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Culture Watch: KASHMIR’S GREAT ALPINE LAKES

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Culture Watch: KASHMIR’S GREAT ALPINE LAKES
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1 Oct 2020

    Kashmir has been a subtle reminder that poetry needn’t reside in pages and words alone, where the ink has faded and the pages have turned yellow. It is a living breathing form with a pulse that you can feel, a heartbeat that you can hear and an expression that you can embody.

   In heartbreaks and in love, in tears and smiles, in despair and hope, in tragedy and joy, in every nook and corner, every street, brick and bread, and leaf and ripple, Kashmir is poetry brought to life. And just like in the best of poems, Kashmir is where the highest form of happiness meets the deepest sorrow. But the ink is still wet, the verses still being penned.

     As they say, once you visit Kashmir your heart stays there forever, but Kashmiris more than just Srinagar, Gulmarg and Sonamarg.In Kashmir, also known as the paradise on earth, nestle some of the most divine and exotic lakes of the world, with goose bumps inducing, mesmerizing and scenic views.

      This is where the ‘Kashmir Great Lakes’ trek happens. Trekking is the only way to access these untouched tranquil areas of Kashmir.

   This trek is a moderately difficult one which involves crossing over three mountain passes to reach innumerable high altitude lakes. It involves great deal of ascents and descents every day of the 7 day long trek, making it physically and mentally challenging. But the rejuvenating fragrance of the pine trees and views of the peaceful valley become one of the reasons to stay motivated on this trek.

    The beautiful turquoise lakes are the dominant feature in this trek, but that’s not all, it has many more things to offer that are bound to take one’s breath away. It is an exemplary example of the beauty of the state.The three mountain passes on this trail are Gadsar pass, Nichnai and Zaj pass, the highest point being 13,800 ft on the Gadsar pass.

     There are 7 Alpine lakes that one experiences across the Kashmir great lakes trek. Vishnusar lake being the first one on the trail. Manoeuvring the sharp ascend through boulders along with the mesmerizing views of the glacial ice on peaks and wild colourful flowers is how one crosses the Nichnai valley to reach the Kishansar and Gadsar lakes while negotiating the steep Gadsar pass (13,800ft).

       Next comes the Satsar lake, satsar literally means seven lakes. Two of which are seen on this trek and the rest of them spread in the lap of nearby mountains.The most beautiful of the seven alpine lakes of this trek comes next. The twin lakes Gangabal and Nandkol. These two are nestled across the Zaj pass at the feet of the mighty snow clad Harmukh peak. These crystal clear alpine lakes change colours all through the day. Starting at clear at dawn to sea green to light blue to inky blue by the evening.

    It will not be an exaggeration to say that the green is greener and blue is bluer in Kashmir. Every colour so brightly saturated as if watching it on an IMAX 3D screen.

     Some of the lakes also have some legends attached to them of monstrous aquatic animals gobbling up the sheeps that come close to the lakes while grazing. The stories shared by the local guides while negotiating the boulders only motivate the trekkers to keep moving.

    It is not only these lakes but white glacier patches, green carpet of beautiful meadows, soulful sounds of water streams, the company of horses neighing, shepherds and their flock of sheep, and the blissful silence encapsulates ones soul and trapping them back in Kashmir even long after returning from the trek.

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