By Shah Younis
Memories are an important part of life. These even have existential overtones and pertain to one’s consciousness . Given this ,I would like to share a recent memory of mine. The memory pertains to a trip from Kashmir university to the Tarsar lake organized by our faculty Department of management studies. Leadership Development cum Adventure camps (LDAC) are usually held for a variety of reasons- one major reason being the component of the syllabus for Developing leadership qualities among students and provide the specific knowledge of adventure to make the student well aware about the resplendent beauty of Kashmir.
Kashmir being universally acknowledged as a paradise on earth is resplendent with great mountains, lush green meadows; the mesmerizing and resplendent atmosphere of the vale makes Kashmir unique place on the globe. The nature has bestow the valley of Kashmir with unlimited natural resources including forests, lakes, brooks, springs and so on.
There are hundreds of lakes and springs across Kashmir. These lakes are mostly on the high altitude mountains of Himalayas. Among them Tarsar and Marsar are the twin sister lakes of immense grandeur and beauty. If Kashmir is the paradise on earth then Tarsar Marsar is the well of Kousar in this Paradise. It is an almond shape lake dominated by the peaks of Kolahoi mountains some 20 km to the East. The lake is separated by a mountain with the minimum peak elevation of 4000 metres (13000fts) from another lake of the same nature known as Marsar lake, which is in the vicinity of Dachigam National park.
Tarsar lake trek mainly begins from Pahalgam , a small town in the Anantnag district located on the bank of the Lidder River. It is a well known tourist destination attracting hundreds of thousands of tourists across the globe. Merely 10 kilometres away from Pahalgam is the place called Aru. The drive to Aru has a beautiful view of the Pahalgam valley covered with pine trees. Aru is also called mini Switzerland. In the nature of a small village amidst the Himalayan forest and wildlife , quite a number of treks begins from here:
*Aru to Tarsar Marsar
*Aru to Kolahai Glacier
*Aru to Katarnag lake
*Aru to Sumbal pass
The most famous ones are the treks to Tarsar and Marsar lake. It is here we began the trekking via Lidderwath and Sakhwas. We reached Aru at 10:30am .The atmosphere was not sanguine. It was raining , so we wore the rain coats and started our journey towards Lidderwath. After every hour , we would stop and recline for 10-15 minutes as the track was very arduous and finally we reached Lidderwath base camp at 5:00p . We pitched the tent and stayed for a night there. The next day , we woke up early in the morning and started the journey towards the Tarsar lake via Sakhwas .The track was not so easy to climb BUT we mustered courage, confidence and passions and finally reached Tarsar lake at 01:00 pm. When we arrived at the lake , calmness returned to our faces .The direction of lake was silently changing and the water of the lake was giving the relish of honey. As we drank the water, life returned back in our limbs and we felt fresh.
After exploring the place with much enthusiasm and joy we finally returned back to base at 5:00 pm and stay overnight there. On the third day, we came back to Aru valley where some adventure activities had to be partook of . Finally , we reached back to Kashmir university at 11:00 pm .It was one of the best and beneficial experiences to visit these lakes which have been bestowed upon by nature on these high altitude mountains. One of the great rulers of 16th century Kashmir Yousuf Shah Chak mentioned the twin lakes in his poetry to his beloved Habba Khatoon:
“When I remember the two tresses of the comely beloved
Tears begins to flow from my eyes like streams from Tarsar and Marsar”
The Tarsar Marsar lakes trek gives a person the most memorable glimpse of the breath taking resplendent beauty of Kashmir. Its scenic meadows, pristine lakes and beautiful valleys allows one to soak in its pristine, virgin beauty. During the adventure, I met a tourist called Bob. The worthy tourist said that he came here every year for trekking and relished the natural beauty of Kashmir. And, some other tourists from Spain and USA were also there at Lidderwath. I personally asked them about the hospitality of Kashmiris. They said that that Kashmiri people are very generous, hospitable and honest. They welcome our coming here with much love and fervor.
Kashmir is rich with these resources but our responsibility is that we should endeavor to conserve what nature has bestowed upon us and make these lakes more attractive with proper planning and preservation. We should market these resources internationally through seminars and conferences and make a harmonious atmosphere for tourists with great dedication and verve.
The author is pursuing masters in Tourism and Travel Management from Kashmir University. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org