35 Spectacular Photos From The Warwan Valley Expedition

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35 Spectacular Photos From The Warwan Valley Expedition

Category Photo Story

By Aayush Jakhete

2022-08-24

Warwan Valley Trek is the grandest in our country. At Indiahikes, we call it ‘The’ Warwan. There is no trek you would have done that can match the experience of this trek. And no trek you do after this will come close.

This is what our Chief Explorer & Senior Trek Leader, Nitesh Kumar, realised when he led a team to Warwan Valley (on August 7th, 2022). He said, "One emotion to describe this trek is in a sentence — Warwan sab ka Baap hai, kasam se!"  

In his words, "How does a single trek have everything at once, and every day? Each day, the landscapes differed, and those landscapes' scale was huge, even for my lens."

This trek was extremely special for Nitesh for a big reason. "I realised that as we entered our 76th year of independence, I led my 76th team as a Trek Leader at Indiahikes. I'm really proud of that, and this time it was even more special because it was the Warwan!"

So today, we want to take you through this long photo story that Nitesh has put together. Through some of the best photos we have seen of Warwan Valley, he takes you on the whole trek through his lens. All the photos in this photo story have been shared by Nitesh.

Before that, do take a look at this map of the Warwan Valley trek, to get a bearing of the locations in the photographs. 

Warwan Valley - Kashmir Trek - Indiahikes

Warwan Valley trek Map.

Warwan Valley - Panikhar - Kashmir Trek - Indiahikes

Panikhar Village, located in Suru Valley, is a beautiful village full of farms and fields. This is also the basecamp for the Warwan Valley Trek. 

The trek starts from Panikhar Basecamp and on the second day you trek to Denora. From Panikhar, it is a 13 km trek to Denora. Notice the brown barren Ladakhi landscape as you trek.

“When I reached Panikhar and started for Denora. My eyes started glittering to see those colours, patterns, shapes and drama. I wish I could take a buffer day at each campsite. I was getting emotional seeing all this,“ explains Nitesh.

Warwan Valley - Paniklhar - Kashmir Trek - Indiahikes

Enroute to Denora with Chalong Nar gushing on the left. You’ll walk around 12 km today. The Chalong Nar will be present throughout the trail.

Warwan Valley - Paniklhar - Kashmir Trek - Indiahikes

Looking back at the trail from Panikhar. You’ll notice the mountains are almost barren showing the ladakhi landscape 

Warwan Valley - Denora - Kashmir Trek - Indiahikes

Wide valley opening at Denora.

Warwan Valley - Denora - Kashmir Trek - Indiahikes

Denora Campsite. Plain river basin. Denora is the confluence of two rivers. You’ll witness multiple meadows between the rivers, each lushier than the other.

Warwan Valley - Denora - Kashmir Trek - Indiahikes

Barren Ladakhi  Landscape. We see this at the starting of the Warwan Valley trek.

On the third day, the trek from Kalapari to Kaintal Meadows via Lomvilad Pass is the longest and most challenging day on the trek full of adventure!

Warwan Valley - Kalapari - Kashmir Trek - Indiahikes

View of Kalapari Top as you start your trek from Kalapari. In monsoon, the slopes are carpeted by pink flowers. 

Warwan Valley - Kalapari -Kashmir Trek - Indiahikes

You walk on boulders to get to the Alpine Lakes on the other side. Trekkers witness the Alpine Lakes immediately after this walk.

Warwan Valley - Kalapari - Alpine Lake - Glacier Kashmir Trek - Indiahikes

Breaktaking view of Kalapari Top overlooking the Alpine Lake.The walk is bouldery and full of loose rocks.   

Warwan Valley - Kalapari - Alpine Lake - Glacier Kashmir Trek - Indiahikes

Glacier depositing into the Lake.

Warwan Valley - Kalapari - Alpine Lake - Glacier Kashmir Trek - Indiahikes

You walk alongside the lake towards the glacier to get close to Kalapari Top.

Warwan Valley - Kalapari - Alpine Lake - Glacier Kashmir Trek - Indiahikes

Glacier walk enroute to the base of Kalapari Top.

Warwan Valley - Kalapari - Alpine Lake - Glacier Kashmir Trek - Indiahikes

The glacial walk reminds you of Khumbu Icefall on Everest. This glacier deposits down from Kalapari Top!

“Going through those glaciers was like waking up the giant and thundering falls of icebergs was literally like Arctic Live Documentary”, said Nitesh

Warwan Valley - Kalapari - Ridge Walk - Pass Crossing - Glacier Kashmir Trek - Indiahikes
Warwan Valley - Kalapari - Ridge Walk - Lake -  Pass Crossing - Glacier - Kashmir Trek - Indiahikes

Glacial lake on your right just before Lomvilad Pass.

"Bracken is a gigantic monster himself, but sleeping along with him, I can't ask for more! I woke up in the middle of the night and was just staring, and then the morning light fell on him. I'm getting goosebumps even while writing this now.

Those cracking sounds of walking on the glacier are still running fresh, and I wish I could feel that again in life! “explains Nitesh

Warwan Valley - Bracken Glacier - Kashmir Trek - Indiahikes

Magnificent Bracken Glacier.

Warwan Valley - Bracken Glacier - Kashmir Trek - Indiahikes

Start of the Descent to Bracken Glacier.

Warwan Valley - Bracken Glacier - Kashmir Trek - Indiahikes

Steep descent towards Bracken Glacier. The descent to the glacier is a tricky one. You need to navigate through very loose moraine and rocks.

Warwan Valley - Bracken Glacier - Kashmir Trek - Indiahikes

Flat walk from Bracken Glacier towards Kaintal Meadows. This marks the end of the kilometre long walk on the bracken glacier. 

Warwan Valley - Bracken Glacier - Kashmir Trek - Indiahikes

Final Steep descent towards Kaintal Meadows. It is an hour of descent through very rough moraines before you get to the basin of the river that emerges from the bottom of the glacier.

"The breather after tricky sections and to get everyone safe. But when I looked back, I saw the Trans Himalayas bidding me goodbye with a big hug.", said Nitesh.

Warwan Valley - Bracken Glacier - Kashmir Trek - Indiahikes

Back view of Bracken Glacier from Kaintal Meadows.

Warwan Valley - Meadows- Kashmir Trek - Indiahikes

Lost World. The ending of trans himalayan mountain ranges.

Warwan Valley - Meadows- Kashmir Trek - Indiahikes

Enroute to Kaintal Campsite. You’ll start to notice the changing colours on the trek. From Barren Ladkahi landscape to white glacial walks to tinges of green meadows. 

Warwan Valley - Meadows- Kashmir Trek - Indiahikes

Riveting Kaintal Campsite. It’s a memorable experience to camp in such expansive landscapes.

The next day, you trek from Kaintal to Humpet. The trail climbs a hillock which follows a flat grassland. Beyond a hillock is almost always another grassland. These grasslands are the highlights of the day’s trek.

You find grasslands filled with horses grazing in the wild. These grasslands of Sar alternate with a grassy river basin. It is quite an exquisite walk!

“Kaintal to Humpet was hands down my favourite stretch from the entire trek. I haven't walked for 15km straight on any Himalayan trek. This was like a walk with god's own theatre screens around, and this stretch was the ultimate meditation. I can walk on this trail every day of my life!!” described Nitesh.

Warwan Valley - Meadows- Kashmir Trek - Indiahikes

Wide Valley walk towards Humptai.

Warwan Valley - Meadows- Kashmir Trek - Indiahikes

Trekkers crossing through streams. There are 7-8 streams to cross today, usually at the end of every grassland.

Warwan Valley - Meadows- Kashmir Trek - Indiahikes

First signs of Civilisation as you reach the valley.

Trekkers crossing through streams. There are 7-8 streams to cross today, usually at the end of every grassland.

Warwan Valley - Meadows- Kashmir Trek - Indiahikes

River snaking through the Humpet Valley. The landscape turns completely green from hereon.

Warwan Valley - Meadows- Kashmir Trek - Indiahikes

Beautiful Humpet Campsite.

From Humpet, the trek becomes dramatically different from the day earlier. The trek descends two valleys to the meticulous grasslands and the supremely beautiful village of Sukhnai.

The setting of villages is too perfect even for pictures. Fences border the trail you walk on. Willow trees jut out between houses. Mud-baked lanes crisscross the village. Flower beds line the hills around the houses. To top it, a clear stream runs through the village! All in a way that distinctly resembles the Gaulish village from Asterix comics. This setting is unique to this part of Kashmir.

“Humpet to Sukhnai was like detachment feelings that the trek was about to end, and I didn't want this! I wish Sukhnai camp wasn't close, but the moment I saw it from a distance, I got a big smile and rushed like Munni in Bajrangi bhaijaan at the climax.” bawled Nitesh

Warwan Valley - Meadows- Villages of Kashmir -  Kashmir Trek - Indiahikes

Border fences on farmlands acting as the start of Warwan Valley.

Warwan Valley - Villages of Kashmir - Meadows- Kashmir Trek - Indiahikes

Enroute to Sukhnai. You start seeing the villages from here.

Warwan Valley - Villages of Kashmir -Meadows - Kashmir Trek - Indiahikes

Beautiful houses of Warwan Valley. You will be trekking on trails bordered by fences.

Warwan Valley - Meadows- Bridge Crossing - Kashmir Trek - Indiahikes

Bridge crossing.

Warwan Valley - Meadows- Villages of Kashmir - Kashmir Trek - Indiahikes

Villages of Warwan Valley.

That brings us to the end of this beautiful photo story. 

For Nitesh, this was one of his most incredible experiences ever. "On the final day of Warwan, I was literally jumping inside. When I saw those lush green wide valleys with such beautiful villages across, I couldn't believe I was in India. Was this not Switzerland or any other part of the world? I couldn't soak that in for even a moment - It was Kashmir. I could never have dreamt of being here.

Warwan will definitely be the most grateful moment of my life. I still feel the more I put this feeling into words, the more I fail to justify it. Between all the ups and downs of work, the meaning of our work just gets sidelined, which I believe must never. But not only does this trek change our trekker's life but also mine as it reassures and answers the 'whys' of our work! "

Aayush Jakhete

About the author

Born & brought in Mumbai, trekking in the Sahayadris has been a huge part of Aayush's life. He holds a bachelors degree in computer science & a master's degree in finance.

Aayush deeply resonates with the vision of "everyone must trek" and wishes to impact peoples lives through trekking. He believes that trekking has an intangible way of transforming people from all ages and walks of life. This stemmed from his own experience at the Gaumukh Tapovan trek.

Apart from work, Aayush likes trekking, reading, football and investing.

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