Tarsar Marsar Kashmir Trek

Arguably The Prettiest Trek In India
Trek Fee : 10,950 + 5% GST
Difficulty
Difficulty
Moderate
Duration
Duration
7 Days
Altitude
Maximum Altitude
13,201 ft
Pickup point
Pickup point
Srinagar
Required Fitness
Base Camp
Aru, Pehalgam
Age
Minimum Age
12
Best time to visit
Best time to visit
Mid-June – September

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 it’s 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!

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

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!

Camping beside the Tarsar Lake. You see Tarsar in the distance. The secluded nature of these campsites is a godsend in today’s trekking scenario! Picture by Sudheer Hegde

What to Watch Out For

The Tarsar and Sundersar campsites

This trek presents a unique opportunity to camp beside two alpine lakes. This, by itself, is a rarity. Your tent flaps open to the view of glittering blue waters of the lakes. Throughout the day, you see the snow-fed lake change colours as the sun’s angle changes. The sunrises and sunsets over the lake, the precious silence of just sitting beside the lake — these are experiences you don’t get anywhere else.

Your tent flaps open to the view of glittering blue waters of the lakes. Picture by Brijesh Tiwari

The clearings before Lidderwat camp

You get to these clearings after a walk in a tall, dense coniferous forest. The smell of pine surrounds you as sunlight slants through these trees. You spot the clearing with a Gujjar hut, enclosed by these ancient trees. This setting is straight out of a movie set!

The grasslands of Lidderwat is a sett. Picture by Sudheer Hegde

The Jagmargi grasslands

Just before the final climb to Sundersar camp, you trek through the Jagmargi grasslands. These lovely grasslands sit almost like a bay between the mountains. There is a quiet stream gliding through the grass of this flat valley. Sprouting among the grassy bog are flowers of yellow, blue and white. Sometimes, the flowers are in so much abundance, you hop around the grasslands to avoid crushing them!

Wildflowers abound in the meadows of Kashmir. PC: Sandhya UC

Aru, the base camp

Aru takes the cake when we debate about the most beautiful base camp we have. (In fact, the only other base camp that gets a mention as being close to Aru is Jaubhari, the base camp for Sandakphu). Aru feels almost European. It is a cluster of lovely cottages with slanted tin roofs, with willow and poplar trees popping up in between. A clear stream runs through the heart of the village. Vast grasslands surround it. It is almost too idyllic to be true.

aru tarsar marsar kashmir trek
Aru is almost too idyllic to be true. Picture by Arjun Majumdar

Banner Image by Kishan Harwalkar

SHORT ITINERARY

Day 1: Start drive from Srinagar to Aru at 2.30 pm
We organise transport at 12 pm from Sheikh Feroze Tours & Travels, Sathu Barbara Shah Chowk, Srinagar.
It costs Rs 3,000 per cab (5-6 seater). You have to pay the driver directly.
You will reach Aru by 4 pm.

Day 2: Trek from Aru (7,958 ft) to Lidderwat (9,131 ft);
6 hours, 10 km trek

Day 3: Lidderwat (9,131 ft) to Shekwas (11,039 ft);
5 hours, 5.6 km trek

Day 4: Shekwas (11,039 ft) to Tarsar (12,449 ft);
4 hours, 5 km trek

Day 5: Tarsar (12,449 ft) to Sundersar (12,946 ft);
5 hours, 5 km trek

Day 6: Visit Marsar (13,201 ft), go to Homwas (11,500 ft);
7 hours, 9 km trek

Day 7: Trek from Homwas (11,500 ft) to Aru (7,958 ft) and drive to Srinagar.
6 hours, 13 km trek

You are expected to reach Srinagar by 8.00 pm. Cost will be Rs.2,700 per cab (5-6 seater).

Important points to note:

1. It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo id for entry at forest check posts on the trek.

2. Your stay in a homestay at Aru. Rest on all days will be organised in tents (3 per tent).

3. Any meals during transit are not included in the trek fee.

4. It’s a good idea to stay back in Srinagar on the day you return. You could stay at a houseboat on Dal Lake.

Day 1: Getting to the base camp – Aru

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 a homestay at the campsite.

  • Altitude: 7,958 ft (2,426 m)
  • Time taken: 3.5 hours drive. Pick up from Srinagar at 12.00 pm.
Aru Valley, the base camp of the Tarsar Marsar trek. Picture by Sudheer Hegde

Day 2: Aru to Lidderwat

  • Altitude: 7,958 ft (2,426 m) to 9,131 ft (2,783 m)
  • 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.

Tarsar Marsar day 2 wooden bridge
Tarsar Marsar wooden bridge crossing

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.

The grasslands of Lidderwat. Picture by Sudheer Hegde

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 (2,783 m) to 11,039 ft (3,365 m)
  • 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.
En route Shekhawas. Picture by Sudheer Hegde

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 (3,365 m) to 12,449 ft (3,794 m)
  • 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 blue waters of Tarsar. Picture by Sandhya UC

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 (3,794 m) to 12,946 ft (3,946 m)
  • 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.
Standing beside the Tarsar Lake. Picture by Sudheer Hegde

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.

Standing atop the Tarsar Pass. Picture by Kishan Harwalkar

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.

Tarsar Marsar- Navneet Saxena - Sundersar
The Sundarsar Lake. PC: Navneet Saxena

Day 6: Visit Marsar and go to Homwas

  • Altitude: 12,946 ft (3,946 m) to 13,201 ft / 4,024 m (Marsar Ridge) to 11,500 ft (3,505 m)
  • 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.
Sundarsar Lake. PC: Sandhya UC

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 (3,505 m) to 7,958 ft (2,426 m)
  • 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.
Tarsar Exploration 1 (1024 x 683)
Huts at Aru

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.

Mobile connectivity and ATM point

Please note that prepaid SIM cards do not work in Kashmir. Pahalgam is the last point where you will receive mobile network. So ensure you finish your important telephone calls here. Inform anxious family members about poor connectivity during the trek. Pahalgam is also where you will find the last ATM in case you need to withdraw money before starting the trek.

Tarsar campsite. PC: Chetan

How to reach the basecamp – Aru

Delhi → Srinagar → Aru

Aru is a picturesque hamlet around 3-4 hours away from Srinagar by road.

We organise pick-up vehicles from Sheikh Feroze Tours & Travels, Sathu, Barbara Shah chowk (near flour mill), Srinagar at 12 pm. Expect a Tata Sumo or similar vehicle. The cost of transportation one way is Rs 3,000 which is shared by trekkers. You reach Aru by 4 00 pm.

How to reach our pick-up point from Srinagar airport

You could tell your Trek Coordinator to help you with a taxi.

Alternatively, 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 Feroze tours & travels) which is 2 km away.

Getting back

Aru → Srinagar → Delhi

The Tarsar Marsar trek ends at Aru. We arrange transport from Aru to Srinagar. The total cost of transportation one way is Rs 3,000 which is shared by the people in the vehicle. You are expected to reach Srinagar by 8 pm.

We recommend staying in Srinagar the day your trek ends and leaving the next day as there might not be too many flights post 9 pm from Srinagar.

A map of the Tarsar Marsar trek

Click here to download a KML file of the trail.

The Tarsar Marsar trek map Inidhaikes
The Tarsar Marsar trek map

 How to get fit for the Tarsar Marsar trek

Cardiovascular endurance
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.

Here’s a fitness routine that works:

  • –>Target completing 5 km in 45 minutes when you begin.
  • –>Gradually increase your pace by running 4 times a week and bring it down to 5 km in less than 37 mins.
  • –>If you are 45 years old and above and are comfortable with long distance walking than jogging, then 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.
    If jogging is fine for you, your target should be completing 5 km in 50 minutes initially, and 5 km in less than  45 minutes before you go on the trek.
  • –>If you are somebody who prefers cycling over running, your target must be to cover 22 km in 60 minutes.

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.

On this page, you will find

Useful videos to help you with your gear (Skip to section)
> A list of everything you need for the trek (Skip to section)
> A list of medicines for your trek (Skip to section)
> A list of mandatory documents (Skip to section)
> A downloadable checklist (Skip to section)
> Rental gear (Skip to section)

Useful videos to help you with your gear

Bare necessities:

1. Trekking shoes: You will be walking on rough terrain in an alpine zone. Expect rocks, boulders and loose mud. There will also be forest floors, and lake side trails. You need good trekking shoes for this trek. Watch this video to learn how to choose the right trekking shoes.

2. Backpack (50-60 litres): A backpack with sturdy straps and a supporting frame. Rain cover for backpack is essential.

Clothes

On a trek, carry fewer clothes than you would normally need. But enough to keep you warm.

1. Three warm layers: The highest altitude you reach in this trek is 13,201 ft and the climate may require you to have more warm clothes. You will need at least three warm layers (two lights layers such as fleece and woollen and one padded jacket) for this trek.

2. Two trek pants: Wear one pair and carry an extra pair just in case it rains. Denims and shorts are not suitable for trekking. Choose synthetic materials so they dry quickly in case of rain.

3. Three collared t-shirts: Carry light, full sleeved t-shirts that prevent sun burns on the neck and arms. Again, wear one and carry two. Let one of these be a dri-fit t-shirt. It will dry quickly in case you are trekking on a rainy day. 

4. Thermals (Optional): If you are more susceptible to cold, carry thermals to wear at night.

Accessories

1. Sunglasses: Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness. There might be snow closer to the lake, so carry a pair of sunglasses.
2. Suncap: The sun is more harsh at high altitudes, which is why a sun cap is mandatory.
3. Synthetic hand gloves: One pair of  water-resistant hand gloves for the evenings.
4. Woollen cap
5. Socks (3 pairs): Wear one, carry two. Apart from two sports socks, you can take a pair of woollen socks for the night.
6. Headlamp/LED torch: Mandatory
7. Trekking pole: Watch this video to understand why you need a trekking pole.

Others

  1. Toiletries: Sunscreen, moisturizer, light towel, lip balm, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitiser. Do not carry wet wipes since these are not biodegradable. We do not like biodegradable wet wipes because they take a long time to decompose in the mountains. Use toilet paper instead.
  2. Sanitary waste: Make sure you bring your used sanitary napkins back to the city with you. Carry a zip lock bag to put used napkins. Bring this ziplock bag back with you to the city and do not dispose sanitary napkins in the mountains.
  3. Cutlery:Carry a spoon, coffee mug and a lunch box. We insist on trekkers getting their own cutlery for hygiene reasons. We do not allow biodegradable or disposable cutlery on our treks.
  4. Two water bottles: 1 liter each
  5. Plastic covers: While packing, use Ziploc covers to compartmentalization of things and carry few extra plastic bags for wet clothes. You also need ziploc packets to keep soiled sanitary napkins if you use them on the trek.

Mandatory Personal Medical Kit

  1. Diamox – 1 Strip
  2. Crocin – 10 tablets
  3. Avomine (optional, in case of motion sickness)- 1 Strip
  4. Combiflam- Half Strip
  5. Muscle relaxant – Half Strip
  6. Digene – Half Strip
  7. Avil – 1 strip
  8. ORS – 6 packs
  9. Knee Cap (If you are prone to knee injury)

Mandatory Documents

Please carry the below documents. The Disclaimer certificate needs to be downloaded (PDF), filled in, signed and handed over to the trek leader at the base camp.
  • Original and photocopy of government photo identity card- (driving license, voters ID, etc.)
  • Disclaimer- Download PDF
  • Medical certificate (first part to be filled by a doctor and second part by the trekker) – Download PDF

If you’re shopping or packing for the trek, you can download this quick and simple checklist for offline use.

Here’s a quick info-graphic to give you an overview of everything you need in your backpack.

Rent gear from Indiahikes

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

Any abnormal reading will be paid special attention to and action will be taken immediately.

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

ams-symptoms-indiahikes

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.

Closest hospital

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.

ams-manual-indiahikes-2-pages
Click on the AMS Manual to open and download

 

Trek cancellation policy

In case, you wish to cancel your trek, please login to your account and cancel. Cancellation requests will not be taken over phone or email.

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% (cancellation charges) from the total fee you have paid. Also, if you have opted for a trek insurance, the amount will not be refunded.

In the unlikely case of a trek being called off by us 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.

Your trek fee includes:

  1. Accommodation – Stay is included from Day 1 to Day 6 (Aru to Homwas). You will be camping on all days of the trek (3 per tent).
  2. Meals – All meals from dinner at Aru on Day 1 to lunch at Aru on Day 7 are included. We provide simple, nutritious vegetarian food on all days of the trek.
  3. Camping charges – All trekking permits and forest camping charges are included.
  4. Trekking equipment – You will stay in high quality tents and sleeping bags in all the camps. Our high altitude sleeping bags can withstand temperatures as low as -10 ºC. We provide ice axes, roped, micro spikes, gaiters etc. as required.
  5. Safety equipment – First aid, medical kit, oxygen cylinders, stretchers etc. will be available at all campsites to deal with emergencies.
  6. Services of an expert Trek Leader – All our trek leaders are qualified in basic / advanced mountaineering courses.
  7. Services of an expert Trek Team – The mountain staff on this trek consists of well trained guides, cooks, helpers and porters.

Your trek fee does not include:

  1. Transport to and from the base camp – We will arrange shared taxis for trekkers to pick you up from Srinagar and drop you back from Aru. This will cost approx. Rs. 2,700 per 5-6 seater vehicle one way. You will have to share this cost with the other trekkers
  2. Food during transit to and from the base camp – The trek fee does not include meals purchased during the journey to and from Aru.
  3. Backpack offloading charges – If you wish to offload your backpack, there will be an additional charge of Rs. 1,500 + 5% GST. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. Suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will not be allowed. Please note that charges will vary for last minute offloading in case you decide to offload your bag after reaching Aru  (Rs.335 per day +5% GST).
  4. Stay at Srinagar on the last day 
  5. Personal expenses of any kind
  6. Anything apart from inclusions
Cancellation Policy

Cancellation Policy

In case, you wish to cancel your trek, please login to your account and cancel.
Cancellation requests will not be taken over phone or email.

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% (cancellation charges) from the total fee you have paid. Also, if you have opted for a trek insurance, the amount will not be refunded.

If a trek is called off at the last moment due to a natural calamity/unforeseen 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.

Fitness

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. Therefore, on treks, cardiovascular training is critically important.

The trek has long climbs and steep descents on a daily basis. As a measure of your fitness, we require you to be able to run at least 5 km in 37 minutes by the time your trek starts. If you are 45 years or above, cover 5 km in 45 minutes.This is a minimum, mandatory requirement.

If you prefer cycling over running, then cover 20 km in 60 minutes

Unable to do so can make your trek difficult.

In addition, preparation of trek needs to include strength and flexibility training. Registering for the trek is an understanding that you will undertake the mandated fitness training and upload the fitness screenshots on your dashboard. Trekkers who have not adequately prepared may be asked to discontinue the trek at any point.

Indiahikes has the right to reject trekkers who do not meet our eligibility requirement at the base camp.

Backpack Offloading

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 charges – Rs 1,500 plus GST of 5%. Charges for last minute offloading during the trek will be Rs. 335 +5% GST per day.
You can opt for offloading directly your dashboard after your payment is done for the trek.

Partial offloading is not allowed. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. No suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will be allowed.
Online offloading in advance is possible up to three days prior to the trek start date.

Transport

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. 3,000, one way. Participants are expected to share the cost of the cab. The amount is to be paid directly to our transporter. No GST is applicable on transport cost. Indiahikes only arranges the vehicle pick up and is not responsible for any issues during transport.

Emergency during trek

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.

Accomodation

Accomodation

Stay is in a hotel at the basecamp Aru.
Rooms will be shared with fellow trekkers. Twin sharing is not possible.
The stay on all other days is in tents (3 per tent).
Males and females in separate rooms and tents.

Can I keep extra luggage at the base camp for this trek?

Can I keep extra luggage at the base camp for this trek?

Yes, you can keep your extra luggage at the basecamp at Aru and collect it after the trek is over.

Ensure you do not keep any valuables at the base.
Laptops, mobile phones, cash or any important items cannot be kept here.

 Is there an option to offload my backpack on this trek?

Is there an option to offload my backpack on this trek?

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.1,500 + 5% GST.
Partial offloading is not allowed.

Charges will vary for last minute on slope offloading – Rs.335 per day +5% GST.
The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg.
No suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will be allowed.

Online offloading in advance is possible up to three days prior to the trek start date.

Is there a mobile network on this trek? Are there any electricity charging points on this trek?

Is there a mobile network on this trek? Are there any electricity charging points on this trek?

You will get decent mobile connectivity only up to Pahalgam, on the way to Aru. So make sure you finish your important telephone calls before starting from there, and inform family members about poor connectivity during the trek. Prepaid SIM cards do not work in Kashmir, only post paid. While Aru has electricity, you will not have access to electricity charging points anywhere during the trek as you stay in tents.

 Is it mandatory for me to carry an ID card on the trek? Is trek insurance compulsory?

Is it mandatory for me to carry an ID card on the trek? Is trek insurance compulsory?

It is mandatory for trekkers to carry the original and copy of their photo and address ID for trek permission.
For all Kashmir treks taking insurance is mandatory.
Without this you will not be allowed to trek.

How is the stay on the trek?

How is the stay on the trek?

Stay is in a hotel at the basecamp Aru.
Stay is on sharing basis . Twin sharing is not possible.
The stay on all other days are in tents (3 per tent).
Males and females in separate rooms and tents.

 Why is a buffer day required for this trek?

Why is a buffer day required for this trek?

Include a buffer day in your travel plan at Srinagar. This is to accommodate any political instability that can happen anytime in Kashmir. This buffer day depends completely on the situation in Kashmir.

It’s a good idea to stay back in Srinagar on the day you return. You could stay at a houseboat on Dal Lake.

Here is what trekkers have to say about their experience at Tarsar Marsar Kashmir Trek

Meghana Krishnaswamy

Batch of
September 2018

The Tarsar-marsar trek was wonderful. The camp sites at Lidderwat, by the side of Tarsar and Sundersar gave stunning views of the lake. The trek leader Devang and all other people were very helpful and made the trek an awesome experience. The food was also good and the games, discussions initiated by trek leader gave us an opportunity to know trek mates and help each other when needed.
Overall it was an adventurous, safe trek and spiritual to the soul!! Loved the trek and carrying lots of wonderful memories :)

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Anand Vennam

Batch of
September 2018

Very well I would say.
Benchmarking the trek with my previous high altitude trek, Tarsar Marsar had many more experiences

Reasons why I liked the tarsar marsar trek
- greenery everywhere
- short trek time (we start in the morning, and are at our campsite by noon, giving a chance for us to explore the surrounding places)
- experiencing the white out and hailstorm
- delicious food
And of course 
The TEAM of co trekkers and IndiaHikes

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Prashant Vashist

Batch of
August 2018

Brilliant! It was my first time trekking with IndiaHikes and I absolutely loved my experience. From the delicious food, cozy tents, gorgeous scenery to the beautiful campsites, I loved all of it.

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Rajarshi Guha

Batch of
August 2018

I enjoyed the trek a lot. Considering the rocky terrain and the fact that the itinerary got altered a bit due to rains, there was an additional degree of challenge to the trek which I enjoyed. Way back from Sundarsar to Aru had some lovely views which made the whole experience worth it. 

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Sanjo Jose

Batch of
July 2018

It was awesome! We were in a situation where the trek leads could have even cancelled the trek because of heavy rain and bad weather, but they decided not to and motivated us to explore a different side of the valley altogether. The new track was very beautiful and amazing, I did not even feel for a moment that the trek was redirected. Kudos to Braham, Gawahar and Jayaram for being very supportive and keeping up the enthusiasm within the group.

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Vinit Ashar

Batch of
July 2018

This was my first experience with India Hikes having been on trek to Himalayas with other trekking companies and it was a memorable experience. 
As you would be aware that we were originally to go to Tarsar Marsar but it was raining very heavily at our lidderwat camp site and the route to Tarsar was diverted to Satlanjan from where we visited Hindalsar and bikewas lakes.
It was really very commendable for the team to spontaneously come up with an alternate itinerary rather that calling off the batch which was appreciated by everyone in the group.
I was really very delighted to see the other side of the valley which is unexplored by many trekkers and i believe we were the lucky ones as there may be thousands of people who would have seen Tarsar Marsar but only a select few who have been to other side of it. Having said that i would definitely come back with a hope of visiting Tarsar Marsar one day 
Most of the things were really good and up to the mark such as food, tents, sleeping bags, trek lead and local guides. 
Only one suggestion ice breaker activities on the very first day will help trekkers to know each other better and interact better on the trail rather that doing them on the second day at the camp site 

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Megha Shivaprasad

Batch of
July 2018

This was my best trek with India Hikes.

The route was breath taking, with a good mix of varied terrain.

The Trek lead, Ashay was a perfect leader firm and encouraging always, ensures that everybody got the best out of the Trek irrespective of the trekker's level

Assistant lead, Heera,  was a like a mountain goat running up and down the retinue of trekkers, helping out.  He also identified several flowers, plants and trees and told us about them.

The guide,  Abdul chacha, was wise, knowledgeable and considerate. His ever smiling encouragement gave us a boost.

The kitchen staff were skilled and accommodating,. The food was delicious, and they cooked a special meal of gruel and kichdi for those experiencing a bout of delhi-belly

I would like to make a special mention of Roohi from sheikh tours.  I had booked a late  flight and consequently missed the slot for crossing the checkpost at Pahalgam,. She tried every possible contact to get us across on the same day, but when that turned futile, she put us up at a pretty neat and cosy homestay, reasonably priced and ensured that we were on the way at the crack of dawn the next day.  We made it in time :)

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Varun Manjunath

Batch of
July 2018

This was one of those treks where the positives overtake the negatives by a huge margin. Nothing actually went wrong with the trek. Everything went perfectly. The whole team was very understanding and patient. They made us feel at home. No regrets whatsoever. Would highly recommend others to go for it. This might have been my first trek but definitely won’t be my last.

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Kumuda Srikantiah

Batch of
July 2018

I simply loved the trek. The saying that mountains call us to lose our mind and find our soul is absolutely apt. 

The trek, leader, guides n staff are very good and supporting. They have good idea about the trail and can judge the weather to make sure the trekerrs are safe. They also went extra mile to show new place that weren't in the itinerary

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The Jannat on earth: Trek to Tarsar Marsar in Kashmir

The Jannat on earth: Trek to Tarsar-Marsar in Kashmir

Read full blog

5 Stunning Highlights of Tarsar Marsar most trekkers fail to notice

The Tarsar Marsar trek gives trekkers a unique experience of camping between two alpine lakes, a feat that no other trek offers. Here, Arjun Majumdar lists out five stunning aspects of the trek that unfortunately, most trekkers fail to notice.

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Trekking with indiahikes - Tarsar Marsar - exhausted after a hard day - Arjun Majumdar_

How The Tarsar Marsar Trek In Kashmir Was Explored

Our founder, Arjun Majumdar reminisces the past and narrates the story of how the Tarsar Marsar trek in Kashmir was explored. Take a look!

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Kashmir Great Lakes Vs Tarsar Marsar – Which Kashmir Trek To Choose?

Our co-founder, who explored both Kashmir Great Lakes & Tarsar Marsar, helps you choose between the Kashmir treks by writing down their highlights and contrasts.

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Tarsar Marsar Trek – Through Heaven And Back

The mere mention of the name is enough to evoke a myriad of emotions in us all. A sense of wonder at the hidden natural treasures, a sense of despair for the things that could be, a sense of wanting to belong.

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The Cursed Waters of Tarsar Marsar

"Stay away from these waters or face a torrential downpour for the rest of the hike” announces my guide just before we sighted the ridgelines of the mountains.

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The Time Stood Still at Tarsar Marsar

A lovely poem inspired by the Tarsar Marsar trek.

Read full blog

 

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Trek Fee

10,950 + 5% GST
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 Complete trek guide

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