10 Stunning Lakes in Kashmir you must visit in 2022.

Kashmir, popularly known as the “Paradise on Earth” is undoubtedly the prettiest tourist destinations across the world. From snow-capped mountains to breathtakingly beautiful meadows, pristine lakes to breezy and sparkling rivers, Kashmir has so much to offer to a traveler. For nature and adventure lovers, Kashmir is a must visit place as it offers so many adventure activities, exceptionally gorgeous mountains and valley, scenic trekking and hiking trails, innumerable lakes and also a unique cultural experience! Home to some of the prettiest high altitude alpine lakes, Kashmir is beautiful beyond imagination and a visit to these lakes in Kashmir will leave you awestruck with its surreal beauty.

Here in this blog, we have listed out some of the must visit Lakes in Kashmir. Some of these lakes in Kashmir can be visited by multiday treks and also by day hikes. Some of these lakes in Kashmir are in Srinagar and can easily be reached by road. The exceptional beauty of these lakes is second to none and a visit to these lakes is indeed a delight to the eyes for the travelers seeking an escape to the natural wonders of Kashmir.

Popular Lakes to visit in Srinagar.

1. Dal Lake

One of the most popular lakes in Kashmir, the Dal Lake needs no introduction. Located in the heart of Srinagar, Dal Lake is named as the “Jewel in the crown of Kashmir” due to its integral importance as a popular tourist attraction in Kashmir. This urban lake covering an area of around 18 square kilometres is surrounded by a boulevard lined with houseboats, hotels and gardens and enclosed by the splendid Pir Panjal mountain range. This artificial freshwater lake in Kashmir is a must-see destination for families on vacation, honeymoon couples as well as solo travellers.

Sunrise from a houseboat in Dal Lake, Srinagar.
Beautiful Sunrise views from a Houseboat in Dal Lake, Srinagar.

Quick facts about Dal Lake:

Nearest Airport: Srinagar Airport (Approx. 20 km)

Best time to visit: May to November is best time to visit Dal Lake as the weather is pleasant. Although, it can be visited round the year. Winters are extremely cold and sometimes the lake freezes completely.

Highlights:

– Take a Shikara ride in the morning or evening to experience the colorful sunrise and sunset at the Dal Lake which is a pure delight to the eyes!

– Stay in the Houseboat for a unique experience of living in a floating hotel.

– Visit the floating vegetable market to experience the lifestyle of Kashmiri people.

2. Nigeen (Nageen) Lake 

Nageen Lake or Nigeen Lake is located in Srinagar in Kashmir. This lake is considered as the part of the famous Dal Lake. Relatively less crowded, pristine and clean compared to the Dal Lake, it is getting more popularity in recent times. Located adjacent to Hari Parbat, this lake is surrounded by willow and poplar tress which adds into the beauty of this lake. A Shikara ride during sunset hours is a must do experience for tourist visiting the Nigeen Lake.

Gorgeous sunset views of Nigeen Lake in Srinagar, Kashmir.
Gorgeous sunset views of Nigeen Lake in Srinagar, Kashmir.

Quick facts about Nigeen Lake:

Nearest Airport: Srinagar Airport (Approx. 17 km)

Best time to visit: May to November is best time to visit Nigeen Lake as the weather is pleasant. Although, it can be visited round the year. Winters are extremely cold and sometimes the lake freezes completely.

Popular lakes to visit on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek.

3. Vishnusar Lake or Vishansar Lake

This is the first lake you get to see on the popular Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. Vishnusar lake is located at the altitude of 3710 M ahead of the Nichnai Pass (4100 M). Almost a km in length it is famous for its exquisite turquoise waters.

This high-altitude alpine lake is surrounded by lush green grassy banks and snow-capped mountains. During the day, the crystal-clear water of the lake creates surreal reflections of the dramatic colours of the sky and the mountains!

The lake is named after the Hindu deity Lord Vishnu and the name itself means “Lake of Vishnu”. This huge lake is also the source of Neelam River.

Vishansar Lake on Kashmir Great Lakes Trek
Stunning reflections on the crystal clear water of Vishnusar Lake on Kashmir Great Lakes Trek.

Quick facts:

Altitude: 3710 Meter

Nearest Village: Shitkadi near Sonamarg

Trekking distance from Shitkadi: 2 Days

Best time to visit: June to September

How to reach?

One can reach Vishnusar Lake by trekking from the Shitkadi Village. Shitkadi is a small hamlet near Sonamarg. One can trek to Table top and camp there or walk ahead and camp before the Nichnai Pass. The climb to Nichnai Pass is little challenging and one should be prepared for heavy rain showers as weather is very unpredictable. Although a short trek, good level of fitness is required. One can also hire riding ponies from Shitkadi village.

4. Krishnasar Lake

Krishnasar Lake or Kishansar Lake is second lake on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. It is little ahead of its twin lake Vishnusar and is named after Lord Krishna. It is also approx. 1 km in length and is situated at the same elevation 3710 meter as of Vishnusar lake. It is 1 hr hike from Vishansar lake. The lake is surrounded by beautiful meadows and Kishansar and other lofty jagged peaks.

Krishnasar Lake is famous for the brown trout fish. However, Fishing in Krishnasar Lake is prohibited without a legal permit from the authorities. During winter, the lake remains frozen.

The reflections during the sunrise are an absolute treat to watch and adds to the beauty of this stunning lake in Kashmir.

Krishnasar Lake on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek.
The magnificent Krishnasar Lake.

Quick facts:

Altitude: 3710 Meter

Nearest Village: Shitkadi near Sonamarg

Trekking distance from Shitkadi: 2 Days

Best time to visit: June to September

Views of twin lakes Vishnusar Lake and Krishnasar Lake from the Gadsar Pass on Kashmir Great Lakes Trek.
Views of twin lakes Vishnusar Lake and Krishnasar Lake from the Gadsar Pass on Kashmir Great Lakes Trek.

5. Gadsar Lake

Gadsar Lake is third and most popular lake on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. Undoubtedly, the prettiest lake in Kashmir, Gadsar Lake is famous for its perfectly round shape and sparkling waters. The floating ice bergs add to the beauty of this lake. Gadsar means “Lake of Fishes” and it is also a natural habitat of the famous brown trout fish. Gadsar lake has some interesting mythology associated with it and it is also known as Yamsar which means “Lake of death”.

Situated at an altitude of 3600 Meters, Gadsar Lake is surrounded by beautiful meadows with colourful flowers all around its shore.

Floating ice blocks on Gadsar Lake in Kashmir.
Floating ice blocks on the Gadasar Lake, Kashmir.

Quick facts:

Altitude: 3600 Meter

Nearest Village: Shitkadi near Sonamarg

Trekking distance from Shitkadi: 3 Days

Best time to visit: June to September

How to reach?

One needs to trek over the Gadsar Pass at the altitude of 4200 Meters which is the highest pass on the Kashmir great lakes trek. From Vishansar Lake to Gadsar Lake; it is a challenging trek and takes around 6-7 hours.

6. Nundkol Lake

Nundkol is one of the twin lakes of the famous Gangabal Lake. This is also the last campsite on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. Nundkol lake is situated at the base of Mt. Harmukh, which is considered a sacred mountain by the locals.

The lake offers magnificent views of Mt. Harmukh and is a perfect space to camp. Naranag is the nearest village which is just a day hike and takes around 5-6 hours. During Summer, many locals visit this lake from Naranag which is a day trek and spend couple of days camping at the shore of this pristine lake.

Nundkol Lake in Kashmir situated at the foothills of Mt. Harmukh.
Nundkol Lake in Kashmir situated at the foothills of Mt. Harmukh.

Quick facts:

Altitude: 3505 Meter

Nearest Village: Naranag

Trekking distance from Naranag: 1 Day (Approx 14km)

Best time to visit: June to September

How to reach?

Nundkol Lake is a 1-day (5-6 hours) trek from the nearest village Naranag. The trek is through a dense forest and it’s a steep climb for initial 2 hours. Although it’s a challenging trek, it can be done by fit beginners and amateur trekkers. It is an ideal option for someone looking for a short trek and camping in Kashmir.

The other way to reach this lake is to trek from Sitkadi near Sonamarg via the Vishansar Lake, Krishnasar Lake, Gadsar Lake and Satsar Lake on the standard Kashmir Great Lakes Trek route.

7. Gangabal Lake

Gangabal Lake is the last lake on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. With the length of more than 2km, it is one of the biggest lakes in the region. Gangabal is situated at the foothill of Mt. Harmukh and is fed by its melting glaciers. Depending on the weather, this lake remains mostly covered in clouds and mist. However, on a clear sunny day one can get to experience the brilliant views of the sparkling water of the lake and magical reflections of the sky and surrounding hills.

Gangabal Lake, one of the biggest lakes in Kashmir Great Lakes Trek.
Gangabal Lake, one of the biggest lakes in Kashmir Great Lakes Trek.

Quick facts:

Altitude: 3575 Meter

Nearest Village: Naranag

Trekking distance from Naranag: 1 Day (Approx. 13km)

Best time to visit: June to September

How to reach?

It’s a 1-day trek from the nearest village Naranag. The best way to reach Ganagbal Lake is via Naranag through a 13km long trek. One can camp near its twin lake, Nundkol Lake and then can do a short hike for 20 minutes to visit the Gangabal Lake.

The trek from Naranag to Gangabal is approx. 13 km and is through a dense forest for the most part of the trek. The initial climb is steep and then the trail merges to open meadows.

One can also visit this lake as part of the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek following the trekking route that starts from Shitkadi village near Sonamarg.

Popular lakes to visit in Aru Valley near Pahalgam in Kashmir.

8. Tarsar Lake

The stunning lake of Tarsar is one of the most popular places to visit in the Aru Valley in Kashmir and is part of the popular Tarsar Marsar Trek. Situated at the altitude of approximately 3795 meters this lake is surrounded by beautiful mountains and spectacular meadows. The beauty of this magnificent lake is second to none. The magical reflections of the clouds and surrounding hills creates such surreal views. Words fall short to describe the beauty of this nature’s wonder! The trek to Tarsar Lake is an easy grade trek and is popular among first time trekkers and families looking for an active holiday in the mountains.

Trekker enjoying surreal views of Tarsar Lake in Kashmir.
Trekker enjoying surreal views of Tarsar Lake in Kashmir.

Quick facts:

Altitude: 37955 Meter

Nearest Village: Aru

Trekking distance from Aru: 3 Days

Best time to visit: June to September

How to reach?

There are two routes available to visit Tarsar Lake.

1. From Aru via Lidderwat

One can do a short trek to Tarsar Lake via Aru village near Pahalgam. From Aru it’s a 3 days trek. The trek is easy grade and on an average one needs to walk for about 5-6 hours daily. The trek from Aru to Lidderwat is through a beautiful forest with trail passing alongside the Lidder river. From Lidderwat the trail opens up to beautiful meadows and take you to the Shekwas campsite. From Shekwas one can do an excursion to Tarsar Lake and then trek back to Aru.

2. From Gagangir via Basmai Pass

This is a relatively difficult trekking route for someone looking for a challenging hike to the Tarsar Lake. The trek starts from Gagangir near Sonamarg and the trail passes through Basmai Pass located at the altitude of 12,459 feet. The trek ends at Sumbal which is around 30 km from Sonamarg.

9. Marsar Lake

Marsar Lake is second lake of the popular twin lakes of Tarsar and Marsar Lakes located in the Aru valley near Pahalgam in Kashmir. Surrounded by gorgeous alpine meadows, Marsar Lake is famous for its turquoise blue water and breath-taking views of surrounding mountains that separates it from its twin lake Tarsar Lake.

The turquoise water of this high-altitude lake shimmer like a precious opal set against the lush green of the meadows and the panoramic views that greet you as you reach the top of mountain passes is truly breath-taking.

Marsar Lake in Aru Valley
Marsar Lake in Kashmir

Quick facts:

Altitude: 3800 Meter

Nearest Village: Aru

Trekking distance from Aru: 4 Days

Best time to visit: June to September

How to reach?

Marsar Lake is around 4-5 hour of trekking from its twin lake Tarsar Lake. One can reach this lake via two different routes i.e. 1) Easy 4 days trek from Aru or 2) challenging trek from Gagangir via Basmai Pass.

10. Tuliyan Lake

One of the most scenic lakes near Pahalgam, Tuliyan Lake is popular for its magical colours and surreal reflections in its crystal-clear water. Situated between the Pir Panjal and Zanskar range of the mountains this lake is popular for its ever changing colors and crystal clear waters.

Just a day hike from Pahalgam, it is an easy to moderate grade trek which can be done partially on horse and partially by trekking. The total distance of around 15 km makes it a challenging hike and it takes about 7 hours to complete the trek. The initial trek to Tulian Lake via Baisaran is through a beautiful forest which opens up into a valley. The last stretch is full of boulders and moraines which makes it a little adventurous hike.

Quick facts:

Altitude: 3684 Meter

Nearest Village: Pahalgam

Trekking distance from Pahalgam: 1 Day , approximately 15 km (6-7 hours)

Best time to visit: April to August

How to reach?

One can hire local guide and horses from Pahalgam who can organise camping at the valley little ahead of the lake. It is recommended to start the trek from Pahalgam early morning to reach the lake by afternoon.

We hope this blog will help you to plan your next trip to some of the most beautiful lakes in Kashmir, India. If you know any more such hidden gems, do share with us in the comments.

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1 Comment

  1. kashmir tourism

    thanks

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