From the very beginning this trek pleases the heart and soul. Starting from the picturesque village of Aru right till Sumbal, it is spectacularly beautiful. The Kolahoi Glacier is Kashmir’s biggest glacier and the main water source of the Jhelum. Kolahoi is Kashmir’s only perennial source of water. It is named after the Kolahoi peak (‘Goddess of Light’/“Gwash Brari”) that is called so by the Gujjars because the sun appears right behind it every morning that frequent the area for grazing. The Kolahoi Glacier is a hanging glacier and is five kilometers long. Apart from the Kolahoi Glacier the High Altitude Glacial lakes of Tarsar, Marsar & Sundarsar should satisfy ones longing for a beautiful Kashmir trek. Long quiet walks through Kashmir meadows, spectacular views of the Kolahoi peak, the beautiful calm and mystical lakes and a pass crossing make this an exciting must-do trek in the Kashmir Valley.
Day 01 : Delhi-Aru (2420 m)
Arrive Srinagar early morning. Board waiting vehicles to be driven straight to Aru Village in the Lidder valley (4-5hrs). Breakfast enroute. Overnight Aru.
Day 02 : Aru-Khaleyn (7 hrs; 14 kms; 3420 m)
We have an early morning breakfast and wait for horses to arrive and load our bags onto them. We set of on the true right of the Aru river. Looking back we get beautiful overhead views of Aru Village. The climb is a long gradual uphill through the forests of birch, maple & pine. Our campsite is at Khaleyn near Gujjar huts next to the Kolahoi river. Overnight Khaleyn Camp (3400 m).
Day 03 :Khaleyn-Kolahoi Glacier-Satlanjan (5 hrs; 9 kms; 3350 m)
We leave after an early meal and walk on the trail leading to the snout of the Kolahoi Glacier. The trail goes through birch forests and is gradual all the way to the Glacier base. We get our first view of the Kolahoi Peak soon into the walk. The Kolahoi Peak (5425 m) is the second highest peak in the Kashmir Valley after Machoi Peak (5458 m). We come back to camp at Satlanjan. The meeting point of the seven nallahs, also considered to be a Gujjars grazing paradise. Overnight Satlanjan camp (3250 m).
Day 04 : Satlanjan-Lidderwat (6 hrs; 12 kms; 3050 m)
Today we descend through the beautiful meadows to Lidderwat, which literally means the village at the Lidder River. It is an easy but long walk with the scenery changing ever so often. Lidderwat Camp is close to an old dilapidated tourist cottage. Overnight Lidderwat Camp (3050 m).
Day 05 : Lidderwat-Shekhwas (5 hrs; 6 kms; 3242 m)
We head out after an early breakfast on a comfortable trail that is mostly ascending. The day gets exciting with a river crossing right after walking past some flat grounds. After crossing the pine forests we climb swiftly crossing a few Gujjar huts on the way to our camp.
Overnight Shekhwas Camp (3242 m).
Day 06 : Shekhwas-Tarsar (4 hrs; 5 kms; 3780 m)
It is a short gentle climb to the Tarsar Lake. The mysterious lake’s turquoise blue water is surrounded by lush green meadows. The gradient is gradual and this walk in the meadow gives a great opportunity to commune with nature. People are allowed to enjoy the walk at their own pace and guides spread out a bit. We camp next to the Tarsar Lake. Overnight Tarsar Camp (3780 m).
Day 07 : Tarsar-Sundersar (5 hrs; 5 kms; 4000 m)
Today is a big day as we head out early and climb the Tarsar Pass (4115 m). The trail ascends steeply in the beginning, with a decent following it and a last gentle ascent to Sundarsar. We camp close to the Sundarsar lake which though not as big as the Tarsar lake is just as breathtaking. Visit Marsar. Overnight Sundarsar (4000 m).
Day 08: A day to acclimatize/Visit to Marsar (1 hrs; 2 kms; 4100 m)
A day to relax, read and acclimatize or take a short walk near camp to visit the viewpoint of the elusive Marsar Lake.
Day 09 : Sundarsar-Sonmasti (4 hrs; 5 kms; 3355 m)
We start our day early and begin the sharp descent to Sonmasti a few meters after camp. We walk across the waterfall and along a series of ledges and try to avoid scree as much as we can. Each of these ledges has a little stream that runs down from snow melts and falls down to the ledge below forming a clear pond, before sliding off the cliff as a waterfall. The Sonmasti valley floor is beautiful with small streams, brooks and green pastures.
Day 10 : Sonmasti-Sumbhal (5 hrs; 11 kms; 1980 m)/Srinagar
Today we make the sharpest descent of the whole trek. We will start after an early breakfast to catch the day young. A 1375 m descend awaits your knees! Descend to Sumbal and drive 25km to Srinagar. Overnight at houseboat with a traditional dinner at the Dal Lake, Srinagar.
Day 11 : After breakfast, drive to Srinagar airport. Trip ends.