The Unseen Places between Margan Top and Sinthan Top


By: Syed Aamir Sharief Qadri

The everlasting beauty of Mouj Kashir is hidden in the upper reaches of mountains at an elevation of 3000 to 4000 meter above sea level. At such altitude one can find unparalleled pastures spread over several kilometers on which gypsies claim their rights. These meadowlands are encompassed by steep cliffs, wilderness and spectacular water bodies. Along with natural sounds produced by animals, rivers and wind movements the whistles of shepherds bring life to these silent valleys. Furthermore the soulful voice of nomadic children creates a stirs in the hearts of heedful listeners.

A brief overview

The narrow stretch of land between twin tops of Sinthan and Margan forms a natural boundary between Anantnag and Kashtiwar districts of J&K. On one side is the famous Kashmir valley and on the other side range lies the obscure Warwan valley (Kashtiwar). Though reached by two different routes from Kashmir, the least explored meadows and lakes of the place are situated very close to each other at an average altitude of 4000 m. There are 16 lakes in whole area and most of them are unfamiliar. Starting from Sinthan top the trek to Margan top can be completed in three days. And if proceeding further one can reach up to Sheeshnag Lake (Pahalgam) in seven days. Therefore in total the track from Sinthan top to Pahalgam can be completed at a maximum of ten days.

Margan Top and Choharnag Lakes

Margan Top also known as Death Valley got its name by combining two words- Mar (death) and Gan (valley). It is said that in earlier times this place claimed large number of lives due to unprecedented weather conditions and rugged terrain of the area. It is situated at a distance of about 35 kms from Kokernag. The Margan top is also called the gateway of Warwan valley. To the left of Margan Top at a distance of three kilometers one can visit all four lakes which are too close to one another known as Choharnag (Chohar means four, Nag means spring).

Hence all four lakes together are known as Choharnag Lakes. At a distance of few miles away from last Choharnag lake there is another big lake almost in equal size to that of the biggest Choharnag lakes. Therefore in total there are five lakes situated on left side of Margan Top. All these lakes are at high altitude oligotrophic lakes fed by glaciers. With different colors the lakes present a splendid view. The reflection of mountains in the backdrop makes these lakes very charming. The water from two of the Choharnag lakes drains into Marwa River which is a right bank tributary of Chenab River. The water from other parts of Margan Top flows into Gawran Nallah to form Bringi River.

Four More Lakes on the Other Side of Margan Top

On right side of the Margan Top, at a distance of five hours walking, there are four more lakes, though smaller in size than Choharnag lakes, but equal in splendor and magnificence. Out of four lakes three of them are named as Khilan Nag, Shilsar, and AshLake. Each lake is followed by beautiful meadows full of flowers. In the backdrop white peaks add beauty to green surface. The rocks of different colors and sizes enhance its beauty. With changing colors the sky presents an amazing look. The floating clouds of dark grey color on deep blue sky catches thevisitors eye.   

The Valleys of Aarshan and Famber

It is a sum of numerous meadows studded with beautiful lakes and surrounded by several peaks. The rivers and streams flowing in these two valleys are full of fishes. Hence trekkers must be equipped with fishing rods to make the trip memorable. These valleys look much beautiful in early morning and at the time of sunset.  The scattering reddish-orange color of morning and evening sun fill hearts with warmth. Other than balmy rays of sun glinting off the snow, the rocky meadows look perfectly still. The sky decorated with twinkling stars and bright moon bring dead souls back to life.

Between Aarshan Valley and Famber valley there are seven lakes in total. These lakes are named as Aarshan Lake, Zed Nag, Neh Nag, Daren Sar, Nil Nag, Nag PathriLake, and Nag Moj. The virgin valleys of Aarshan and Famber can be visited by following two well-known routes. One such trial starts from Rajparian Wildlife Sanctuary/ Sheep Breeding Farm (Daksum) which passes through Hoksar, one of the best camping site of expedition. The second route falls on way to Sinthan top. One should get down from vehicle at Aarshan curve which lies in between Daksum and Sinthan top. This path is more convenient than the first one. After visiting the beautiful meadows of Aarshan valley the visitors have to cross Kadihajan Mountain to reach Famber valley.

Tail Piece

The beautiful journey to this pretty land starts from Anantnag and passes through two beautiful gardens of Achwal and Kokernag. While moving close to destination the journey becomes enthralling. The road that sometimes runs parallel to rivers, inside dense evergreen forests, with gradual ascend takes us to the top of mountains. Sometimes the travellers inside their vehicles fell uneasy and fearful at sharp, steep and blind curves on mountain slopes. But the fear ends after having the first ever glimpses of the beautiful meadows at top.

(The Author has obtained post-graduation in History from the University of Kashmir, M. Phil from Punjabi University Patiala and is also a freelance writer he can be reached on [email protected])