Kashmir Valley is one of the fascinating destinations in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is not just a tourist attraction but also a pilgrimage site and a paradise for adventure enthusiasts. Among various spots, let us focus on the Sheshnag Lake in Anantnag district of Kashmir Valley.
Photo Courtesy: Akhilesh Dasgupta
Sheshnag comes en route to the famous Amarnath Yatra (pilgrimage). It is around 23km from Pahalgam. Amarnath pilgrims first visit Sheshnag Lake and then continue their journey. The lake is accessible only through the trek route.
As per a legend, Lord Shiva is said to have left Sheshnag (snake) in this place while talking about the secrets of eternal life with Goddess Parvati. Another myth is that Sheshnag himself created this lake and began living here. It is a local belief that Sheshnag lives in this lake even to this day.
Sheshnag Lake Surrounded by the Mountains
Photo Courtesy: Nitin Badhwar
Who is Sheshnag?
Sheshnag is the King of Snakes; he is the throne of Lord Vishnu. Devotees always visit this sacred place before heading to Shiva temple in Amarnath. A journey of 20km from Sheshnag is the famous cave of Amarnath (Shiva Linga formed in ice).
Photo Courtesy: Gktambe
Scientifically, it is a high altitude (oligotrophic) lake. Meaning the water contains fewer nutrients which in turn increases Oxygen levels. Hence, the water is clear and is highly portable. Some species like trout fishes which need more oxygen live in such oligotrophic lakes. Sheshnag lake is fed by the melted snow from the surrounding mountains. Further, the water joins the Lidder river in Pahalgam valley.
Trekking near Sheshnag
Photo Courtesy: Ravinder Singh Gill
How To Reach Sheshnag
Sheshnag Lake is around 120km from Srinagar and 23km from Pahalgam. Till Chandanwari, it is accessible by road. Further, it can be reached only through trekking for 7 km. Those who cannot trek can opt for a horse ride.
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Best Season To Visit Sheshnag Lake
The trek route opens from June and remains until September. After this season, the region witnesses heavy snowfall and the lake also freezes in the winter months.
It is never easy to reach such splendid wonders of nature. A trek to Sheshnag Lake and Amarnath Cave is worthwhile!