Tarsar Marsar Trek – The Kashmiri Kaashur
A journey to these incredibly beautiful twin lakes is a dream of every trekker across the world. A cliché but true couplets of a poet say, "if there is heaven on earth then it is in Kashmir."
The valley of Kashmir will make you fall short of adjectives to describe it. "Kaashur," the word in Kashmiri, means beauty, and Tarsar Marsar is synonymous with it. These royal blue snow-covered lakes provide you secluded heaven of your own, where you get to pitch your tent right next to them. The fresh air and the blossoming nature around them is a breathtaking experience. A Trek where you witness dollops of cloud covering these twins leaves you visually stunned for a lifetime.
Starting from the Village of Aru to the Valley of Lidderwat, this journey will engulf your thoughts with the memory of the green mountains of Shekhawas and the excitement of visiting these alpine lakes.
Expert Opinion Tarsar Marsar:
Neil Bhuta: Tarsar Marsar has been one of the most fabulous experiences of my life. As an avid trekker, I would say it's been one of the best experiences in Kashmir so far. A trek that lingers on in your memory for a long and below is a list of why I love this twin lake trek.
1.) It gives me an experience of intimacy. I got an opportunity to walk by the shores and experience the lakes Tarsar and Sundarsar ambiance by being in close proximity with them.
2.) Sundarsar has a secret passage that leads to the other twin Marsar Lake. It's a spectacular view as the clouds would just gush by your side, and within minutes Marsar would be out of your sight as the fluffy clouds cover it up with their magnanimity.
3.) The Jagmargi Plain, which welcomes you an hour before you reach Sundarsar, is a beauty to witness. The variety of flowers and spread of green that you witness here is something beyond imagination. You may find it difficult to cross this patch as every time you step ahead, and you would be crushing a flower underneath your feet.
4.) The Shekwas Campsite is an experience a trekker must-have. It's rare to find a campsite that is nestled by three valleys, and that's what Shekwas Campsite is all about. Sweeping mountains, the soft grass to walk upon, and that sunset views, phew! This undulating landscape is a confirmation that some divine source is at work and creating miracles in our lives.
Tarsar Marsar Trek Brief Itinerary
Day One - Road Trip from Srinagar to Village Aru. A 3-hour journey in a 5-6 seater vehicle. Approx. Cost INR 600-700 per person.
Day Two - Trek from village Aru to Lidderwat. A 10 km trek, rated as easy to moderate.
Day Three - Lidderwat to Shekwas Campsite. Approx 6 km trek, rated as moderate as it involves continues 2 km of steep climbing with few walks.
Day Four - Shekwas to Tarsar. Moderate 5 km trek, mostly ascending with gradual inclines.
Day Five - Tarsar to Sundarsar. Five km trek ascending for some time and then a small patch of descending and ascending again towards Sundarsar.
Day Six - From Sundarsar to Homwas through Marsar. A 9 km Trek that includes a 40 minute ascend to Marsar, and then an ascend towards the Homwas.
Day Seven - Homwas to Aru and then final drive to Srinagar. A 13 km descending Trek to the village Aru and then a 3-4 hour drive back to Srinagar.
Detailed Itinerary Tarsar Marsar Lake trek
Day One - The Base Camp at Aru
Height: Approx 7,958 feet.
Once you land in Srinagar, take a shared vehicle or hire one for you to reach Pahalgam. It takes around 3 hours to cover the 100 km distance between the two places. Once you reach Pahalgam, Aru is just 12 km away from there.
To reach Pahalgam, you can take either of the two routes through Anantnag or Bijbehra. Bijbehra is more of a touristy route; besides becoming a witness to some amazing Kashmiri Scenery, you also get to see some apples, apricot, and walnut trees.
Aru is situated right next to Lidder River. You get plenty of places to stay; if you are traveling on your own, you can choose where to stay, but if you are coming through a trekkers group, you can always book a comparatively cheaper homestay and be with the group.
Day Two - From Aru Village to Lidderwat
Height : Approx 9,131 feet
It's the day of your first Trek. Total 10 km to cover in 6 hours. The Trek is of moderate level. The initial 30 minutes have a gradual ascent and then a walk. Carry sufficient water, or you may also fill in your bottles from the streams that you will pass by on the Trek.
It is a long climb to Lidderwat. This trekking trail follows the Lidder River giving you an amazing view of the entire region of the village Aru. The trail leads to a cluster of fir trees and opens up at a place called Dalla. From here begins a gentle walk through the pines. Almost after 20 minutes of walk, you meet a wide fork that signals a diversion to a place named Nandkei.
Nandkei is a settlement across the river Lidder of the Gujjar community. As you continue your journey, you will find the forest is thinning progressively.
Half an hour more into the journey, and you cross two streams. With crystal clear water, the streams are safe to sip water from them. Post crossing them, you will take another hour to reach Lidderwat.
On the way, you will find another cluster of pine trees. As you walk through them, you climb a mound to witness one of the most mesmerizing sceneries of nature.
If you intend to stay over the night, then you can get accommodation in the huts of Pahalgam District Authority. It would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience to go and mingle with the Gujjar community there and know about their lifestyle.
You can also pitch your tent there at a suitable location and can take quick bites from the eatery shops run by the community there. It's an amazing experience to take small walks there and stay by the running streams. It's a rare experience and, of course, becomes one to cherish for a lifetime.
Day Three - Lidderwat Camping Site to Shekwas
Height:Approx 11,039 feet.
About 6 km of trek spread over 5 hours, it's a moderate level trek, a continuously ascending trek with some small walks in-between. The attraction of this 5-hour Trek is the river crossing before you reach Homwas and a gradual ascent post that.
A Continues trek towards the wise grasslands passes through the Lidderwat Valley full of pine trees covering the whole patch with their humongous structures.As you continue on the trail, it converges towards the right of the river Lidder and leads to Bhakarwal shelters.
As you continue your journey, half an hour into it will reach a bend leading to Homwas. The trail continues to gain altitude post that, and an hour later, you pass through the Silver Birch Trees. The trail passes by few Gujjar huts to finally lead you to the Shekwas camping ground.
Day Four - Shekwas to Tarsar Lake
Height: Approx 12,449 feet
A 4-hour trek was covering approx. 5 km, this is a continues to ascend Trek of a moderate level with few gradual inclinations.
This climb to Tarsar passes through a ridge that overhangs on a stream. And then it moves towards a conical hill. This Trek passes by many ridges, and each is having its mesmerizing sceneries.
It's two hours into this Trek that you get a glimpse of Tarsar Lake. And to mention that just a glimpse of it gives you a rush of adrenaline to reach the lake, the sooner won't be an overstatement.
This grassy landscape gives you ample space to pitch your tent. A stunning display of what nature can gift you, the lake leaves you stunned for a moment with its turquoise blue waters and the surrounding snow patches that will make you feel like in a wonderland!
Day Five - The journey from Tarsar Lake to Sundersar Lake
Height: Approx 12,946 feet
Five hours and 5 km. The moderate trek begins with a steep ascent, then a decent and a gentle ascent to the lake Sundarsar.
This never-ending stretch of the grassy valley gives you a terrific view of the lakes and the scenery around. It just sets your heart racing. Most trekkers choose to descend from here till Shekwas, and then a swift turn leads to the Sundarsar Valley.
As you continue on the trail, you will cross some Bakkarval Shelters. Behind these shelters is the boulder-laced trail stretch, and what you experience is a lush green land, where sheep and horses graze in peace and listen to the music of nature as the stream runs down the valley.
It is a wonderful experience to witness a fairytale story in person. The Jagmargi meadows are very pretty and a joy to the eyes. As a trekker, you would like to slow down here and not miss even the tiniest view you get on this Trek.
As you walk past these beautiful flower beds, you would get enticed by the snow-laden mountains. The well-laid boulders across the stream support you to cross the trail, which magically opens into the lake Sundarsar. A perfect spot to pitch your tent, the big flat stretch of Sundarsar, let's you enjoy nature post this lovely Trek from Tarsar.
Day Six - Marsar Lake and the back journey to Homwas
Height: Approx 13000 feet
A moderate 7 hours trek to cover 9 km, the Trek starts with approx. Forty minutes ascent to Marsar and then a gradual descent to Homwas. You face two passes from this lake of Sundarsar, and you can choose either as both lead you to Marsar lake.
The passes are a long stretch of green with snow-laden boulders, a bit of care is required while you cross these boulders. Preferably get down on the flat stretches and hop over the boulders occasionally. Ten minutes into the trail and you would notice a beautiful view of Marsar Lake as you climb over the top of the ridge. Marsar is as big as Tarsar lake but is mostly engulfed by the clouds that hover over it most of the time.
Surrounded by the snow-lined cliffs, the water of the lake runs down towards Traal. On the other side of the lake, you also notice the Dachigam reserve Forest. Once you soak into the beauty of the place, head back to Sundarsar that is just a 40 minutes descent.
Once you reach Sundarsar, you can rest and have some food before you start back to Homwas.
The return is another memorable journey; as you retrace back to Jagmargi valley, you feel like having a brand new trek. It's a rare opportunity to witness the beautiful landscape not just once but twice.
As you reach Shekwas, you would be in Homwas, where you have a night's stay.
Day Seven - From Homwas to Village Aru, then a drive to Srinagar.
Height: Approx 12000 Feet.
An easy descending trail of 6 hours covering around 13 km, it's the same route that you took at the beginning of the Trek through the village Lidderwat. It's a downhill trek. It takes around two hours from Homwas to Lidderwat and then a 10 km walk to village Aru.
The best part is you can now enjoy the views that you might have missed while going. The Kolahoi Glacier, the pines of Lidderwat, and much more. You can take a pause here before heading to Aru. Once you reach Aru, you can book the vehicles back to Srinagar.
How to Reach Tarsar Marsar Trek Site:
The Tarsar Marsar Lake Trek requires you to reach Aru, a base village near Pahalgam. To reach Pahalgam, you need to reach Srinagar first through Air/Railways/Road; depending upon from where you are traveling, you can choose your mode of transport to Srinagar. In all scenarios, you have to reach TRC before you begin your journey to Aru.
1. As you land in the picturesque Sheikh Ul-Alam Srinagar Airport, head towards Tourist Reception Center (TRC), a 12 km journey from the airport. It's a prominent place in the city and is well known, and you can ask around locals if you feel you are lost.
2. A big football stadium is attached to the TRC building hence you won't miss it by any chance.
3. You can reach TRC by :
- By Government Bus: They run every half an hour and most economical way to reach if you have time by your side.
- By Cab: It's an expensive option, but you can go for it if you are pressed on time. If you are in a group, then it will be economical.
- The auto can be an option, but they aren't frequent around the airport; it can be risky and frustrating to find one; hence it's not recommended to go for them.
From TRC to Aru Village:
- The first junction is Pahalgam from TRC. You can take a bus or hire a vehicle.
- You can take either route from Anantnag or Bijbehra; in both cases, you would take around 4 hours to reach Pahalgam.
- You can break the journey at Anantnag if you wish to give up upon the bus and take a shared cab.
- Please make sure that your private vehicle has permission to cross Pahalgam to reach Aru.
- Aru Village is around 12 km from Pahalgam, it's hardly 20 minutes, and you may check the best way to reach there with the locals.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can beginners do Tarsar Marsar Trek?
The Trek can be categorized as an easy to moderate Trek. Some portions do have rough patches, boulder-filled paths. Hence it may become tricky for complete beginners. If you have been into trekking and have built up your stamina, then go ahead, as it's not too difficult a trek to conquer.
2. What is the best time to do this Trek?
The best time to go for this Trek is from the beginning of July till the beginning of September.
3. Where are these twin lakes located?
They are in the Valley of Kashmir, located in the Pahalgam district. It starts from the village of Aru and traces its path along the river Lidder.
4. Is it safe to visit Kashmir?
It is safe, and during times of unrest, these areas remain untouched, but it's advisable to take necessary precautions. Always stay in touristy areas like Lal Chowk, Dal lake, etc. Try to look and feel like a local as much as possible with your dressing style. Don't travel alone to downtown and keep calm during times of curfew and let it pass.
5. What's the duration of the Trek?
The Trek is approx. 48 km long; hence it's advisable to take 6-7 days to Trek to have ample time to rest and rejuvenate your body. This period also gives you enough time to acclimatize to higher altitudes.
6. How many lakes do we cross in this Trek?
The Tarsar Marsar Trek has three major lakes, Tarsar, Marsar, and Sundarsar. Out of these, Sundarsar is the largest of them all.
7. How do we get to know if we are fit enough to go for this Trek?
You can connect with us through any mode, and we will guide you on this.