Kashmir Great Lakes - July, 2013 Photo Contest

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Kashmir Great Lakes - July, 2013 Photo Contest

Category Photo Contest

By Sandhya UC



The contest results are out !  The top five winning photos are below. Our Judge Srinivasa Prasath shares with you why the pictures turned up winners. Post your comments below.

First Prize: Varuna Raina

Dont let the Sun go down on me

Judge Prasath says Varuna Raina’s  – “Bliss” is all I can think of when I look at this photograph. This picture reflects a mood of peaceful evening and what a serene setup to convey this feeling! Sunset is adding a tinge of warmth to the cold environment & drama to the frame. Light and tones are perfectly complementing the mood. Composition wise there is a beautiful play of lines in this shot. The pile of stones on the bottom thirds is splitting the lake by color and also connects the people. Horizon being the next repetetive pattern, takes the attention further deep into the frame. The depth is good to show the details on the further hazy end where one can see the glacier feeding the lake. People are well positioned to balance the frame nicely. Overall scores in all the elements that make the photograph standout in portraying such a mesmerizing environment. Without doubts, number ONE!


Second Prize: Alok Sharma


Horses in Heaven


LSP says Alok Sharma’s picture is a wonderful spotting by the photographer! The reflection here is pretty much symmetrical and the positioning of horses inside the frame is spot-on. Beautiful soft light is adding a glow to the scene and gives life to colors. But a little glitch in composition is taking away the intensity that this picture deserves. Photographer could have zoomed out a bit to include a bit more space above the mountains on the top, that would’ve automatically included more of the reflection at the bottom and completed the entire mountain in the reflection as well. Right now the frame looks a bit tight and aesthetically less balanced. Looking beyond that glitch, the depth is perfectly handled here! Deserves to be second.


Third Prize: Kirtana



L S Prasath says ‘ It is a very nostalgic feeling to lie down and watch the stars. It can be a philosophical experience too. Seldom in the city life do we get time to sit back and enjoy the stars. Even if one wants to, the light pollution of the city reduces visibility of stars to a great extent that one has to drive to city outskirts to see the real beauty of the sky! Hiking to these beautiful places far off from the civilization offers a nice opportunity to sit back and enjoy the beauty the night sky has to offer. This photograph is a result of a commendable effort to record the galaxy we belong to – ‘The Milky Way!’, which is possible only under pitch dark conditions like this. Exposure is great to get good amount of details in the night sky. The colors, the cluster of stars and our galaxy perfectly stand out in the frame! It was a good idea to include the campsite to give reference on the earth and the location where it was shot, instead of a frame with sky alone. Only thing that hits me hard is the pure wastage of bottom one-thirds which could’ve been effectively utilized to include more details from the sky, which is ofcourse brilliant in this case. Having a mini tripod handy would’ve enabled the photographer to tilt the camera to an angle to keep the tent and mountain on the bottom thirds and completely fill the rest two-thirds with sky. Given the limitations that photographer had at that time, it was handled smartly using a supporting rock. Nice attempt but could be refined in the next available opportunity! Stands Third.



Here are the shortlisted 17 best photos of the Great lakes trek. Trekkers were asked to submit their best photos from the trek for the contest.


Our Judges will now run through these photos and choose one among them as the winner. Before the judge chooses, tell us which of these photos deserve the best photo award (use the comments box below).


The photographs selected here are in random order. The numbers attributed to the photos are to identify the photographer and does not denote any ranking by Indiahikes. Use the number and the name of the person to make your comments. Please click on the photo to view the enlarged image.



A note from Indiahikes:


The winners get the following awards from Indiahikes.


The winner of the photo contest gets a Rs 5,000 Trek Voucher from Indiahikes.

Rs 2,500

Rs 1,000

 About our Judge:

lsp (1)

Our Judge – Srinivasa Prasath is a trekker, traveller and a freelance photographer. A software programmer by profession, he loves to travel length and breadth of this country to document its beauty,  diverse lifestyle and culture of the people. When he takes a break from his mundane life, he simply hangs out in the higher shelves of Himalayas, totally relaxing in the lap of Mother nature. You can find his work here



Sheep in Heaven

1- Photographer: Alok Sharma

Place :Vishnusagar lake, around 5.00  p.m

“Serenity at Vishnusagar lake. Though I had to drag myself after a leg-crunching hard trek on Day 3 to view this breathtaking sight, I am so glad I did. I waited until the sheep were closeby, and quitely took this photograph after changing the angle a few times says Alok on why and how he took this photograph.


Horses in Heaven

2-Photographer: Alok Sharma

“In the evening, as my trek mates were busy playing cricket, or relaxing with hot tea, I spotted these beautiful horses grazing the land. Their reflection in the water was too divine and picturesque to be ignored. “. says Alok on why and how he took this photograph..


A few good men!

3-Photographer: Ameek

Place :  Nundkul campsite, About 6 p m in the evening.

“The horsemen used to smoke hookah every evening and it was a scene which I had decided to shoot since the first time I saw them.”. says Ameek on why and how he took this photograph..

Camera Settings : – Date taken02/08/2013 18:03, Dimensions800 x 419, CameraNIKON D5100, Focal Length35 mm, Exposure1/2500F Numberf/1.8ISO320, FlashNot used


 Eat all you can buffet. At 12,000 ft.”

4-Photographer: Ameek

Ameek says “I used a Circular Polariser to shoot this photograph. This for me is a scene which I had not scene at any other trek : Vast meadows filled with thousands of sheep. It was majestic..

Camera Settings : Camera – NIKON D5100, Focal Length- 18 mm,  Exposure -1/2000, F Number- f/3.5, Exposure Bias- 0.33 EV.


The Rolling Meadow


5-Photographer: Ananthjeet

Place :  On the way to satsar campsite. Around noon.

“This photo was taken on a particularly long trail on the way to satsar campsite, with meadows on both sides. It was a sunny day and a perfect opportunity for me to use my Polariser.”. says Ananthjeet on why and how she took this photograph….

Camera Settings : Camera – NIKON D5100, Focal Length – 18 mm, Exposure – 1/200, F Number – f/13, ISO – 640, Exposure Bias – 0.33 EV

Twin lakes of Vishansar & Kishansar viewed from Gadsar Pass


6-Photographer: Annit

Place :  Gadsar Pass (Alt. 13,750 ft), 12 noon

“I clicked this when we were at the highest point of the Kashmir Great Lakes trek – the Gadsar Pass at 13,750 ft. A steep climb of about 2 hrs brought us to the pass and we were rewarded with this stunning view of the twin lakes close to which we camped the night before”. says Annit on why and how he took this photograph….

Camera Settings : Camera NIKON D3000, Focal Length 29mm, Exposure 1/160, F Number f/22, ISO 400


One photo to capture them all.


7-Photographer: Harish Thangaraj

Place :  23rd July 2013. Time: 12:52pm. Location: Near Kishansar Lake

“Bright Blue Skies, Scenic Hazy Clouds, Towering Snow-clad Mountains, Gigantic White Glaciers, Deep Reflective Lakes, Gentle Meandering Streams, Green Virgin Meadows, Blooming Yellow Flowers, Majestic Brown Horses – How better can I capture this trek in a single shot?”. says Harish on why and how he took this photograph….

Camera Settings : Nikon D5100 – ISO: 100. Exposure: 1/250 sec. F Stop: f/8. Focal Length: 26mm


Light towards the Life

8-Photographer: Harshad Chhatre

Place :  Gadsar Campsite in the early Morning around 6.30 – 7 am.

“This photo was taken because there was beautiful light on the mountain and the scene was looking more beautiful because of the horses on the lush green meadows”. says Harshad on why and how he took this photograph….

They call it mini – Switzerland


9-Photographer: Jagadeesh

Place : At Gadsar Lake, 1.08 p.m

“Soon after having lunch at the Gadsar lake, team started walking ahead. The weather was gloomy with interim rains. As i walked, turned back to get a final view of Gadsar lake and then captured this”. says Jagadeesh on why and how he took this photograph..

Camera Settings : Focal Length 18mm , Exposure 1/200  , F = f/8  ,ISO 100

Pearls of Kashmir

10-Photographer: Jagadeesh

Place : Near Satsar Camp site, 6.07 p.m

“It was during evening, we four of them decided to take a walk to the nearby ridge hoping to find one of the satsar lake. While the rest decided to sit on the banks , I decided to walk past the stream to reach the other shore to get a better view. The lake was very small and the peak next it was blocking the sunlight to get a betterpicture. Hence I decided to walk back on the boulders. I tried few shots while walking back and this is one of them.”. says JAgadeesh on why and how he took this photograph….

Camera Settings :  Focal Length 10mm, Exposure 1/160, F = f/9, ISO 200


11-Photographer: Kirtana

Place : Gangabal, 21:04 pm, 26 july 2013

“On our last night after dinner, we spread out a poncho, lay down, watched stars fall and sang old hindi songs till the moon rose. Personally, the memory of this night makes this photograph special. This is a handheld exposure, camera propped on a rock for stability..”. says Kirtana on why and how she took this photograph….

Camera Settings :  30.0 sec exposure at f/4.0, focal length 16mm, ISO 1600

12-Photographer: Manmay



13-Photographer: Nupur Singh

Place : 26th July 2013 at 5:42pm near Gangabal Lake

“The everyday life of the Harmukh Glacier depicted by a carefree and untouched mystical landscape. The warm and tempting rays quietly radiating the clouds and the glacier –  creating a perfect afterglow. A casual sunset amidst mountains, lake and clouds – an honest attempt to capture one of the most amazing evening of my life, that I shall remember for the times to come…”. says Nupur on why and how she took this photograph….

Camera Settings :  AV-F/9, TV-1/60, ISO-100, FL-18mm


14 – Nithin Sanghe

Vishansar – If God were to come down to Earth, he would certainly choose to relax here. Pristine!

15-Photographer: Raghuram

Place : Vishansar Lake at around 6pm

“This photo is of Vishansar lake. After a long day’s trek (I think this was the end of second day, when we trekked from Nichnai to Vishansar), we reached the camp site. The camp site was the most beautiful location I have seen in my life. A couple of my fellow trekkers who had reached the camp early, had gone a little further over a small hillock and seen the lake (Vishansar) and were raving about it. I was so exited by their descriptions that I decided to check it out myself. And so I went, in-spite of my body aches. And boy, was I rewarded! I again saw the most beautiful scenery of my life! Yes, the record was broken twice on the same day!”. says Raghuram on why and how he took this photograph….

I Came, I Saw.. and I Surrendered

16-Photographer: Shivaprakash

Place :  Gadsar pass, 9.45 AM

“Looked back to find the guy appearing to be so tiny in front of the mighty mountain. With the man, lake and the mountain i thought it would make a great photo”. says Shivprakash on why and how he took this photograph….

Camera Settings : 1/200, f/8, ISO 100


Dont let the Sun go down on me


17-Photographer: Varuna Raina

Place : Nundkol lake.

“This photograph was captured at Nundkol lake. I had gone to Gangbal lake and on my way back i saw Saranbir and Naman(one group) and Vaidehi and Jasmine(other group)  sitting at two corners of lake. This was our last day of trek as tomorrow was way back to Naranag. Sun was gradually setting and I wanted to capture that perfect moment of bliss which had touched our lives unknowingly.In that moment of serenity,there was happiness,quiet solitude and abundance of memories to cherish. I remembered song from Elton John..Dont let the Sun go down on me..”. says Varuna on why and how she took this photograph….


Sandhya UC

Co-Founder & COO

About the author

Sandhya is a founding partner at Indiahikes. Over the past ten years, she has explored and put on the map few of the greatest Himalayan treks in India, including Kashmir Great Lakes and Kedarkantha. She is a TedX Speaker and has been awarded the Women of Worth Award by Outlook Business in 2017.

She believes in sustainable living just as she believes in sustainable trekking.

Read a feature on Sandhya in Outlook Business

Read Sandhya's other articles

Read Sandhya's TedX Talk
How I Climbed The Mountain Of Entrepreneurship