Gangabal Lake

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Gangabal Lake
view of Gangabal lake
Gangabal Lake at the foot of Harmukh
Location in Jammu and Kashmir
Location in Jammu and Kashmir
Gangabal Lake
Location in Jammu & Kashmir, India
LocationGanderbal, Kashmir, India
Coordinates34°25′50″N 74°55′30″E / 34.43056°N 74.92500°E / 34.43056; 74.92500Coordinates: 34°25′50″N 74°55′30″E / 34.43056°N 74.92500°E / 34.43056; 74.92500
Typeoligotrophic lake
Primary inflowsMelting glaciers
Primary outflowsNundkol Lake which drains into Sind River
Basin countriesIndia
Max. length2.7 kilometres (1.7 mi)
Max. width1 kilometre (0.62 mi)
Surface elevation3,575 metres (11,729 ft)
FrozenNovember to April

The Gangabal Lake, also called Haramukh Ganga, is a lake situated at the foot of Mount Haramukh[1] in the Ganderbal district of the Kashmir Valley, in Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is an alpine high altitude oligotrophic lake,[2] home to many species of fish,[3] including the brown trout.[4] This lake is considered sacred in Hinduism and is one of the homes of Shiva. Kashmiri Hindus perform annual pilgrimage called Harmukh-Gangabal Yatra.

The lake has a maximum length of two and a half kilometers and maximum width of one kilometre. It is fed by precipitation, glaciers and springs. The lake water outflows to a nearby Nundkol Lake[5] and then via Wangath Nallah[6] to Sind River.[7][8]


Gangabal has been mentioned in Hindu texts like the Nilamata Purana as well as Rajatarangini. Authors like Walter Roper Lawrence and Francis Younghusband also mentioned Gangabal lake and its association with Hindu rites. Kashmiri Hindus were massacred in the year 1518 by Islamic invader Mir Shams-ud-Din Araqi on the day of Ashura. In 1519 around 10,000 Kashmiri Hindus were killed during their pilgrimage to Gangabal as they had gone to immerse the ashes of Kashmiri Hindus who were killed by Mir Shams-ud-Din Araqi on the day of Ashura.[9]

After the gap of 200 years, APMCC/HGGT took the initiative and restarted Harmukh-Gangabal Yatra in 2009.[10][11]

Religious significance[edit]

Gangabal Lake is sacred for Hindus. Each year Kashmiri Hindus take pilgrimage to the lake on the Ganga Ashtami. In the past Kashmiri Hindus used to immense the ashes of their dead ones in this lake.[12]


Gangbal Lake is approached from Srinagar 45 kilometers by road via Ganderbal up to Naranag and then a trek of 15 kilometers upslope leads to the lake, which can be covered by a horse ride or by foot. The gujjar shepherds can be seen during the trek with their flocks of sheep and goats. Another trek (25 kilometers long) leads to the lake site from Sonamarg via the Vishansar Lake crossing three mountain passes Nichnai pass, Gadsar pass and Zajibal pass of an average elevation of 4100 meters.[13] It can also be accessed through a trek from Bandipore via Arin.[14] The trek to the lake Gangabal takes place in an alpine environment, (cut crossing) with meadows, (cut from) and huts of Gujjars with their herds crossing through two passes over 4,000 m to get to the lake Gangabal.



  1. ^ "Trekking Kashmir". Archived from the original on 13 March 2013. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  2. ^ Raina, HS; KK Vass (May–June 2006). "Some biological features of a freshwater fairy shrimp, Branchinecta schantzi, Mackin, 1952 in the Northwestern Himalayas, India" (PDF). J. Indian Inst. Sci. 86: 287–291. Retrieved 21 February 2012.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "Fishes and Fisheries in high altitude lakes, Vishansar, Gadsar, Gangbal, Krishansar". Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  4. ^ Petr, T., ed. (1999). Fish and fisheries at higher altitudes : Asia. Rome: FAO. p. 72. ISBN 92-5-104309-4.
  5. ^ "Harmukh Gangbal". Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  6. ^ "Indus projects". Archived from the original on 10 July 2015. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  7. ^ Raina, Maharaj Krishen. "Know Your Motherland – Gangabal Lake".
  8. ^ "Kashmir tourism". Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  9. ^ Bhatt, Saligram (2008). Kashmiri Scholars Contribution to Knowledge and World Peace: Proceedings of National Seminar by Kashmir Education Culture & Science Society (K.E.C.S.S.), New Delhi. APH Publishing. ISBN 978-81-313-0402-0.
  10. ^ "Harmukh Gangabal lake pilgrimage performed in Kashmir due to Covid-19". 28 August 2020. Retrieved 25 January 2022.
  11. ^ Raina, Irfan. "Annual Harmukh-Gangabal Yatra commences". Retrieved 25 January 2022.
  12. ^ "Braving Unrest, Pandits Perform Gangbal Yatra in Kashmir". 12 September 2016. Retrieved 25 January 2022.
  13. ^ "Track to Gangabal". Archived from the original on 29 March 2012. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  14. ^ "Tracks of Kashmir". Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 22 May 2012.