The Complete Guide to Sheshnag Lake Trek
Sheshnag lake is one of the oligotrophic alpine lakes in Kashmir. It is a type of lake where the productivity of algae is very low. Because of this, the water is very clean and clear. Spread across 1.1 km in length and 0.7 km in width, guarded by mountains on all sides, the views it offers are spectacular. It is worth all your struggles to reach there.
Kunyirhayan, a group of three mountain peaks standing tall at 16,850 ft, 16,570 ft and 16,310 ft surrounds Sheshnag lake. Glaciers of these mountains are the primary source of Sheshnag lake. Another interesting fact is, these peaks remain unclimbed till date.
Though Sheshnag lake is the main attraction of this trek, the variety in the trail makes the whole trek equally exciting. It takes you through well marked trails, man-made stairs, steep ascents and beautiful meadows.
Sheshnag lake has religious importance as well. Sheshnag translates to ”King of Snakes” in English. According to the Hindu mythology, Sheshnag himself created this lake. So it is believed to be his abode.
It’s said that, in ancient times, cloud bursts at the site caused a deep groove lined by mountains. The snow cover on these mountains melted slowly and the water flowed into the deep groove to form a lake. Even today, it remains as the main source of water for Sheshnag lake.
Sheshnag Lake Trek is one of the most popular weekend treks from Srinagar. It is a 9 km trek, one way. You can either do this trek in one day or two days by camping alongside the lake.
Ideal time to do this trek is from Mid-June to October. In July, the bank of the lake will be in full bloom and looks spectacular. During winters, the lake freezes and it is difficult to access due to heavy snowfall.
This is an easy-moderate trek. It can be done by fit beginners and experienced trekkers alike. However, you must be extra careful while navigating through the steep ascent to Pissu Top.
Table of Contents
Just like you, we love trekking! And this is a trek we’ve documented in great detail to help you do it on your own. Drop in comments at the end of the page, if you need any help! You will get all the information required to do the Sheshnag Lake Trek on your own.
To navigate through the documentation easily, use this section of Table of Contents.
- What to Watch Out for
- Trail Information
- Best Season to Do the Sheshnag Lake Trek
- Difficult Sections on the Sheshnag Lake Trek
- How to Reach the Sheshnag Lake Trek
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Emergency Contacts on the Sheshnag Lake Trek
- ATMs and Networks on the trek
- Places to visit after the Sheshnag Lake Trek
What to Watch Out for
1. Sheshnag Lake
Sheshnag lake, surrounded by big mountains on all sides. Picture by Saliyah Ahmad
Sheshnag lake itself is the main attraction of this trek. The view of the blue alpine lake surrounded by the rocky white mountains on all sides is something that stays with you for a long time. The lake is also home to many fishes, among which Brown Trouts are the most common.
2. Views from Pissu Top
Lidder Valley as seen from Pissu Top. Picture by Saliyah Ahmad
The views from the Pissu top are definitely something to watch out for. From here, you get an aerial view of the Lidder Valley.
A steep ascent to the Pissu Top lends an adventurous feel to the trek. As you carefully navigate through this section, the Lidder valley starts unfolding gradually in front of you.
3. Beautifully lined up waterfalls accompany you from Pissu Top to Sheshnag Lake
Waterfall on the way from Pissu Top to Sheshnag Lake. Picture by Saliyah Ahmad
The trail from Pissu Top to Sheshnag Lake consists of many waterfalls. After 30 min from the Pissu Top, you get to see a majestic waterfall making it all the way to Lidder River. Going forward, from Jojibal to Sheshnag Lake, you get to see many such waterfalls one after the other till Sheshnag Lake.
4. Vast undulating grasslands
Vast grassland enroute Sheshnag Lake. Picture by Saliyah Ahmad
From Pissu Top to Jojibal, you’ll have big mountains on both sides. They form a narrow valley that serves as a trail to Sheshnag Lake. You’ll notice, the lush greenery on the foothills of these mountains gradually disappears to make it a barren land, as you roll your eyes to the top. This is a rare and beautiful sight to witness.
Going further, you’ll reach Jojibal. It’s a vast open meadow, in contrast to what you’ve witnessed until you reach here. Jojibal comes alive between July and September. Trekking through the lush green meadows, not only adds variety but also elevates your whole experience.
Route map of the Sheshnag Lake Trek. Screenshot on Google Earth Pro
Sheshnag Lake Trek can be divided into three sections
1. Chandanwadi Base to Pissu Top
2. Pissu Top to Jojibal
3. Jojibal to Sheshnag Lake
Section I. Chandanwadi Base to Pissu Top
Altitude Gain: 9,300 ft to 9,780 ft
Trek Distance: 3 km
Trek Duration: 1.30 hours
The trek starts from Chandanwadi Village. The Amarnath Yatra also starts from here. Start your trek from glacier point and start walking along Amarnath Cave trail. This section is maintained by the Amarnath Shrine Board.
Chandanwadi base captured during the winter season. Picture by Saliyah Ahmad
The trek from Chandanwadi to the Pissu Top base point is easy. The ascent is gradual. The trail is well marked. It follows the Lidder River till the Pissu Top base point.
Though it’s a straight walk until you reach the Pissu Top base point, the mountain views and the gushing Lidder river makes it beautiful.
The trail from Chandanwadi to the Pissu Top base point. Picture by Saliyah Ahmad
Continue walking for around 1.3 km on the same trail to reach the Pissu Top base point. Take a left here. This takes you to the mountainside.
Tip: Refill your water bottles at the Lidder river before you start ascending to Pissu Top. There are no water sources going forward until you traverse Pissu Top.
The next 1.6 km trek to Pissu Top is through a steep ascent. This is of moderate difficulty. This route is maintained by the Amarnath Shrine Board. At points where the trail is prone to landslides, concrete stairs are laid out. This is to help the Yatris navigate through this section easily. But in other sections, you have to trek through natural terrain.
The trail follows the zigzag pattern and is well marked. Follow the same route.
Steep ascent to Pissu Top. Picture by Saliyah Ahmad
Tip: This section is slippery. So make sure you place your foot firmly and have proper trekking shoes. Here’s a guide on how to choose the best trekking shoes.
After around an hour and a half from Chandanwadi, you will reach Pissu Top. The views from here are worth all your struggles. You get to see the entire Lidder Valley opening up right in front of you. Spend some time here.
Sign Board at Pissu Top. Picture by Saliyah Ahmad
Section II. Pissu Top to Jojibal
Altitude Gain: 9,780 ft to 11,270 ft
Trek Distance: 4 km
Trek Duration: 2 hours
From Pissu Top, start walking towards the marked trail that goes to Jojibal. You can easily navigate through this section. This trail is through a narrow valley surrounded by the mountains on either side. This section offers a beautiful view of the mountains of Lidder valley.
Views to soak in while navigating from Pissu Top to Jojibal. Picture by Saliyah Ahmad
After about 30 min of trekking, you get a distant view of Lidder river taking the form of a small waterfall. This is called the waterfall point.
Lidder river takes the form of a small waterfall on the trail from Pissu Top to Jojibal. Picture by Saliyah Ahmad
Continue walking along the same trail for another 2 km to reach Jojibal. You’ll witness vast and undulating lush green grasslands welcoming you to Lidder valley. It is also used by shepherds from Anantnag to graze their flocks. You’ll see many of their huts along the trail. If you get a chance, strike up a conversation with them. They are warm and welcoming. This will give you an insight into their life and enrich your trek experience as well.
Grasslands on the way to Jojibal. Picture by Saliyah Ahmad
Jojibal also serves as the second base camp for Amarnath Yatra. Here, you get a close encounter with Lidder river. Fill your water bottles here.
Lidder river as seen from Jojibal. Picture by Saliyah Ahmad
Section III: Jojibal to Sheshnag Lake
Altitude: 11,270 ft to 11,885 ft
Trek Distance: 2.2 km
Trek Duration: 1 hour
The trail from Jojibal to Sheshnag Lake is very narrow. This is called Kutta Ghati. Carefully navigate through this section. On this trail, you will come across many beautiful waterfalls. This water is potable. You can fill your water bottles here.
Kutta Ghati terrain leading to Sheshnag Lake. Picture by Saliyah Ahmad
From Jojibal, trek along the narrow trail for about 2 km. You’ll get a glimpse of Sheshnag Lake from here. This is called the gateway to Sheshnag Lake.
Gateway to Sheshnag Lake. Picture by Saliyah Ahmad
Walk for another 100 metres from here and you’ll reach Sheshnag Lake. The view you get from here makes you forget all the hardships to get there. Spend some good amount of time soaking in all the goodness that it offers.
Sheshnag Lake – one of the main reasons to do the Sheshnag Lake Trek. Picture by Saliyah Ahmad
In July, the bank of Sheshnag lake will be in full bloom. Iris, Wedelia and Gentiana Kurro are some of the flowers you get to witness during this season. The colors that you get to see here are mind blowing. View of the blue alpine lake surrounded by small yellow and purple flowers grown on glossy green plants is spectacular, to say the least.
Descend back through the same terrain. It takes about 3 hours to descend to Chandanwadi base.
Best Season to do the Sheshnag Lake Trek
The best season to do the Sheshnag Lake Trek is from mid-June to October.
In July, the bank of the lake will be in full bloom and looks spectacular.
Many parts of the trail remain under snow cover during the rest of the year. Hence it is not ideal to trek during the other seasons.
Difficult sections on the Sheshnag Lake Trek
The Sheshnag Lake Trek is an easy-moderate level trek.
The only difficult section where you need to be careful is the steep zigzag ascent to Pissu Top. Carrying a pair of trekking poles comes in handy in this section.
The rest of the trek is easy. But you need to get well acclimatized before gaining such an elevation in a single day. It is important in order to prevent yourself from AMS.
How to reach the Sheshnag Lake Trek
The Sheshnag Lake trek starts from Chandanwadi base. It is 94 km from Srinagar.
Reaching Chandanwadi by your own vehicle
If you want to reach Chandanwadi base on your own, you can use this link to help set up navigation in Google Maps.
- From Lal Chowk, head towards Anantnag via National highway. The distance from Lal Chowk to Anantnag is 56 km. It takes around 1 hour to get there.
- Once you reach Anantnag, take the Pahalgam route via K.P Road .The distance from Anantnag to Pahalgam is 41 km. It takes around 1 hour to reach there.
- Once you reach Pahalgam, you’ll find a signboard directing you to Pahalgam. Take that route. The distance from Pahalgam to Chandanwadi Base is 16 km. It takes around 45 minutes to reach Chandanwadi Base.
Tip: The route from Pahalgam to Chandanwadi Base is hilly with deadly blind curves, so drive carefully.
Reaching Chandanwadi Base by Public Transport System
Traveling to Chandanwadi Base by public transport is slightly more difficult than using a private vehicle.
If you plan for public transport, reach Pahalgam or Chandanwadi a day before your trek.
You have two options - taxi or bus.
- You can take a shared taxi from Lal chowk Srinagar taxi Stand to Anantnag. It costs Rs 130 and takes around 1 hour to reach Anantnag.
- Once you reach Anantnag Taxi Stand, take another shared taxi for Pahalgam via K.P Road. It costs Rs 120 and takes around 1 hour 20 minutes to reach Pahalgam.
- From Pahalgam, take another shared taxi for Chandanwadi Base. It costs Rs 60 and takes 50 minutes to reach there.
Bus option is also available at the SRTC terminal.
- Take a bus that goes to Anantnag. The bus takes 1 hour and 20 minutes to reach Anantnag and costs Rs 70.
- Once you reach Anantnag Bus stand, take another bus for Pahalgam. It takes 1 hour and 30 minutes to reach Pahalgam and costs Rs 50.
- From Pahalgam, there are no buses available. Take a shared taxi from here. It takes 50 minutes to reach and costs Rs 60.
Note: Public transport is not available as per timing. Instead, it is based on seat availability. When the seats get full, buses leave for their intended destination. There may be a variation in timing given in the document due to traffic jams and seat availability.
Nearest International and Domestic Airport
Srinagar International Airport - 95 km
Nearest Railway Station
Anantnag Railway Station - 59 km
Frequently asked questions
Stay Options near the Sheshnag Lake Trek
Government huts at Pahalgam provide accommodation to tourists.
There are also some private hotels near Chandanwadi, Hotel Indian Palace, New Tourist Palace, The Pahalgam Pines, Hotel Pahalgam Inn to name a few.
You can also pitch your own tent at Chandanwadi base.
Is the Sheshnag Lake Trek Safe?
Yes, trekking to Sheshnag Lake is safe even though it lies at such a high altitude. You must acclimatize yourself very well to prevent yourself from AMS.
However, you have to be vigilant because nomads have often spotted wildlife, particularly the Himalayan Black Bear, Himalayan brown bear, Leopard, and Jackal in the region.
The presence of friendly local shepherds and nomads who are always ready to lend a helping hand makes the trek even safer.
Tip: The Gujjar tribes and local shepherds have very aggressive dogs. It is best to trek in groups of at least 3 to 4 people. If you are not in a group, avoid approaching gujjar huts without their permission.
Weather and Temperature on the Sheshnag Lake Trek
Weather conditions are quite unpredictable at higher altitudes. It is common to have a short rain spell at any point in time or month on the Sheshnag Lake Trek. It is advised to trek with proper trekking gear.
There is a considerable difference in day and night temperatures on the trek. During the day, temperatures are above 15 °C, and at night times, the temperature sometimes drops to sub-zero.
Temperature from July to October
Day time - 15°C - 25°C
Night time - 0°C - 9°C
Timings on the Sheshnag lake Trek
There are no time restrictions as such to do the Sheshnag Lake Trek. However, if you are planning for a day trek, it is best to start early from Chandanwadi base. You’ll have enough time to trek comfortably. It takes about 5 hours from Chandanwadi to reach Sheshnag Lake.
If you are planning the journey from Srinagar, the ideal time to start the journey is around 4.00 AM. However, if you are staying near Pahalgam, then the ideal time to start your trek is 6.00 AM.
Permissions on the Sheshnag Lake Trek
You need to take permission from the Pahalgam Development Authority for the Sheshnag Lake Trek. Also you need to register yourself in Pahalgam Police Station before going on a trek.
Note: Pahalgam Development Authority charges Rs 100 as trek fee and Rs 500 as security deposit for this trek.
Tip: During Amarnath Yatra Season, sometimes there are restrictions on the number of people allowed per day. So make sure you get the permission in advance.
Pahalgam Development Authority contact number : 01936 243 125
Food and Water Sources on the Sheshnag Lake Trek
Many small eateries in and around Chandanwadi base provide basic food for visitors.
If you want a proper restaurant, Pahalgam is the last reliable source.
The Lidder river that comes from Sheshnag lake flows downwards to Chandanwadi Base. The same stream serves as the primary source of water throughout the trail.
However, Pissu Top trail is a dry section. So, make sure you refill your water bottle before starting this section.
Tip: If you are not comfortable with having water from the stream or the waterfalls, carry purification tablets or a Paany Bottle to purify water.
Emergency Contacts on the Sheshnag Lake Trek
Hospital: Government Civil Hospital Pahalgam is the nearest hospital to the Sheshnag Lake Trek.
Police Station: Police Station Pahalgam (01936243367) is the nearest police station to the Sheshnag lake Trek.
Srinagar Forest Department: In case of any emergency, contact 0194-2455027
ATMs and Network on the trek
ATMs: There are a few ATMs in Pahalgam. It is always better to carry cash than relying on ATMs on treks.
Mobile Networks: You get good BSNL network connection throughout the trek. You also get an Airtel signal on some patches of the trek.
Note: Only post-paid sim cards work in Kashmir.
Places to Visit after the Sheshnag Lake Trek
Pahalgam is a popular hill station located in the Anantnag district of Kashmir . Pahalgam also serves as the base camp for many treks including the famous Tarsar Marsar Trek, Kolahoi Glacier Trek and Tulian Lake Trek. It is just 16 km away from Chandanwadi.
2. Kokernag Botanical Garden
It is a famous tourist destination in Kashmir valley. It is located around 75 km from Chandanwadi. It is popular for its springs, flower beds, evergreen shrubs and chinars. The place is generally crowded throughout the year.
Kokernag botanical garden. Picture by Saliyah Ahmad
3. Mughal gardens of Srinagar
It is located in the heart of Srinagar around 112 km from Chandanwadi. It gives you a glimpse of Mughal architecture.
4. Achabal garden
It is a popular tourist destination in Anantnag district of the Kashmir Valley. The place is notable for an ancient spring surrounded by a garden developed by Mughals. The garden has cascades and fountains which have been erected by Mughal emperors.
5. Martand Sun Temple
It is a hindu temple located in Anantnag district of the Kashmir valley. It dates back to the eighth century and was dedicated to surya(Sun). The temple has been recognised as a site of national importance.
Trek explored and documented by Saliyah Ahmad
Trek edited by Manasa N L