Difficulty

Moderate | Level 3

Duration

7 Days

Highest Altitude

13,165 ft

Age

12 to 62 years

Duration

7 Days

Age

12 to 62 years

Difficulty

Moderate | Level 3

Highest Altitude

13,165 ft

Tarsar Marsar Trek

Arguably The Prettiest Trek In India

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!

Tarsar Marsar Videos

Watch these videos to prepare well for your trek

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Quick Itinerary

Study this chart to know how much altitude you would gain/lose every day on the Tarsar Marsar Trek

Day 1

Drive from Srinagar to Aru

Drive distance: 100 km | Drive Duration: 3-4 hours | Pick up point for Indiahikes trekkers: Sheikh Feroze Tours & Travels, Sathu, Barbara Shah Chowk, Srinagar

Transport will be organised from Sheikh Feroze Tours & Travels, Sathu, Barbara Shah Chowk, near Flourmill, Srinagar.  at 8 AM sharp. The cost of transport is Rs 500 per person and needs to be paid directly to the driver.

Note: The process of your registration, health screening, and document verification start at 4 pm. Ensure you reach Aru on time for it. Do not travel elsewhere on this particular day before your trek.

Day 2

Trek from Aru to Lidderwat

Trek distance: 10 km | Trek Duration: 6 hours | Altitude gain: 7,960 ft to 9,120 ft

Easy-moderate. Initial gradual ascent for about half an hour followed by gentle undulating walk until you reach the campsite of Lidderwat.

Day 3

Trek from Lidderwat to Shekwas

Trek distance: 5.6 km | Trek Duration: 5 hours | Altitude gain: 9,120 ft to 11,035 ft

Moderate. Continuously ascending trail for the first couple of hours with a few short level walks. You have a river crossing just before Homwas followed by a gradual ascent.

Day 4

Trek from Shekwas to Tarsar

Trek distance: 5 km | Trek Duration: 4 hours | Altitude gain: 11,035 ft to 12,435 ft

Moderate. Continuous ascent, mostly on gradual inclines to reach the ridge and then entering into the meadows of Tarsar.

Day 5

Trek from Tarsar to Sundersar via Tarsar Pass

Trek distance: 5 km | Trek Duration: 5 hours | Altitude gain: 12,435 ft to 12,945 ft via 13,140 ft

Moderate. Steep ascent in the beginning to the pass, followed by a descent and then a gentle ascent to Sundarsar. 

Day 6

Trek from Sundersar to Homwas via Marsar

Trek distance: 9 km | Trek Duration: 7 hours | Altitude loss: 12,945 ft to 11,300 ft via 13,165 ft

Moderate. An hour ascent to Marsar. You later have a gradual descent all the way to Homwas. 

Day 7

Trek from Homwas to Aru. Drive to Srinagar

Trek distance: 13 km | Trek Duration: 6 hours | Altitude loss: 11,300 ft to 7,960 ft

Easy. Gradually descending trail all the way to Aru. The transport costs Rs 3,000 per cab (5-6 seater). You have to pay the driver directly.

Please note: The distance between campsites may vary by 100 meters depending the weather conditions and the route you take. The altitude may also vary by 100 feet for similar reasons.

IMPORTANT POINTS

Special Cancellation Policy for Tarsar Marsar: Because of a govt. order in Kashmir, we have extremely limited slots for the Tarsar Marsar trek. This has increased the demand for the trek. Which is why we have a special cancellation policy for this trek. It is designed to help trekkers take an early call about their trek.

If you cancel your trek between 60 days to 1 day of the trek, you do not get any refund or a voucher. You forfeit your entire trek fee.

If you cancel the trek over 60 days before the trek date, you get a refund with 10% cancellation charges.

Advisory Note: For all your travel plans include a buffer day to accommodate bad weather on the trek/political instability. This depends completely on the circumstances of the trek and the situation in Kashmir.

Unforseen Changes: In case of emergencies, we will reroute treks to other trails. Please ensure you're mentally prepared in case such situations arise.

There are often uncertainties when it comes to trekking in Kashmir. If you're planning any trek in Kashmir, ensure you book flexible flight tickets, that allow you to reschedule your flight at no added costs. These are easily available with most airlines.

Documents required: It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a photocopy of their photo id along with the mandatory documents of the Medical Certificate and Disclaimer form. This is required for trek permissions before and during the trek.

Stay facility: Please note that you will be staying in tents on all days of the trek. Trekkers need to make their arrangements for a stay in Srinagar on Day 7.

Study this chart to know how much altitude you would gain/lose every day on the Tarsar Marsar Trek

PRO-TIPS

Book flexible flight tickets:

You are going on a Himalayan trek, where there are several unpredictable factors. It's best to book flexible flight tickets, which you can reschedule if required. These are available for a small added cost with most travel companies.

Day 1

Drive from Srinagar to Aru

Drive distance: 100 km | Drive Duration: 3-4 hours | Pick up point for Indiahikes trekkers: Sheikh Feroze Tours & Travels, Sathu, Barbara Shah Chowk, Srinagar

Transport will be organised from Sheikh Feroze Tours & Travels, Sathu, Barbara Shah Chowk, near Flourmill, Srinagar.  at 8 AM sharp. The cost of transport is Rs 500 per person and needs to be paid directly to the driver.

Note: The process of your registration, health screening, and document verification start at 4 pm. Ensure you reach Aru on time for it. Do not travel elsewhere on this particular day before your trek.

Day 2

Trek from Aru to Lidderwat

Trek distance: 10 km | Trek Duration: 6 hours | Altitude gain: 7,960 ft to 9,120 ft

Easy-moderate. Initial gradual ascent for about half an hour followed by gentle undulating walk until you reach the campsite of Lidderwat.

Day 3

Trek from Lidderwat to Shekwas

Trek distance: 5.6 km | Trek Duration: 5 hours | Altitude gain: 9,120 ft to 11,035 ft

Moderate. Continuously ascending trail for the first couple of hours with a few short level walks. You have a river crossing just before Homwas followed by a gradual ascent.

Day 4

Trek from Shekwas to Tarsar

Trek distance: 5 km | Trek Duration: 4 hours | Altitude gain: 11,035 ft to 12,435 ft

Moderate. Continuous ascent, mostly on gradual inclines to reach the ridge and then entering into the meadows of Tarsar.

Day 5

Trek from Tarsar to Sundersar via Tarsar Pass

Trek distance: 5 km | Trek Duration: 5 hours | Altitude gain: 12,435 ft to 12,945 ft via 13,140 ft

Moderate. Steep ascent in the beginning to the pass, followed by a descent and then a gentle ascent to Sundarsar. 

Day 6

Trek from Sundersar to Homwas via Marsar

Trek distance: 9 km | Trek Duration: 7 hours | Altitude loss: 12,945 ft to 11,300 ft via 13,165 ft

Moderate. An hour ascent to Marsar. You later have a gradual descent all the way to Homwas. 

Day 7

Trek from Homwas to Aru. Drive to Srinagar

Trek distance: 13 km | Trek Duration: 6 hours | Altitude loss: 11,300 ft to 7,960 ft

Easy. Gradually descending trail all the way to Aru. The transport costs Rs 3,000 per cab (5-6 seater). You have to pay the driver directly.

Please note: The distance between campsites may vary by 100 meters depending the weather conditions and the route you take. The altitude may also vary by 100 feet for similar reasons.

IMPORTANT POINTS

➤ Special Cancellation Policy for Tarsar Marsar: Because of a govt. order in Kashmir, we have extremely limited slots for the Tarsar Marsar trek. This has increased the demand for the trek. Which is why we have a special cancellation policy for this trek. It is designed to help trekkers take an early call about their trek.

If you cancel your trek between 60 days to 1 day of the trek, you do not get any refund or a voucher. You forfeit your entire trek fee.

If you cancel the trek over 60 days before the trek date, you get a refund with 10% cancellation charges.

➤Advisory Note: For all your travel plans include a buffer day to accommodate bad weather on the trek/political instability. This depends completely on the circumstances of the trek and the situation in Kashmir.

➤Unforseen Changes: In case of emergencies, we will reroute treks to other trails. Please ensure you're mentally prepared in case such situations arise.

There are often uncertainties when it comes to trekking in Kashmir. If you're planning any trek in Kashmir, ensure you book flexible flight tickets, that allow you to reschedule your flight at no added costs. These are easily available with most airlines.

➤Documents required: It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a photocopy of their photo id along with the mandatory documents of the Medical Certificate and Disclaimer form. This is required for trek permissions before and during the trek.

➤Stay facility: Please note that you will be staying in tents on all days of the trek. Trekkers need to make their arrangements for a stay in Srinagar on Day 7.

PRO-TIPS

Book flexible flight tickets:

You are going on a Himalayan trek, where there are several unpredictable factors. It's best to book flexible flight tickets, which you can reschedule if required. These are available for a small added cost with most travel companies.

Campsites at a Glance

Tarsar Campsite is one of the most memorable experiences of the trek. Picture by Namita Kaith

The setting of Shekwas Campsite cannot be compared to any other trek. It is nestled between three valleys intersecting. Picture by Abhijit

Sundersar Campsite. Circumvent the entire perimeter of Sundersar and it offers you multiple perspectives of the very same lake! Picture by Santhosh

Why I Believe Everyone Must Trek: A Note from the Founder

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Trekking transforms lives. It has completely changed my life. When I see my colleagues at Indiahikes, all of them have been impacted greatly. The transformations have been profound and irreversible. 

I see it in our trekkers too. I have seen them change professions, careers or start a new life. I have seen them get in and out of relationships, and start new projects. These are life-changing experiences. 

I have seen children building resilience. I have seen families come together. When I see those above 55, I see them rediscover passion and a sense of purpose. These are not small gains.

In the mountains new professions, new economies and new businesses have opened up. Our staff no longer go to cities to earn their living. Their income has increased. Above all, they are happiest working in this world. Trekking has been truly transformative.  

Everyone must trek. It transforms lives far more than you imagine. 

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Arjun Majumdar

Founder & CEO, Indiahikes

Arjun Majumdar, the Founder of Indiahikes, went on this exploratory trek almost a decade ago. He is a veteran of

the trekking community in India. He’s an expert when it comes to the trek. Here’s Arjun talking about one of The Prettiest Trek In India country.

I have to admit, the Tarsar Marsar is my favourite trek in Kashmir, even more than the Kashmir Great Lakes. I know I have to hear a lot of flak for this. So I’ll right away get down to why I like this trek so much.

What I Like and Don’t Like About Tarsar Marsar Trek

What I Like About Tarsar Marsar Trek

Arjun Majumdar

Founder & CEO, Indiahikes

Arjun Majumdar, the Founder of Indiahikes, went on this exploratory trek almost a decade ago. He is a veteran of the trekking community in India. He’s an expert when it comes to the trek. Here’s Arjun talking about one of The Prettiest Trek In India country. I have to admit, the Tarsar Marsar is my favourite trek in Kashmir, even more than the Kashmir Great Lakes. I know I have to hear a lot of flak for this. So I’ll right away get down to why I like this trek so much.

1. Intimacy of the Lakes

I loved the intimacy of the lakes on this trek that I didn’t get on the Kashmir Great Lakes trek. I was right on the edge of the shores of the Tarsar and Sundarsar, my tent on the grassy glades of these lakes, watching the dark blue aquamarine waters being fed by snow patches.

The sight stayed with me. I went on long walks all alone along the shores of the lakes, my thoughts to myself. These were rare moments on a trek, which I didn’t get elsewhere. Tarsar always gives me these moments.

The intimate experience of camping by alpine lakes. Photo by Namitha Kaith

2. Marsar Lake

From Sundarsar there is a secret passage over a Col that led me to a cliff over Marsar. I timed it right twice, an hour after sunrise, to see something spectacular. Rushing down the valley that leads to Marsar, huge columns of clouds rolled in towards Marsar.

Sunlight glinted over the top of the clouds throwing wonderful shadows as they rolled in at an angle. The sight was so spectacular from my vantage point above the cliffs, that I almost wanted to applaud. Within fifteen or twenty minutes the clouds blanketed Marsar, taking the lake out of sight.

Even without the rolling clouds, the sight of Marsar took my breath away. Easily, it was one of the largest lakes with the deepest blue waters that I had seen in Kashmir.

The elusive Marsar lake was caught on camera as soon as the clouds parted. The lake left me dumbfounded the first time I had a glimpse of it. Photo by Harisha NV

3. Tarsar Lake

The sight of Tarsar as I climbed to the Tarsar pass is one of my favourite sections. I think the best photos of the lake come from this section. I just loved sitting on a ledge, high above the lake, watching the long stretch of blue waters of Tarsar as the morning sun catches it at its best. Every time I do this trek I take out those few minutes to do this. I think most trekkers enjoy this bit a lot.

The dreamy Tarsar Lake.  You get to circumvent the entire perimeter of this lake, offering you multiple perspectives. Picture by Sudheer Hegde

4. The Plains of Jagmargi

My favourite top secret section of the trek is the plains of Jagmargi. You get them an hour or so before you reach Sundarsar. I suddenly found the rushing stream going dead quiet, forming giant crystal clear pools. On my left were vast grasslands, stretched out in a big oval arch.

Somewhere in the far distance, like a western movie, the grasslands touched the foot of rugged hills — a sight I have not seen on any other trek before — an entire big sweep like this.

Sheep and horses grazed peacefully. As I passed by I caressed some of the sheep and they didn’t move an inch. But what stunned me were the flowers. It was a carpet of wildflowers, purple, white, blue and yellow, nurtured by the abundance of water. I couldn’t trek. Because every step I took would crush flowers under my feet. It took me a long while to cross this section.

Wildflowers abound in the meadows of Jagmargi. Photo by Rajesh Kallaje

5. Shekwas Campsite

Give me the Shekwas campsite for a day and I will trade two campsites from any other trek. I just love the setting! Nestled in the junction of three green valleys (name another trek where you see three valleys intersecting — it is very rare!), a ridge climbs right outside the camp.

I remember I took off my shoes and climbed, and climbed and climbed on those soft grass. I climbed endlessly until the camp was a dot below, perhaps a thousand feet, yet the ridge had a long way to go.

From this viewpoint, I saw what we call Kashmir, a heaven on earth! Sweeping mountains, great grasslands in the valleys, and an undulating landscape that can only be made by a divine source. To top it each of these valleys had a river running through them with the sun setting on its glinting surface. I sat on a small outcrop of a rock for a long time until it was dusk.

The settings of Shekwas campsite can not be compared with any other trek. Picture by Abhijit

6. The Variety of the Trek

Aru is almost too idyllic to be true. Picture by Santhosh.

What I Don't Like About Tarsar Marsar Trek

1. This is a hard one. In every trek I can pick flaws, but Tarsar Marsar is a trek that is absolutely flawless.

It is not hard on the legs, it has a lovely drive getting to the base camp. The base camp is worthy enough for a few days of stay! The trek has tremendous variety.

It shows you Kashmir for what heavenly it can be. Plus three beautiful lakes, where you camp next to two of them! All in all, it is a complete package. To me, it edges out even the Kashmir Great Lakes trek. Not by a lot, but surely by a wee bit. 

When you trek through the forests and cover the last hump, the grasslands of Lidder are stunning.

Picture by: Gourab Nandy

Grasslands of Lidderwat

Know Your Trek

We have always wanted trekkers to be well-informed before they go on a Himalayan trek. Knowledge is the difference between a safe trek and a dangerous one. It’s also the difference between a wholesome experience and a superficial experience.

Use this section to learn about the Tarsar Marsar trek. It has in-depth information about each day of the trek, what to expect, and how you need to prepare for it. Many years of expertise have gone into this content. Trekkers find these extremely useful.

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PRO TIPS

Why Fitness Matters on Tarsar Marsar Trek

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On Moderate treks, you walk for about 6-8 km each day. The ascents and descents could get steep. The maximum altitude will range between 13,000 ft to 14,000 ft. You’ll come across tricky patches frequently (like snow or scree), which require you to navigate with a certain amount of caution. There might also be small stream/river crossings.

Your goal is to 5 km with an intention to finish within 35 minutes.

Note: If you are above the age of 58 years, you'll also need to submit your Treadmill Test within 7 days of registration.

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Trek Trivia

Things Nobody Tells You About Tarsar Marsar Trek

Did you know that the name of the Tarsar Marsar Trek is linked to life and death?

The name Tar and Mar in Kashmiri roughly translate to life and death. There is famous local folklore in Kashmir on why these lakes were named as such. Do ask your guides for the story.

Locals say that one can find true peace at the Tarsar lake. It joins one place to another and makes you feel at ease. On the other hand, it is believed that Marsar lake is the opposite. 

Sundersar, the second lake on the Tarsar Marsar trek, is more locally known as Chandrasar because of the crescent moon-like shape of the lake. On this trek, you get to visit 3 beautiful lakes that give you a deep insight into Kashmir.

Did you know about the ancient tribe at Lidderwat?

The true start of the Tarsar Marsar trek begins at Lidderwat. Lidderwat is not just a place. It's a junction. 

At this junction, there's a family of Gujjars. Gujjars are an ethnic agricultural and pastoral community of India. There's something extremely special about them. They've mostly earned a living by keeping cattle and selling milk, and wool.

As the winters begin, the Gujjars vanish by September and go down to Jammu. They are mostly here from the three months of July to September. Make sure to interact with them and find out more on the trail. They are usually in their Pathani suit.

Did you know that Marsar lake is connected to the mighty Dal lake?

The Marsar lake which you'll come across on the Tarsar Marsar trek is connected to Dal lake. All alpine lakes have runoff. Marsar's runoff connects to Dal lake. 

It goes towards Dachigam National park. This national park is between Dal and Tarsar Marsar. 

It is a true scenic beauty, and a privilege to witness the aura of the Dal lake. The Marsar lake is small in size. The mysterious vibe and blue colour of the lake are a sign to behold. However, the beauty of this lake will captivate your heart. 

Leaving Mountains Better

Green Trails is our promise to leave the mountains better. We have removed over 1 lakh kilos of the waste left behind by others on trekking trails. Yet this is a small percentage of what we do. Green Trails dives into reducing the use of resources, reducing our carbon footprint and bringing about a change in the daily practices of our trekkers too.

Available Dates