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Want to walk on a glacier? Put Kashmir’s Kolahoi Trek on your bucket list

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Maximum Altitude: 12.600 ft

Duration:  5 days

Difficulty: Easy-Moderate

Kolahoi Glacier Trek is a classic Kashmir trek that takes you through lush green valleys, shady forest slopes fed by gushing streams, into an alpine meadow landscape and amazing views of the Himalayas all around. Kolahoi Glacier is a beautiful valley glacier situated in the western Himalayas. The 5km long hanging glacier is located just below the Kolahoi Mountain and above the Lidder Valley. The locals have named the glacier as the “Goddess of Light” as it is the only source of water for the Jhelum and Lidder River.

A small trek from Lidder Valley leads to Kolahoi Glacier. The trek actually commences from Aru Valley, which is another scenic attraction of Kashmir. En route you’ll be greeted by majestic pine trees, meadows coloured with wild flowers, gushing rivers and snow clad peaks. This one is a crossover trek from Sind Valley into the Lidder Valley passing Basmai Pass (4300m). The trek passes through high altitude alpine lakes situated at the foothills of Mount Kolahoi (5425m), the highest mountain peak of the Kashmir valley. The route is filled with enchanting waterfalls, small and wide streams, and serene lakes. The calm and splendour of the Dudhsar Lake leave one captivated.

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Kolahoi glacier is about 5 km long and it flows from the north-west of a neve field covering about 35 km. At one end of this neve, the field is the north-eastern cirque of Kolahoi Horn. This neve field also feeds 3 other glaciers. The easternmost of these flows northward and its meltwater enters the Sind River. The other 2 terminate within the hanging valley glaciers along the eastern wall of Kolahoi glacier. The Cirque on the north-western face of Kolahoi Horn feeds a hanging valley glacier which descends along the southern valley wall and the cirque on the southern face of Kolahoi Horn feeds a glacier which melts before it descends to the Aru Valley.

Itinerary

Day 1: Aru – Liddervat

Lidderwat is a valley situated at 11 kms from Aru. The gentle yet steep walk towards the Lidderwat valley starts as soon as the sun rises. You will cover a distance of 10km in 6 hours walking amidst the cluster of fir trees and discovering the lifestyle of the Gujjars. The trail towards Lidderwat starts right out of the village following the course of the Lidder River. Walking past the huge land of the agricultural fence you can take a look back at the entire Aru village from that height. As you walk further towards the dense cluster of fir trees, half an hour later you will come across a patch of clearing called Dalla. Once you will cross the clearing the steep climbing will turn into a pleasant walk towards Nandkei where you can witness the Gujjar settlements in every part of the valley. Crossing the Nandkei you will see the trail break into two parts where you will walk down the wooden bridge and witness the Gujjar huts which gives a hint of your arrival at Lidderwat.

As you reach the Lidderwat valley, spare some time to absorb the beauty of the streams flowing across the meadows and find a place to set your camp for an overnight stay.

aru valley
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Day 2: Trek from Liddervat – Satlangan

The second day has a comparatively steeper route. You walk past the Dudhsar stream, which is white as milk. The entire route is patched by boulders and gravel and you must walk carefully on this part of the trek. As you walk along the stream, mountains tower you from both the sides and you walk where they meet on the ground. Unlike the trail towards Lidderwat, you will come across tall coniferous trees and the gushing stream with crystal white water which flows amidst the rocks. Susrin is one of the noticeable locations on the way which is only half a kilometer from Satlangan. After absorbing the beauty of the place you will walk another 1km to reach the Chainbal waterfall. The waterfall seems as if it is coming straight out of the clouds due to the height from which it falls. After some ascents, it is a plain way to Dudhsar Lake. After crossing the dense jungles and walking across the beautiful meadows you will come across the Dudhsar Lake which rests just in between of the grass covered mountains with patches of snow. The calm and splendour of the Dudhsar Lake leave one captivated.

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Day 3: Satlangan – Kolahoi Glacier – Satlangan

After spending the night on the banks of Dudhsar Lake, you will wake up to a scenic morning. Enjoy the first rays of sun with a hot breakfast and get ready to trek to the Kolahoi Glacier. You will walk down the valley to see the Kolahoi glacier which is the main attraction of the trek. As you climb down for 1.5km from the top of the valley you will witness a beautiful sight of the Kolahoi Glacier or the Crevasse which feeds the Jhelum and Lidder River. The viewpoint of the glacier is breath-taking, but don’t take the risk of walking on the glacier as it can be dangerous. With the passage of time the insides of the glacier has become hollow and it can be accidental to walk on the thin layer of ice.

A clear sky would be boon for the trekkers. You could fill your reel with enough breathtakingly beautiful pictures that would last a year on Instagram and forever in your memories. You would walk past shepherds on the way, now and then. After spending some time at this point, trekkers walk back to Satlangan and camp there for the night.

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Day 4: Satlangan – Liddervat

Walk back to Liddervat. There are gentle ascents, which are not noticeable. White streams and alpine trees line the trek route that you’ll walk this day. Coniferous forests surround at times and at a different hour, you stare at the shades of green around. Walk in leisure while absorbing as much beauty as you can. The campsite is again in the same meadows.

liddervat
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Day 5: Liddervat – Aru

Walk at your own pace as this is the last day of the trek. You will pass through the lush grasslands on the open valleys and streams gushing through the mountain rocks. As you will walk down from the height of 2492ft. take a few breaks along the way while enjoying the picturesque view of the crystal clear water. Follow the Lidder river to reach the picturesque Aru. You can stay in Aru for one more day to enjoy the surroundings or can proceed towards Pahalgam.

Best Time To Visit

Kolahoi Pass trek is best visited from March to October as the harshness of winter is left behind, and trails clear up considerably. You can witness a collection of some of the majestic Himalayan peaks covered with pristine snow. You shall witness enthralling views if you plan to visit Kolahoi Pass during these months.

How To Reach

Aru Valley is around 13 km from Pahalgam and can be reached by private taxis. The nearest airport is in Srinagar which is 90 km from Pahalgam.

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