Pahalgam

Pahalgam is deservingly named as the ‘Valley of Shepherds’ owing to its predominant indigenous inhabitants. This scenic region is situated in the District of Anantnag, about 96 km from Srinagar, making it a perfect excursion destination from Kashmir. Enveloped with stunning lush meadows and gentle slopes, Pahalgam is perched at an altitude of 2,130 meters above sea level, and is indeed famous for being one of the most scenic regions of Kashmir.

Pahalgam was once a humble Village of the Shepherd, and is ideally placed at the confluence the Lidder River and Sheshnag Lake that offer breathtaking views of the adjacent landscapes and valleys, set against the pristine water bodies. The gentle rolling meadows of Baisaran are lined with thick forests set against the backdrop of the Himalayan Ranges, while Hajan feature numerous scenic picnic spots with picture-perfect postcard settings against the splendid valleys of Kashmir.

Pahalgam has since become one of the premier resort destinations in Kashmir dressed with a cool climate even in summer hitting a maximum temperature of only 25 degree C. There are a number of Hotels and Lodges that cater to all budgets and tourist preferences ranging from luxurious stays to unpretentious accommodation for trekkers apart from the government-operated J&K TDC huts and a Tourist Dak Bungalow.

Pahalgam features a number of places of interest that are within a close range of accessibility, making them worth exploring on a Pony ride rather than walking available at authorized prominent locations.

The Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra commences every year from Pahalgam and Baltal, which is a popular camp site for pilgrims, situated about 15 km north of Sonamarg, just on the Riverbanks of Sindh at the base of the famous Zojila pass in Jammu & Kashmir. The original pilgrimage route to Amarnath commences from Srinagar, but Pahalgam offers a shorter alternate high-altitude route that covers the entire journey to and back from amaranth in four or five days. Amarnath cave, which is a famous pilgrim site situated within a narrow gorge at the farther end of the Valley of Lidder, perched at an altitude of 3,888 meters and placed about 45 km from Pahalgam.

Chandanwari is a small scenic town situated about 16 km from Pahalgam and is perched at an altitude of 2,895 meters also forms as a perfect commencement point of the Amarnath Yatra, held every year during the month of Sawan, falling between July and August. The route from Pahalgam to Chandanwari is fairly flat and can be covered by car, however, from Chandanwari, the trail is much steeper, and hence, must be accessed by foot or on a pony. Sheshnag is situated about 11 kms from Chandanwari and is a famous high-altitude mountain lake perched at a height of 3,574 meters. After you cover this area, you continue on a 13-km journey to arrive at the last stop, which is Panchtarni. From here, the Amarnath cave is just 6 km away.

Pahalgam is a haven and camping ground for both trekkers and pilgrim and hence, feature large tented township that sprouted to accommodate the trekkers and pilgrims alike. Horse riding can also be enjoyed from Pahalgam to nearby tourist sites, which can be directly hired from the Tourist Office. You can obtain the Tariff rates displayed on the Tourist Office boards as well as pinned at important locations in Pahalgam.

Golf in Pahalgam is another outdoor sport to enjoy featuring an 18-hole Golf Course, which was under renovation and was opened to members and the public during mid 2010.

Angling in Pahalgam at the Lidder River is an excellent choice to spend a relaxing summer holiday as you scoop out the best brown trout. The fishing season spans from April through to September and permits must be obtained for a maximum of 3 days before you venture out on an angling spree. Permits are issues at a time, on a first-come and first-served basis while the charges are applicable per rod on a per day basis. You can hire the fishing equipments from Srinagar whereas live baits and spinning are strictly prohibited. For Angling permits, do contact the Directorate of Fisheries at the Tourist Reception Centre in Srinagar.

Trekking from Pahalgam to the trek points offers an exciting opportunity for novice and seasoned trekkers alike. The best trek route starts from Pahalgam through to Chandanwari – Sheshnag – Panchtarni – Amarnath Cave Temple, and finally arriving at Sonamarg. Trekking equipments are available for hire from the J&K Tourism Department situated adjacent to the Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering, known to facilitate Trekkers as well.

Apart from Angling, Golfing, and Trekking, you can also enjoy Alpine skiing, White water rafting, sledging over the glaciers, and sightseeing tours in and around Pahalgam during your stay in Kashmir.

Apart from the picturesque undulating meadow of Baisaran, Pahalgam also feature only about 8 small villages, of which one is Mamal where a Shiva Temple is situated, considered as the oldest existing ancient temple in Kashmir, which dates back to the 7th Century. The Betab Valley, situated in Pahalgam, was named so after the blockbuster Hindi movie ‘Betab’ was extensively filmed here.

Badgam District is where the nearest airport is situated while Jammu features the nearest Railhead to Pahalgam. Frequent Bus services and Taxi are readily available for hire at Srinagar and Anantnag for Pahalgam. The Best time to visit Pahalgam is from May to September and from November to February.

For more information on outdoor activities in Pahalgam, you can get in touch with the J&K Tourist Office, situated at the head of the main bazaar, just where the tourist bus coaches make a final stop. Tourists must visit the Tourism Office for assistance and information with respect to which season and time is conducive for venturing on any trekking tours, hiking, mountain biking, and other recreational activities in Pahalgam.

Accommodation in Pahalgam is readily available on advance booking and you can opt from a range of comfortable stay at any one of the well furnished private Hotels.

Excursions from Kashmir