Yet again to Kashmir but this time a solo trekking trip to the famous twin lakes Tarsar and Marsar. It is the best alternative to Kashmir Great Lakes (KGL) trek which is bit more difficult terrain to climb. A 2016 planning went for a toss due to unrest at the valley, but this time I was lucky. Trekking in Kashmir has its own charm but what makes this trek special is for its incredible, soul-stirring views. The beauty of this place leaves you spell bounded for weeks. Check out the pics and you will agree to that. The lakes are unique because of their almond shapes and are separated by a mountain. These lakes look different from every angle you see and possibilities of photography are infinite. Camping beside any alpine lake is something to experience in a life time. Every campsite was unique and offers splendid views of changing vistas. The shepherd and their flock of sheep grazing on the green grass in the background of mystical mountains are just a perfect frame and experience for any nature lover. The water of Tarsar Lake is a feast for the eyes and changes colour throughout the day, between turquoise, green and many shades of blue. As it was a monsoon trek, blustery winds and moderate rains were part of the scene. The weather, like a dark army, storms overhead. Hiking along a ridge, buffeted by wind, and marvelling at the commanding, 360-degree view makes me relax and recharge. As usual, when it comes to weather, the famous saying from locals stays true. Sahib, Mumabi ki fashion, Kashmir ki mausam, Delhi ki sarkar aur biwi ka mood pe koi barosa nahin. Luckily, I was well prepared for this trek in terms of attire and fitness and made it without any issues.
Some facts and fictions
In local parlance, Marsar is a lake that kills (mar: kill, sar: lake)! and Tarsar is holiest lake for getting moksh. Marsar Lake is prohibited from camping as there are very scary stories told by the locals here. It has a hidden and mysterious feel because Marsar Lake is usually shrouded by clouds and is mostly obscured like a closely-kept secret. Another myth is that if one pollutes the water of these pristine lakes, it is most likely to cause a torrential downpour. Not sure if this warning from locals and guides to be taken seriously, but we just followed the rules.
Day 1 :- Srinagar to Aru base camp
Day 2 :- Aru to Lidderwat (The actual trek starts)
Day 3 :- Lidderwat to Shekwas
Day 4 :- Shekwas to Tarsar
Day 5 :- Tarsar to Sundarsar , Visit Marsar and back to Sundarsar for camping.
Day 6 :- Sundarsar to Lidderwat
Day 7 : Lidderwat to Aru and back to Srinangar
Distance and Altitude
A total of 48kms covered in 6 days with the last 2 days we have to descend 24kms.
Starts at an altitude of 8,000 ft and ends at 13,500 ft.
This is my second trek to Himalayas and this time opted to go with TTH (Trek the Himalayas) group. Really loved the experience with them. A down to earth, experienced trek leader and a terrific support staffs made us feel at home. We were just 11 people and had 11 support staffs and i was the King with a single tent all to myself. The food and hospitality came as a pleasant surprise. Innocence, helping mentality and honesty prevailed everywhere. I am still following 6am,7am and 8am regime (which is black coffee, breakfast and start the day). All days at dinner you get three course meals with hot Gulab Jamun or sweets to finish off. I recommend TTH over other groups if you want to explore Himalayas.
Looking at the life at mountains, sometimes I wonder, how we made our simple life so complicated. These expeditions will make you believe in natures miracles and you will be intrigued to find everything is associated with a back story of its own. There are more things in earth to explore especially in India. Life is short folks so enjoy as long as time permits. Let the slide show begins.