Tarsar Marsar

The Tarsar Marsar is not just the prettiest trek in India. It is overwhelmingly so.

Tarsar-MarsarWe have always imagined our Kashmir Great Lakes trek to be the most beautiful trek in India. We were wrong. It is the Tarsar Marsar. It has terrific similarity with the Kashmir Great Lakes trek: superb meadows, wide open plains, impressive lakes, grand mountain views, but with one very big difference. The Tarsar Marsar trek has lot more variety. There are valleys that are flower-decked with such density that it takes careful stepping not to trample on flowers. There are streams that fall on ledges, creating shallow swimming pools that are surrounded by grassy knolls. The campsites are in terrific settings. The Tarsar Marsar trek is a new experience of what beauty on a trek can be.

Overview
Region : Kashmir, J&K
Duration : 7 Days
Grade : Moderate
Max Altitude : 13,500 Ft.
Approx Trekking Km : 33 Kms.

Package Cost : Rs. 12500.00 (PP)

Tentative Dates
09 Jul – 15 Jul 2017  Book NOW
10 Jul – 16 Jul 2017  Book NOW
16 Jul – 22 Jul 2017  Book NOW
17 Jul – 23 Jul 2017  Book NOW
23 Jul – 29 Jul 2017 Book NOW
24 Jul – 30 Jul 2017 Book NOW

Trek Itinerary
Day 1: Arrival day (Base camp – Aru)

  • Arrive at Srinagar (on your own)
  • We will organise pick-up vehicles from Srinagar TRC – Tourist Reception Centre at 2:00pm.
  • 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 a similar vehicle)
  • The total cost of transportation one way is Rs. 2400 (to be shared among 5-6 people, i.e Rs. approx Rs.500 per head one way)
  • We are expected to reach Aru by 6:00pm.
  • Camp overnight at Aru

 

Day 2: Aru to Lidderwat

  • It is a gentle, but long climb from Aru to Lidderwat
  • You will cover a distance of 10 km in 6 hours with an altitude gain of 342 m
  • Look out for two clear streams and a wooden bridge half hour before Lidderwat
  • You will pass through Nandkei which is a cluster of Gujjar settlements across the Lidder river
  • Once you reach Lidderwat, you can explore the meadows and the clear streams that run through it. It is an absolutely delightful experience.
  • Camp for the night at Lidderwat

 

Day 3: Lidderwat to Shekwas

  • Gain an altitude of 480 m in 5 hours as you climb to Shekwas covering a distance of 6 km
  • The trail is mostly ascending with intermediate flat grounds and one river crossing en route
  • After passing through pine forests and some intermittent clearings you will reach wide sweeping grasslands that are formed from the merger of many valleys that converge here.
  • The trail climbs swiftly past a few Gujjar huts to the camping grounds of Shekhwas
  • Camp for the night at Shekhwas

 

Day 4: Shekwas to Tarsar

  • It is a gentle climb to Tarsar through tall grasses, a few ridges and finally to the shore of the lake.
  • Tarsar is 5 km above Shekhwas and takes 4 hours with an altitude gain of 518 metres.
  • The turquoise blue water is surrounded by lush meadows and snow capped peaks – this campsite is truly heaven on earth.
  • Camp at Tarsar and move to Sundarsar the next morning.

 

Day 5: Tarsar to Sundersar, optional visit to Marsar

  • The trek to Sundersar covers a distance of 5 km in 5 hours with a pass crossing.
  • Some trekkers attempt a trek to Marsar, which is a closed lake set inside a cauldron with steep sides.
  • The trail is a steep ascent in the beginning, followed by a descent and then a final gentle ascent to Sundarsar
  • Sundarsar lake is not as large as Tarsar. Yet, the setting of the lake is just as beautiful.
  • Around the lake are long grassy stretches with little sprouting flowers of yellow, blue and white.
  • Sundarsar has big, flat streches that is a perfect camping spot.

 

Day 6: Visit Marsar, and get down to Sonamasti

  • The trail initially is a climb to Marsar, which is at an altitude of 13,170 feet.
  • Explore the surrounding meadows, and finally descend to 11,000 feet.
  • The trek covers a distance of approximately 8 km in 6 hours.
  • The Sonamasti valley is a sharp drop of over 2,000 feet, over a series of grassy ledges.
  • Each of these ledges has a little stream that runs down from snow melts and falls down to the ledge below forming a clear pond, before sliding off the cliff as a waterfall.
  • The Sonamasti valley floor, again, is a breathtaking piece of nature’s art with small streams, brooks and green pastures.
  • Camp for the night at Sonamasti.

 

Day 7: Sonamasti to Sumbal. Drive to Srinagar

  • Descend 4500 feet, and 11 km from Sonamasti to Sumbal.
  • An early start will get you to Sumbal is about 5 hours. The trek ends at Sumbal.

 

Sumbal to Srinagar

  • It is a 2 hour drive from Sumbal to Srinagar.
  • We will arrange vehicles to drop trekkers to Srinagar.
  • The cost will have to be borne by the trekkers and paid directly to the driver.

The Tarsar Marsar is not just the prettiest trek in India. It is overwhelmingly so.

We have always imagined our Kashmir Great Lakes trek to be the most beautiful trek in India. We were wrong. It is the Tarsar Marsar.

It has terrific similarity with the Kashmir Great Lakes trek: superb meadows, wide open plains, impressive lakes, grand mountain views, but with one very big difference. The Tarsar Marsar trek has lot more variety. There are valleys that are flower-decked with such density that it takes careful stepping not to trample on flowers. There are streams that fall on ledges, creating shallow swimming pools that are surrounded by grassy knolls. The camp sites are in terrific settings. The Tarsar is as large as any of the Kashmir Great Lakes (KGL) but lovelier. And unlike on the KGL trek, we camp right beside the lakes, surrounded by landscaped lawns.

But for me, the Tarsar Marsar trek is simply superb for its exquisite beauty every minute of the trek. I can’t imagine even a five minute section where I was able to say, I have seen this kind of scenery before. The Tarsar Marsar trek is a new experience of what beauty on a trek can be.

Trek Itinerary

Day 1: Getting to the base camp – Aru

Pahalgam is about 100 km from Srinagar and it takes about 3 hours to get there. Local transport hasn’t developed much, so most people hire a vehicle from Srinagar. An SUV costs about Rs. 3,500 and can take about 6-7 people comfortably.

There are two lovely routes to Pahalgam, one through Anantnag and the other through Bijbehra. I would strongly suggest the Bijbehra route. It is of the tourist trails and drives through an excellent rural Kashmir scenery. What tops it is the abundance of apple orchards, walnut and apricot trees along the way.

From Pahalgam, Aru is another 12 km away, across the Lidder River. It takes another half an hour to cover this distance. Aru is as pretty as imagination allows one to believe. A cluster of about 200 huts with shiny metallic roofs nestled amidst meadows in all directions and the lovely blue waters of the Lidder flowing next to it. In between the village clusters, Willow and Poplar trees pop out to lend more beauty to the setting.

There are plenty of places to stay at Aru, though they are a tad expensive. Rooms range from Rs.1,000 – Rs.1,500 usually.

Day 2: Aru to Lidderwat

  • Altitude: 2,438 m to 2,781 m
  • Distance: 10 km
  • Time taken: 5 -6 hours
  • Trail type: Gently climbing long trail

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. Another 20 minutes later, a wide fork on the trail under a giant fir tree signals the diversion to Nandkei.

Nandkei is nothing but a cluster of Gujjar settlements across the Lidder. Continue on the trail with the forest thinning out progressively. Half 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 enough for drinking. 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 for a quick breath and 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: 2,781 m to 3261 m
  • Time taken: 4-5 hours, 5.6 km
  • Trail type: Ascending mostly with intermediate flats, and one river crossing 

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 hour later, the trail around a bend opens up to a wide clearing of Hamvas.

There are a few friendly Gujjar huts where you can stop for tea. It is a delight treading on the trail after Hamvas. 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, the view opens up to another stunning scenery.

This time, a possibly wider grassland leads to two wide green valleys. It stretches out in a giant area 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 Shekhiwas.

For those on the Tarsar trail, Shekhiwas is a logical and extremely pretty camping ground. It is a good break after the hard climb.

Day 4: Shekhwas to Tarsar

  • Altitude: 3,261 m to 3,779 m
  • Time taken: 3-4 hours, 5 km
  • Trail type: Gentle climb all along

Past Shekhiwas, the trail again snakes its way through grass for a long while. On the other valley, leading away from you, is the exit of the trek towards Sumbal. 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, optional visit to Marsar

  • Altitude: 3,779 m to 3,962 m, crossing Tarsar Pass at 4,114 m
  • Distance: 5 km
  • Time: 5 hours 
  • Trail type: Steep ascent in the beginning, followed by a descent and then gentle ascent to Sundarsar

Most trekkers attempt a visit to Marsar by taking the trail that skirts around the circumference on the western grassy side of the lake, climbing up to the pass at the far end and then moving onward to Marsar.

Marsar is a closed lake set inside a cauldron with steep sides. It is as big as Tarsar, with only an opening that, like Tarsar, has streams that drains out its water to a valley that isn’t trekkable.

The shores of Marsar are steep and lead to flanks of the mountains. Where there are relatively flatter grounds, the shore is rocky and full of boulders. There are very few grassy patches.

While the lake is beautiful on its own, it does not present good camping grounds. The local shepherds do not encourage camping either with terrible stories about how Marsar kills people and animals by drawing them into the water.

The best way to see Marsar is to take a grand view from one of the ridges or passes that overlook the lake. The far side of Tarsar is one of the routes that leads to the ridge that gives a commanding view of Marsar. It takes about 3 hours to get to Marsar on this route, similarly on the way back. The night stay remains at Tarsar.

There is, however, an alternative view point of Marsar that gives a more complete view of the lake, in addition to making a progress on the trek. This is the route that we follows. Take the trail that leads to the Bakkarwaal’s shelter on the western side of the lake.

From behind the shelter, start to climb to the pass directly above you. There are shepherd trails that lead to the pass – the effort is rewarded all the way as Tarsar reveals itself in all its glory, the colors reflecting in its depths.

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 at the Shekhiwas meadows. Most trekkers descend down from Tarsar, until Shekhiwas, 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.

Sundarsar is not as large as Tarsar. In fact, it’s not even close. Yet, the setting of the lake is just as beautiful. Around the lake are long grassy stretches with little sprouting flowers of yellow, blue and white. Mounds of grassy embankments give commanding views of the lake from all directions

To your right and behind, are big flat stretches for camping. Sundarsar is the logical camping spot after the lovely trek from Tarsar.

Day 6: Visit Marsar and get down to Sonmasti

  • Altitude: 12,800 feet to 13,170 feet (Marsar lake) to 11,000 feet
  • Time: 5-6 hours
  • Distance: 7.5 km
  • Trail type: Ascent to Marsar, followed by descant all the way

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 to take 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 few 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 climb 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, stick to the opening of the valley, which is on the left. Get down to the valley and onto a bed of flowers. It is sometimes startling to see such vast stretches of flowers. Where the water is more, the flowers turn into blue, white and pink. Walk across the bed of flowers and head towards the ridge on your left, which is also the opening of the valley. The ridge is a big ground and leads to the edge of the valley. Traverse across the flat top, keeping to a direction that cuts diagonally towards the right corner.

From the edge, you get clear views of the Sonamasti valley and the Gujjar huts at the end. The Sonamasti valley is a sharp drop of over 2,000 feet, over a series of grassy ledges. Each of these ledges has a little stream that runs down from snow melts over a cliff and falls down to the ledge in a clear pond before sliding off the cliff of the ledge in a waterfall to the next ledge. Get off the valley and follow the trail that descends rapidly over narrow gaps in between boulders.
In quick time, the trail drops down to the first of the ledges. The ledge has a pond with a kidney-shaped island in between. Horses graze on the knolls around the pond. Pushing across the grassy embankment, the trail comes around to a larger drop, over borders and scree, to a bigger ledge about 700 feet below.

The trail shifts to the right, hugging the mountain side over a narrow trail initially on boulders and then scree. It is a steep switchback descent, often on patches of snow.

Take careful steps to get down to the beautiful grassy ledge with waterfalls running down the cliffs on all three sides. There’s a large running water pond and also some superb grassy fields, beyond which the ledge falls off in a cliff to the Sonmasti valley below.

The second ledge is a lovely place, perfect for a break. It has terrific views, lots of water and grassy embankments to camp.

After the break, cross the stream over some rocky boulders and continue on the trail, this time, on the left of the stream. Getting down the trail to the Sonmasti is a delight. The stream forms a waterfall that looks like milk running down the face of a very large granite block.

Getting down to the valley floor does not take long. Most trekkers would not take more than 20 minutes.

The Sonamasti valley floor, again, is a breathtaking piece of nature’s art. The stream runs along in ever bigger stride. Dozens of smaller streams, which the locals callchasma, join the Sonamasti River. Flat grounds as large as football fields pop up after every 10 minutes of walking.

Around 30-40 minutes later, look to establish your Sonamasti camping ground. Avoid going on until you get to the Gujjar huts at the end of the valley. A good idea would be to camp ten minutes before, in one of the lovely flat grounds.

The view of the valley below and the waterfall behind is reason enough to delight camping at Sonamasti. If you include the total picture of the stunning landscape around you, then Sonamasti is one of the prettiest campsites you’ll ever be on.

Day 7: Sonamasti – Sumbal. Drive to Srinagar

  •  Altitude: 11,000 feet – 6,500 feet
  • Time taken: 5 hours
  • Distance: 11 kms
  • Trail type: Descent all the way with multiple river crossing

It is a big descent down to Sumbal – but a delight in every way. An early start from Sonamasti can get you down to Sumbal in 4-5 hours, which gives you the rest of the day to get to Srinagar. Cross the Sonamasti River as early in your descent as possible. There isn’t any big bridge, so you’ll have to hop over boulders or take off your shoes. The stream gets bigger the lower you descend, so it makes sense to even retract your steps by five or ten minutes to find a suitable spot to hop over the stream.

There are clear grazing trails across the stream on the other side that run down the valley. The trail runs past Gujjar huts and dives into your first pine cluster in many days. The pine cluster does not last long and within minutes, the trail gets to another stream that needs to be hopped over. Across the stream, the trail descends rapidly losing altitude quickly. The forests change from pine to a mixed forest of maple, oaks and other trees.

In an hour, the trail gets on to a ridge top and descends along the ridge line. The descent under the dark covers of pine trees is enchanting.

The descent from the ridge bottoms out to meet another stream, over which a log bridge helps to cross over. All streams merge with the Sonamasto River. It is a delight to see the stream getting longer every moment. The waters of the river remain clear with a nice bluish tinge.

Continue on the trail with ever-increasing human settlements. Gujjar huts pop up every now and then with curious children running out to greet trekkers.

A large cluster of Gujjar huts signals a form in the trail. Take the trail that branches off to the left and descends down to the river (almost going back in the direction you came). The trail on top continues on a path to upper Sumbal, away from the road head. The trail gets down to the stream and crosses over the Sonamasti River on a well-built wooden bridge.

Past the bridge, the trail gets into a cluster of Gujjar huts. Outside the cluster, the trail hops over a stream, and continues its descent. The trail is broad and well trodden. Ten minutes later, get to another wooden bridge that needs to be crossed over the Sonamasti River.

In the distance, the Srinagar – Leh highway can be seen. The trail continues its rapid descent getting down to an irrigation canal. This signals the start of the pretty Sumbal village.

It is still another 30 minutes to the village and over a final crossing of the Sonamasti River. The walk through the pretty village is a fitting tribute to the end of a lovely trek.

Apple orchards, willow and poplar trees line the sides of the houses of the villages. The shady by-lanes lead to your first road way. The dirt track is smooth and ends at the road that runs along the Sindh River. This metalled road is the end of the trek. It may take some time to get a vehicle that can drop you down to Srinagar – Leh highway, 4 km away. An alternative is to hire a vehicle from Sumbal village. It is not difficult to find one.

Fitness Required

Minimum Age:

14 years

Past experience in trekking:

Useful but not essential

Fitness required:

You need to be in good physical condition before the start of the trek. You should be able to jog 4 kms in 30 minutes before commencement of the trekking expedition. The air is thin and the conditions difficult. You also need to carry a backpack that is heavy weight. Your physical fitness is important for a successful completion of the trek. Training yourself to get to a jogging distance of 4 km under 30 minutes makes your lungs strong and gives it ability to process less air for more work.

Flexibility Exercises:

Flexibility is the ability of muscles and tendons to relax and stretch easily.  It determines the amount of movement your bones can make in any direction around joints such as shoulders, elbows, hips and knees.  Stretching improves your posture and helps to prevent low back pain. Stretching your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors and low back muscles regularly, promotes relaxation in the tissues reducing the strain on your back.  On your trek, it is important that you arrive on the slopes with your muscles relaxed. Carrying a backpack, however light, can become a strain after a while. These exercises will help you to be in good shape before the trek.

Going to Tarsar Marsar? Want to make sure you’re fit enough to thoroughly enjoy the experience?

Here’s a simple,effective fitness plan that will help you be better prepared.

Fitness chart_IH Viv-page-001

Things To Take Along

BAGS

  • Backpack (40-60 litres): Backpack with sturdy straps and supporting frame. Rain cover for backpack is essential.
  • 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.

FOOTWEAR

  • Trekking shoes:  No sports shoes. The shoes need to have soles with good grip and ankle support. Do not wear a new shoe to a trek. It might cause blisters. Before bringing them to trek, wear it for a week to make it softer. We recommend FORCLAZ 100, 500, and 600.
  • Socks (3 pairs): 2 cotton pairs, 2 woolen pairs (mostly to be used on campsites and while sleeping. Keep them dry.)

CLOTHES – REGULAR

  • 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 : Cotton pant with many pockets / Track pants are comfortable too. Please do not get Denim jeans, shorts or 3 quarters to trek.
  • Collared t-shirts (3 pairs including the one you are wearing):Preferably light, full sleeve t-shirts. The collar and the sleeves prevent sun burns on the neck and arms. Avoid loud colors that would distract birds and animals.
  • Full sleeve woolens (2 pairs including the one you are wearing):We endorse fleece over wool as it is light weight, compact and warm.
  • Thick jacket: Carry 1 hollow full sleeve windproof jacket/down jacket
  • Thermal inners: 1 pair of lightweight, upper and lower (optional)

ACCESSORIES

  • Raincoat/poncho: A lightweight poncho is preferred as it covers your rucksack as well from top. Raincoat can also be used as wind proof when required. Enquire we for availability of ponchos at the base camp.
  • Balaclava: The cap must cover your ears and neck. You may also use scarves.
  • Synthetic handgloves: Ensure that the gloves are waterproof.
  • Suncap: 1 pair of nice warm gloves required, fleece or woolen. 1 pair of water proof/resistant, wind proof gloves. You get very thin inner gloves nowadays. You may get one of those to use layering.
  • 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 prevent snow blindness. Sunglasses are mandatory for this trek.People who wear spectacles, choose one of these – contact lenses, photo chromatic glasses, or if either of the above is not possible, wear your spectacles and carry a big sunglass that can be worn over your spectacles.

OTHERS

  • Toiletries (Sunscreen – SPF 40+, moisturiser, light towel, lipbalm/chap stick, small soap, toilet paper, wet tissue)
  • Repair kit (needle & thread)
  • Headlamp/LED torch: Mandatory
  • Camera: Carry all accessories – spare batteries, charger, etc.
  • Cutlery: Carry a plate, spoon, coffee mug & a lunch box. We insist on trekkers getting their own cutlery for hygiene reasons. To save weight,  you may use your lunch box to have food in it and also carry it.
  • Water bottles: 2 bottles, 1 Litre each. Packaged drinking water bottles like Aquafina, Bisleri and others are not allowed.
  • Trekking pole: Trekking pole is mandatory. Duralumin 4-step telescopic anti-shock trekking poles are available with us at the cost of Rs 450.
  • Plastic covers: While packing, use plastic bags to compartmentalizethings and carry few extra plastic bags for wet clothes.

PERSONAL MEDICAL KIT – Mandatory

  • Diamox – 10 tablets (to prevent AMS)
  • 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)
MANDATORY DOCUMENTS
In addition, please carry the below three documents. Document two and three need to be downloaded (PDF), filled in, signed and handed over to the trek leader at the base camp. Without these documents you will not be allowed on the trek.
1. Original and photocopy of government photo identity card- (driving license, voters ID, etc.)
2. Medical Certificate, and disclaimer (to be filled by the trekker) –
3. Medical certificate (to be filled by a doctor) –

IH CHECKLIST (570 x 738)


Tips & Advice 

  1. Avoid sports shoes. They are ill suited for trekking. We recommened FORCLAZ 100, 500, and 600. Wear the shoes for a week prior to the trek to avoid shoe bites/blisters on slope.
  2. Duralumin 4-step telescopic anti-shock trekking poles are available with us for Rs 450. To order mail us
  3. We highly endorse synthetic quick-dry pants. They are light and can be worn in layers when it gets cold. Cotton pants/track pants are an alternative.
  4. Jeans,shorts and 3/4 pants are not suitable for trekking.
  5. Light full sleeve collared t-shirts are the best option. Avoid round neck t-shirts which exposes the neck during cold weather and may cause sun burns during the day.
  6. We endorse fleece jackets 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.
  7. Thermal inners are optional for those who are more sensitive to the cold.
  8. You may use scarves as an alternative to balaclavas.
  9. People who wear spectacles, choose one of these – contact lenses, photo chromatic glasses, or if either of the above is not possible, wear your spectacles and carry a big sunglass that can be worn over your spectacles.
  10. We insist on trekkers getting their own cutlery for hygiene reasons.
  11. While packing, use plastic bags to compartmentalize things and carry few extra plastic bags for wet clothes.

Getting There………..

Base camp: Aru

Aru is as pretty as imagination allows one to believe. A cluster of about 200 huts with this shiny metallic roofs nestled amidst meadows in all directions and the lovely blue waters of the Lidder flowing next to it. In between the village clusters of Willow and Poplar trees pop out to lend more beauty to the setting.

Tarsar base camp

If you are trekking with us

PICK – UP

  • We will organise pick-up vehicles from Srinagar TRC – Tourist Reception Centre at 2:00pm.
  • 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 total cost of transportation one way is Rs. 2400 (to be shared among 5-6 people, i.e Rs. approx Rs.500 per head one way)
  • We are expected to reach Aru by 6:00pm

RETURN

  • The trek ends at Sumbal. We are expected to reach Sumbal by afternoon.
  • Return transportation from Sumbal to Sringar can be arranged by us.
  • The cost of transport is additional, to be shared among trekkers and paid directly to the driver.
  • The total cost of transportation one way is Rs. 2400 (to be shared among 5-6 people, i.e Rs. approx Rs.500 per head one way)
  • Srinagar is 2 hours away from Sumbal.

If you are trekking independently

Srinagar to Pahalgam ( 100km, 3 hours)

  • Hire an SUV from Srinagar to Pahalgam
  • An SUV costs about 3500 and can take about 5-6 people comfortably.
  • There are two lovely routes to Phalgaon, one through Anantnag and the other through Bijbera. I would strongly suggest the Bijbehra route. It is of the tourist trails and drives through excellent rural Kashmir scenery. What tops it is the abundance of apple orchards, walnut and apricot trees along the way.

Pahalgam to Aru across the Lidder river (12km, 30 minutes)

  • Hire a taxi from the local taxi stand
  • It will cost you about Rs.600 from Pahalgam to Aru

Inclusions

Trek fee: Rs. 

*Service tax at 3.5% is payable on the trek fee

Inclusions:

  • Accommodation during the trek (camping)
  • 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)

Exclusions:

  • Transport to and from the base camp (Srinagar to Aru and return from Sumbal to Srinagar)
  • Food during transit to and from the base camp
  • Backpack offloading charges – Rs 1500
  • Stay at Srinagar on the last day
  • Personal expenses of any kind
  • Anything apart from the inclusions

SAFETY

Safety of a trekker comes first. You will experience it first hand on the slope. Your team is accompanied by experienced trek leaders, safety gears, high end trek equipment, high altitude first aid kits and most importantly the right information.

If there is a medical emergency on the trek, your trek leaders are trained to handle crisis, especially related to altitude and medical emergencies. Our team carries high altitude medical equipment, oxygen cylinders, and other emergency kits.

Most situations are resolved by the trek leader’s intervention.If,however,evacuation is required, it is carried out by the team. The affected participant is moved down to the nearest emergency medical centre as soon as possible. This can take time, even 1-2 days, especially from high camps. Medical expenses, if required, at the medical centre are to be borne by the participant.

Doctors trek at a 50% concession

As an initiative in this regard we want to encourage doctor trekkers to function as team doctors. If you are a doctor on the trek and would like to function as the team doctor let us know. As team doctor, on successful completion of trek, you will receive a trek voucher for 50% of trek fee. The trek voucher can be used for other treks.

Criteria to qualify as team doctor:

  • MBBS degree required
  • Must have completed atleast 1 high altitude trek