Pahalgam is a mesmerising hill station famously known as the humble abode of Shepherd. The Valley of Shepherd, located 95 km from Srinagar, is truly a paradise for Nature lovers and trekkers. From ancient times, Pahalgam served as the old route for the most revered Hindu pilgrimage – Amarnath Yatra. The trek to the annually organised Amarnath Yatra starts from Chandanwari in Pahalgam. The Yatra begins and ends in July till August. However, hidden in the Valley are more magical routes for trekkers. The most majestic is Kolahoi Glacier, where you can head after completing your Amarnath Yatra.
Kolahoi Glacier is considered the best trekking place in Pahalgam. Glacier water is the source of many mighty rivers, including River Lidder and Jhelum. Among locals, the Glacier is famously known as the ‘Goddess of Light.’ Due to these glacier waters, the Valley is significantly fertile, and the land produces the best quality apples and saffron. The highlights of the trek would be Surmasar Lake Trek and Basmai Lake.
How to Reach Kolahoi Glacier
The trek to Kolahoi Glacier starts from Aru Valley. In fact, after Pahalgam, Aru Valley is the most popular tourist destination, for it serves as the base point for many trekking expeditions, such as Tarsar-Marsar Lake and Kolahoi Glacier.
The most popular route goes via Lidderwat Valley. Lidderwat serves as an adjunct between Lake Tarsar and Kolahoi peak. Along the way, you will come across mountainous streams, alpine lakes, tributaries, and waterfalls. The course of the Lidder River will lead you to dense forests and lush-green meadows.
The alternative route goes via Gasran Katernag Lake. The route is direct and is comparatively more difficult to trek than the former.
Best Time to Visit
April to August is the best time to visit Kolahoi Glacier.
Between resting and resuming the journey, the trek to Kolahoi Glacier in Pahalgam requires 6-7 days. This would generally include visiting twin lakes Tarsar-Marsar, overnight camping, sightseeing, bonfire and a lot of ascending and descending.
Itinerary to Kolahoi Glacier Trek
You can follow the given itinerary for trekking to Kolahoi Glacier.
Day 1: Srinagar to Aru via Pahalgam (Distance: 112 km | Approx 4 hours)
Day 2: Aru Valley to Lidderwat (Distance 10 km | Approx 6 hours)
Day 3: Lidderwat to Lake Dudhsar (Distance 8 km | Approx 5 hours)
Day 4: Lake Dudhsar to Kolahoi Glacier. Return to Satlunjan
Day 5: Satlunjan to Aru Valley Day 6: Aru Valley to Srinagar (Distance: 112 km | Approx 4 hours)
A travel lover and moody chef, Surbhi loves to read & write and doodle in her free time. For her, being able to write is a blessing, and to keep at it—a work-in-progress. When not working, you can find her swimming her worries away, dancing to the beats, or filling up her bucket list to tick them off.