The day begins with a short drive to Aru, which is the roadhead and also the starting point of the trek, it is one of the prettiest villages you’ll ever come across as you walk through it, and then as you look back while climbing up the slopes, it reaffirms its beauty. From Aru, we will be walking along the Lidder River, and the enchanting views of this river snaking through the mountains keep getting better as you move upstream, for around 10 kms. We walk through conifer forests today, leaving behind the views of Aru valley and as we continue through the forest we find one part of the trail goes towards Nandekai village, a seasonal home for the Gujjar community there. We walk through the forest a little more, climbing up the trail, before we emerge out of it and the valley opens up in front of us, providing us some breath-taking views of the sprawling meadows up ahead. Moving further into the grasslands, the trail continues climbing slightly after this, and then we cross two bridges before entering into a small pine forest, which eventually leads up to a point from where one can see the best view of the day. From here on, it’ll take us an hour more to Lidderwat. And further on, our trail touches the Lidder river, and then we walk through a beautiful Fir Forest before reaching Lidderwat meadows. This is where we will camp, by the river, and spend our time exploring this area before the night hits, or maybe just lounge by the clear waters of Lidder.
Today you’ll climb for 5 kms, starting from the trail that begins from right behind the government huts at Lidderwat, and you follow the river further upstream. Where eventually it climbs up the pine forest, as you leave the river behind. Furthermore, you will be walking towards the upper reaches of the valley, as you’ll find many clear water streams cutting across our paths, with tall mountains rising straight from the valley floor, while the Lidderwat valley would break into a wider expanse of multiple valleys, with each looking as enchanting as the other. From here you will continue along the river towards the clearing of Homwas, where you can stop at Gujjar huts for tea, or to just take a breather lying in the grass here. From here on, the trail changes way, and you enter a narrow valley, with the river being the constant company but forests are no longer as thick, with Birch trees coming in view along the trail. And as you continue climbing up in the valley, you come across wider grasslands, with snowclad cliffs beyond the meadows. From here, one can climb further towards Shekhwas camping ground located further ahead from the Gujjar settlements.
Today is a day of some great sceneries appearing after various ridges you’ll be crossing on your way to Tarsar. So, the day begins with a walk through a carpet of green past the Shekhwas camp, as you move higher on the slope. After which, the trail takes a turn and you’ll be climbing up a steep hill, and that’s where you’ll be crossing several false ridges, each giving you a sense of reaching Tarsar, but instead they’ll slowly open up the grand views for you. However, after a while, you start seeing a part of Tarsar’s turquoise waters. From here on, you’ll have to cross a section filled with boulders, as the glimpses of Tarsar continue exciting you, then cross over a stream before you reach the grasslands around Tarsar lake. Here, stand in awe of the nature around you, walk barefoot on soft grass, take many pictures and watch the day roll by, with different parts of the day giving the place its own charm.
While one wouldn’t want to leave from Tarsar campsite, but today you move ahead in anticipation for more breath-taking views along the way. Today’s route can involve retracing our steps back to Shekhwas and taking the trail to Sundersar from there, but that’d involve trekking for much longer, so you don’t take that. So, the day begins with climbing up to Tarsar Pass, while also getting some great views. A shepherd’s trail runs down the pass that’ll lead you into the valley, but before that don’t forget to take the view of Tarsar lake from the top of the pass. At the bottom of the valley, you meet another trail running up the stream, and you walk along this trail as you’ll spot some shepherd settlements on the way. Upon crossing them, you follow the brook till a point where it forms a pond under the tall snowy mountains, and on the way you’ll cross the through some of the most lush grasslands. Post the grasslands, you climb up another high pass which takes you to the other larger meadow than the one you’d have left behind, filled with wildflowers. From here on the trail runs over a section of boulders and grassy mounds, which’ll eventually lead you to the shores of Sundersar lake.
The day begins with walking around Sundersar shores, which would lead us to a boulder filled path as you start with your climb towards Marsar Ridge. This is a part where one can find patches of snow, and this will require one to be careful while walking over the boulders. Upon reaching this pass, one can find a beautiful stretch of grass sprawled around the top. This part then leads you towards flatter grounds below, where you walk down the trail which is occasionally cut by the streams, and then the trail meanders towards left and there upon climbing up a ridge, which will give you a magnificent view of Marsar below. Shining midst clouds and mist, Marsar will steal your heart at the first look. It is as large as Tarsar with tall, snow lined cliffs around it, while on the left side you’ll see a stream flowing down the valley towards Traal, carrying the overrun water from the lake. In other direction, you’ll see the outer edges of Dachigam forest coming all the way till the lake’s shores. You’ll get sometime at Marsar, to observe the enchanting beauty of this landscape, before retracing your steps back to Sundarsar camps, where post meal, you will mostly retrace your steps back from where youecame, down to the Jagmargi valley. But this time instead of crossing the Tarsar pass, you take a different route to Shekhwas, and from Shekhwas, you will continue towards Homwas, your camp for the night.
Today you re-join the trail you took in the beginning of the trek, and the trail from Homwas to Lidderwat is all downhill, and you’ll quickly descend. On this part of the trail, you’ll see some great sights, including Kolahoi glacier, and also a different angle of Pine forests of Lidderwat, which is great for photography. Upon reaching Lidderwat, you can take a breather, before we continue on our 10 Kms descent to Aru from Lidderwat, which will take you around 4 hrs. From Aru, you’ll be picked and driven back to Pahalgam.
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