The hustle bustle of the third wave and paradigm shift of media attention from the pandemic Covid-19 to Taliban attack on the Kabul, many of the trekkers who showed interest initially, later backed out apprehending an attack in Kashmir too.
Though Kashmir has been a disturbed area for more than two decades but nevertheless a few from Mysuru city and Bengaluru city took little extra courage and went on a trek to the Great Lakes of Kashmir from August 24 to 31, says Purushotham M a contractor of Mysuru.
“As I had been in this region way back in 1988 when the situation was cool and calm but now it was little apprehensive to go to as there was a sword hanging on the head about any time gun fire can happen due to various factor but nevertheless we twelve members from the state decided to go come what may ever and face the challenges with grit determination,” says Jagadamba of Bangalore.
It was wonderful season to see the flowering time in the wilderness, boulders and you can hear the gurgling sound of the streams passing underneath you, but you can’t see them, hail storms, rains passing clouds, fog, glaciers, Lakes and what not, and what an individual can dream about Kashmir was all there to experiencing it in this trek says Pranavi a student of 11th Class from Bangalore.
About 12 members drawn from different profession from Mysore and Bangalore city congregated for this expedition. But there was one student from Bangalore who had just finished her 10th class and she and her parents were apprehensive as she was not vaccinated. But nevertheless the sword always hanged on the head, who are not vaccinated due to various reasons. But Negative RTPCR was enough to take care it.
As and how we arrived at the Sonamarg in the evening, we camped at the river side of the Sindh River and could hear the gurgling sound of the river flowing down the lane. We celebrated the birthday of our team leader and retired to the tent.
As we get up in the morning, most of were excited to leave for the trek to the Nichnai, but we started at 11am. As the permission to trek came late so we started little late and as we traversed to the uphill, we were encountered by the olive green uniform chaps checking the permission of the
trek and they see the proper details of the trekkers, guide and the mule person too.
As we trekked uphill, we again Criss-Crossed the paths again with army chaps who asked, hope all is well and here we were exquisite, why army chaps on the route again and when we had a chat
they said they were here for our safety and to make sure that no one harms our interest on the route.
As we walked and walked for the day it was such an arduous trek it took more than 8 hours to cover a distance of 11.2 kms to reach Nichnai. It was challenging day that sprained my leg on the route says Dr Kalavathi S a gynecologist from Mysore.
But nevertheless on next day all the trekkers encouraged me and she was accompanied by nevertheless most experienced trekker Tiger Solanki to make sure that she sails for the day to reach the destination of 12 kms to Vishansar Lake via Nachnai Pass. As we reached the Vishansar lake we found the beautiful meadows enroute it was such a feast for the camera to capture the moments.
As some of them suggested to stay back for the acclimatization, we didn’t take that rest day and we climbed up hill to Gadsar pass via Vishansar and Kishansar lake, though both the lakes looks very small when we went nearer to it and clicked pictures, but as we climbed uphill to the Gadsar pass.
We could see the beautiful heart of the trekkers left behind to Kishansar Lake. But many of them claim that this lake is good or that lake is good but I will say Kishansar Lake simply stole the heart of the trekkers says Dr Hemalatha of Bangalore.
After the arduous climb of 4 kms of the Gadsar pass we simply walked 12 kms more through the Gadsar lake and many such glacial lakes enroute but this three lakes Vishansar, Kishansar and Gadsar lakes on single day was difficult to digest to differentiate what is awaited more for the
trekkers says Harish of Mysore.
We reached the Gadsar meadow and camped there for the overnight and what we see next day the broken glacier to be crossed, and falling stones from the top and caving mud below send shiver in the spine and needs to be traversed with utmost care. Alas it can dangerous if it caves or stones fall in but we got to be extraordinary careful while crossing such paths says Sunil PB of Mysore.
After traversing the dangerous paths we walked about 10kms to Satsar Lake amidst the hovering clouds signaling to rain any time but Lord Indra was graceful on us that day and we reached the Satsar to camp on the meadows.
After arduous trek on the boulders, crossing several streams, glaciers, rain and sun shine, we were facing the tough situation at Satsar, it rained heavily last night and in the early morning when we wanted to go for the trek the clouds and the fog covered the whole area and the situation was grim as the visibility was almost like Zero. So we had no other choice, just to sit and keep the fingers crossed to clear the weather and then proceed for the next destination Gangabal via Zaj Pass.
As the day proceeded we tried to trek amidst the bad weather later as we had to cross the Zaj Pass as early as possible, as to avoid the weather getting worse. But trekking amidst the zero visibility was a challenge as the other participants couldn’t be seen and we had to go via voice modulation to avoid getting lost says Mr Mahesh Shanthilal Chopda of Bangalore.
As we trekked amidst the boulders, we came across several challenges like slipping of rocks, rains and hail storm but it was a good experience says Sunil P B an industrialist of Mysore city.
But after climbing the Zaj Pass the descend was also equally challenging as it had rained and walking down the lane for next 5 kms was more or less slippery path till we reached the gangabal.
But the view of the peak like Harmukh was astonishing and the twin lakes at gangabal was another feast to the eyes.
On the last day we descended to Naranag village amidst the boulders and slippery path and one mistake of yours can ruin your whole program says Jagadamba of Bangalore.
In the village we could see the ruins of the temple which was on the path of the vandalism as their exist no Hindu
pandits in that village to upkeep the temple complex and the local youths and others go
there to connect their mobile and keep hovering there in the area.
The team consisted of Nirmala M, Manjunath, Harish, Purushotham, Swetha MM, Dr Kalavathi, Pranavi, Dr Hemalatha, Mahesh Shanthilal Chopda, Jagadamba, Mr Sunil Kumar and D S D Solanki.
( The writer is an ardent adventure enthusiast and Chairman of Tiger Adventure Foundation)
– Team Mysoorunews