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Tarsar Marsar is arguably the prettiest trek in India. This is a title we do not give treks lightly. Especially when its formidable sister trek, Kashmir Great Lakes, is in the picture. However, Tarsar Marsar is a trek where alpine lakes take a life of their own. It is not just the fact that you get to camp beside these royal blue, snow-fed lakes (you don’t get this camping chance even at KGL). Or the secluded nature of these campsites (a Godsend in today’s trekking scenario!). You get to circumvent the entire perimeter of Tarsar and Sundersar, offering you multiple perspectives of the very same lake! Then there is the elusive Marsar, almost always hidden under a shroud of clouds. We see this lake from an overhang, sitting 600 – 700 ft below. It is a perfect spot to witness the grandeur of the lake, with the sun rising right above it. This is until dollops of clouds waft their way through the U-shaped valley and settle above the lake. The lake disappears from view within seconds! The Tarsar Marsar trek takes you right to the heart of Kashmir. From the quaint village of Aru to the clearings of Lidderwat. From the rolling green mountains of Shekhawas to the massive alpine lakes. The setting of Tarsar Marsar is such that it leaves you visually stunned for weeks together!
Day 1: Arrive in Srinagar and Drive all the Way to Pahalgam and Stay in Pahalgam Hotel,
evening for Leisure and Briefing
Day 2: Aru to Lidderwat – 3 hours Start your day late as the trail to Lidderwat is very easy and can
be covered in 3 hours flat. The trail starts with a moderate incline along a broad pathway that is
frequented by gypsies and their livestock. As you climb higher you find Red Clover and Dactylus crops
grown on both sides of the trail. After 10 minutes climb you can turn back and get the final glimpse of
Aru and Pahalgam valley. Continue the trail for 5 min and enter the pine forest where the path
becomes a little narrow. You may experience a little difficulty traversing through the slush and wet
terrain inside the woods. As you go deeper into the forest sunlight can barely get through but the trail is
visible. After 45 min of walking through the woods the trail opens up to a meadow and you can see a
lot of gypsy huts to the left and right side of the trail. There is no shortage of water as there are a
number of small streams throughout the trail at an interval of about 20 minutes from each other. The
trail is quite flat – making it an easy walk for trekkers. After 40 minutes you will find yourself very close
to the Lidder River. The trail now runs along the river making the walk even more delightful. Continue
on the trail for 10 more minutes till you find a pine grove and gypsy huts beside the river. You will see a
small log bridge towards the gypsy huts. Do not cross the bridge.
After refreshing yourself you start towards Lidderwat camp site which is a 15 to 20 min walk along the
river. After you traverse the rocks you come across a bridge. Cross the bridge and you get a glimpse
of the Lidderwat government guest house (PDA). This is an ideal camping place for the day.
There are two routes from Lidderwat. The one on the right goes towards the Kohalai glacier and the
one that goes straight up the hill is towards Shekwass and Tarsar Lake.
Day 3: Lidderwat to Tarsar Lake via Shekwass. 6 – 7 hours. Start your day early at around 8 am.
The trail goes up an incline for about 45 minutes. After the climb, you run into a bit of rocky terrain. The
trail then continues at a moderate incline for the next one hour and is the only one that goes towards
Shekwass. After about 1 hour you reach an open area full of Kanda (spike plants) that resemble
sunflowers and look very beautiful. If you happen to brush past these the stings can be quite painful.
After you walk through the Kanda for about 40 minutes you reach a point where one trail leads to the
Lidder river and the other towards the gypsy huts. Take the path on the left that leads towards the
Lidder River. There are no stones, huge boulders, or bridges to cross the river so you need to walk
through the river to cross it. Care needs to be taken as the stones in the river are very slippery and the
current is quite high in the middle. Gypsies and horses can be seen crossing at this point as well. Once
you cross the river, you continue on the trail with the Lidder River on your right side now. Continue to
walk on the trail for about 30 minutes till you come across a large moraine area that’s a little tricky to
traverse. After this, you climb a small ridge for about 10 minutes and then walk down and start climbing
again for about 20 minutes. There are quite a few Gypsy huts here.
You walk up straight with the stream on your right for 15 minutes and cross the stream before the ridge
ends. You find a small incline which you climb in 10 minutes. Follow the trail on the right with a series
of ups and downs for 30 minutes and you arrive at the campsite of Tarsar Lake. The campsite is not
big enough to accommodate big groups. A short walk from the campsite gives you a breathtaking view
of Tarsar Lake. The lake is quite big and resembles a big pool in between the mountains. You can
spend the evening beside the lake before retiring for the day.
Day 4: Tarsar to Sonasar via Marsar Lake. 5 – 6 hours. You will have to start your day early again
at around 8 am. The trail is not long but consists of large moraine areas and it takes time to traverse
these rocks. You cross the small stream at the tip where the lake waters flow out. There is a visible trail
after you cross the stream that goes all the way to a pass on top. The lake is now on your left and you
head towards the Marsar pass. You walk for 20 min and reach a rocky area. Traverse through this and
stick to the trail for about an hour to reach very close to the pass. If you turn back now you can get a
full glimpse of the Tarsar Lake. Climb for 5 min to reach the top of the Marsar pass. Rest here for a
while and enjoy the view of the valley. The descent is quite tough as it is a little steep and covered with
rocks all the way to the bottom. Climbing down these huge rocks and boulders can be a little tricky for
the trekkers. After a 15 min descent, you get a glimpse of Marsar Lake on the right. Once you head
down for another 30 minutes you hit a trail that is clearly visible in the valley. Take a right and head
towards Marsar Lake. This trail takes about 45 min and being a moraine can take a lot of time unless
you travel quickly through the rocks. Marsar Lake looks quite deserted. There are many local
myths and superstitions regarding the lake so you will not find any huts or people here. The trail is also
quite challenging through the rocks. There is no ideal place here to pitch tents near the lake so after
spending some time here you will have to walk up straight on the moraine or about 40 minutes and
start climbing a small ridge towards Sonasar. The weather can deteriorate anytime. Its foggy most of
the time so you need to be clear on the direction you are going. There are lots of trails that head left
after the lake and taking them might lead you to place called Tral. Just climb the ridge straight up.
Sonasar is not far from Marsar. Once you climb up the ridge for about 45 minutes you get the view of
Sonasar on your right. The lake is quite small compared to Tarsar and Marsar but you get camping
places here. The only problem that you may face is of fog and bad weather.
Day 5: Sonasar to Shekwass – 6 to 7 hours Start your day early and take the same route that you
took from Tarsar. It is quite a distance and you climb up the Marsar pass again, climb down and go
towards Shekwass for the night halt. You could also go up till Lidderwat but that would be too far for an
average trekker. You could camp at Shekwass village for the day.
Day 6: Shekwass to Aru – 5 to 6 hours. You could start by around 8 am and take the same trail
towards Aru village passing Lidderwat. 3 hours from Lidderwat and you will be at Aru. Drive for 3 hours
to reach Srinagar and relax your stay in Nigeen Lake Houseboat for the night and we would advise you
to take afternoon or early evening flight to you respective home
Package Cost Excludes :
Note - We serve three meals a day including snacks and soup. A variety of delectable and
healthy food is provided. They are nutritious and keep you fit and healthy on the trek.
As mentioned in the itinerary