Brief About Tarsar Marsar Trek
Imagine exploring the breathtaking beauty of Kashmir, the “paradise on earth”! I recently embarked on the Tarsar Marsar Trek, renowned as one of the most spectacular treks in the Himalayas. The journey led me to an incredible altitude of 13,201 ft, where I marveled at three stunning alpine lakes – Tarsar, Marsar, and Sundarsar. Each lake enhanced the beauty of the others, creating a mesmerizing scene I’ll never forget.
As I trekked through the lush green meadows of Kashmir, I was astounded by the gorgeous Chinar tree forests and the enchanting Lidder River, which flows from the Kolahoi Glacier. Witnessing the snow-fed lakes change colors throughout the day as the sun shifted its angle was truly magical. Camping next to the royal blue, snow-fed lakes was an experience unlike any other – even more secluded and serene than the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek.
It’s perfect for summer adventures, allowing you to immerse yourself in the beauty of the Dachigam National Park and its surrounding valleys.
Key details of the Tarsar Marsar Trek:
- Ideal Number of Days for the Visit: 7 days
- Trek Distance: 47 km both ways
- Trek Altitude Range: 13,201 feet
- Starting Point: Aru, Pahalgam
- Nearest Railway Station: Jammu Tawi (244 km)
- Nearest Airport: Srinagar Airport (91 km)
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Tarsar Marsar Trek Itinerary
Day 1: Srinagar to Aru
The Trek begins with a scenic 3.5-hour drive to the Aru base camp. You’ll set off from Srinagar around 2:00 PM, traveling 100 km through Pahalgam en route to Aru. As you journey alongside the mesmerizing River Lidder, you’ll discover the charming village of Aru, with its 200 neatly aligned, asbestos-roofed huts nestled amid lush green meadows. This picturesque setting is the perfect place to spend your first night in one of the many available cottages, as you gear up for the adventure of a lifetime!
Day 2: Aru to Liderwat (6 hours and 10 km)
The journey begins with a pleasant uphill ascent alongside the River Lidder, leading to a village and then following a trail lined with fir trees. As you move through the dense pine forest, you’ll encounter friendly locals on horseback and cross crystal-clear streams perfect for drinking.
Lidderwat is just an hour away as you cross a wooden bridge and venture deeper into enchanting fir forests. The trail then intersects with the Riverside and Valley bottom, offering magnificent scenery. Pressing on, you’ll traverse more fir forests before finally reaching the lush green meadows of Lidderwat.
Day 3: Liderwat to Shekiwas (5 hours & 6-7 km)
The trail starts from PDA huts and takes you through a pine forest, grasslands, and small valleys before reaching Bhakarwal Shelters. Along the way, you can refill your water bottles from clear streams and take a break at Gujjar huts for tea and savouries. The pathway is a pleasant one, with plain grasslands, silver birch forest, and undulating meadow-land at Shekiwas, one of the best camping sites on the trek. The ascent is a little steeper, but the views of dark snow patched mountains are worth the effort.
Day 4: Shekiwas to Tarsar
On Day 4, you can ascend a distance of 5 km, which would take 3-4 hours to complete. The trek starts from Shekhiwas Meadow and trails through a snake-like path in the grassland, leading to Sumbal and through a valley to Tarsar. Two hours later, you arrive at a conical hill-top where you can catch a glimpse of the pretty almond-shaped Tarsar lake. You can cross the stream with the help of rocks and boulders and reach the grassland of Tarsar, the campsite of the day. The turquoise blue lake in the lap of snow-covered mountains is worth all the long hiking and walking done in the previous days.
Day 5: Tarsar to Sundaresar
Travellers on Day 5 of the Tarsar Marsar trek can enjoy spellbinding views of Tarsar, lush grasslands, and a large pond fed by snow patches on the mountains. They can cross the pond, reach the ridge top with a colorful bed of flowers, and follow the trail to reach the beautiful grassy land of Sundersar Lake. They can pitch their tents anywhere on the flat ground and enjoy the serene beauty of Kashmir. The trek takes 5 hours to complete, covering a distance of 5 km.
Day 6: Visit Marsar & head to Homwas
Travellers on Day 6 can pass along the shores of Sundersar Lake to reach Marsar through two passes. They can ascend through the boulder zone and reach an amazing grassland with gentle trails, cross small streams, and climb to the ridge for a heart-racing view of Marsar, a twin of Tarsar but often hidden under the mist and clouds.
They can descend to Sundersar and spend some time at the valley before returning to Jagmargi valley to witness the grasslands and natural beauty. They should not cross the Tarsar pass but take a different trail to Shekwas and reach Homwas in 30 minutes, where they can set up their tents, have delicious food, and retire for the night after a long 7-hour trek covering a distance of 9 km.
Day 7: Homwas to Aru to Srinagar
On the last day, travellers can descend from Homwas to Lidderwat and enjoy beguiling sights along the way, including the Kolahoi glacier. They can take a break at Lidderwat and then head to Aru, which is 13 km away and takes another 4 hours to reach. Vehicles will be arranged for them to travel to Srinagar. The trek takes 6 hours to complete, covering a distance of 13 km.
What is the best time to visit Tarsar Marsar Trek
The perfect time to embark on the Tarsar Marsar trek is between July and September. During this period, you’ll witness the unique beauty of each month: snow patches in July, blooming wildflowers in August, and a stunning array of hues in September.
The Kashmir Valley experiences mild rainfall, unlike Himachal Pradesh or Uttarakhand, thanks to the Pir Panjal range. This makes for a comfortable trekking experience, as other seasons are too cold and the trails are buried under snow. Prepare to be captivated by the changing landscapes throughout your unforgettable adventure!
How to reach the starting point of the trek?
Reaching the Tarsar Marsar trek involves a journey of around 100 km south of Srinagar to Pahalgam, with the picturesque hamlet of Aru as the base camp. Start by traveling from Srinagar Airport to the Tourist Reception Centre (TRC) in the heart of the city. You can either take a government bus for around Rs. 80 or, if pressed for time, a cab for approximately Rs. 600.
Once at the TRC, begin your journey to Aru via Pahalgam. You have two route options: one through Anantnag on the four-lane Jammu Highway and the other through Bijbehra, which offers a more scenic experience with apple and apricot orchards along the way. Both routes converge three kilometers before Pahalgam and take about 3.5 hours to complete. Get ready to immerse yourself in the beauty of this unforgettable trekking adventure!
Availability of accommodations and food near the trek
Meals are usually best provided by your trek guide or the local guide you pick there. You won’t find proper shops during the trek to eat anything. So it’s essential you are in touch with a guide once you start the trek
When booking accommodations for your return, always reserve rooms as if you won’t be using your buffer day, assuming the trek will run smoothly. If you end up using the buffer day, you may lose your hotel booking, so opt for hotels that don’t require advance payments. Keep in mind that finding last-minute hotel bookings in Srinagar can be challenging after completing the trek, so it’s better to secure your reservation ahead of time.
The Difficulty level of the Tarsar Marsar Trek
The Tarsar Marsar trek is rated as quite a difficult trek with slightly longer trekking days and a few steep climbs, making it a notch more difficult than easy-moderate treks like Kedarkantha and Dayara Bugyal. However, the trek has easy exits and no technical sections.
The biggest hurdle for beginners is the difficult descent through the pass towards Marsar lake, but a well-prepared individual with good quality trekking shoes can overcome it. This trek is a big YES for experienced trekkers, while beginners should prepare themselves mentally and physically for 2-3 months if they are passionate about taking this trip.
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