The Pir Panjal falling under the jurisdiction of Rajouri-Poonch districts is a repository of beautiful lakes situated at an altitude between 13000 ft. to 14500 ft. In the local parlance, lake is called "Sar" and meadow is called "Marg". This stretch of Pir Panjal is full of lakes and meadows and a place to be well enjoyed by the tourists. There are more than 27 lakes between Simar Sar to Nandan Sar in an area of 30x30 sq.kms. Of these seven lakes are big in size and rest are smaller. Next to Kaunsar Nag, Bhag Sar is the biggest lake. Most of the big lakes are situated at the boundary line between Jammu division and the Kashmir valley and drain into the Kashmir valley. The important lakes are Sukh Sar, Akal Dakshni, Nandan Sar, Chandan Sar, Katori Sar, Raviwalli marg group of lakes, Chamar Sar, Bhsg Sar, Diya Sar, Padyaran Sar I and II, Katori Sar in Bela Marg and Smat Sar. All the above lakes are situated in the highlands of Pir Panjal Range and freeze during winter and become available for rafting or boating only during summer season i.e. during the months from June to October.
This is the first lake if one approaches these groups of lakes from northern direction. This is an oval shaped lake situated at an elevation of about 3000 mtrs. and is very small in size.
This lake is situated next to Sukh Sar at a distance of about one Km. Akal Darshani is worshipped by all Bakerwals who pass through this route and consider it very sacred. Lake is triangular in shape and the colour of water looks black in comparison to blue colour of other lakes. It is located slightly at higher altitude to that of Sukh Sar at an elevation of about 3300 mtrs. This lake is about 200 mtrs. wide and 400 mtrs long.
This lake is one of the biggest and beautiful lakes located at such a high altitude. Nandan Sar is oval in shape and more that one Km. in length. Water lake is deep blue in colour. To approach this lake one has to ascend the slope from Akal Dakshni and then descend towards Kashmir watershed. Lake is located at an elevation of about 3500 mtrs. The water of this lake flows through Jadi Marg nullah into the valley.
At half an hour trekking distance from Nandan Sar is located Chandan Sar amidst a depression formed by lofty mountains across the nullah to east. Chandan Sar is located at an elevation of about 3600 mtrs. and is as big as Nandan Sar.
From Chandan Sar route again enters Rajouri District through Barhal pass (3650 mtrs.) in westerly direction. Just near is the saddle and irregular shaped lake, with blue waters, welcomes the travels. This is Katori lake or Sar at an elevation of about 3550 mtrs.
RAVI WALLI MARG GROUP OF LAKES
From Katori Sar as one descends down due west, water of four lakes gives a panoramic view of Ravi Walli Marg. The four lakes located in this Marg are Kokar Sar, Neel Sar,Bhag Sar and Ding Sar. Altitude of this place is about 3300 mtrs. and is one of the best camping sites at this altitude.
To approach Chamar Sar one has to reach Sarota Marg located along the Chamar Nala and camp here for one night. Chamar Sar is one day's trekking from Ravi Walli Marg. It is better to approach Chamar and Bhag Sar from Sarota Marg and come back same day. Chamar Sar is bean shaped like located at an altitude of 3300 mtrs. This lake if full of icebergs till late July. Circumference of this lake is more than 12 kms. This lake is source of chamar Nala which ultimately joins Bafliaz Nala near Behram Gala.
Bhag Sar is the highest lake situated in this series of lakes in atapani/Budhal mountains at an elevation of about 3700 mtrs. It is an oval shaped lake and is inaccessible for a common man. It is enclosed from all the four sides and is always full of icebergs. To approach this lake one has to skirt around the chamar Sar from left side and then ascend the glacier up to 4000 mtrs. from where the lake is visible.
This lake is also accessible from Sarota Marg located due west from Chamar Sar. Shape of the lake is typical like an Indian earthen lamp and so named as Diya Sar. This lake is about one Km. long and located at an elevation of about 3600 mtrs.
PADYARAN SAR (I & II)
To reach Padyaran Sars, one has to ascend the steep one km cliff of Diya Sar Gali at an elevation of 3800 mtrs. From the Gali one enters famous Rupari Corridor towards hill terrain of An catchments. Just below Diya Sar Gali, at an elevation of 3400 mtrs. twin lakes of Padyaran Sar can be seen. Both are been shaped lakes. Padyaran I is slightly bigger than Padyaran II. Most of the time, these lakes remain under snow. Nomadic Bakerwals of Taryath, Tatapani, Khawas, Metka, Moghla, Kandi, Bakori, and Budhal cross Rupari pass to enter Kashmir valley.
KATORI SAR IN BELA MARG
This is a saucer shaped lake located on western and of Bela Marg, at an altitude of 3300 mtrs. It is one of the smallest lakes formed due to pooling of water from melting snow and dries out till end of September.
This is another small lake at the foot of Dhakyar peak at an elevation of 3600 mtrs. Dhakyar peak is the highest peak in this range. It is pyramidical mountain with height of about 4660 mtrs.
Samot Sar is located on northern end of Badjari Marg, at an elevation of about 3550 mtrs. This is an oval shaped blue water lake with maximum length of about one km. Samot Sar is nearest accessible lake from Budhal side (1800 mtrs.). From Budhal it takes about four hours to reach on foot upto lake. Budhal is approachable by road from Rajouri.
A visit to these lakes give ever lasting life long memories. If one really wants to enjoy the beauty of nature scattered in this part of the Pir Panjal one can complete his back journey via Sarota Marg-Behramgalas - Noori Chanb Waterfall, in 4 to 5 days . During the back journey one comes across a garland of 7 lakes and beautiful flower covered Margs (meadows). These lakes are Neel Sar, Katoria Sar, Sukh Sar, Kal Dachhni, Nandan Sar and Gum Sar.
The above-mentioned lakes are surrounded by the snow clad peaks and mountains and are so beautiful that there are no appropriate words to define their beauty and charm. Nature in its pristine beauty manifests itself in the lakes of Rajouri region. Grips, cool air and blue watered lakes gives a rejuvenating experience to our spirits. The training atmosphere around these lakes works like a magic to set aside for the time the polluting effect of cities on our minds. Such experience can definitely enrich our lives which often gets tired of the din and bustle around. Nature lovers shall surely find their heaven in these lakes.