Mount Harmukh

Harmukh (also known as Mount Haramukh or Harmukh mountain) is a mountain with a peak elevation of 5,142 metres (16,870 ft), in Ganderbal district of Jammu and Kashmir. Harmukh is part of the Himalaya Range, and is located between Nallah Sindh in the south and Kishanganga Neelum River in the north, rising above Gangabal Lake in the vicinity of Kashmir valley. It is mostly climbed from the northwestern side of Arin Bandipore. The closest tourism destination to Haramukh is Daachigam. Other close by tourism destinations include Sonamarg, Srinagar and Pahalgam. The nearest major railway station to Haramukh is Jammu (JAT) which is at a distance of 5.2 kilometres. The nearest airport is at Srinagar which is at a distance of 44 kilometres. Lying at an elevation of 11945 m, it is one of the highest cities in India. According to Hindu mythology, Harmukh is the abode of Lord Shiva. According to the legend of “Hurmukhuk Gosoni”. Once a hermit tried to reach the summit of Harmukh to see Lord Shiva face to face. For twelve long years he tried to scale the summit, but failed until one day he saw a Gujar descending the summit. When the Gujar approached him, the hermit enquired as to what he had seen there. The Gujar said he had been searching for a stray goat, and that while searching he saw a couple milking a cow and drinking the milk from a human skull. The couple had offered him some milk, which he refused to drink; when they departed they rubbed a little of the milk on his forehead. When the Gujar indicated the spot where the milk was rubbed, the hermit was extremely joyful and rushed to lick his forehead. It is said that the hermit attained Nirvana and disappeared from the place, to the complete surprise of the Gujar. The most enchanting high altitude trek in entire Kashmir valley is the one leading to the famous Lake of Gangabal situated at the foot of Mount Haramukh. This Lake is approachable either from Sonamarg involving a 3 to 4 day trek or directly through Chatargul along Bramahsar or via Naranag up the steep slope of Buth-Sher which takes a day or two. The trek from Sonamarg across Nichnai pass is out of this world. There are more than a dozen Lakes on this trek. Kishensar, Vishensar, Yemsar, Gadsar, Satsar, and finally the Gangabal and Nundkol Lakes. After crossing Nichnai pass, one can either go through the valleys or cross some more passes to go along the Lakes directly. Each Lake has its own peculiarity and the bigger ones, Kishensar, Vishensar, Gangabal, and Nundkol are stocked with trout fish. There are excellent camping sites all along the trek. The mountainsides are full of varied flora. Some places one finds mind boggling variety of plants and flowers especially while climbing the pass near Gadsar to reach Satsar.