In search of nature's lap for peace of mind or interested in trekking/hiking, rafting, horse-riding, golfing, nature-photography of the best of picturesque Himalayas? Yes, come to Pahalgam, the Shepherds Village, (Pahalgam in Kashmiri means Shepherds Village). It Located in Anantnag district of Jammu & Kashmir. It is a popular tourist destination during summers and every year thousands of tourists visit Pahalgam. This world famous hill station is 45 kms. from the district Headquarters at Anantnag and 89 kms from Srinagar located on the banks of Lidder River at an altitude of 2740 meters above sea level. Pahalgam is a beautiful valley, and the Lidder River running through it makes it even more picturesque, the river is one of the favorite spots for trout fishing in the country. Rafting is also organized at this river. One can spend weeks long there without getting bored. It is also point of attraction and a favourite place for shooting of Bollywood films.
Pahalgam is also associated with the annual Amarnath Yatra. Chandanwari (2,895 m), 16 km from Pahalgam, is the starting point of the yatra that takes place every year in the month of Sawan (July to August). The road from Pahalgam to Chandanwari is on fairly flat terrain and can be undertaken by car. From Chandanwari onwards the track becomes much steeper, and is accessible on foot or by pony. About 11 km from Chandanwari is the mountain lake of Sheshnag (3,574 m), after which, 13 km away is the last stop, Panchtarni. The Amarnath cave is 6 km from there. During the month of Sawan, an ice stalagmite forms a natural Shivling in the Amarnath cave.
Here are 10 interesting things to do when you are in Pahalgam.
Visit Club Park: Club Park is one of the oldest parks in Pahalgam. It is crowded, specifically on weekends. The garden blends perfectly with its surrounding hills and river running nearby and looks more like a naturally created garden.
Stop at Aru Village: Aru village is around 12 km from Pahalgam. Taxis are available from Pahalgam on shared basis. It is a beautiful village, visited by far lesser tourists and is more peaceful than Pahalgam. Some scenes from the film 'Jaab Tak Hai Jaan,' were shot here. The ride from Pahalgam to Aru has some of the most picturesque viewpoints. Aru valley is very famous for sight seeing. Aru is a great place to stay in - in the lap of nature. Options for stay here are rather limited though.
Go camping at Lidder Valley: Lidder valley is a popular camping site. It is around 12 km from Pahalgam and 12 km from the nearest motor accessible village, Aru.
Trout fishing at Lidder River: If you want to indulge in some fishing, there is no better place than Pahalgam. As much fun as it is, it doesn't come cheap. Fishing permits are issued only in Srinagar by the Fisheries Department. If you are a first timer you can hire the service of a shikara (offered by fishermen in this case) but it can be quite expensive. With a permit one can catch fishes in river Lidder, so more or less it is a give and take process but a fun-filled adventure altogether. Pahalgam is thus also known as a 'anglers paradise'.
Jamia Masjid Mosque: The green roof mosque just near the main bazaar (market) with its beautiful design is a major attraction. The location of the mosque also adds another dimension to its aura. The Lidder River below and the mountain as the backdrop make it a peaceful place to worship.
Gauri Shankar Temple: This temple is one of the oldest temples in Pahalgam. The Amarnath Yatra also begins here. The temple is small but much revered by the Hindus.
Visit the zoo: Around 1 km from Pahalgam town, wildlife lovers can see different species of deer, leopard and bear at the zoo.
Visit Betaab Valley: Betaab Valley is 15 km from Pahalgam town and is one of the most beautiful valleys around Pahalgam. The valley is famed as a setting for a popular Bollywood film, Betaab.
Visit Amarnath Cave: Amarnath is a famous cave where myth and beliefs meet. It is believed that Lord Shiva is seated in the cave. The cave was first discovered in 19th century by a local Buta Malik of Batakote. The cave and the naturally formed ice Shiva Linga has become a revered and one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in India. Most pilgrims stop at Pahalgam before continuing their journey to Amarnth. Tourism has flourished here richly after the insurgency problems have dissipated.
Kolhoi Glacier: Kolohoi Glacier, situated up the Lidder Valley, just below Kolhoi Peak is currently a hanging glacier. It is accessible from Pahalgam via Aru.
Rafting: Season for rafting is May to August and the trips go for 30 minutes and approximately 3 km. Each boat takes 6 passengers with 2 rafting guides with helmets and life jackets provided. No experience is required as all training provided,
Trekking: Pahalgam offers lots of treks:
• Trek to Aru Valley, Kohli Glacier, Tarsar Lake, Chandiwari and Leh.
Where to Stay
There are Delux and Semi Delux Hotels, hotels of category A, B and C (Both in Low and High Budget), equipped with modern facilities. Besides Hotels tourist huts and Guest houses managed by Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Deevelpoment Corporation are there.
Best Time to Visit Pahalgam: The period between April to October is the best time to visit Pahalgam as the weather is good for outdoor activities and adventurous activities
Climate: The climate of Pahalgam is very pleasant with running breeze but rainfall is frequent though not heavy, except for two or three days at a time in July and August with fine spell in between. The presence of river Lidder and gentle winds makes its more beautiful.
Clothing: Summer: Summer Clothes, Light Sweater / Light Jacket or Rain Coat. Winter: Heavy woolen Clothes.
How To Reach:
Pahalgam is easily accessible from Srinagar or Srinagar Airport by Road, in under 2 hours by car or bus (89 kilometers drive).