A place you absolutely have to see – Go, see and explore it now!

I have spent the past 2 months in Srinagar, Kashmir, India. I’m going to tell about the day-to-day life in Srinagar on my later posts. Now I’m giving you one big reason why you absolutely have to go and explore Kashmir. 

If you are at all into nature and exploring and challenging yourself, Kashmir is the place in India you have to see. During my very last week in India, I got to see the most amazing mountain views. Of course, I had seen mountains the whole time while in Kashmir, but from the bottom, it is completely different to climb the mountain and look down. And for this Kashmir is just so perfect.

As said, hiking took place in the last week when I was in Kashmir. I had just been sick for five days, and during those days I couldn’t eat anything, so it wasn’t really the best time to go for a hike, but the time was running out and the mountains were calling us. 🙂 There are many treks in Kashmir, and we decided to go this 3-4 day hike up to Gangabal Lake. My tour guide, my best friend, asked me many many times whether or not I want to have horses to help us carry the stuff we needed and I refused. I really didn’t know what to expect from the hike, but I was determined that if and when we are going, it is going to be for real hike. Meaning that we are carrying our own stuff up the mountain. 

After two hours ride out from Srinagar, we headed up to the mountains. And let me tell you, it really wasn’t an easy journey. For one thing, because we had a total of about 40 kilos of stuff to carry up, but also, once we hit the road, climbing was the only thing that we needed to do; for hours. So, for the first five hours that was exactly what we did, climbing up. We were walking on a path that was covered with big rocks. So we really needed to watch our every step, being extra careful that we won’t slip.

After five hours, we took a first proper break and had something to eat. By this time, I really felt the lack of energy which my friend had to deal with because I was really cranky by that time. 😉 After the break, once we continued toward our camp, the path also became little easier, meaning that there were flat pits also. And, of course, eating something made my world a brighter place. After seven hours of climbing, we reached our destination and set up our camp. 

At the first evening, there wasn’t actually nothing else to do besides eating something, rest and getting ready for the next day’s hike. The original plan was to camp by Gangbal Lake but since the winter in Kashmir had been really cold the lake itself was still partly covered with ice. We had to change our plans and make it a day trip. On the second day, we headed to Gangabal Lake. It took us about 90 minutes to reach there. There was still quite a bit of snow on the way to the lake. But the destination was totally worth to visit. We hang out by the lake for a while and eat something before heading back to our camp. 

The Gangbal Lake, is a lake situated at the foothills of Mount Haramukh, north of Srinagar city in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India.
Surface elevation: 3,575 m

The second night on the mountain was really interesting due to the continuous thunderstorms that seemed to be coming from every direction. At around 2 AM I woke up to really weird sensation. It felt like someone was coming to the tent. The situation woke us up completely, and we found that it was a powerful wind that tested the strength of our tent. We supported our shelter for about 15 minutes until the heavy weather, and above all, the wind past, and it was safe for us to go back to sleep. The second “wind attack” came about two hours later, but fortunately, it was not as strong as the first one.

In the morning after breakfast, we were ready to leave our camp, and we started to climb down. The rain during the night had made the trail a little bit muddy, but luckily it was like that only from here and there. And we were lucky because the weather was warm and sunny all the time we were going down. The funniest thing I found out while climbing down, was that the path and scenery seemed completely different from what it was when we were going up. From time to time, I was sure the path wasn’t even the same. 🙂 But for me, the most astonishing part was, how difficult the path was to climb. I couldn’t believe we went 40 kilos up the mountain on that same path.

The path, covered with this kind of rocks.

Now, once you reached this far, you probably wonder, why on earth you should go to this kind of hike, seem to be so much work, right? Well, let me tell you. First, it is really good to challenge yourself once in a while. It really keeps you alive, and you might learn something valuable about yourself. But, most importantly, the views are just so breathtaking that you really need to go and experience all of it with your own eyes. 

If you are planning to go for a hike somewhere, why not to Kashmir? And if you are interested in going, you can send me a message, because I happen to know the best tour guide for you to take with you to the hike. Now just start planning, mountains are waiting.  

More information: journeywithhanne@gmail.com

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