The Tarsar Marsar Trek: favourite route of the locals
“ unseen natural grandeur of Kashmir combined with the most scenic camping areas ”
The Tarsar Marsar trek is a photographer’s paradise that packs so much within a short span of time. The trek is located along the Lidder-Aru Valley in the Overa-Aru Wildlife Sanctuary, a peaceful region untouched by commercialization. The route traverses the foothills of the Kolahoi Peak, the highest mountain of Kashmir. This is a classic Kashmir trek that wows the traveller every step of the way. From lavish grasslands, verdant meadows and coniferous alpine forests to glacial streams, picture-perfect blue lakes and mindblowing mountain views – this remarkable trail makes you fall in love with Kashmir even more.
The Tarsar Marsar Trek is an irresistible allure in the deeper landscapes of the region. Flanked by giant mountains all along with fairytale-like natural settings at every turn, this route has some of the most beautiful campsites and ridge walks in the Kashmir Himalayas. The memorable journey through an unseen side of Kashmir’s wilderness offers a blend of natural wonders, cultural encounters, and an amazing sense of accomplishment. This is a suitable trek for fit and well-prepared beginners while for avid trekkers, it is a well-packaged, wholesome hiking experience. Overall, the Tarsar Marsar trek in Kashmir is a gifted trail and is perfect for anyone looking for a delightful Himalayan adventure.
Day 1: Drive from Srinagar to Aru Village (101 Km/3.5 Hours)
- Pick Up will be arranged from a designated point in Srinagar
- Reach the base camp ground at Aru (7,920 ft)
- Team Meet and Trek Briefing | Trek starts tomorrow
Day 2: Trek Aru village to Lidderwat (9,130 ft)
- Trek Duration 10 km / 5-6 hrs to Camp
- Overnight Camping at Lidderwat
Day 3: Trek Lidderwat to Shekwas (11100 ft)
- Trek Duration 6 km / 4-5 hrs to Camp
- Overnight Camping at Shekwas
Day 4: Trek Shekwas to Tarsar lake (12450 ft)
- Trek Duration 5 km / 4-5 hrs to Camp
- Overnight Camping at Tarsar
Day 5: Trek Tarsar to Sundersar (12950 ft )
- Trek Duration 5 km / 4-5 hrs to Camp
- Overnight Camping at Sundersar
Day 6: Trek Sundersar to Homwas ( 11500 ft) via Marsar (13000 ft)
- Trek Duration 9 km / 6-7 hrs to Camp
- Overnight Camping at Homwas
Day 7: Trek Homwas to Aru and Drive back to Srinagar
- Trek 12 km / 6-7 hrs | Have Packed Lunch enroute
- Descend back to Aru in the evening
- Bid farewell to the team and drive back to Srinagar
1. Heavenly Himalayan Lakes
Hidden in the highlands of south-east kashmir near Pahalgam, a total of three lakes are encountered on this route. These mesmerizing lakes make this naturally gifted trek a more memorable one. Tarsar, Marsar, and Sundersar are oligotrophic alpine lakes that heighten the natural beauty of this trail. They are all in the vicinity of each other tucked between the Dachigam National Park in the west and the Overa-Aru Wildlife Sanctuary and Kolahoi mountain in the East.
The glistening bluish-green waters of these high-altitude lakes surrounded by giant, jagged mountains are a sight to behold. Our Tarsar Marsar trek route goes around the boundary of some of these lakes offering us multiple perspectives and different photographic angles. Depending on the day’s weather and the clouds playing with the sun, the colours of these lakes keep changing. They are a visual treat even on dull days. During the season, the basins of these beautiful tarns are surrounded by carpets of colourful alpine wildflowers. The vastness and stunning beauty of these emerald water bodies amaze travellers and remove all trek fatigue if any. Exploring these natural wonders makes the entire journey on this Kashmir trek more than worth its while.
2. Campsites to remember
The Tarsar Marsar trek packs quite a variety and range in terms of scenic beauty and landscape. The camping areas on this Kashmir trek are some of the major highlights on this trail. Coiling through wide swathes of green meadows, nomadic Gujjar settlements, and serene Pine forests, the route ends every day at some of the prettiest camping grounds in the Himalayas. The high-altitude meadows, gurgling brooks and soaring mountains surrounding our camps constantly vie for our attention. Lidderwat meadows, Shekwas, Tarsar Lake, and Sundersar are some of the standard camping sites on the Tarsar Marsar trek route, all of which can definitely rank at the top among all other Kashmir treks.
From camping under the stars on lush clearings and sweeping grasslands to pitching tents near imposing snow-capped mountains and very close to the surreal beauty of lakes, the camps are one of the major attractions on this route. The tranquil environments of these campgrounds are a delightful experience for all trekkers. The seclusion, zero light pollution and the openness of these camps also offer an opportunity to catch a clear glimpse of the night sky and the Milky Way in all its stellar glory.
3. Aru: The paradise base camp
The Aru Valley drained by the freshwater creek of the same name is a picturesque bowl-shaped valley. The last proper settlement of this remote valley is the scenic Aru village located at the edge of the Overa-Aru Wildlife Sanctuary. Situated upstream beyond the crowded streets of Pahalgam town at an altitude of about 8000 ft, this secluded place is a natural gem. It is a gorgeous little settlement encircled by towering forested hills. The area provides the perfect calm and tranquility in the lap of nature.
The drive to reach the place is dotted with breathtaking viewpoints and is captivating in itself. Arriving at this charming hamlet with a slow pace of life offers a refreshing start to our mountain holiday. Aru serves as our Base Camp for the Tarsar Marsar Trek. Here we spend the first night before the Kashmir trek starts and it would be the last point of civilization before the wilderness begins. The locals of the rustic village are warm, hospitable, and very welcoming to all visitors. The place is an excellent opportunity for trekkers to experience the local culture and traditional life in addition to their hiking adventure. To sum up, Aru basically serves as the perfect trailer for the astounding movie that is soon about to unfold and leave us awestruck.
4. Walking the Divine landscapes
Kashmir has always been an extremely popular travel destination. The famous areas of the valley experience very high tourist footfall, especially during the peak seasons. The best way to escape the crowd is to go beyond the ordinary touristy circuits. The Tarsar Marsar trek allows you to do just that. It provides an enticing opportunity to immerse oneself in the mesmerizing beauty of the Kashmir Himalayas. The remoteness and relative inaccessibility of the region ensures presence of very few travellers, providing trekkers with a sense of peace and solitude amidst nature.
The trail takes you deep into the mountains, showcasing the non-touristy and offbeat side of Kashmir in its purest form. Traversing through its awe-inspiring vistas of lush grasslands filled with wildflowers, this Kashmir trek not only promises a visual feast at every step, but also allows trekkers to find serenity in the lap of nature. With a chance to rejuvenate amidst the pristine wilderness and no maddening crowds, the Tarsar Marsar trek is an unforgettable journey that offers a blend of alluring natural beauty, unique cultural encounters, and an amazing sense of accomplishment.
tarsar marsar TREK info / FAQs
Tarsar Marsar trek is named after the twin alpine lakes of Tarsar and Marsar located in the highlands of south-east kashmir. They are found in the vicinity of each other tucked between the Dachigam National Park in the west and the Overa-Aru Wildlife Sanctuary and Kolahoi mountain in the East. The trek starts from Aru, a village situated at a distance of about 105 Km from Srinagar and 12 km ahead of Pahalgam town.
The base camp of the Tarsar Marsar Lakes trek is Aru, a tiny village located in a bowl-shaped valley of the same name, just 12 km ahead of Pahalgam town. Aru village can be reached by private cabs or public sharing transport from Srinagar via Pahalgam. On this trek, we will arrange a comfortable car pick up for all trekkers from a designated point in Srinagar. The car will directly transfer you to the EKA base camp at Aru. At the end of the trek, we will again arrange transport to drop you back to Srinagar. These Base Camp transfers are included in our Trip Costs and trekkers do not need to pay separately.
Srinagar city is well connected to all the major cities in India and can be reached by air, train or road. The most convenient way to reach Srinagar is via flight. Sheikh Ul-Alam International Airport in Srinagar (Code: SXR) is around 15 Kms away from the city centre. Srinagar Airport has regular flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Leh, Chandigarh and other cities.
The nearest railway station is Jammu Tawi Railway Station which is at a distance of 250 kilometers. One can hire a taxi and take a road trip to Srinagar from Jammu Tawi Railway Station. Jammu railway station is well connected to the Indian railways network to all major cities in India by rail. Direct train services are available from Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore and Trivandrum. By train one has to reach Jammu and then drive to Srinagar by road, which takes around 7-8 hours depending on road conditions and traffic. The upcoming new train stations and the extension of the railway network into Kashmir including the building of one of the highest rail bridges in the world, will enable direct connectivity via trains without any need of road travel.
The best time to hike on this route is from the beginning of July to the middle of September. The reason being in all the other months, some sections plus the high passes on the route are engulfed in snow which makes them difficult to cross. Depending on the snow conditions, we may also open this as early as the later half of June. The earlier part of the season generally ensures much less crowd and more pristine conditions compared to the later months.
The temperatures on the trek range from 15-20 degrees Celsius during daytime and may drop to 4-8 degrees Celsius in the night. If it rains, it may feel colder and so one needs to be prepared in terms of clothing and gear. The months of July to September is when the summers in Kashmir transition to Autumn and Kashmir is at its most vibrant during this period, exhibiting a diverse range of landscapes and the best shades of green with colourful wildflowers all over. Although rains are generally unpredictable in the mountains, it is definitely expected on this trail during this season and afternoon showers are more common, offering a good window to trek during the morning.
The standard itinerary of Tarsar Marsar Lakes Trek is around 47 km in length. Most of the trail walks beside the famous Aru-Lidder river of Kashmir. With gradual acclimatization and proper selection of campsites, this distance is covered over the course of 6 days from Aru to Aru.
The Tarsar Marsar Trek is considered an easy to moderate trek. Compared to other multi-day long treks in Kashmir, this trail is relatively easy in terms of the distance, terrain and altitudes The trail passes through meadows, forests, high passes, boulder sections and involves river crossings on some occasions. It requires trekkers to walk for 4-5 hours on average every day. The trek includes ascending and descending terrains and a few steep challenging sections too. Although it is recommended for beginners, it requires a moderate level of fitness and prior trekking and camping experience is helpful but not mandatory.
Both the treks offer a chance to explore Kashmir’s incredible scenic beauty in pristine conditions. Both the adventures take you beyond the common touristy circuits and show you an unseen side of Kashmir with spectacular meadows and lakes. Each trek has its own charm but In terms of difficulty, the Tarsar Marsar Trek is easier compared to the Kashmir Great Lakes trek. With less number of Pass crossings, lower distance and more gradual climb, the Tarsar Marsar is a good choice for those without any prior trekking experience. It is more suitable for beginners who want to get a taste of Himalayan trekking in Kashmir. On the other hand, for experienced and avid hikers, who are up for a slightly more challenging and longer trail, the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek could be the one to go for. Whichever trek you choose, both offer a fantastic experience amidst the breathtaking landscapes of Kashmir.
The moderately challenging route of the Tarsar Marsar trek makes it a good choice for families who love to explore the outdoors and mountains. Although the trail is not very physically demanding, it still requires trekkers to navigate a variety of terrain, from wide meadow trails to short boulder sections. Therefore, all members of the family should be reasonably fit and in good health. They should all be willing to make the effort and be prepared for some challenging sections on the route. Prior trekking experience is not mandatory for this trek but families including children (above 10) and seniors (below 60) must come well-prepared. Travellers also should not have any existing medical conditions such as Cardiac or BP-related issues, serious Asthma etc. For all interested trekkers, and especially senior elderly people, it is advisable to consult a doctor before signing up.
The mobile network and connectivity will be limited as you move beyond Pahalgam town. The base camp village of Aru has a BSNL network which may not be very reliable and consistent. As we start the trek from Aru and move deeper on the trail, no phone network or internet connectivity will be available. The trek takes you through some of the remote and isolated regions of Kashmir, where the signal coverage can be sporadic or mostly non-existent. It’s important to be prepared for the possibility of no phone network or internet connectivity during all sections of the trek. Therefore it’s advisable to inform your family and friends back home about the potential communication limitations during the trek days.
While you may encounter limited or no phone network and internet connectivity during the Tarsar Marsar Lakes Trek, the experience provides you an excellent opportunity to disconnect from technology and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the surroundings.
When visiting Jammu and Kashmir, it is important to note that prepaid mobile connections issued outside the territory do not work. Only local prepaid sims and Postpaid connections will work. All postpaid connections of major network operators will have good reception and data connectivity in most destinations of the valley. Airtel, Jio, Vodafone and BSNL – all provide good connectivity and internet data networks in the main areas of the valley with BSNL having the widest coverage and Airtel having the strongest connectivity. Recently, Jio has penetrated well and is now offering great connectivity to even some very remote areas of the region.
Srinagar generally has decent phone connectivity with major mobile network operators such as Airtel, Jio, Vodafone Idea, and BSNL providing coverage. Wi-Fi is also available in many hotels, cafes, and restaurants. However, please note connectivity in remote areas or during certain weather conditions may be weaker or intermittent.
On the Trek, you can either choose to carry your own backpack or you can use our backpack offloading service free of charges, without any extra cost. It is important to convey to us your backpack carrying preference at the time of booking.
There is no electricity available on the Tarsar Marsar trail. Access to charging options is possible till Srinagar. It is recommended that you bring battery powerbanks or solar-powered alternatives. Please charge all your cameras, required batteries and phones before the base camp arrival. It is advisable to prioritize essentials on the trail and limit unnecessary device usage.
There are a few important and mandatory documents and forms to fill in and bring in order to process your trekking permissions:
- Original Govt. ID proof along with 3 Photocopies (Aadhaar/Passport/Driver’s License)
- Health Certificate/Medical Form attested by a doctor (We will share the format with you)
- Signed Copy of our Waiver Document (We will share the format with you)
- Trek Insurance document
These documents willl be required to process your mandatory trek permits. Documents submission and processing is a simple process. We will explain all the details to you on our Pre-Trip Call with all participants.
For this Kashmir trek, it is important to pack properly before embarking on this adventure. All camping gear and equipment will be taken care of by us. You just need to pack your clothing and trek gear like Trek Pole, high-ankle trek shoes etc. It is recommended to pack lightweight and quick-drying trek clothing, including trekking pants/shorts, t-shirts, Warm/down/thick jackets and waterproof layers/ponchos. Other important accessories like white-brimmed sunhat, UV-protected sunglasses, handgloves etc. Carry personal essentials like sunscreen, personal medicines, headlamp. We will provide a list of all recommended things to carry and help you pack before the trek.
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For Trip Booking, Costs and More Details, Please Contact Us:
A personalized itinerary can be crafted based on your group’s interests, expectations, and preferred dates and time duration. For tailoring a suitable Tarsar Marsar Trek plan just for you, please Call/Whatsapp on +91 8951064013 or mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org