About Tarsar Marsar Trek
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Max Altitude: 4,024 m
Starting Point: Aru, 112 Km from Srinagar
The Tarsar Lake is located in the Kashmir Valley, in the district of Anantnag, in Jammu and Kashmir. The Tarsar Lake’s water falls into a river known as the Lidder River, situated in Lidderwat. The Marsar Lake, located near the Dachigam National Park is separated from the Tarsar Lake by a small elevation of about 4000 metres. The Marsar Lake flows opposite to the Tarsar Lake. Together, these two lakes are known as the twin sisters lake – Tarsar Marsar.
The Tarsar Lake is an almond shaped lake, surrounded by the high peaks of the Kolahoi mountain towards the East. The uniqueness of the Tarsar lake which makes it a popular destination is that during the winter months, the lake water freezes and it is entirely covered with snow, blanketing the entire lake. In the summer, this ice breaks and continues to float on the water. The lake is surrounded by flowers of the alpine species such as blue poppy, gentian, hedysarum, giving a spectacular view to the nature lovers. The fauna here is also quite noteworthy, making the Tarsar Lake a breeding ground for migratory birds such as golden eagles, black bulbul and, it is one of the important habitat point for the snow leopard and the Himalayan brown bear.
Best Time to do Tarsar Marsar Trek
The best time to visit the Tarsar lake is during the summer months from June to mid September as the Lake is accessible only during this time. In winters, due to heavy snowfall, the trek usually remains closed to the public.
How to Reach the starting point of Tarsar Marsar Trek
The base camp is situated in Aru, which is around 112 km from Srinagar. The road is from Srinagar to Pahalgam to Aru.
To reach Srinagar, one can avail the air, road or rail transport
1. VIA AIR
Srinagar has an International Airport, names Named Sheikh ul Alam Airport and there are regular flights from Delhi and Mumbai to Srinagar.
2. VIA RAIL
To reach Srinagar via train, one has to get down in Jammu Tawi or Udhampur railway station. From there, they can avail private or public cars to reach Srinagar.
3. VIA ROAD
The city of Srinagar is well connected with some of the major Indian cities such as Delhi, Jammu and Chandigarh via bus service. One can also avail the cab service.
There are some ways to reach Pahalgam while enjoying the beautiful scenery on the way. One way is through Anantnag while the other is through Bijbehra. The Bijbehra route is preferable as one can drive across a rural Kashmir scenery backdrop, while enjoying the view of different varieties of apple orchards, walnut and apricot trees along the road.
After reaching Pahalgam, it is more half an hour to Aru which is located across the Lidder river.
Route and itinerary
Day 1: Srinagar to Aru Base Camp (1,585 m – 2,426 m; 112 Km drive, 3.5 hrs)
Aru is the common base camp for two equally adventurous treks – the Tarsar Marsar Trek and the Kolahoi Glacier Trek. As such, Aru has been developed as a popular tourist destination. Here, you can expect to indulge in a lot of activities such as fishing in the Lidder River, visiting the Aru Biosphere Reserve and going for a horseback ride.
Day 2: Aru to Lidderwat (2,426 m – 2,783 m; 10 km, 6 hrs)
On this day, you can follow the Lidderwat River through a trail of coniferous trees. On the left hand side, you shall be able to see the entire Aru Valley. After hiking for about 10 kms, you will reach the Nandekai Village which is inhabited by an agrarian Gujjar community and shepherds who stay in that village occasionally.
Moving further on the trail, you will come across several valley streams. The meadows of Lidderwat is marked by a steady stream and again, a small settlement of the Gujjar community.
Day 3: Lidderwat to Sekhawas (2,783 m – 3,365 m; 5.5 km, 5 hrs)
The journey from Lidderwat to Sekhawas is a pleasant journey, passing through a pine forest and and clear lands with scattered trees. The trek ends near a place called Homwas – a small settlement of Gujjar community. Onwards from here leads to Sekhawas with breathtaking meadows.
Day 4: Sekhawas to Tarsar (3,365 m – 3,794 m; 5 Km, 3 hrs)
On this day, you will finally be able to explore the famed Tarsar Lake. The trail from Sekhawas to Tarsar lake takes an approximate time of five hours. There are small ridges visible when you reach Tarsar and the view of the Lake becomes clearer when you go across each ridge. The Tarsar Lake is magnificent with turquoise blue waters and small blocks of snow floating on the water.
Day 5: Tarsar to Sundarasar (3,794 m – 3,946 m; 5 Km, 5 hrs)
The trail from Tarsar to Sundarasar will take you across a few Bakkarval shelters along the way. Soon you will reach the top of a small mountain beyond which there are vast expanse of meadows and wide fields and grasslands. The trail continues along streams and meadows till you reach Sundarasar. This hike of 5 kms will take an approximate 5 hours to complete.
Day 6: Sundarasar to Marsar to Homwas (3,946 m – 4,024 m – 3,505 m; 9 Km, 7 hrs)
The ascent high up the Marsar Ridge is full of boulders and rock crevasses which are covered with snow so they can be a bit slippery. At the top of the Ridge, you will be able to see a stunning view of the Marsar Lake. It has the same almond shape as that of the Tarsar Lake.
The descent back to Sundarasar will take you onwards to Homwas.
Day 7: Homwas to Aru (3,505 m – 2,426 m; 13 Km, 6 hrs)
On the last day of the Trek, you get to hike back to Aru passing all the beautiful meadows and streams and vast fields. The descent is quick and it takes around 2 hours to reach Lidderwat from Homwas. One of the spectacular views along the journey back is the decreasing Kolahoi Glacier. From Lidderwat, it is another 4 hour journey to Aru, the base camp.
The Tarsar Marsar Trek is a bit different than from the other treks because of its flatland like elevation. There are more forests and greenery here than the usual mountainous treks.
Prepaid SIM cards do not work in Kashmir. Pahalgam is the last point where you will receive mobile network, usually only BSNL is consistent.
Want to know about another trek in Kashmir? Click on ‘Markha Valley Trek’ to read about it.