I have been looking at this picture of a beautiful lake on my wall, every morning, since a year. The soothing blue shade of the lake amidst the beautiful valley was enticing. It was almost certain that I had to be there, it was calling me!
I had to cancel my trip last year due to tension in valley. Against a lot of suggestions to avoid travel to Kashmir this time, due to the terror strikes. However, I trusted my instinct and assurance of the trekking group- Indiahikes that all was going to be okay. And here we landed in Srinagar.
The pretty village of Aru, near Pahalgam was our basecamp. The way to Aru goes through Anantnag which is a very sensitive area, but the road is well secured by CRPF jawans. We reached Aru a day later due to a roadblock.
Tarsar- Marsar trek is a moderate level 6 day trek in Aru Valley, Kashmir at the altitude of 13,200ft. It is one of the prettiest treks in India and it completely lives up to the reputation.
Once you are on the trek trail there is no cellular network, the beauty of mountains engulfs you; and you forget that it is a terror stricken state. Along the Lidder River the trail passes through meadows and forest with Chinnar and Pine trees. July is the onset of monsoon here, the weather is pleasant and the sunlight lights up the green meadows on the way.
Throughout the trek, I couldn’t believe that it was real, it felt as if I jumped into my Laptop wallpaper. The vast landscape from Aru Valley to the lakes of Tarsar and Marsar left me awe. It was a package of experience with rivers, tall mountains, flowery meadows, thrilling valleys, boulders, steep climbs and to top it all- cobalt blue lakes.
There are no settlements near these lakes and only shepherds wander with their flock of sheep and a dog to guard.
The highlight of the trek is the alpine lakes you see, and also get to camp alongside. The reflections in these lakes make a grand kaleidoscopic image.
The bright cobalt blue shade of Tarsar will keep you hooked to the landscape. While the Evil twin lake of Marsar, surrounded by clouds gives an air of mystery. There are many interesting stories about the lakes that local guides will tell you. These lakes are considered to be holy and are hence untouched.
The pretty grasslands that you pass, will keep you hooked to the ground, to spot the colorful little flowers. You have to make your way through many patches of boulders and it adds to the thrill of the trek.
The cherry on the cake was that we witnessed a twin rainbow, when the sun pierced through the clouds on a gloomy day.
Trekking in Kashmir is a completely different and beautiful experience.
Tarsar-Marsar is called the "Paradise trek", and truly- If there is heaven on earth it is here, it is here, it is here!
Happy travelling! :-)