised how easy it is to convey the request to take someone’s photo even when you don’t share a common language!
If you have a digital camera it is considerate (and fun!) to show them their photo and if it’s possible to arrange to have copies printed and sent to them this is an amazing gift! However do not promise to do so if you are not sure you can deliver on the promise, so please talk to your guide about this! Photos can be a brilliant way to establish a connection with local people, but please respect their right to privacy.
Refrain from giving money or food to children. There are many good organisations working to help these children and we recommend you support them instead of encouraging them to beg. One other way is to collect books, pencils and other such articles and donate them to village schools you will find on your way.
Considering the Environment:
There are many ways you can help to conserve the environment of the area in which you trek. Here are some simple tips.
While trekking you have to be careful not to destroy the very environment you are enjoying so much. It is not only for your enjoyment - people and wildlife rely on this environment for their drinking water and food supply and many places are of enormous religious significance to local people.
Pick up any litter along the trail.
Burn all your toilet paper and bury your faeces when not in camp, make sure you go at least 50m away from any water source.
Try and avoid making a campfire - if you must, be sure to use only fallen wood. Do not consume food cooked on wood fires.
Drink boiled/treated water instead of mineral water as the plastic bottles are a problem.
Stick to the trails to prevent erosion and damage to fragile alpine flora.
Ensure all rubbish is packed out (or burnt/buried if appropriate).
Insurance: All tour participants on an MHE trek have adventure travel insurance which covers them for hospitalization and medical evacuation and repatriation if necessary.