The Tarsar Marsar trek in Kashmir takes you deep through Kashmir’s countryside. Here’s why we believe it must be on your bucket list of treks –
Camp next to two Alpine lakes
Tarsar Marsar is the only Himalayan trek in Kashmir where you get to camp next to two high altitude Alpine lakes. Waking up and stepping out to a grand lake is delightful. You need to experience it to see what we mean. The turquoise waters of the Tarsar are a feast for the eyes. The Sundersar lake snuggly fits into its surrounding hillocks, making it a cozy campsite.
Marsar lake, on the other hand, is shrouded in suspense. It is bound on either side by snow laden cliffs. You climb up a ridge and see the lake down below. It is almost always engulfed in mist – which disperses suddenly to reveal the pristine waters of the lake and gathers back again. This game of hide-and-seek continues through the day
Walk through lush green meadows
The grasslands of the Tarsar Marsar trek, especially the one you see at Jagmargi, look neatly manicured. The freshness of the colour takes you by surprise. The glacial streams that perennially feed them add to their lustre. This is why, though they’re narrower than the meadows you see in Himachal Pradesh or Uttarakhand, they stay alive in your mind for a long time after the trek
Trek through a magical time machine
The excellent rural Kashmir scenery on your way to Aru will take you back in time. The houses of Aru look quaint with their brick walls and slanting tin roofs. Being around the old pine forests at Lidderwat will remind you of fairy tales you might have read as a child. The fresh meadows, the clear streams, the ever expanding valleys are sure to revive the poet in you.
Whom is the trek meant for?
Do you wish to embrace the beauty of Kashmir? Would you like to wake up to the view of a high altitude alpine lake? On the Tarsar Marsar trek you get to camp next to alpine lakes twice. It is a great privilege as such lakes do not exist anywhere else in India except in the highlands of Kashmir. Being a trek that is not too physically demanding is the cherry on the cake. Any physically fit person above the age of 9 can go on this trek.
However, do keep in mind that the Tarsar Marsar trek is classified as a trek of moderate difficulty. There are several ascents and descents, including rocky patches, which require considerable preparation.
Some trekkers have concerns about the safety of trekking in Kashmir. As troubled as the state might seem, it is relatively safe to trek in the Kashmir valley, as long as you’re cautious and know where to go.
ATM Point and Mobile connectivity
Pahalgam is where you will find the last ATM in case you need to withdraw money before starting the trek. This is also the last point where you will receive mobile network. So ensure you finish your important telephone calls here and inform anxious family members about poor connectivity during the trek.
To read trekkers’ blogs about the Tarsar Marsar trek, click here.
Day 1: Reach Aru; 3-4 hours drive from Srinagar. The pick up is at 2.30 pm from Sheikh Tours Sathu Barbara Shah Chowk, Srinagar. Cost will be Rs.2,700 per cab (5-6 seater).
Day 2: Trek from Aru (7,958 ft) to Lidderwat (9,131 ft); 6 hours, 10 km
Day 3: Lidderwat (9,131 ft) to Shekwas (11,039 ft); 5 hours, 5.6 km
Day 4: Shekwas (11,039 ft) to Tarsar (12,449 ft); 4 hours, 5 km
Day 5: Tarsar (12,449 ft) to Sundersar (12,946 ft); 5 hours, 5 km
Day 6: Visit Marsar (13,201 ft), go to Homwas (11,500 ft); 7 hours, 9 km
Day 7: Homwas (11,500 ft) to Aru (7,958 ft); 6 hours, 13 km. Drive to Srinagar. Cost will be Rs.2,700 per cab (5-6 seater). You are expected to reach Srinagar by 8.00 pm.
Please note that stay on all the days of the trek will be in tents (3 per tent).
Day 1: Getting to the base camp – Aru
- Altitude: 7,958 ft
- Time taken: 3.5 hours drive. Pick up from Srinagar at 2.30 pm.
Pahalgam is about 100 km from Srinagar and Aru is 12 km away from Pahalgam. Pahalgam is a more familiar place around Srinagar so if you are reaching on your own, take a shared vehicle from Srinagar to Pahalgam. It takes about 3 hours to get there.
There are two lovely routes to Pahalgam; one through Anantnag and the other through Bijbehra. The Bijbehra route is a tourist trail where you will drive through excellent rural Kashmir scenery. What tops it is the abundance of apple orchards, walnut and apricot trees along the way.
From Pahalgam, Aru is right across the Lidder River. It takes another half an hour to cover this distance. Today, after a 3.5 hour drive from Srinagar you reach Aru by 6.30 pm. There are plenty of places to stay at Aru, though they are a tad expensive. Indiahikes trekkers will stay in tents at the campsite.
* Please note that prepaid SIM cards do not work in Kashmir.
Day 2: Aru to Lidderwat
- Altitude: 7,958 ft to 9,131 ft
- Time taken: 6 hours, 10 km
- Trek gradient: Easy – moderate. Initial gradual ascent for 30 minutes followed by a gentle undulating walk.
- Water sources: Carry sufficient water. You can refill your water bottles from streams, a few hours into the trek.
It is a gentle but long climb from Aru to Lidderwat, covering a distance of 10 km in 6 hours. The trail to Lidderwat starts to climb straight out of the village, following the course of the Lidder River. Follow the wide trail past the agricultural department’s fence. Look back to take a commanding view of the entire region of Aru. The trail gets into a cluster of fir trees and continues to climb. Half an hour later, the trail pops out at a clearing called Dalla, near Gujjar huts.
At Dalla, the trail is no longer a climb, but a gentle undulating walk through thick pines. 20 minutes later, a wide fork in the trail under a giant fir tree signals the diversion to Nandkei. Nandkei is a cluster of Gujjar settlements across the Lidder. Continue on the trail with the forest thinning out progressively. Half an hour later, the trail leaves the cluster of trees completely and threads through open grasslands. Spot Gujjars and their families criss-crossing the meadows on horse backs. The trail climbs over so gently that it is hardly noticeable.
Another half hour later, the trail crosses two clear streams – the second one over a wooden bridge. The streams are clear and the water is safe to drink. It is another hour’s journey to Lidderwat from the bridge. Soon after the bridge, the trail climbs into another small cluster of pine trees. Sometimes, during peak season, there’s a tea stall on the right – it serves as a good place catching your breath over a cup of tea.
Out of the pine trees, the trail gently climbs a mound, from the top of which is one of the most fascinating sceneries of the day. The Lidder River meets with the trail at the valley bottom, spreading out in springs. Next to the river are grassy glades where the trail runs. Beyond, the Lidder rushes out of a curve around more gorgeous fir forests. It takes about half hour to cross this lovely section of the trail and enter the cluster of firs once again. Across the forest and ten minutes later, are the superb meadows of Lidderwat. There are a few Gujjar huts that signal Lidderwat.
A sensible option is to drop down to the wooden bridge, climb out of the meadows on the other side and camp anywhere. On the other side are lovely clear streams running across the meadows – this is vitally important if you are camping for the night. There are PDA (Pahalgam District Authority) huts for accommodation. There are also plenty of places to pitch camp.
The PDA caretaker runs a private shop and there are quick bites to eat here. The Lidderwat camping site is a dream. Clear streams run across the meadows. Spare time to take long walks that stretch to either ends of the meadows. It is a delight that you will rarely come across.
Day 3: Lidderwat to Shekwas
- Altitude: 9,131 ft to 11,039 ft
- Time taken: 5 hours, 5.6 km
- Trek gradient: Moderate. Continuously ascending trail for the first 2 hours with a few short level walks. River crossing just before Homwas followed by gradual ascent.
- Water sources: You can refill your water bottles at any of the several streams that you cross.
The trail to Tarsar starts to climb right behind the PDA huts – following the course of the river flowing alongside. It leaves the river below and climbs very quickly into the pine forest above you. The trail is straightforward and does not pose any challenge.
Continue to climb past clusters of pines and clearings for an hour and a half, until a stunning view opens up before you. The narrow valley of Lidderwat opens up to tracks of wide sweeping grasslands. The grasslands merge with the towering mountains, with snow patches in their folds. It is no longer a single valley but many valleys that converge together. The trail ahead converges upwards and to the left past the Bhakarwal shelters, sticking to the right of the river.
Clear streams run down and cut through the trail many times. There are good spots to fill water. Avoid taking the upward trail. Drop down to the river and cross it, first hopping over a few boulders and then crossing a make-shift long bridge. Follow the river and continue to climb the trail. Half an hour later, the trail around a bend opens up to a wide clearing of Homwas.
There are a few friendly Gujjar huts where you can stop for tea. It is a delight treading on the trail after Homwas. It is mostly on grass and feels lovely under your feet. The trail, now in a south westerly direction, enters a narrow valley with blue waters of the river as constant company. The climb continues to gain altitude. An hour later, you will pass a very old cluster of Silver Birch (Bhoj) trees, and the view opens up to another stunning scenery.
This time, a possibly wider grassland leads to two wide green valleys. It stretches out vastly in front of you. Undulating meadows on your left reach out for the sky. Beyond the meadows, tall, dark, snow-patched cliffs shadow the landscape. The trail climbs swiftly past a few Gujjar huts to the camping grounds of Shekwas. For those on the Tarsar trail, Shekwas is a logical and extremely pretty camping ground. It is a good break after the hard climb.
Day 4: Shekwas to Tarsar
- Altitude: 11,039 ft to 12,449 ft
- Time taken: 3-4 hours, 5 km
- Trek gradient: Moderate. Continuous ascent, mostly on gradual inclines.
- Water sources: Carry sufficient water. You can refill your water bottles at a couple of streams.
Past Shekwas, the trail again snakes its way through grass for a long while. The trail to Tarsar, meanwhile, climbs into a ridge that overhangs the stream. In a general westerly direction, the trail climbs rapidly towards a conical hill in front. The trail tops a few false ridges, each opening up to different wondrous sceneries.
Two hours later, the trail finally gives you a narrow glimpse of Tarsar. Even the slight glimpse is a delight and it is a rush to reach the shores of the lake. Cross the stream over boulders and set your foot on the grassy glades of Tarsar. There are plenty of flat camping spots along the lake and pitching tents is not an issue.
The lake is a stunning display of nature’s capabilities. The waters are turquoise blue and in a cauldron surrounded by snow patches feeding the waters of the lake. If ever there was a place that could come close to paradise, then the camping shores of Tarsar are it!
Day 5: Tarsar to Sundersar
- Altitude: 12,449 ft to 12,946 ft
- Time taken: 5 hours, 5 km
- Trek gradient: Moderate. Steep ascent in the beginning to the pass, followed by a descent and then a gentle ascent to Sundarsar.
- Water sources: Carry sufficient water. You can refill your water bottles from a couple of streams dispersed along the trail.
The view from the other side of the Tarsar pass is another terrific attraction. The grassy valley stretches out from your left to right in a never ending stretch of beauty that boggles the imagination. Even the anticipation of your walk on the valley floor is enough to set the heart racing. On a side note, this is the same valley that leads to the Shekwas meadows. Most trekkers descend down from Tarsar, until Shekwas, turn left and get into the Sundarsar valley. By climbing to the pass you’ve saved 3-4 hours of the trek.
Descend from the pass on the shepherds’ trail that leads to the bottom of the valley. Catch up with the trail that runs along the stream on the grassy bed of the valley. Move up the valley, to your left and continue on the trail. Ten minutes later, spot a few Bakkarval shelters on your left. Behind the shelter, the trail climbs over a short stretch of boulders to tap a knoll.
What lies behind the knoll is something that poets reserve their best for. In a vast expanse of meadows, with a widening valley on your left, are the most lush grasslands you’ll ever see. Sheep graze gently on the meadows. Unmindful of your presence even as you brush past them. Horses munch on the same grass in gay abandonment. In the middle of the meadows, the stream turns into a large pond, fed by brooks from snow-melt of the surrounding mountains. Snow patches on the mountains offset the greenery of the meadows.
This delight of nature takes about half hour to cross. Walk down the trails that lead to the end of the meadow. Towards the end, superbly laid boulders cover the stream. They are laid out so well that it appears as if they were constructed there. Hop along the boulders, climbing rapidly for another 15 minutes, until you reach the base of a ridge that separates the meadow from the valley above it. To get to the top of the ridge, the trail climbs through a narrow boulder-lined valley for another 15 minutes.
Topping the ridge is another moment for the poets. Another meadow larger than the one you left behind sprawls out in front. Which is more beautiful, it’s hard to say. The settings are similar, almost identical. The valley floor is a vast bed of flowers. Far beyond is another ridge top – the exit route of the Tarsar trek. From the ridge top, look to your left and spot a grazing trail that leads into the folds of the mountains on your left. The folds lead to enticing snow-laden flanks of mountain sides.
Follow the trail that climbs past the stream running down the slope. Briefly, the trail hangs over similar well-laid boulders over the stream. Ten minutes later, the trail magically hops over landscaped grassy mounds to land on the lovely shores of the lake of Sundarsar. To your right and behind, are big flat stretches for camping. Sundarsar is the perfect camping spot after the lovely trek from Tarsar.
Day 6: Visit Marsar and go to Homwas
- Altitude: 12,946 ft to 13,201 ft (Marsar Ridge) to 11,500 ft
- Time taken: 7 hours, 9 km
- Trail gradient: Moderate. 40 minute ascent to Marsar. Gradual descent all the way to Homwas.
- Water sources: Carry sufficient water. You can refill your water bottles from a couple of streams dispersed along the trail.
From Sundarsar, skirt around the shores of the lake from the right to get to the far side of the lake. There are two logical passes that one can climb. Both lead to Marsar. The quicker one is over the boulder-laden trail on the left. Climb over the boulders and trace a path towards the pass. Snow over the boulders can make the approach tricky. An ice axe or a trekking pole helps a lot to gain firm footing. It is a half hour climb to the pass. The pass is a lovely grassy stretch that has clear trails leading to flatter grounds just below it. Get down to the flatter stretches and occasionally hop over lovely brooks that run along the trails. Keep to the trail that veers to the left and spot a ridge that climbs on your left and in front.
Five minutes later, climb over to the top of the ridge for an amazing view of Marsar almost 600-700 feet below. Marsar is a hidden beauty, almost always engulfed under dollops of clouds and mist. Almost as large as Tarsar, Marsar is similar looking. Tall, snow-lined cliffs rise off the lake. On the left, the overrun waters of the lake run down a lovely green valley towards Traal. On the right, outer edges of the Dachigam reserve forest almost climb up to the shores of the lake. Head back the way you came up to Marsar and get back to Sundarsar in about 40 minutes of descent.
At Sundarsar campsite, you have breakfast and start from Homwas. You retrace your steps to Jagmargi valley. Trekkers are extremely lucky to view these grasslands twice and from different directions. Instead of crossing the Tarsar pass, you take a different route to Shekwas. Roughly an hour of walking from Shekwas to Homwas. You are expected to reach Homwas just in time for lunch. You camp at Homwas for the night.
Day 7: Homwas to Aru. Drive to Srinagar
- Altitude: 11,500 ft – 7,958 ft
- Time taken: 6 hours, 13 km
- Trek gradient: Easy. Gradually descending trail all the way.
- Water sources: Carry sufficient water. You can refill your water bottles from a streams on the trail.
Today you take the same route that you had taken at the beginning of the trek via Lidderwat. The trail goes downhill and it is a quick descent. It will take you 2 hours from Homwas to Lidderwat. The beauty of this part of your trek is that you will get to see all of those views that you had initially missed. The shrinking Kolahoi glacier is one of these sights. You will see the pine forests of Lidderwat that you had seen on day one of your trek in a whole new light. After getting some rest at Lidderwat, you head for Aru.
It is a 10 km walk from Lidderwat to Aru. This takes around 4 hours to cover. Stop for lunch en-route, you are expected to reach Aru by 4 in the evening. Vehicles will be arranged from Aru to Srinagar. You will reach Srinagar between 7-8 pm.
How to get fit for the Tarsar Marsar trek
This trek requires a good amount of cardiovascular endurance. You can begin by jogging everyday. Start jogging at a slow pace and then keep increasing your pace day by day. In order to be prepared for high altitude trek, you should have a combination of distance and speed targets.
In case you’re just starting with a regular fitness routine, you can phase out your distance targets in the following manner –
- Target completing 5 km in 45 minutes when you begin
- Gradually increase the distance to 7 km. Target completing this in 63 minutes
- Before you go on the trek, you should be able to walk at least 10 km at a stretch. Target completing this in 90 minutes
In terms of speed, make sure you’re able to jog 5 km in 35 minutes before the start of the trek. If you are 45 years old and above, your target should be completing at least 3 km within 29 minutes before you go on the trek.
Strength – Target 3 sets of squats with in each set
The portion from Tarsar to Sundersar involves boulder hopping which is fun only if you it doesn’t tire you out. The muscles on your legs need to be strong enough to endure this patch. To strengthen your legs do around 3 sets of squats, with 8 squats in each set and work towards meeting your target in 3 weeks.
Trekking with a backpack requires some effort and agile muscles. For this, you can do some stretching exercises – stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, lower back muscles and shoulders regularly. On your trek, it is important that you arrive on the slopes with your muscles relaxed.
Here’s a guide to help you get fit for the Tarsar Marsar trek.
Working out indoors
If you can’t go out and jog because of time and space constraints, here’s a video you can use to work out indoors.
What you need to carry on the Tarsar Marsar trek
Once you’ve decided to go on any trek, the first two things you need to purchase are trekking shoes and a backpack.
- Trekking shoes: Not sports shoes. The shoes need to have soles with good grip and ankle support. Wear the shoes for a week prior to the trek to avoid shoe bites/blisters on slope. You can watch this video to learn to choose the right trekking shoes.
- Backpack (40-60 litres): Backpack with sturdy straps and a supporting frame. Rain cover for backpack is essential.
The Tarsar Marsar trek is organized in the months of July, August and September. Expect light showers during these months. So carrying a poncho is absolutely essential.
- Full sleeve woolens (2 pairs including the one you are wearing):We endorse fleece over wool as it is light weight, compact and warm. It is better to layer your clothing with multiple light sweaters than to carry one thick heavy jacket.
- Thick jacket: Carry 1 full sleeve windproof jacket/down jacket.
- Trek pants (3 pairs including the one you are wearing): We highly endorse synthetic quick-dry pants as they are light. Plus, when it’s cold you can wear one over the other. While trekking, a pair is what you would carry apart from the worn. You could keep the third pair for your return journey. Alternative would be cotton pants with many pockets or track pants. Jeans, shorts and 3/4 pants are not suitable for trekking. A common mistake that trekkers make is not changing their tshirts often enough. Regardless of how cold it is, the body tends to sweat a lot. Trekkers who don’t change to fresh clothes fall ill due to wet clothes and are often unable to complete their trek.
- Collared t-shirts (3 pairs including the one you are wearing):Preferably light, full sleeve t-shirts that prevent sun burns on the neck and arms. Avoid loud colors that would distract birds and animals.
- Thermal inners: 1 pair of lightweight, upper and lower. Thermal inners are optional for those who are more sensitive to the cold.
- Sunglasses: Curved ones will cover your eyes well. No blue coloured sunglass — they don’t block UV. Blacks, greens, browns are fine. Avoid multi tone sunglasses. Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness. People who wear spectacles, choose either contact lenses or photo chromatic glasses. If both are not possible, wear your spectacles and carry big sunglass that can be worn over your spectacles.
- Suncap: To protect your head from the direct heat of the sun, protect your face and neck from sunburns. The cap must cover your ears and neck.
- Synthetic hand gloves: One pair of fleece or woolen hand gloves. One pair of water proof/resistant, wind proof gloves.
- Balaclava: . You may use scarves as an alternative to balaclavas.
- Poncho: A lightweight poncho is preferred because unlike raincoats, it covers your rucksack as well. A poncho is indispensable for the Tarsar Marsar trek as light showers are expected
- Socks (3 pairs): 2 cotton pairs, 1 woollen pair (mostly to be used on campsites and while sleeping. Keep them dry.)
- Headlamp/LED torch: Mandatory
- Trekking pole: Trekking pole is mandatory.
- Daypack (20 litres): It is mandatory to carry a daypack if you choose to offload your backpack. If you decide to carry your backpack, day pack is not required.
- Toiletries: Sunscreen – SPF 40+, moisturiser, light towel, lip balm/chap stick, small soap, toilet paper. If you plan to use wet wipes or sanitary napkins on the trek, make sure you carry a zip lock bag to put used tissues and napkins. Bring this ziplock bag back with you to the city and do not dispose wet tissues and sanitary napkins in the mountains.
- Repair kit (needle & thread)
- Camera: Carry all accessories – spare batteries, charger, etc.
- Cutlery: Carry a spoon, coffee mug and a lunch box. We insist on trekkers getting their own cutlery for hygiene reasons. To save weight, you may use your lunch box instead of carrying a plate separately.
- Water bottles: 2 bottles, 1 Litre each. Packaged drinking water bottles like Aquafina, Bisleri and others are not allowed.
- Headlamp/LED torch: Mandatory
- Plastic covers: While packing, use plastic bags to compartmentalize things and carry few extra plastic bags for wet clothes. While packing, use plastic bags to compartmentalize things and carry few extra plastic bags for wet clothes.
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Mandatory Personal Medical Kit
- Diamox – 10 tablets (to prevent AMS)
- Dexamethasone – one strip
- Nifedipine – 5 tablets
- Crocin – 6 tablets (fever)
- Avomine – 4 tablets (motion sickness)
- Avil 25mg – 4 tablets (allergies)
- Combiflam – 4 tablets (Pain killer)
- Disprin – 6 tablets (headache)
- Norflox TZ & Lomofen– 6 tablets each (diarrhea)
- Digene – 10 tablets (acidity)
- Omez/ Rantadine – 10 tablets (antacids)
- Crepe bandage – 3 to 5 meters
- Gauze – 1 small roll
- Band aid – 10 strips
- Cotton – 1 small roll
- ORS – 10 packets
- Betadine or any antiseptic cream
- Moov spray (aches, & sprains)
Take a look at this beautiful video by Ravindra Joisa for a quick peek into the trek.
Trek fee: Rs. 10,950/-*
*Service tax at 9% is payable on the trek fee
- Accommodation during the trek (camping – 3 per tents)
- All meals – vegetarian
- Trekking permits and forest camping charges
- Trekking equipment (tents, sleeping bags, ice axes, ropes, etc.)
- Safety equipment (first aid, medical kit, oxygen cylinders, stretcher, etc.)
- Services of an expert trek leader (qualified in basic/advanced mountaineering courses)
- Services of an expert trek team (guides, cooks, helpers, porters/mules)
- Transport to and from the base camp (Srinagar to Aru and return from Aru to Srinagar)
- Food during transit to and from the base camp
- Backpack offloading charges – Rs 1500* plus service tax of 9%. Charges for last minute offloading during the trek will be Rs 335 per day plus service tax of 9%. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kgs. No suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will be allowed.
- Stay at Srinagar on the last day
- Personal expenses of any kind
- Anything apart from the inclusions
Terms & Conditions
1. Cancellation: If a trek is called off at the last moment due to a natural calamity/unforseen circumstances (like rains, earthquake, landslides, strike, bandh etc), Indiahikes will issue a trek voucher for the full amount. The voucher can be redeemed for the same trek or another trek in the next one year.
In case, you wish to cancel your trek, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Cancellation requests are not taken over phone.
The cancellation charges are as under:
- Cancellations prior to 30 days from the start of the trek — full refund.
- Cancellation between 30 days and 20 days to the start of the trek — 50% refund.
- Cancellation less than 20 days to the start of the trek — no refund.
Please note: In case of refund, there will be a deduction of 4% (bank charges) from the total fee you have paid.
2. The trek fee includes all costs of the trek from the start at Aru to the end of the trek at Aru.
3. Pick up: Trekkers are picked up from Srinagar TRC (Tourist Reception Centre) at 2:00pm. Usually, trekkers are clubbed together with other participants to make a group. The group travels together to Aru in shared cabs.
4. Transport: Transport from Srinagar to Aru and return from Aru to Srinagar can be arranged by us at an extra cost. A vehicle cost approximately Rs. 3500, one way. Participants are expected to share the cost of the cab. The amount is to be paid directly to our transporter. No service tax is applicable on transport cost. Indiahikes only arranges the vehicle pick up and is not responsible for any issues during transport.
5. Backpack offloading: Indiahikes expects all trekkers to carry their own backpacks. All common gear will be carried by the support team. If for some reason a trekker is unable to carry his or her backpack, he/she can offload the same by paying an additional charge.
Backpack offloading charge for the entire trek duration is Rs.1500/-. Partial offloading is not allowed. Charges will vary for last minute on slope offloading. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kgs. No suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will be allowed.
6.Emergency during trek: In a trek a medical emergency or any other emergency may arise. If for any reason you are sent down from the trek then Indiahikes will make arrangements for your return to the base camp or nearest road head. A staff will accompany you. He may not be a trained personnel.
Evacuation or dealing with emergencies is extremely difficult in the mountains. It is time consuming as well. A normal trek of 2 hours may take 6 hours in an emergency (a sick person is not easy to evacuate). Doctors do not go along with a team. Doctors are not available at the base camp or nearest road head either. Indiahikes trek leaders are trained to administer first aid and know how to deal with issues related to the mountains. However, they are not doctors.
Registering for this trek is an understanding that you have read up on the difficulties of high altitude trekking and understand the risks. You have also understood what AMS, HAPE and HACE are. You have taken efforts to educate yourself and you are in a position to manage your own altitude related emergency.
7. Fitness: A high altitude trek in the Himalayas requires considerable fitness. Your body needs to train itself to process more work with lower levels of oxygen. Cardiovascular training before a trek is critically important. Training must include strength and flexibility workout. We have laid out the eligibility criteria here. Registering for the trek is an understanding that you will undertake the mandated fitness training. Indiahikes has the right to reject candidates who do not meet our eligibility requirement at the base camp.
8. Non-liability: Indiahikes is not responsible for any loss/damage of your gears/equipment or other belongings on the trek.
9. Payment: Payment for the trek can be done online through credit/debit card or net banking. Cheque/draft or cash is not accepted.
10. Drinking and smoking during the trek is strictly prohibited. If found flouting the rules, your participation on the trek will be cancelled with immediate effect.
11. Safety Protocol:
a. While our itineraries are designed to allow for adequate acclimatisation, most treks in Indian Himalayas climb quickly, which is called forced accents. Unavailability of camp sites and the Indian Himalayan terrain are the reason for this. There are chances that you will feel the effects of altitude sickness and oxygen deprivation while on this trek. Please be aware that your trek leader may deem it unsafe for you to continue trekking at any time, and arrange for you to descend to a lower attitude.
b. Our trek leaders will conduct routine health checks at all camps to measure oxygen saturation, pulse and blood pressure. Indiahikes reserves the right to exclude any trekker from climbing higher on the trek without refund if the trekker’s vital readings are below accepted norms for that altitude. These norms are available with Indiahikes trek leaders.
c. This is a high altitude trek with rough, rocky and snowy terrain. It is important that you are a fit and confident walker in mountain terrain, able to manage ascents and descents by yourself within a reasonable time. Indiahikes reserves the right to turn around a trekker if in the opinion of our trek leader they are unable to complete the itinerary without requiring exclusive assistance. Please realistically self-assess your fitness and suitability for this trek before registering.
How safe is the Tarsar Marsar trek?
The Tarsar Marsar trek by itself does not involve any risks. Trekkers often worry about the safety of trekking in Kashmir. This article will help throw some light on that aspect.
On the Tarsar Marsar trek you go up to an altitude of 13,201 ft. You will be trekking and camping at altitudes above 10,000 ft on 4 days. It is possible that you could be hit by AMS on any of these days. If you have registered for this trek, then here is some information that you must know in order to have a safe trek. At Indiahikes, we believe that as long as you are well-informed and well-prepared, you can survive easily at high altitudes.
What Indiahikes does to ensure your safety
Our philosophy is simple. We ingrain safety aspects in the people we work with, in the processes that we follow, and in the equipment we carry. All our trek leaders are trained repeatedly on safety issues and protocols. Most issues are resolved with their intervention.
Right from the time you decide to register for the trek till the last day of the trek, these safety procedures will be running in the background. We have listed a few of them below:
1. Fitness criteria before registration
Over years of organising high altitude treks, we have found that safety issues thrive amongst those who are unfit and unprepared for the trek. So we have introduced an eligibility criteria for the Tarsar Marsar trek. Anyone who wants to register for the Tarsar Marsar trek has to meet the fitness requirements, with the ideal BMI. The BMI and fitness regime will require proof. A high altitude trek is not to be taken casually.
2. Monitoring health on a trek
On the Tarsar Marsar trek, your Trek Leader will be monitoring two aspects thrice a day.
- Oxygen Level
- Pulse Rate
Your Blood Pressure levels will be checked once a day.
This will help us ensure that your body is acclimatising as required.
Every trekker will be given a Health Card at the beginning of the trek. The Health Card is issued to monitor the trekker’s daily health, wherein they will be entering details about their health everyday. It also contains details of what symptoms one should look out for and what action should be taken during emergencies. These Health Cards will be collected back at the end of the trek.
3. High Altitude Medical Kit
Your trek leader will be carrying a full-fledged high altitude medical kit. This will include basic medicines and specific medicines catering to altitude sickness – Diamox, Dexamethasone (tablets and injections) and Nifedipine. Your Trek Leader will also be carrying a portable oxygen cylinder throughout the trek. In addition to that, there are oxygen cylinders installed at all high altitude campsites for any emergency situations.
4. High Altitude Trek Equipment
To ensure safe trekking on snowy terrain, Indiahikes will provide you with micro-spikes to attach to your shoes. This will give you good traction on hard snow. To avoid snow from entering your shoes, Indiahikes will provide you with gaiters that you can put on over your shoes. You will have qualified technical guides with you, who will lead the way on difficult terrain.
All our sleeping bags and tents are custom-made for high altitude. If it is cold outside, it will be around 10 degrees warmer inside the tent. The sleeping bags can withstand temperatures up to -10 degree Celsius.
5. Being hydrated and well nourished on the trek
You need to drink a minimum of 4 litres of water every day during the trek to ensure that you’re well hydrated. De-hydration on a trek can make you lose energy very quickly and intensify the effects of AMS. Your trek leader will brief you about the amount of water that you need to carry with you at the start of each day as well as water sources on the trail.
We provide trekkers with nutritious meals to ensure that they are energized to complete the trail each day. Apart from this, snacks or packed lunch is provided wherever the trail before a meal break is likely to be long. Make sure that you do not skip any meal as this can lead to serious health emergencies on high altitudes.
With all these processes and equipment in place, you can be rest assured that you will have a safe trek with Indiahikes.
Nevertheless, you will need to be cautious and report the slightest of symptoms to your trek leader as soon as you feel them.
What you compulsorily need to know if you’re going on the Tarsar Marsar trek
Acute Mountain Sickness:
At altitudes above 10,000 ft, the chances of being hit by Acute Mountain Sickness cannot be ruled out.
All the campsites from Lidderwat are at considerable high altitudes. However, we have noticed that trekkers are particularly prone to AMS at Sundersar (Day 5). This is something that you should be mindful of.
At any campsite, inform your trek leader about your condition immediately if you identify any symptom of AMS. If the symptoms don’t alleviate it is best to head down to a lower campsite.
This risk can be avoided by going on a course of Diamox. Even while on Diamox, the risk of AMS still prevails. While AMS can be treated with rest and medicines for the most part, the symptoms must be recognised before it can go to advanced stages – High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE).
HAPE and HACE are critical conditions that can be fatal within hours.And they can occur without AMS preceding them. So it’s doubly important to recognise any symptoms and nip them in the bud.
Take this specific precaution – Go on a preventive course of Diamox
We strongly advise you to go on a preventive course of Diamox. Diamox is a blood thinner and helps you acclimatise much faster and reduces the chance of AMS by around 80%. Take half a tablet twice a day from one day before your trek.
What to do if you have symptoms of AMS?
If you feel any symptoms of AMS on the trek, you must report to the Trek Leader immediately. Do not wait till the end of the day’s trek. Do not try to handle it yourself either. Our Trek Leaders are well-trained and experienced to handle any cases and they will be the decision makers in any such cases.
Watch the below video to understand the symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness. In this video, Arjun Majumdar, the founder of Indiahikes will also tell you the protocol to follow when you see someone showing symptoms of AMS.
Exit points on the Tarsar Marsar trek
There are no exit points on this trek. If there is a medical emergency and you need to be evacuated, descending to Aru or Homwas, depending on where you are on the trek, are the only options. This could take up to a day or more.
In case of a medical emergency, the closest hospital will be found at Pahalgam, which is around half an hour’s drive from Aru.
Why you should personally know about the risks and precautions of high altitude treks
If ever you find yourself alone at high altitude, either while trekking independently or with another organisation, there are some life -saving steps you can take. Firstly, you should be able to recognise symptoms of altitude sickness. So acquaint yourself with the symptoms.
Secondly, there might be instances when you have to administer medicines to yourself or to a fellow trekker. There are three life-saving medicines that we suggest you always carry on you – Diamox, Dexamethasone and Nifedipine.
If you are trekking with Indiahikes, do not administer these to anyone without consulting your Trek Leader. If you are trekking independently then you need to know when exactly to administer these medicines and in what dosage.
Also ensure that you are well hydrated throughout the trek and do not skip any meal.
You can watch the video below to learn about HAPE and HACE and how to tackle them. In the video, Sandhya UC, partner at Indiahikes, explains in detail about High Altitude Pulmonary and Cerebral Edema, what the symptoms are and how to tackle them.
We cannot stress enough on how important it is for you to communicate any symptom to your Trek Leader. Only then your trek leader will be able to take steps at the right time.
Acute Mountain Sickness
If you’re of the opinion that fit people don’t get AMS, please get rid of that notion right away. AMS can affect anyone without paying heed to their fitness and prior experience at high altitude! Altitude sickness does not distinguish between a first timer and an experienced trekker.
For more detailed information about Acute Mountain Sickness, you can download and study the manual below.
How to get to the basecamp – Aru
Delhi → Srinagar → Aru
We organise pick-up vehicles from Sheikh Tours Sathu Barbara Shah chowk (near flour mill), Srinagar at 2.30 pm. The cost of transit from Srinagar to Aru will have to be borne by the trekkers. The pickup is arranged in a Tata Sumo or similar vehicle. The cost of transportation one way is Rs. 2,700 which is shared by the people in the vehicle. We are expected to reach Aru by 6.00 pm.
Please note that there is no airport pickup. There are airport buses around 50 metres outside the airport. They charge Rs 80 per ticket to Srinagar TRC – Tourist Reception Centre bus stop. Get down at Srinagar TRC bus stop and take an auto to Sathu Barbara Shah (Sheikh tours) which is 2 km away.
Aru → Srinagar → Delhi
The trek ends at Aru. We arrange transport from Aru to Srinagar. The total cost of transportation one way is Rs. 2,700 which is shared by the people in the vehicle. You are expected to reach Srinagar by 8 pm.
Here’s what trekkers have to say about trekking to Tarsar Marsar with Indiahikes
“The Trek was way beyond my expectations. The trekking distance on the first and subsequent days was perfectly planned out, especially for first time Trekkers like me. Of course the natural beauty of Kashmir is indescribable, but what really made the experience thoroughly enjoyable was how the trek was so efficiently conducted. The Trek Leader Ankit, played the perfect host. He was professional, polite and very knowledgeable about the terrain and trekking related queries that we had. The Support Staff were very helpful and obviously well experienced. I don’t normally eat vegetarian food, but the veg food provided was as good as you could get in town!” – Robert D’Roza, batch of August 2016
“Spectacular natural views, people bonding”-Raghu Rao, batch of August 2015
“The camp sites were spectacular. The place was stunning. The food was good too. The staff were very helpful and polite.”- Divya Anil Kumar, batch of August 2015
“Beauty of High Alpine Kashmir, Pristine water bodies, Good accommodation Great friends Very responsible trekking team Mozzart ..young enthusiastic and cooperative leader Yaavar… Very intelligent and motivated guide Mahaveer… Very good cook”- Manish Munjal, batch of August 2015
“All our trek leaders were fantastic….Bir, Himanshu, Nisha and Manav. Zakir, who led the way was also very nice. They were extremely helpful and also gave us useful information on trekking. The fellow Trekkers were like minded and hence made it enjoyable. But more than anything….nothing to beat the beauty of the place!”-Nimisha Warrier, batch of August 2015
“First, needless to say, the trek was incredibly beautiful. The hike, sights, the trail chosen and the mountains. I could rather compare it to walking into a book/description in stories of mythology that we read. Magical. Two. The food, hospitality came as a pleasant surprise. It motivated us and made our time all the more pleasurable. (I certainly didn’t expect us to be having jamoons or samosas at 12,000 ft!) Lastly. What really stood out for me was Dushyant Sharma our trek leader. He was incredibly patient, calm and strong despite the fact that he led this trek having finished the entire thing just the night before! It was really inspiring to see him lead.”- Himanshu Arteev, batch of July 2015
“everything was awesome,…trek leader was superb with his job. and the staff was the best specially Mahavir (the cook). next time i trek with indiahikes i will surely want this all people around me. many good step took by ‘max’ during the trek which were life saving moment hence rating a trek leader is very small thing… Max, mahavir and Zaakir hussain were simply great and they have made me realise abt the power i had in me…any of this person listening to me or rather convey my regards to them. Mahavir “cake bhadiya tha”… sirji jaldi waapas milenge sirjiiii.”- Sahil shah, batch of August 2015
“The scenery beauty, climate, fellow group members,adventurous trails, tiring walk during daytime, shining stars & clear sky at night etc..”- Manoj Rengarajan, batch of August 2015
“It takes you through one of the best landscapes that Kashmir has to offer making you believe that Kashmir is truley ‘heaven on earth’. The weather was also perfect….not hot nor cold, just perfect… it rained on two separate days of the trek, however, each day with its own experiences, like seeing one of the best rainbows (pair) ever…etc. Truly an amazing experience….”- Pranav Phadke, batch of August 2015
“The beauty all around, the staff, the trek leader everything was good.”- Hitisha Mehta, batch of August 2015
“The spectacular meadows and the Tarsar, Marsar and Sundersar lakes. Learnt a lot of new things from the trek leader and Zakir bhai (local trek guide)”- Anant Khandelwal, batch of August 2015
“views and valleys were good. support staff and trek leader were really helpful, motivating and jovial. will do treks with indiahikes again!”- Sahana Lokeshappa, batch of August 2015
“The scenic landscapes, meeting with all kinds of people and making new friends.”- Shatul Mehta, batch of August 2015
“The landscape was fantastic”- Uday Paranjpe, batch of August 2015
“It’s totally green trek. Picturesque Landscape. Love to do photography there”- Brijesh Kumar Tiwari Btach of August 2015
“Every single thing from locations, to the food was fantastic.”- Ravi Darbhamulla,batch of July 2015
“Excellent behaviour of trek team.”- Mukesh rathi, batch of July 2015
“The whole trek was fantastic. The nature at its best, lakes, green meadows and snow clad peaks all the way encouraged us for trekking.”-Vinod kohli, batch of July 2015
“It had everything snow, greenery,mountains, rain, streams and of course lakes.”-Premraj narkhede, batch of July 2015
“Everything was fantastic, from people to places. Everything was super good.”- Sonal Pingle, batch of July 2015
“Amazingly Beautiful trek! Great/Tasty food.”- Pavan Arora, batch of July 2015
“The scenery, the IH staff and the fellow trekkers were fantastic. ” – Sagar Shankar, batch of July 2015
“Spectacular views, amazing campsites, and literally every terrain to walk on- Tarsar Marsar is seriously one of a kind trek. Loved every bit of it :)” – Nupur Grover, batch of July 2015
“The sheer beauty and the wonderful and challenging slip and slide section (due to the rains) on the last day. A huge shoutout to the Sonamasti and Sundarsar campsite, mind = blown!” – Eshan, batch of July 2015
“Beautiful meadows, spectacular lakes, steep ascents, amazing waterfalls, excellent co-operation among all trekkers and family like batch.” – Guruprasad Halkurike, batch of July 2015
“The views were exquisite. The lakes were incredibly beautiful. The support staff were incredibly helpful and friendly. The food was better than one would have expected in the circumstances. ” – Christopher Mascarenhas, batch of July 2015
“Amazing Landscape. Great Trek Leader and all 22 Trekkers were so closely bonded within two days. It was a extended family. Good kitchen staff and Food. Luckily it did not rain during trek time, only twice that too during night. India hikes as usual rocks.” – Sanjay Goel, batch of July 2015
“Everything was fantastic. Camping spots were amazing. Food served was sumptuous. A gorgeous place with waterfalls, lakes beside the mountains, starry nights, rivers, wildlife spotting (marmot), it’s a photographers delight. An experience to remember and cherish for a long, long time. Again, thank you organizing this wonderful trek.”- Prateek Nand, batch of July 2015
“The trek route was very scenic and a beautiful trail consisting of meadows, forests, streams and water falls. The Tarsar and Marsar lakes were awesome. The food was fantastic and Kushal did a great job as a Chef.” – Kishan Harwalkar, batch of August 2015
“The trek itself was fantastic and so was the support staff” – Majid Aziz, batch of July 2015
“Scenery, food, staff were great” – Aditya Rametra, batch of August 2015
“Excellent camp sites. Tarsar Marsar is all in one trek mountains, river crossing walk through the forest, walk through the meadows…. In short every turn has something new to offer. Good arrangements including food and care of all Trekkers. Very safe and good for girls. “-Rajesh and Pallavi Mahajan, batch of August 2015
“The surreal beauty of the place and the silence that ensued in its depth, be it the hollow winds across the mountains or the rhythmic drone of the rivulets accompanying our trails. It was picture perfect. “- Vishnu CR, batch of August 2015
“No Words about the beauty of trek. That is obvious for the locations. Apart of all things, IndiHikes arrangements were really appreciable at the locations. Staff was very supportive and good human beings also. I never had feeling of being far away from home. Will Plan another trek soon with IndiaHikes 🙂 THANK YOU!” – Tarang Manglik, batch of August 2015
“food was great. staff is very supportive and polite. We were taken very good care of. trek route is amazing. ” – Sindhura bandi, batch of August 2015
“The camp sites were great and extremely scenic. There were many first time trekkers and not one but all did it with a decent comfort level. The amazing staff’s support on the river crossing was beyond words. Overall, one of the best treks IndiaHikes has to offer on an ‘easy’ level.” – Stuti Agarwal, batch of August 2015
“A lot of firsts for me – first time with Indiahikes, in Kashmir, walking through valleys, doing a trek in multiple days. So I was quite easy to impress. But overall – loved the mountains, the forests, the pure river and surrounding nature, the night stars, the friendly village people. Special thanks to Indiahikes – specifically our trek leader Jaisingh and Himanshu for taking care of the group and making sure everyone made it safe despite the hiccups along the way and the heavy decision to turn back at Tarsar Lake.” – Faris Khairi, batch of August 2015
“People,scenery,food. Everything was fantastic!” – Ameet parekh, batch of August 2015
“1. Spectacular beauty of the trek 2. Local support staff 3. Safety first policy … indiahikes took the unpopular decision not to go to marsar suspecting security issues which i appreciate … we saw other trek groups going ahead to marsar (could be ignorance or they didnt care) ” – Jitesh Ketkar, batch of August 2015
“1) Beautiful Kashmir valley 2) Outstanding staff: Very motivated and engaging trek leader(Max), Very pleasant and caring trek guide( Yavar), outstanding cook with fantastic culinary abilities to include baking a cake at 14,000ft at last minutes notice(Mahavir) 3) Sleeping tents were generous sized A few words about your trek leader Max. He is an amazing individual, very driven and passionate. Excellent work ethics, energy and enthusiasm which shows in all of his actions and conversations. I truly have not met a guy with such an infectious enthusiasm for mountains. I do hope he stays with IH and i can see him making a true contribution to the organization and the community in general ” – Romil Wadhawan, batch of August 2015