The Tarsar Marsar Trek: favourite route of the locals
“unseen, unparalleled natural grandeur 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 trail 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. Flanked by giant mountains all along with fairytale-like natural settings at every turn, this route also offers some of the most beautiful campsites in the Kashmiri wilderness. This is an ideal trek for fit and well-prepared Beginners who want to witness Kashmir’s unseen natural grandeur, while more avid trekkers will get a well-packaged, wholesome hiking experience. The Tarsar Marsar trek is indeed a gifted trail and is perfect for anyone looking for an awe-inspiring and 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 Aru (7,920 ft) and check in to the local hotel
- Team Meet and Trek Briefing | Trek starts tomorrow
Day 2: Trek Aru to Lidderwat (9,130 ft)
- 10 km / 5-6 hrs to Camp
Day 3: Trek Lidderwat to Shekwas (11100 ft)
- 6 km / 4-5 hrs to Camp
Day 4: Trek Shekwas to Tarsar lake (12450 ft)
- 5 km / 4-5 hrs to Camp
Day 5: Trek Tarsar to Sundersar (12950 ft )
- 5 km / 4-5 hrs to Camp
Day 6: Trek Sundersar to Homwas ( 11500 ft) via Marsar (13000 ft)
- 9 km / 6-7 hrs to Camp
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
Along with the fantastic landscapes and mesmerizing trails encountered on this route, the sighting of three hidden lakes deep in the mountains makes this naturally gifted trek a more memorable one. Tarsar, Marsar, and Sundersar are three oligotrophic alpine lakes that heighten the natural beauty of this route. 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 water bodies surrounded by imposing, jagged mountains are a sight to behold. Our 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 lakes amaze travellers and remove all trek fatigue if any. Discovering and exploring the lakes makes the entire journey more than worth its while.
2. Most beautiful Campsites
The Tarsar Marsar trek packs quite a variety and range in terms of scenic beauty and landscape. 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 areas in the Himalayas. The high-altitude meadows, gurgling brooks and imposing mountains surrounding our camps constantly vie for our attention. Compared to other popular treks of the Kashmir valley, the stunning campsites on this trail such as Lidderwat meadows, Shekwas, Tarsar Lake, and Sundersar, can arguably be termed the most beautiful of all.
From camping under the stars on lush green clearings and sweeping grasslands to pitching tents near the majestic rocky mountains to staying right beside the surreal beauty of lakes, the lovely camping sites are one of the major attractions on this route. The tranquil environments of these campgrounds are an absolutely delightful experience for all trekkers. The seclusion and the openness of some of these spots also offer an awesome opportunity to catch a clear glimpse of the night sky and the Milky Way in all its stellar glory.
3. Aru Village - 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 serenity 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 the Base Camp for our Tarsar Marsar Trek. Here we spend the first night before the 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.
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