Shadimarg and Marchoi Valley Trek: The Kashmir Winter Trek Experience
“ an extraordinary winter trekking experience in the kashmiri paradise ”
The Shadimarg and Marchoi Valley area is one of the rare places to do a winter trek in kashmir. The trail starts from the picturesque village of Naranag and explores two different river valleys of Kashmir’s untouched Wangat region. Away from the hustle and bustle of the popular and crowded winter destinations in Kashmir, this pristine and peaceful region turns into a snowy fairyland during the season. A mix of serene jungle walks, exciting snow bridges, impressive panoramic views, lovely white meadows and beautiful riverside campsites, this 4-day trek is one of the best winter experiences of the land. The trail is suitable for both experienced trekkers as well as well-prepared beginners. Book this adventurous winter holiday to experience an unseen Kashmir in the snow season.
Day 1 – Travel from Srinagar to Naranag (60 Kms / 2 hrs)
- Pick up from Srinagar and drive to Naranag through the scenic countryside
- Explore the beautifully-secluded heritage village surrounded by mountains
- Team meet and Briefing in the evening | Overnight at Homestay hosted by a local family
Day 2 – Trek Starts: Naranag village to Dumail(4 Kms / 2 hrs)
- Trek from Naranag village(6980 ft) to Dumail via Naranaag Temple ruins (4 Kms / 2 hrs)
- Overnight Camping at Dumail
Day 3 – Trek from Dumail to Marchoi Valley via Shingdi and back to Dumail (8 Kms /5-6 hrs)
- Cross Shingdi, a grazing ground for shepherds during the summer months
- Reach the meadows of Marchoi and soak in the breathtaking views from there
- Trek back to campsite and Overnight Camping at Dumail
Day 4 – Trek from Dumail to Shadimarg Top and back (5-6 Kms / 5-6 hrs)
- The Shadimarg point offers gorgeous views of the surrounding valleys, mountains and snowy vistas
- Trace back the same route to Dumail and Overnight Camping at Dumail
Day 5 – Farewell to the Snowy wonderland | Trek and Travel back to Srinagar
- Trek back from Dumail to Naranag (4 Kms / 2 hrs)
- Travel onwards to Srinagar from Naranaag (60 Kms / 2 hrs)
1. A rare winter trek in kashmir
The region of Kashmir receives one of the most heavy amounts of snowfall in the winter. This restricts trekking accessibility to all the high-altitude trails in the valley and most winter tourists are able to witness the white Kashmir only in a handful of popular destinations and ski resorts. It is therefore very rare to do a Kashmir winter trek and certainly not very easy to find a suitable trail.
However, the lesser-known Shadimarg and Marchoi Valley trek is one of the few exceptions. This trail makes it possible to trek in Kashmir during the snowy season and in fact, is undoubtedly one of the most scenic short winter treks in the country. The route is suitable even for beginners who are prepared for the snowy surroundings and low temperatures. Depending on the snow conditions, the Shadimarg and Marchoi Valley trek is completed in four days. The forest trail takes travellers into a pristine and offbeat region so far untouched by commercialisation.
2. The Snowy Paradise
The Shadimarg and Marchoi Valley trek route can be walked throughout the year, but the terrain turns magical especially in the winter months. From Naranag to Dumail and from Marchoi Valley to Shadimarg, as it snows in the region, the entire Wangat Valley area becomes a winter wonderland.
With a blanket of snow all around, the beautiful jungle trails and the riverside camping areas look enchanting. From snow-laden paths, attractive snowy glades and excellent panoramic views to interesting icicle formations, snow bridges and tiny snow-covered nomad huts in the middle of pine forests – all of this makes the Shadimarg and Marchoi Valley trek a rewarding and a surreal winter hiking experience.
3. Dumail Campsite
One major highlight of the Kashmir winter trek is the camping site. Dumail, an unexplored forest clearing is beautifully located at the bottom of a river valley at the confluence of two rivers. Close to Naranag, it has been a traditional stopover for the local shepherds and nomadic communities who walkthis trail during the summer months on their way to higher grazing grounds for their livestock. The campsite of Dumail is reached through a serene riverside trail lined with tall pine, fir and birch trees and a few nomadic settlements. Surrounded by thick forests, towering mountains and situated at the bank of a crystal clear stream ebbing and gushing just besides, the alluring campsite is set up against the most picturesque backdrop of the valley.
4. The village of Naranag
The picturesque village of Naranag is the start point and base camp for this offbeat Kashmir Winter trek. The sleepy hamlet is the last village in the Wangat Valley and historically an important place in the valley. It is also one of the start points or the base to the popular Gangabal-Vishnusar trek which has been popularized these days as the Kashmir Great lakes trek hiked from the Sonamarg side. There is an annual Gangabal Yatra taken by the Kashmiri Pandits during late September where people hike till the lake and perform their religious duties on the banks of the lake below the sacred Mt Harmukh.
The ancient village of Naranag is also home to one of the most important archeological sites in Kashmir – the Naranag Temple ruins or the Wangat Valley Temple complex. Located in the serene meadows of the Wangat Valley and surrounded by the most beautiful pine-covered mountains, the dilapidated Naranag temple structures are mysterious relics of the past that throw light on Kashmir’s ancient Hindu heritage. The temples were dedicated to Lord Shiva and was built by Lalitaditya Muktapida during Karkota Dynasty. The 8th-century architecture is believed to be dedicated to Nagas by which the name Naranag was derived. It is said the Nagas belonged to Hindu Kashmiri Kayasthas of Naga sect. The Naranag temple is now in a state of ruins but whatever remains shows the grandeur of these structures and the flourishing kingdom activities that once thrived here.
The base camp for the Kashmir winter trek is the village of Naranaag which is around 2 hrs or 60 Kms away from Srinagar. We will arrange a car pick up for all the participants from a designated point in Srinagar, which will directly transfer you to the base camp to start the trek. At the end of the trek, we will again arrange transport to drop you back to Srinagar. These Base Camp transfers are included in the Trip Cost.
How to reach Srinagar:
Srinagar city is well connected to all the major cities in India and can be reached by air, train or road. The most convenient way to reach Srinagar is via flight. Sheikh Ul-Alam International Airport in Srinagar (Code: SXR) is around 15 Kms away from the city centre. Srinagar Airport has regular flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Leh, Chandigarh and other cities.
The nearest railway station is Jammu Tawi Railway Station which is at a distance of 250 kilometers. One can hire a taxi and take a road trip to Srinagar from Jammu Tawi Railway Station. Jammu railway station is well connected to the Indian railways network to all major cities in India by rail. Direct train services are available from Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore and Trivandrum.By train one has to reach Jammu and then drive to Srinagar on road, which takes around 7-8 hours depending on road conscious and traffic.
The Shadimarg and Marchoi Valley Trek route can be hiked throughout the year including the summer and rainy seasons when the valley is more green and vibrant. But the trail turns more impressive especially in the winters with the snow gorgeously adorning the picturesque and pristine landscape.
The best time to walk this trail therefore is between the months of December and March. It is also one of the rare treks in Kashmir that can be done in the Winter (mid December to February) and early spring season months( March). During this time the temperatures dip below zero and campsites are pitched in snow with frozen streams and icicles all around. A white blanket covers the trails and its natural settings are enchanting everywhere we look. The weather this time is quite unpredictable and may range from a refreshing sunny day in the snow perfect for the trek or a sudden snowfall making everything appear more magical. It is one of the best winter experiences in Kashmir for peace and serenity, away from the crowded popular destinations in the peak holiday season.
Shadimarg and Marchoi Valley Trek is a low-altitude trail suitable for both beginners and experienced trekkers. It is recommended for all hiking enthusiasts and nature lovers. It’s however important to note that although it is classified as an easy trek, walking in snow and the cold temperatures can raise the trek difficulty slightly. A trekker joining this trip must come well-prepared, be in good health and a fit physical condition.
The Kashmir Winter Trek is an easy trail suitable for families including kids (aged above 10) and senior elderly people (aged below 60) provided all participants come well-prepared and should be fit, healthy and willing to make effort. Travellers also should not have any existing medical conditions such as Cardiac or BP-related issues, Asthma etc.
Kashmir has always been a politically sensitive location and a troubled region for quite some time. Disturbances, unrest and curfews have been common in the past but they have very rarely caused distress for tourists. The number of these incidents have now come down significantly and thousands of tourists, travelers and trekkers have been exploring and experiencing Kashmir with a great sense of safety and security. The people of Kashmir are one of the most warm hearted, welcoming and helping people and are particularly generous towards their guests and visitors.
The Shadimarg and Marchoi Valley trek starts from the Naranag village and explores two different beautiful river valleys. Naranag is a sleepy little hamlet inhabited by peaceful folks primarily dependent on agriculture and tourism. The locals of this serene village are very supportive and helpful towards visitors. Although the trail is remote and secluded, it is located in Ganderbal, one of the most peaceful districts in the valley and the rural roads are well-linked with the highly guarded Srinagar-Leh Highway. The local economy and the residents there are heavily dependent on tourism and trekking and in their own interest always strive to ensure complete safety for all travellers.
All trip participants need to reach Srinagar on their own. We will arrange the ground transportation required to reach the base camp from Srinagar city. The drive from Srinagar to Naranag village takes 2 hours and crosses the beautiful Kashmiri countryside with scenic mountainscapes. At the end of the trek, we will again arrange transport to drop you back to Srinagar. Both the base Camp transfers are included in the Trip Cost.
When visiting Jammu and Kashmir, it is important to note that prepaid mobile connections issued outside the territory do not work. Only local prepaid sims will work. But all postpaid connections of major network operators will have good reception and data connectivity in most destinations of the valley. Airtel, Vodafone and BSNL – all provide good connectivity and internet data networks in the main areas of the valley with BSNL having the widest coverage and Airtel having the strongest connectivity. Recently, Jio has penetrated well and is now offering great connectivity to even some very remote areas of the region. On this trip, due to its remoteness the base camp village of Naranag does not have any reliable phone network connection. Vodafone and Airtel connections are weak and intermittently work. BSNL connection works better but only at certain points in the village. As we start the trek and move deeper on the trail, no phone network or internet connectivity will be available.
Yes, we can definitely tailor this trek as a customized trip exclusively for your private group as per your preferred dates, preferences and duration. In fact, most of our groups are private Please note that the dates, personalization requirements, expectations and other details need to be communicated to us well in advance.
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For Trip Booking, Costs and More Details, Please Contact Us:
A personalized itinerary can be crafted based on your group’s interests, expectations, and preferred dates and time duration. For tailoring a suitable Kashmir Winter Trek or the Marchoi Valley Trek plan just for you, please Call/Whatsapp on +91 8951064013 or mail us at email@example.com