The ethereal beauty of Kashmir is undoubtedly impressive, which infatuates poets, nature lovers, and tourists. The state’s landscape is embellished with snow-covered mountains, velvety green meadows, fast-flowing rivers, alpine forests, beautiful alpine lakes, and whatnot. Truly, Kashmir deserves the title of “Heaven on Earth".
Keeping aside the natural beauty, Kashmir is also the place of several popular Himalayan trails. Tarsar Marsar trek is one of them.
The trail you follow on the Tarsar Marsar lake trek is unbelievably beautiful. In this extensive guide, I am going to discuss all the facts, attractions, and aspects of this trek.
Tarsar Marsar Lake
Tarsar Lake and Marsar Lake are two alpine lakes situated at the altitude of 12500ft and 13000ft respectively in the Kashmir Himalayas.
These two lakes are of similar nature and separated by a mountain. This is why they are called twin sisters.
Tarsar Marsar's location is 20 km to the east of Kolahoi Mountain in the Anantnag district of Jammu & Kashmir. Marsar Lake is specifically in the neighboring area of Dachigam national park. The exquisite Tarsar Marsar lake location and the incredibly pretty landscape of the area are the two things that have made people crazy about this trek.
Best Time to Visit Tarsar Marsar
The best time for the Tarsar Marsar trek is from April to September.
The trail of the Tarsar Marsar trek in May remains clear and the landscape greener. Trek to Tarsar Marsar in June is again a good time to go for.
The best time of all for the Tarsar Marsar trek in August and September. In these two monsoon months, there is little rainfall in the Kashmir valley and the weather remains clear and tourist-friendly.
Weather and Temperature
July to August is the coziest time for this trek. The daytime temperature roams around 15 to 18 degrees when sunny. In cloudy or rainy weather temperature ranges from 4 to 5 degrees. But at night temperature falls drastically to 1-3 degrees.
From mid-August to September Tarsar Marsar weather starts becoming colder. During this time temperature at night fluctuates from -3 to -5 degrees.
Tarsar Marsar Trek: Quick Facts
- Altitude Range: 7950 ft to 13,400 ft
- Location: Anantnag District, Jammu & Kashmir
- Duration: 7 Days
- Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate
- Total Distance: 47.6 Km
- Starting Point: Srinagar
- Ending Point: Srinagar
- Base Camp: Aru
- Best Time to Visit: April to September
- Temperature: 15 to18 degrees (Highest), -3 to -5 degrees (Lowest)
- Nearest Airport: Sheikh-Ul-Alam International Airport, Srinagar
- Nearest Railway Station: Jammu Tawi
- Nearest ATM: Pahalgam
A short glimpse of the complete itinerary
Your journey starts at Srinagar. Our pick up and drop service will drive you to the base camp at Aru via Pahalgam. The total distance is 112 Km you cover by the road that takes 3 to 4 hours. On the way, the best view is the apple orchards and alpine trees. Aru is a picturesque hamlet at the banks of Lidder river at 7959 ft altitude where you spend the first night of your trip.
On the second day say goodbye to Aru and start an easy 10km long ascent following the upstream of Lidder river. You have to trek for 6 hours on the second day. After crossing some local Gujjar settlements and two freshwater creeks you step into Lidderwat valley. The enchanting birds-eye view of Aru valley and Aru village will motivate you to proceed further. The journey for this day will end with camping at Lidderwat valley tucked at 9150 ft, close to the Lidder River.
On day 3 the journey of 5.5 Km starts from the meadow of Lidderwat and finishes at the valley of Shekwas. It generally takes 5 hrs.
From Lidderwat valley the trail follows the Lidder river and enters a pine forest. A wooden bridge will take you to the other side of the Lidder river and after half an hour hiking along the river, you will reach Homwas, a small dell.
Right after Homwas the path is straight and comfortable but not for so long. Trek a steep ascent afterward through a forest of Bhoj trees and some more valleys and clearing you to step into Shekwas, another meadow at 11000 ft where you spend the night in a tent.
On day 4 you trek from Shekwas to the Tarsar lake, one of the three
The best time for the beautiful alpine lakes you are going to encounter in this trek.
The trail makes you cross several ridges on mountain streams. After steep climbing and trekking for two hours, you will get the first glimpse of the beautiful almond shaped Tarsar lake. The site energizes the beholder to reach the lake as quickly as possible. Trek to Tarsar lake at 12500ft height takes 3 to 4 hours to complete and covers 5 Km distance on this day.
The crystal clear water of Tarsar lake is quartz blue at night, seems like dreamland amidst snow covered mountains.
On day 5 you will witness surpassing beauty on your way from Tarsar to Sundersar lake. The trek starts from Tarsar valley and heads towards Shekwas valley. Following the streams and shepherd’s trail, you will pass through lush green grasslands leaving behind Bakharwal Thatch.
A hike of a total of 5 km taking 5 hours will unfold the coveted Sundersar lake and the valley adjacent to it. The journey for the day ends here with camping at 13000ft altitude at the lakeshore.
The next day your destination is Marsar lake from Sundersar valley.
Traversing the Sundersar Lake you will reach the other side where you have to follow the shorter pass out of two passes. Following a steep ascend through a boulder-filled area you will get into an amazingly beautiful green meadow, and streams intersecting it.
On this day (Day 6) the trek demands you to cover 9 Km in 7 hrs.
Marsar Lake is visible only after you climb to the ridges. Marsar, the twin lake of Tarsar is located at 13400ft. The lake is elusive, remains hidden behind the curtain of clouds most of the time. The landscape of the Marsar lake at the base of mountains from an overhanging cliff is the best attraction of this trek.
On day 7, towards the end of the trip, you head back to Homwas through Jagmargi valley, trekking 13 Km in 6 hrs.
Tips for Tarsar Marsar Trek
- Tarsar Marsar Kashmir trek is 47.6 km long from the base camp. The trek takes you to the highest 13400ft on the mountain. Therefore, acute mountain sickness is common among first-timers or to those who are more prone to AMS.
- Tarsar Marsar is a monsoon trek, so never forget to pack a raincoat, plastic bags in your backpack. Also, carry a waterproof cover for your backpack.
- Pahalgam has the last ATM, but do not rely on the last ATM as it runs out of cash frequently. Withdraw cash at Srinagar or even before that.
- Mobile service works till Pahalgam. Also, the prepaid SIM does not work in Kashmir. So better take a postpaid phone connection especially for this trek.
- Electricity is available till the base camp of Aru. Also, in Aru, there is no power backup, so if the electricity service shuts down it takes some time to come back. Therefore, carry a torch and some batteries with you.
- Do carry the original and a copy of the government-issued identity card. Voter card, Aadhar card, passport, driving license - any one of these is enough. Before trekking, you need to submit the documents to the forest department. Without this step, no one is allowed trekking.
Carry medications, check oxygens level, and be attentive to your body. If feeling uneasy then drink water, take medicines, and rest for hours. If you are still not well then discontinue the trek.
How to Reach the basecamp
To get to the trek you must reach Srinagar. Don't forget to report at the tourist report center of Srinagar.
Srinagar is well connected with the rest of the country by train and airways.
Most airlines operate flights to Srinagar’s Sheikh-Ul-Alam airport. Metro cities like New Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Mumbai are directly connected to Srinagar by air.
The nearest railway station to Srinagar is Jammu. Jammu is again well connected to major junction stations of India.
From Jammu, one can take a flight to Srinagar which takes merely 40 minutes, or take a direct bus that takes around 10 hrs. Taxi and cabs are other options too taking 8 to 9 hrs to reach Srinagar.
Srinagar to Aru(basecamp)
At Moxtain, we provide you with pick up and drop car service from Srinagar to Aru and Aru to Srinagar.
If you want to arrange transportation on your own, then both shared cab and private cab services are available from Srinagar to Pahalgam. From Pahalgam, you need to change your taxi.
However, no bus service is available to Aru.
Difficulty Level of Trek
Tarsar Marsar trek level is easy to moderate. Some portions of the trail have rough patches, steep ascent or descent, and boulder-filled zones that make this trek a little tricky for beginners.
The difficult descent through the pass that comes after Sunderser lake, towards Marsar lake may be the biggest hurdle for any first-timer. Still, a well-prepared individual with good quality trekking shoes can easily overcome it.
If you don't have any experience of trekking but are committed and very passionate about taking this trip, then prepare yourself mentally and physically for 2-3 months.
For experienced trekkers, this trek is a big YES to go for.
Lastly, the Tarsar Marsar lake trek has a lot to offer. There are a very few lake treks in the Himalayas which are as magnificent, as bold, and beautiful as this is in terms of scenery, and the mild challenges the trail throws to trekkers.
So, whatever your experience level is, this trek technically is for all except small children, family, and aged people.
Is This Trek Safe
This trek is absolutely safe because the trail is located in a remote part of Kashmir, far away from urban settlements, and no probability of agitation and skirmish.
The only time when you come in contact with civilization is when you commute from Srinagar to Aru or return to Srinagar by road.
During this time, if you suddenly encounter unrest or a sudden curfew imposed, then don’t panic. Taking some precautionary measures can save you from an unpleasant and dangerous situation, like-
- Stay in tourist areas, never try to explore unknown areas and downtown on your own.
- Before booking any private transportation, ask for details and try to verify the information you have been provided with.
- Stay alarmed and informed with local news, be vigilant about what is happening around you.
Tarsar Marsar Kashmir trek is operated with professional trek leaders who have sound knowledge of the respective terrain and other local circumstances. They are trained to handle AMS and other medical attention initially. The trek is also organized for a span of 7 days so that you can acclimatize well and handle the physical strain of the journey.So, if you trek to Tarsar Marsar Lake, rest assured that you are in the right hand with the right people.