In photos: trekking Tajikistan’s Haft Kul (Seven Lakes)

Sitting happily by the first lake, Nezhigon.

Tajikistan’s Fann mountains boasts about a hundred peaks. Nestled in their rocky terrains and high altitudes are the Marguzor Lakes (Seven Lakes), the country’s most captivating gems within the mountain range.

Lake Nezhigon (eyelash), the first lake in the two-day trek, is situated at 1640 meters. The lake changes color depending on the weather and the season. In wintertime during my trek, the lake was painted in a bright shade of sapphire blue. Up close, there were also tinges of green, turquoise and orange. Its vibrant colors sets it apart from the other lakes. During summer, visitors can plunge into the lake’s warm waters.
Peacefully looking over Nezhigon Lake.
The second lake, Soya (shadow) Lake, lies at an altitude of 1,701 meters and is located between towering precipices. A natural dam separates this lake from the first, but much like its predecessor, its color also switch depending on the weather and the time of the day.
Gushor (watchful) Lake is the third body of water in Tajikistan’s Seven Lakes. Located at an elevation of 1,771 meters, the lake once housed venomous snakes; hence, its name.
Enjoying the snake-free view. I’m glad that all the snakes from the lake moved to the cities. I still hate them though. HAHAHA. #BawalAhas
The fourth lake, Nofin (umbilical cord), is an elongated lake situated at 1,820 meters. It is the heart of the Fann’s Seven Lakes and spans through the peaks like a sly turquoise serpent.
Following Nofin is the smallest of the Seven Lakes, Khurdak (baby). It lies at an elevation of 1,870 meters and is situated beyond Padrut village, home to guesthouses and home stays for trekkers and travelers. The little lake provides a beautiful reflection of its surrounding summits.
Khurdak with a view of Padrut village. For those who don’t carry a tent or don’t want to carry camping equipment, this village is a perfect pick for overnight stay.
Marguzor Lake, the largest and the most stunning lake among Haft Kul. The body of water lies at 2,140 meters. In winter, a huge part of the lake is frozen and covered with snow, but during summer, the turquoise waters glisten under the sun. Framed by majestic mountaintops, the lake is considered as the most picturesque one in the cluster.
The unfrozen part of Marguzor Lake. A small village, also named Marguzor, is located at the end of the lake and offers home stays.
The final lake in the cluster, Hazorchasma (thousand spring). In wintertime, the lake is difficult to reach and is completely frozen and covered in ice due to its altitude of 2,400 meters.
There are no settlements beyond the lake; however, I met a man journeying on his donkey who was heading to territories beyond the frozen water. He was friendly towards me and confidently walked towards the vast emptiness that awaits among the snow-covered terrain. Was he an enchanted being of the Fann Mountains? We will never know. You can spot him on the photo.
Taking a trekking break and hitchhiking the “enchanted man’s” donkey. The last lake is difficult to reach during the winter, and without the right shoes or the proper clothing, it would be near impossible.
A herd on their way home from grazing near the last lake.
The trek begins in Shing Village, It’s approximately an hour from the Lake Nezhigon. You can easily reach this village from Panjikent, the nearest city.
I stayed in Shing for three days. One day prior to the trek and another during my way back. During these days, I was hosted by Muhammad and his lovely family.
Muhammad works as a tour guide during the summer season, but all year-round, he is known as the teacher among the villages in the Seven Lakes. He speaks fluent Tajik, Russian, German and English.
Making traditional plov with Muhammad’s daughter-in-law.
A small masjid in Shing, what Muhammad calls the capital of the USA. WaSHINGton…. did you get it?
A happy photo of me and the famed teacher of the Fann Mountains.
Playing some music for Muhammad’s grandchildren.
A photo of Muhammad’s little rascals.
Throwing stones by the rushing river and splashing cold water on each other: a perfect day to relax at Shing.
Chinese presence spotted during the trek. The Fann Mountains are home to gold and other minerals, and because the local government does not have enough resources to harness them, they turn to giant foreign corporations for partnerships, which often leads to more loss for them and more gains for the international entity.
Nearly crying because I held a baby goat for the first time in my life. One of the happiest moments of the trek, one of the purest moments of my life TBH???
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