About this blog: Naranag is mainly known for the ancient Shiva Temple complex and the basecamp of a number of treks in Kashmir. Our experience at Naranag was much more. Not only did we experience the pristine beauty of the valley, but was also completely amazed by the hospitality the place offered us. The Dumail trek was an added bonus. Read this blog to know about Naranag, our experience of Dumail Trek and other related information to visit the place.
Kashmir seems to have completely charmed us. The more we spent time here, the more we fell in love with the place and its people. And to be honest, each day in the valley sprung a new surprise for us. We were already quite enamored by the landscape of Kashmir. But what bowled me over at Naranag was the simplicity of the place!
Yes, Naranag situated on the foothills of the Pir Panjal range is a simple and peaceful place. Naranag is a part of the Wangat Valley named from the river flowing by the village. The village is surrounded by picturesque landscape, consisting of mountains, meadows where you will find horses grazing, lakes and rivers. It is a perfect setting for a trek. Infact, Naranag serves as the base camp for a number of treks in Kashmir. The famous Great Lakes Trek ends at Naranag.
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Although we had not visited Naranag with the intention of trek, we actually ended up doing a small one day trek. Dumail Trek is a short hike for a couple of hours from Naranag village to the Dumail Valley. Dumail is basically a virgin and beautiful camping site at the confluence of two rivers.
Where is Naranag located?
Naranag is located at Wangat Valley in the Ganderbal district of Jammu and Kashmir, about 50 km northwest of Srinagar. To reach Naranag, you have to take a diversion from Kangan on the Srinagar-Leh Highway. The village is located about 16 km from Kangan.
The road from Srinagar to Naranag is just beautiful with paddy fields, surrounding hills and peaks hidden by cloud and mist. The journey is beautiful, but nothing compares to the place itself. We got a profound sense of peace and calm as soon as we reached Wangat Valley.
Naranag is located at an altitude of 2128 m and mainly serves as the base camp for several treks like Kashmir Great Lakes trek, Gangabal Lake Trek and trek to Mount Harmukh. The small village is located on the banks of Wangath River and has a handful of Gujjar inhabitants.
The villagers are helpful and smiling. We stayed at one quaint homestay with a local family. And we felt completely at home with them. We talked with them, ate with them and shared their life.
These people are simple. They do not actually care about all the media propaganda Kashmir faces from time to time. They just want to live a dignified life with their loved ones and welcome travellers and tourists to their home as their own.
Naranag is the home to one of the most ancient temple complexes in Kashmir. The place is rich in history and archaeology. Infact, our visit to the place was due to my penchant for history.
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Dumail is a pristine and beautiful camping spot near Naranag. Dumail can be reached by 2 hours trek from the village. The trail leading to Dumail is absolutely gorgeous running along the river and through thick coniferous forest interspersed by a few Gujjar settlements. The hiking trail through the forest is quite easy and can be easily done by beginners. At Dumail, the Wangat and Marchoi streams meet and merge into one.
After crossing Dumail, you will reach the beautiful meadows of Marchoi Valley. The entire trek from Naranag to Marchoi Valley can be done in one day if you start early. You can also camp for the night at the camping site at Dumail.
Our Experience of Dumail Trek
We arrived at Naranag after a pleasant journey from Srinagar. As soon as we learnt about Dumail, we wanted to hike to the place. We decided on coming back to Naranag village after reaching Dumail as we did not have any camping equipment with us.
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Just as we decided we started towards Dumail. We passed the Naranag Temple complex and took the well defined trail towards Dumail. The trail leading to Dumail is absolutely gorgeous with huge pine and walnut trees. The Wangat River was keeping us company all through. The trail was also quite even without much gradient.
In between, we met shepherds and saw horses grazing on the pastures. After about one and a half hour, we reached the wooden bridge. This is the place where Dumail starts. You can actually trek beyond the bridge and then reach Marchoi Valley. However, that would take a couple of days more.
We crossed the bridge and just explored the area. Everything looked and felt so peaceful. It seemed we had come to a different world altogether. We spent some time there and decided to return back to Naranag village. We did not trekked further to Marchoi meadows as we did not have much time. Also, we did not carry any camping equipment with us.
Both Agni and I were keen to stop on the way and take as many pictures of the stream, the landscape and the ancient temple on our return. We actually did so. Please do let us know in comments below about the pictures here.
We returned to the village quite when it was almost dark. We had a great time that day. Not only did go for a beautiful hike, but also explored the ancient temple ruins. All our interests in a single day! Nothing can get better than that.
After the trek, we sat the kitchen and talked and talked with our hosts. Their little boy was quite friendly and was all full of various antics. At dinner we had delicious homemade chicken curry with rice. It was a perfect day!
And then there was snowfall!
When we thought that the day was just perfect, we really did not anticipate what was in store for us the next morning. We had our dinner and slept peacefully.
The next morning, I woke up groggily and as usual went towards the window to pull the curtains. And what did I see? There was snow and snow everywhere. It was snowing. For someone who stays in a tropical hot and dry climate, watching the snowfall is like a dream come true. Infact, the last time I had seen such a beautiful and heavy snowfall was during the Rupin Pass Trek and we were doing the summit that day.
I was mesmerized. I simply had to pull Agni out of his bed to show him this wonder. Quite obviously, he was equally thrilled!
The place which was clear and green the previous day was completely under a blanket of snow that day. It was completely mesmerizing and it seemed we both were under a spell. All the adjectives that people use to describe something great can be used here. I will not bore you with adjectives. I hope you can understand my feelings here!
Naranag has already become my favourite place. We stayed there for another day and then returned to Srinagar. And now I am planning to go back there again. Maybe we will go for a trek, but we will definitely stay for a couple of days extra at Naranag village just to experience the village and the people.
Dumail Trek Travel Guide
How to reach Naranag?
Naranag is located about 50 km from Srinagar. You can hire a car from Srinagar to reach Wangat Valley and then the village.
Local transport is a bit difficult, but not impossible. Local buses and shared sumos are available from Srinagar to Kangan. From Kangan, you can take another bus to Naranag.
The day we reached Naranag, we also saw a bus reaching the village from Kangan. The bus stayed at the village for the night and the next morning started towards Kangan. So, I guess, you might not get buses everyday to Naranag.
Where to stay for Dumail Trek?
For Dumail Trek, you can stay at Naranag. There are only a few homestays at Naranag. Drop us a mail if you wish to know more.
What is the best time for Dumail Trek?
We did the Dumail trek during the month of April. The weather was clear and we could see Mt. Harmukh at the backdrop clearly.
Trekking season in Kashmir starts from July and goes all the way till September. So this is also a good time for the Dumail and Marchoi Valley trek. We also heard that Dumail becomes breathtakingly beautiful during the winter. With snow everywhere, the entire landscape turns enchanting. So if you are up for trekking in the snow and beating the cold, then the winter months in November, January and February are a good time for the Dumail Trek.
How is the mobile connectivity at Naranag?
Kashmir does not have prepaid mobile connectivity. You need to have a postpaid connection in Kashmir. The network at Naranag is intermittent and weak. Our Vodafone Postpaid connection did not have a network at the village and homestay area, but we got a weak network connection near the temple area. BSNL connection is a bit better.
A Few more Pictures of Naranag and Dumail Trek
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