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The Complete Guide to the Pamsar Lake Trek

Kashmir is best known for its wide canvas of stunning, snow-capped mountain ranges and tranquil alpine lakes. The Pamsar Lake Trek is no exception. Not as extensively explored as some of its more famous counterparts, the Pamsar Lake Trek still remains a relatively well-kept secret. 

Pamsar Lake is an oligotrophic alpine lake which means that nutrient levels are low and therefore, the lake does not support a diverse population of aquatic life.  

Located in the Budgam district of Kashmir valley, Pamsar Lake is part of Khansahib Budgam forest range. 

The trek follows a charming trail with expansive views of lush green carpeted meadows and majestic mountains that have a snow cover for most months of the year. 

‘Pamsar’ is a combination of two Kashmiri words. The word ‘pam’ refers to a Himalayan herb that is found around the banks of the lake. And ‘Sar’ translates to ‘lake’ in the local language. 

In recent years, the area surrounding Pamsar Lake has caught the attention of local as well as foreign trekkers. Pamsar Lake is 1 km in length and 400 meters in breadth. The area around the lake is rich in flora such as blue poppy, potentilla and gentian. The best time to enjoy the wildflowers in all their glory is during the monsoon months of June and July.

A trek to the lake also allows you to get a peek into the lifestyles of the nomadic tribes of Gujjars and Bakarwals who can be found grazing their livestock in the valley and meadows during the warmer months.

The Pamsar lake trek is a moderate level trek and is suitable for fit beginners and experienced trekkers. 

Table of Contents:

  • Highlights of the Pamsar Lake Trek
  • Quick Itinerary
  • GPX File And Route Map Of The Trek
  • Know Your Trek
  • How Difficult is the Pamsar Lake Trek?
  • Is the Pamsar Lake Trek Safe?
  • Best Time to do The Pamsar Lake Trek
  • Weather And Temperature on the Trek
  • How to Plan Your Travel
  • What to Take on Your Trek
  • How To Get Fit For The Trek
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Nearby Places To Visit After The Trek
Serene Pamsar Lake - Pamsar Lake Trek - Indiahikes - Saliyah Ahmad

The calming blues of Pamsar Lake. Picture by Saliyah Ahmad

Highlights of Pamsar Lake Trek

1. Views from Pamsar lake

Located at 12,000 feet above sea level, the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains are one of the best highlights of this trek.

Look towards the east and you will see the magnificent peaks of Mount Nun, Mount Kun, White Needle, Brahma Peaks, Mount Kolahoi and Mount Harmukh.

In the west, the views open up to the flower-laden meadows of Hafas, Durian, Chorkol.

This high altitude lake trek also offers panoramic views of the lush green forests of Doodhpathri and Tosamaidan, popular tourist destinations of the Kashmir Valley.

Peaks from lake - Pamsar Lake Trek - Indiahikes - Saliyah Ahmad

Try to identify some of the most famous peaks of Kashmir from Pamsar Lake Picture by Saliyah Ahmad.

2. Beautiful Camping Experience

The Gurwansar campsite, where you will camp on Day Two and Three of your trek, is known for its stunning sunrise and sunset views. Spending the golden hour in the midst of sprawling meadows and mountain peaks is an unforgettable experience. 

You can also walk around the campsite to admire the wildflowers that pop all over the place. Iris and Potentilla flowers are commonly found around this campsite. 

The campsite is also very close to two other alpine lakes - Gurwansar 1 and Gurwansar 2. A 15-min walk towards the west takes you to Lake 1 and a 10-min walk further west will take you to Lake 2. 

At night, countless stars appear in the inky blue sky above. The Gurwansar campsite is a good place to polish up your night photography skills and capture images of the Milky Way. 

Sunrise from Gurwansar - Pamsar Lake Trek - Indiahikes - Saliyah Ahmad

Wake up to a beautiful sunrise at the Gurwansar campsite . Picture by Saliyah Ahmad

3. Trekking through the Chaanz trail

The Chaanz Trail, that extends from Doodhpathri to Chaanz Green Top takes you through dense vegetation. The mud trail gradually ascends passing through beautiful deodar and pine tree forests. You can take in the soothing scent of these trees as you trek through this trail. If you are exploring this trek during the months of May to July, you will also get to see wild berry plants. 

Keep your binoculars ready because the Chaanz Trail is known for its rich diversity in avifauna. Various species of Himalayan birds such as the Golden Oriole, Pied Kingfisher and Rock Pigeon can be easily spotted on the trail. 

You will also get to see members of the Gujjar and Bakarwals tribes tending to their sheep and goat herds during this part of the trek. Incredibly knowledgeable about the trails and mountains of the region, they are friendly and you can even strike a conversation with them about the region or to know more about their lifestyle.

Chaanz Trail - Pamsar Lake Trek - Indiahikes - Saliyah Ahmad

The lush green Chaanz Trail is one of the highlights of the Pamsar Lake Trek. Picture by Saliyah Ahmad.

Route Map

Pamsar Trek - Indiahikes - Screenshot on Google Earth Pro

Route Map of the Pamsar Lake Trek. Screenshot on Google Earth Pro

Quick Itinerary

Day 1: Reach Doodhpathri from Srinagar

Altitude: 7500 ft
Distance: 45 km
Duration: 2 hour

Doodhpathri, the starting point of the trek, is located about 43 km from Lal Chowk, Srinagar and about 27 km from Budgam. You can take a taxi or bus to travel from Srinagar to Doodhpathri. If you prefer public transport, you can catch an SRTC bus at the main bus terminus.

Day 2: Doodhpathri to Gurwansar Campsite

Trek Distance: 12 km | Duration: 4 hours
Altitude Gain: 7,500 ft to 10,800 ft

Trek Type: Easy-moderate. Start trekking on the steep, zig-zag mud trail until you reach Chaanz Green Top. After that, the trail becomes a gradual ascent. You will have to pass through the Chaanz meadow to reach the Gurwansar campsite. Fill up your water bottles at Doodhpathri. Your next source of water will be at the Chaanz Meadow. 

Day 3: Trek to Pamsar Lake, back to Gurwansar Campsite

Trek Distance: 6 km | Duration: 3 hours
Altitude Gain: 10,800 ft to 12,000 ft

Trek Type: Moderate difficulty. The bouldering section will give you a good adventure and challenge. This section ends with the beautiful Pamsar lake coming into sight. You can fill up your water bottles at the stream near the Gurwansar campsite.

Day 4: Gurwansar Campsite to Doodhpathri

Trek Distance: 12 km | Duration: 3 hours
Altitude Loss: 10,800 ft to 7,500 ft 

Trek Type: A gradual descent from the alpine zone will take you to the forest zone. Trace the zigzag jungle trail that will bring you back to the Doodhpathri base. Your water source will be the stream near the campsite which is a tributary of the Pamsar Lake. 

Detailed Itinerary

Here’s How Each Day Looks

Day 1: Reach Doodhpathri from Srinagar

Doodhpathri campsite is about 43 km from Lal Chowk, Srinagar and about 27 km from Budgam. You can take a taxi from Lal Chowk or from Srinagar International Airport to reach Doodhpathri. It will take around two hours to reach the Doodhpathri basecamp if you choose to travel by shared taxi. The cost for a shared taxi will be around Rs.170. If you take a cab from Lalchowk or the airport, it will cost you between Rs.2500 to 3300.

Though not as straightforward as taking a taxi, you can also travel to Doodhpathri by taking a bus. You will have to take a bus to Budgam or Khansahib and then catch another bus or cab to reach Doodhpathri. 

Tip: Make necessary phone calls before reaching Doodhpathri as there is no network in the region. 

Day 2: Doodhpathri to Gurwansar Campsite

Trek Gradient: Easy to moderate. Steep hike through the mud trail followed by a gentle ascent.
Water Sources: Carry sufficient water. You can refill your bottle at the stream in Chaanz Meadow.

Start your trek from Doodhpathri by taking the Chaanz Green Top Trail. The trail is clearly visible on the west side of Doodhpathri. If you are not able to find it, ask the locals about the trail and they will point you in the right direction. It’s best to start as early as you can. 

Once you are on the mud trail follow the trail line which goes through a beautiful dense forest. The zig-zag nature of the trail makes it perfect for fit beginners. The steep ascent on the trail, which is about 2 km long, takes you to a small opening where you can enjoy panoramic views of the entire Doodhpathri Valley. Since the hike takes you past tall pine and deodar trees, the scent of these trees follows you for a good part of the trek. This section of the trail is also great for spotting a range of birds, particularly the Golden Oriole. 

You will then reach a wide opening. This is the Green Top Chaanz. The distance from Doodhpathri to Green Top Chaanz is 2 km. It will take almost one and a half hours to reach the top. Once you are at the Green Top you have entered the alpine zone. The trail in front of you is straight with no diversions.

Green Top Chaanz - Pamsar Lake Trek - Indiahikes - Saliyah Ahmad

Take the straight path from Doodhpathri to the Green Top Chaanz. Picture by Saliyah Ahmad.

From the top, as you trek, you will see the sprawling Durien, Tosamaidan, and Churkol meadows on your right side. If you are lucky, you can witness the entire central Kashmir Valley under a thick cloud cover.

From this point, the green forest cover of various areas of this region is visible. On the right side of the trail, you can spot various peaks of the region such as Shen Myeen peak, Nurpur Gali peak etc. 

During the spring season, there is a huge rush of nomads and local shepherds on the trail. 

After a 45 minute to one-hour descent from the top of the ridge, you will reach the deep valley of the Chaanz Meadow.  You will see a stream flowing in the middle of the meadow. The local shepherds have placed a log bridge on the river. Cross the stream by walking over the log bridge. Right in front of you is the trail which leads to mountain peaks that will take you to the Gurwansar campsite. In the month of May, the entire meadow is a carpet of flowers in shades of red, purple, yellow and white. Chaanz Meadow serves as a base camp for various treks. 

Nomads and local tribes spend the grazing season with their flock in this meadow. You can stop here for a while to hydrate yourself, replenish your energy with snacks and interact with the local shepherds. This high-altitude meadow is part of the Pir Panjal range.

Tip: Always remember to go toward the mountainside when there is human or animal traffic on the trail.

You can fill your bottle at the stream that flows through Chaanz Meadow. 

Sometimes when it rains the trail becomes slippery. Make sure you wear proper trekking shoes with good grip as well as ankle support and carry a good quality trekking pole.

Chaanz Meadow - Pamsar Lake Trek - Indiahikes - Saliyah Ahmad

The undulating greens of the Chaanz Meadow paint a pretty picture. Picture by Saliyah Ahmad.

Continue walking across the green valley towards the mountain peaks. The trail is now grassy with the stream from Gurwansar Lake running nearby. Follow the trail parallel to the stream till you reach the campsite. This will be the last climb of the day before you reach the campsite.  

It will take you about an hour to trek from Chaanz Meadow to Gurwansar. The trek from Chaanz Meadow to Gurwansar is of easy grade. The campsite is a huge meadow with a stream running nearby. This stream will also serve as a water source for your campsite. This green valley is also known as Nurpur Gully. Nomads from Poonch district of Jammu take the shortcut from this gully to reach Poonch. 

During the spring season, the entire valley is full of flower blooms, particularly Irish flowers.

The stream from the Gurwansar lake flows between the valley making it an incredibly picturesque setting for camping. At Gurwansar, one can have a panoramic view of the entire region particularly the Diskel meadow and Ashtaar Valley on the right.

Another alpine lake, Kharlab Sar lake, is just 20 minutes from the campsite and makes for a good yet short trek in case you have the energy to explore the region. You will also find a variety of Himalayan herbs like Taraxacum officinale, Saussurea costus and Rheum Emodi wall.ex meisn around the campsite. 

Gurwansar Meadow - Pamsar Lake Trek - Indiahikes - Saliyah Ahmad

Greens as far as the eyes can see at Gurwansar Meadow. Picture by Saliyah Ahmad.

Day 3: Trek to Pamsar lake, back to Gurwansar Campsite

Trek Gradient: Moderate. You will have to trek across a boulder section.
Water Sources: Fill your bottles at the stream near the Gurwansar campsite. 

After spending the night at Gurwansar campsite, start your trek as early as you can. Head towards the gentle slope on the west side of your campsite. This will take you to Pamsar Lake.

After a 20 minutes ascent on the rail, you will come across a bouldering section. Depending on your fitness level, you have two choices. You can take the tougher bouldering route or you can descend down the valley in front of you and take the grassy route. While both routes will take you to Pamsar Lake, the grassy route will increase your trekking time by an hour. This route is easier on your knees though. The bouldering section, on the other hand, is quite thrilling and lends an adventurous feel to the trek. Be mindful while crossing the bouldering section as the rocks can shift and make you lose your balance. 

There is no defined trail over the boulders towards the lake. The gradual hike on boulders brings the beautiful Pamsar lake into the picture.

Boulder section - Pamsar Lake Trek - Indiahikes - Saliyah Ahmad

The boulder section en route to Pamsar Lake increases the adventure factor of the trek by a couple of notches. Picture by Saliyah Ahmad.

The difficulty level on this section is moderate and it takes around an hour and 30 minutes to reach the top. You will start to see distant views of the Pamsar Lake after about an hour of trekking. 

Soon, you will be near the banks of what is considered to be one of the largest alpine lakes of the Pir Panjal region. 

Pamsar Lake blues - Pamsar Lake Trek - Indiahikes - Saliyah Ahmad

The most beautiful views come after the hardest climb. Spend time at Pamsar Lake to take in the views. Picture by Saliyah Ahmad.

The lake is situated at an altitude of 12,000 feet and remains frozen from November to May. The lake is home to many migratory birds and the area around is said to be rich in medicinal herbs. 

Pamsar Lake is surrounded by steep rocky mountains which are covered in snow for the most part of the year. The area around the lake is rocky, leaving no space for camping. The best place to camp is Gurwansar lake.

You can hike to Gurwansar 1 and 2 lakes once you return from Pamsar Lake to the Gurwansar campsite. 

The lake is situated at an altitude of 12,000 feet and remains frozen from November to May. The lake is home to many migratory birds and the area around is said to be rich in medicinal herbs. 

Pamsar lake is surrounded by steep rocky mountains which are covered in snow for the most part of the year. The area around the lake is rocky, leaving no space for camping. The best place to camp is Gurwansar lake.

You can hike to Gurwansar 1 and 2 lakes once you return from Pamsar Lake to the Gurwansar campsite. 

Day 4: Gurwansar Campsite to Doodhpathri

Trek Gradient: Easy
Water Sources: Refill your bottles at Gurwansar campsite or Chaanz meadow. 

The last day of the trek is very easy as most of the trail is gradually descending till Chaanz meadow. The distance from Gurwansar to Chaanz Meadow is around 2.5 km. Refill your water bottles at Chaanz Meadow because the trail ahead till Doodhpathri is dry. 

After reaching the Chaanz meadow, cross the stream by walking over the log bridge. Follow the same trail you walked on the first day; this time it’s in the opposite direction. Hike about 300 meters to the top of the ridge. Once you are there, the trail will be clearly visible. This path will take you to Chaanz Green Top. Take a break at Chaanz Green Top and enjoy the panoramic view of Doodhpathri once again. Start your descent on the zigzag stretch of trail. You will once again cross the forest zone. After a two-hour descent from Chaanz Green Top, you will reach your basecamp of Doodhpathri. The scents of the forest and the chirping of the birds will provide the perfect finish to your adventure. 

Tip: Our knees take the biggest hit while descending so maintain a steady pace and be watchful of where you place your step. Having two trekking poles will minimize the load your legs will have to carry.

How Difficult is Pamsar Lake Trek?

The Pamsar Lake Trek is a moderate level trek and is a good trek for fit beginners and experienced trekkers. On Day 2 of the trek, you will have to cover 12 km from the basecamp to the Guruwansar campsite. You will need to have good stamina to cover this distance. 

There are some tricky sections on the trek that you need to watch out for. 

The first section of the trek is of moderate difficulty and you will have to gain an elevation of one kilometre. The trail is a slippery one and when it rains, it can become even more difficult to walk on. It is advisable to use proper trekking shoes and have a trekking pole. 

The last section of the trek, from the Guruwansar campsite to Pamsar Lake consists of boulders and loose rocks which can be a bit tough to navigate. There is no marked trail. Take your time and make sure you are not distracted while crossing this section. 

In case of a medical emergency, the primary health centre at Doodhpathri is your nearest medical centre.

Tricky boulder section - Pamsar Lake Trek - Indiahikes - Saliyah Ahmad

The boulder section is the trickiest part of the trek. Picture by Saliyah Ahmad.

Is the Pamsar Lake Safe?

Yes, trekking to Pamsar lake is safe. Pamsar Lake is located near Doodhpathri which is a popular tourist area in Kashmir. 

Over the last few years, Pamsar lake has become more popular with local and international trekkers. The presence of friendly, local tribes also makes the trek a very safe one. 

Exit points on Pamsar Lake Trek

Medical Emergencies can strike on any trek. The key to dealing with them lies in knowing your exit points. Know how to get out and reach the nearest hospital quickly. 

You will have to retrace your steps and come down to Doodhpathri if you want to exit the trail due to any emergency.

Closest Hospital to the Pamsar Lake Trek

In case of a medical emergency, you can go to the primary health centre at Doodhpathri.

The nearest hospital to the Pamsar lake trek is the Khansahib sub-district hospital which is 15 km from Doodhpathri.

Nearest police station to the Pamsar Lake Trek

The nearest police station is at Khansahib, around 14 km away from Doodhpathri.

Best Time to do the Pamsar Lake Trek

You can do the Pamsar Lake Trek from the end of May to the end of October. The best months to trek are June and July. This is when the mountains are filled with flower blooms.

Post October, temperatures start to drop and the chances of rainfall and snowfall increase at higher altitudes. During winters, the lake stays frozen. 

Weather and Temperature on the Pamsar Lake Trek

The Pir Panjal range is known for variations in temperatures and weather conditions. It is not uncommon for short rain spells to occur during the day. It’s due to these frequent rain showers that the meadows are lush green. 

There is a considerable difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures so you need to be prepared with appropriate clothing so as to have a comfortable trekking experience.  

Temperatures from May to October

Day Time: 20 °C - 32 °C

Night Time: 0 °C - 8 °C

How to Plan your Travel

Reaching Doodhpathri by taxi

The Pamsar Lake Trek starts from the famous tourist destination of Kashmir - Doodhpathri. Doodhpathri is located in the tehsil or taluk of Khan Sahib of Budgam district of Kashmir region and is 43 km from Srinagar City.

Take a taxi from Lal Chowk, Srinagar or from Srinagar International Airport to Doodhpathri.  If you take a cab from Lal Chowk or from Srinagar airport to Doodhpathri, it will cost you between Rs.2500 to Rs.3300.

The cost of a shared taxi will be around Rs.170.

Reaching Doodhpathri by your own vehicle

Use Google Maps and input the coordinates of Doodhpathri (mentioned in the first section of the document) into the system map

  • From Lal Chowk, Srinagar, take the flyover to reach Hyderpora bypass. The distance from Lal Chowk to Hyderpora Bypass is six km. This is also known as the National Highway. It will take 20 mins to reach you there.
  • Once you reach the highway, take the Budgam route. You will find a signboard stating the same. The distance from Hyderpora to Budgam is 9 km. Do note that the Budgam route is the same as that for Srinagar International Airport 
  • Upon reaching Humhuma which is just 4 km away from Hyderpora, take a right. The straight route leads to Srinagar International Airport. It will take 30 mins to reach Budgam from the Hyderpora bypass.
  • Once you reach Budgam, take the Khan Sahib route. Khansaheb is 14 km away from Budgam and it will take you 30 mins to reach there. Khan Sahib is the last marketplace of your trek. 
  • Upon reaching Khan Sahib, take the Doodhpathri route. Doodhpathri is 14 km away from Khan Sahib and it will take you 40 minutes to reach the basecamp. Remember the route is now hilly with some blind turns. This means that you will have to be extremely alert while driving.

Tip: Doodhpathri is a no network zone. Make all necessary calls before reaching Arizal village.

Reaching Doodhpathri by Public Transport System

Reaching Doodhpathri by public transport is slightly difficult as compared to using private transport. If you are planning to use public transport, start your journey as soon as possible.

You have two options for public transport: taxi or bus.

  • You can take a shared taxi from the State Road Transport Corporation in Srinagar or from the taxi stand Lal chowk for Budgam which is available throughout the day on the Budgam route. The cost will be Rs.60 and it will take around 50 minutes to reach Budgam. 
  • Bus option is also available at SRTC for the Budgam route and sometimes direct to Khan Sahib as well. The bus takes one hour to reach Budgam and costs Rs.20. It takes one and a half hours and costs Rs.45 rupees to reach Khan Sahib.
  • Once you reach Budgam Taxi Stand, take another taxi or bus for Khansahib which will charge you Rs.50 for a taxi and Rs. 15 for a bus. It will take another 40 mins by bus and 30 minutes by taxi to reach Khan Sahib.
  • From Khansahib take another shared taxi or bus for Doodhpathri, which will cost you Rs. 70 for a taxi and Rs. 20 rupees for the bus. It will take 1 hour for the bus and 40 minutes for the taxi to reach Doodhpathri. 

Note: Public transport does not always run according to schedule. Rather, it operates based on seat demand which makes taking a bus not a very reliable mode of transportation. 

If you are including a buffer day in your itinerary and are looking for a budget-friendly option, then taking a bus is a good choice.

Tip: During the peak season from June to August, you can take a direct bus or taxi from SRTC Srinagar or Lalchowk. 

Nearest Airport and Railway Station

Srinagar International Airport: 40 km

Srinagar Railway Station: 38 km

What to Take on Your Trek

Things to get for the Pamsar Lake Trek

Pamsar Lake Trek is a high altitude trek through the Pir Panjal range in Kashmir. The trekking gear you need to carry for this trek is a bit similar to our high altitude treks. So pay careful attention to this entire section.

– A list of everything you need for the trek

– A list of medicines for your trek

First, The Essentials. You cannot do the trek without these.

1. Trekking Shoes:

Pamsar Lake Trek requires trekking shoes that are sturdy, have good grip, have ankle support and can handle uneven terrain.

Buying Tip: The Trek series and MH series are good options by Decathlon. They are tried and tested. There really isn’t any necessity to buy the higher-priced models. Here is a list of other budget shoes that trekkers are using.

2. Backpack:

For a trek like Pamsar Lake Trek, you need a 30-40 litre backpack. Make sure your backpack has good hip support, shoulder support and quick access pockets. 

Buying Tip: Wildcraft, Decathlon and Adventure Worx usually make good backpacks. While Wildcraft has more expensive ones, the other two brands have budget-friendly backpacks to choose from.

3. Clothes:

Wearing layers is the mantra in the jungles. Layers give you maximum protection from all elements. And when the weather changes, you take off or put on layers as required. 

Base Layer:

2 T-Shirts:

Wear one T-shirt and carry one. Carry full sleeve dry-fit T-shirts (preferably collared). These prevent your arms and neck from getting sunburnt or bitten by insects.

Dry-fit T-shirts quickly dry your sweat, they are easy to wash and in case of a rainy day, they dry quicker. Round neck T-shirts are ok, but collared ones are better.

Buying Tip: You can get dry-fit T-shirts from Decathlon. Also, stores like Reliance Trends, Max have dry-fit T-shirts. They don’t usually cost much.

Protip If you are extra susceptible to cold, you could get a set of thermal inners. In our experience, wearing two T-shirts over another works as a better thermal. And they save you weight and space since you’re already carrying them. 

1 Outer Layer:

A padded jacket serves the purpose here. You don’t really need a water-resistant material. But you need an outer padded jacket that keeps the wind and cold out. Ensure your padded jacket has a hood as well.

Do you need a down/feather jacket? Not really. A regular padded/shell jacket 

will do.

Note: Down/feather jackets are really not available these days. Many jackets masquerade as down/feather jackets. They are essentially fine polyester-filled jackets. They mimic the function of a down jacket but are usually expensive.

One Trek Pant:

One pair of trek pants should suffice for this trek. Trek pants with zippered cut-offs at the thighs are very suitable for treks. Also, choose quick-dry pants over cotton. They dry up soon in case of small stream crossings/rain.

Buying Tip: Go for pants with zippered pockets. They come in handy to keep your phone, handkerchief or pocket snacks.

Track pants or trek pants? Stretchable track pants make a good backup and can double up as your thermal bottoms. But track pants are not trekking pants — so don’t use them as your main outerwear. Keep them only as a backup.

Mandatory Accessories, without these too you won’t be able to do the trek. 

These accessories are mandatory. Don’t go to Pamsar Lake Trek without them. Trekkers generally put off purchasing / borrowing the accessories for the last minute. We suggest the opposite. Start gathering these accessories first.

 1. Sun Cap:

A sun cap is mandatory. Trekking without a sun cap can lead to headaches, sunstrokes, quick dehydration and a sharp drop in trekking performance.

Protip Sun caps with flaps are a blessing for trekkers. They cut out almost all UV leaks, and prevent sunburns in every possible way. Also, they are a lot more effective than sunscreen lotion. A wide-brimmed sports hat also helps to prevent sunburn in a big way.  

2. Socks (2 Pairs):

Carry 2 pairs of sports socks to give you cushioning plus warmth. Again the mantra is to wear synthetic socks or at least a synthetic blend. Cotton socks soak in water and sweat. They are very hard to dry. As for woollen socks, they help you to keep warm and snug at the night. If you cannot get woollen socks, wearing two sports socks serves the purpose as well. 

3. Headlamp:

Trekkers are often confused about whether they need to get a headlamp or a handheld torch. You need to get a headlamp because it leaves your hands free to do other activities. On the Pamsar Lake Trek, you’ll need your hands free to wash dishes, pitch tents and hold your trek poles.

Buying Tip: Ensure your headlamp covers a wider area and is not too focused as a single beam. On a trek, your headlamp must help you see around you as much as ahead of you. 

4. Trekking Pole (A Pair):

Trekking poles give you stability and balance. They reduce your energy consumption by almost 40%. On the Pamsar Lake Trek, there are a few steep ascents and descents. A pair of trekking poles will make the difference between a comfortable and a strenuous trek. In India, we tend to use a single trekking pole. However, two trekking poles give you greater stability and balance. They also increase your walking pace.

5. Rainwear:

On a trek, the weather can change quickly. A bright sunny day can turn into a downpour in a matter of minutes. Carry a poncho or a rain jacket to tackle this. A poncho is a big rain cover with openings for your arms and your head. It is extremely effective because it covers both you and your backpack. It is extremely light and weighs next to nothing.

Rain jackets are more streamlined and less cumbersome but weigh more. Rain pants are really not required. Dry fit trek pants dry quickly even if soaking wet.

6. Rain Cover for your Backpack:

Backpacks are your life. You carry all your dry clothes and your warm gear in your backpack. It is important that your backpack stays dry at all times. Modern backpacks usually come with built-in rain covers. If your backpack does not have a rain cover, ensure you get a rain cover by either (a) buying a rain cover or (b) or cutting a large plastic sheet to the size of your backpack. You can roll the plastic sheet around your backpack and keep it in place with a string or elastic. 

Protip It’s good practice to compartmentalise your clothes, accessories and other things in plastic covers inside your backpack. That way, even if it rains and your backpack gets wet, your things are water-proof inside the backpack.

Other Mandatory Requirements:

1. A Toilet Kit:

Keep your toilet kit light. Carry just the basics - toothbrush, toothpaste, small soap, toilet tissue roll, a small moisturiser, lip balm, and a roll-on deodorant. You will not be able to have a bath on the trek, so don’t overload on soaps and shampoos.

ProtipCarry miniature-sized items. You will not need more than that. If you’re travelling in a group, share one toothpaste for all.

Avoid getting large toilet rolls. The smallest size roll is more than enough for a trek like Pamsar Lake Trek.

For women: If you are likely to have your periods on your trek date, don’t worry about it. You can use your pads, tampons or menstrual cups on the trek. There will be toilet tents where you can get changed. Make sure you carry ziplock bags to bring back your menstrual waste. Don’t leave behind any waste in the mountains. Watch this video to learn how to dispose of your sanitary waste.

2. Cutlery:

Carry a lunch box, a mug and a spoon. Your lunch box must be leakproof. You are expected to wash your own cutlery. 

ProtipCarry stainless steel cutlery. Avoid fancy high-grade plastic cutlery. Stainless steel cutlery is infinitely easier to wash in cold water. Grease is easier to remove and hygiene is at its highest. Watch this video on why steel cutlery is better than plastic.

3. Two 1-Litre Bottles or a 2-Litre Hydration Pack:

Pamsar Lake Trek has a few long walking days. You need to carry two one-litre water bottles to keep yourself hydrated over the distance. If you are used to a hydration pack, then that is ok too. If one among the two bottles is a lightweight thermos, then that helps you to store warm water on a really cold day or for late evenings and early mornings.

4. Plastic Covers:

Carry 3-4 old plastic covers to keep your used clothes. You could use them even for wet clothes. Re-use old plastic bags for this and do not buy new ones.

Personal Medical Kit

Carry these medicines with you, easily accessible at all times.  

1. Dolo 650 (5 tablets): This is a paracetamol. It helps to tackle fever, mild pain

2. Avomine (4 tablets): Carry this especially if you are prone to motion sickness. Pop one-half hour before the start of your road journey.

3. Combiflam (5 tablets): Take a Combiflam if you get a sudden twist of the leg or a muscle strain. It is a pain reliever. It also contains paracetamol.

4. Digene (4 tablets): Take it if you feel the food that you’ve taken is undigested. Alert your trek leader immediately. It could be a sign of AMS.

5. ORS (6 packs): Consume a pack of ORS water at least once a day, usually mid-day when you are in the middle of your trek. It replenishes essential salts lost while trekking.  Tip: It also makes cold water easier to drink.

6. Knee Brace (optional): Carry this if you are prone to knee injury or have known issues of knee pain.

How to Get Fit for Your Trek

Cardiovascular Endurance

This trek requires a good amount of cardiovascular endurance. You can begin by jogging every day. Start jogging at a slow pace and then keep increasing your pace day by day. In order to be prepared for a strenuous trek, you should have a combination of distance and speed targets.

Here’s a fitness routine that works:

–> Target completing 5 km in 40 minutes when you begin.

–> Gradually increase your pace by running 4 times a week and bring it down to 5 km in less than 35 mins.

–> If you are 45 years old and above and are more comfortable with long-distance walking than jogging, then before you go on the trek, you should be able to walk at least 10 km at a stretch. Target completing this in 90 minutes.

If jogging is fine for you, your target should be completing 5 km in 45 minutes initially, and 5 km in less than 40 minutes before you go on the trek.

–> If you are somebody who prefers cycling over running, your target must be to cover 22 km in 60 minutes.

Working out indoors

If you can’t go out and jog because of time and space constraints, here’s a video you can use to work out indoors.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long is the Pamsar Lake Trek?

The Pamsar Lake Trek is 30 km long and starts and ends at Doodhpathri.

2. Where is the Pamsar Lake Trek?

The Pamsar Lake Trek is located in the Budgam district of Kashmir valley. It starts from the famous tourist attraction of Doodhpathri. 

3. Will I get to see any animals on the Pamsar Lake Trek?

Though locals have spotted wild animals, it is highly unlikely that you will get to see them on your trek as they avoid interactions with humans. You can, however, spot a variety of birds during the trek.  

4. Is it safe to trek in Kashmir?

Doodhpathri, the base camp of the Pamsar Lake Trek, is one of Kashmir’s most famous attractions with many tourists visiting from all over the country and is considered to be a safe region.

5. How many lakes will I get to see on the Pamsar Lake Trek?

 Apart from Pamsar Lake, you can also trek to Gurwansar 1 and 2. 

6. What are the stay options near Doodhpathri? 

Doodhpathri development authority has many hotels and huts around Doodhpathri which can provide you with paid accommodation.

If you are comfortable with camping, you can stay at camping designated spots that have been marked by the Doodhpathri development authority. There is no charge for this.

For a stay with a local flavour, you can stay at one of the kaccha huts that are run by local residents. This accommodation is usually in the form of a room with an attached bathroom and is usually an extension of the homes of the locals. The charge is around Rs.500/night. Local Kashmiri food is also provided for an additional charge of Rs.150 per meal. 

7. Timings on the Pamsar lake Trek

There is no particular time restriction to go on the Pamsar Lake Trek. If you reach Doodhpathri early in the morning, you can start your trek immediately. If you reach only after the afternoon or evening, it is best to spend the night at Doodhpathri and then leave for the trek the next day. 

The ideal time to start the trek is 6 am TO 10 am. It is not advisable to start the trek late as it may get harder to reach the Gurwansar campsite on the first day of the trek. In such a situation, you can camp at the Chaanz Meadow. 

8. Food and Water Sources on the Doodhpathri Trek

There are many restaurants at and around Doodhpathri which provide both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food for visitors. Zaika Restaurant is one of the most popular ones in the area and provides all kinds of foods to customers. 

Water sources on the trek 

Fill your water bottles at Doodhpathri before you start your trek. Your next source of water will be the streams at Chaanz Meadow and then at Gurwansar Campsite. 

9. Emergency contacts for Pamsar lake Trek

Hospital: Primary health centre Doodhpathri

 Sub-district hospital Khan Sahib –This hospital is 17 km away from Doodhpathri.

 Aga Syed Yousuf memorial hospital (Contact Number – 01951-255238) This hospital is 25 km away from Doodhpathri

Police Station: Police station Khan Sahib (01951-277540) is the nearest police station from Doodhpathri

Forest department: In case of any emergency, you can contact the SDM office of the KHAN SAHIB at 7006488115

ATMs and Networks on the trek

ATMs: Khansahib and Arizal village have the closest ATM services to Pamsar lake trek.  

Mobile Networks: Connectivity is patchy on the trek. 

Note: Only post-paid sim cards work in Kashmir.

Places to Visit After the Pamsar Lake Trek

1. Doodhpathri - is a popular and beautiful tourist destination that is also the base of the Pamsar lake trek. After the trek, you can spend a day or two just walking around the expansive meadows. 

2. Yousmarg - Yousmarg is a hill station located in the Budgam district. Yusmarg is also the base for many Pir Panjal treks such as the Danizab Meadow Trek, Trusar Lake Trek and more.

3. Mughal gardens of Srinagar - Located in the heart of Srinagar around the shores of Dal Lake, the Mughal Gardens are famous for their stunning Mughal architecture.

Dal Lake - Pamsar Lake Trek - Indiahikes - Saliyah Ahmad

Beautiful view of Dal Lake from Parimahal. Picture by Saliyah Ahmad.

4. Gulmarg - is a famous ski destination around the globe. It is well known for a range of adventure activities such as heli-skiing, snowboarding etc. Gulmarg receives a heavy rush of tourists in winter.

5. Pahalgam - Pahalgam is a popular hill station located in the Anantnag district of Kashmir. Pahalgam also serves as a base for many treks like the Tarsar Marsar Trek, the Kolahoi Glacier Trek and the Tullian Lake Trek.

Trek Contribution

Trek documented by Saliyah Ahmad

Pictures by Saliyah Ahmad

Edited by - Gayathri Ranganathan