3 days of a hike to Tarsar Lake covering spectacular landscapes

Tarsar lake is one of the pristine lakes that you will find in the Himalayas. Spending a day at Tarsar lake and exploring its surrounding is worth the stay. The conditions in the Himalayas change every hour and you cannot predict what the weather would be like in the next hour. In just one day we could see snowfall, rain, bright sunlight, a clear sky, the mountains around without any snow, green meadows, and crystal clear water in the lake.

Tarsar Lake - Ravindra Joisa Photography

A gradual ascent from Shekwas camp

After a gradual climb all the way from Shekwas to Tarsar on day four, it was more of a complete rest on day five at Tarsar. We were free to explore this area around Tarsar Lake and were not allowed to go any further even though our plan was to go to Marsar and Sundarsar lake which was another half a day’s trek.

On the evening of day four, we spent most of our time next to the lake. Our camp was hardly 50 meters from the lake and at night, it was freezing, and not just that, the cold breeze made it worse. We had great fun at our campsite dining tent and soon after the briefing we went back to our tents and had a good night’s sleep.

Tarsar Lake pic featured on Lonely Planet

Had captured this image at Tarsar Lake and which was published by ‘Lonely Planet’.

Complete change of landscape overnight at Tarsar Lake

The next day morning, day five was supposed to be a free day for us to explore the place. It was cloudy and we couldn’t see the sunrise. Instead, there was something totally unexpected. It drizzled for a while and then the snowstorm. The snowfall went on and the visibility was hardly 25 meters. We were lucky to see the first snowfall that season in that region.

Meanwhile, in Srinagar and Dal Lake, the temperature had dropped and it even rained, which is something that I came to know after completing the trek. I went out with my camera to capture photos and videos, all were excited to see snowfall and most of us had great fun.

We even had a cup of tea inside our dining tent and then breakfast. The snowfall went on and the visibility was poor we could hardly see the lake from our campsite even though our campsite was just 50 meters from the lake. Everything turned white in no time. Snowfall went on for a few hours till noon and then it stopped.

We had lunch at Tarsar Lake and soon after, it was all clear. It was a clear sky and the thin layer of snowfall was no more visible. The green meadows were back by the time it was three in the afternoon.

Exploring around the lake

We continued to explore the place around the campsite. We climbed the ridge which was to the right of our camp. It was approx one hour climb and was steep, but was worth the climb. We could see the top view of Tarsar lake and also, the other side of the pass. This was the highest point in the entire trek.

Don’t forget to capture the panoramic shot from this place. Spend some time on top and enjoy the view. If you continue further, it will take you to Sundarsar lake. You can also see the trail from Tarsar to the pass on the other side of the lake. From that point, you can see Marsar lake far away which is another half-day trek from that place.

Tarsar lake top view
View from the ridge next to Tarsar lake. The lake is almost 2 km long.

In the evening we spent time going around the campsite and the lake. You are not allowed to take bath or clean your cloth or vessels at Tarsar. You may use the water that goes out as a stream for cooking. We hardly spent time inside the tent and at night it is an ideal place to do some astrophotography. I managed to get some timelapse of the galaxy and a few galaxy shots. If you have plans to do timelapse then don’t forget to carry some additional batteries.

horse at tarsar lake
An award-winning shot of mine at Tarsar lake

The next day morning was a perfect one. The sunrise behind the Kolahoi peak, the shadow of the nearby mountain, the sun rays, the clear sky, etc made it the perfect day to start our hike back from Tarsar to Jadsar. Follow my blog to know more about what we did on day 6. Check out the video below.

Where is Tarsar Lake and how to reach Tarsar Lake?

Tarsar Lake is located in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, in the western Himalayas. It is situated in the Aru Valley of the Anantnag district. Tarsar Lake is at an altitude of 2,400m/7,950ft.

  • Pick-up location – Tourist Reception Center, Get into a bus or shared taxi.
  • Drive:- 4 hrs, Srinagar to Aru via Apple valley.
  • Srinagar to Pahalgam 100 km to Aru 12 km.
  • Aru is on the bank of the Lidder River.

If you have not gone through my previous four days of the Tarsar trek, then check the following links:

Tarsar Trek – Day 1 – Srinagar to Aru drive
Tarsar Trek – Day 2 – Aru to Lidderwat
Tarsar Trek – Day 3 – Lidderwat to Shekwas
Tarsar Trek – Day 4 – Shekwas to Tarsar

Tarsar lake camp is ideal for galaxy photoshoots as there is hardly any light pollution and is away from the city. Hope you liked this incredible hike to Tarasar Lake, if you have liked this post then consider subscribing to my newsletter and follow me on Instagram – @ravindrajoisa.

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