A Wonderful Collection of Soul-Stirring Scenes
Popular as 'The Valley of Shepherds', Pahalgam is considered a jewel in the Lidder Valley. The small and beautiful town lies at an altitude of 2130 metres, about 95 km from Srinagar. This renowned hill resort in the Kashmir Valley also has the advantage of the stunning Lidder River running right through the town. The town, being situated at the confluence of the Aru and Sheshnag Rivers, offers outstanding views of the majestic snow-capped mountains. Pahalgam is Kashmir's premier resort that stays cool even during the summer. It is one of the major saffron growing areas of Asia.
Pahalgam was ruled by the Mughals in the medieval period. Later when the region came under the Hindu rulers, it was merged with Kashmir. It was independent during the British period, and became a part of India after independence.
Pahalgam and the nearby region has numerous places of interest set between the hills. A few of them are:
This small village, 48 km from Pahalgam, is the starting point of the trek route to Lidderwat and the Kolahoi glacier. It lies on the left bank of the Aru river. Aru is a beautiful village inhabited by Gujars. People live in log huts with their flocks of sheep and goats. The village offers outstanding views of the hills.
This beautiful meadow is located 5 km from Pahalgam and 150 m higher. Offering picturesque views of the snow-clad mountains, the meadow is dotted with pine forests.
The 11 km long route beyond Baisaran takes you to the Tulian Lake at an altitude of 3,353m. The lake remains covered with snow most of the year and offers a number of adventure sports.
Located at a walking distance from Pahalgam, Mamaleshwara Temple is devoted to Lord Shiva. This small temple has a square shaped tank made of stone. The temple is believed to have been built in the 12th century or even earlier.
This is an ideal destination for family picnics. The scenic beauty of Hajan is captured many a times in several bollywood movie scenes.
Chandanwari And Passage To The Amarnath Yatra
Chandanwari, lying 16 km from Pahalgam, is the starting point of the Amarnath Yatra. Mostly people trek this route in the months of Sawan according to the Hindu calender (July to September). Chandanwari is the mountain lake of Sheshnag. Amarnath Cave is just 6 km from Chandanwari. The cave and holy shrine at Amarnath is devoted to Lord Shiva. Its main attraction is the natural Shivalinga formed by an ice stalagmite. This shivalinga waxes and wanes with the phases of the moon.
This greenish blue lake remains covered with snow till June. Located at a distance of about 13 km from Chandanwari, the lake is 11,330 ft above sea level. The place has seven peaks which together look like the head of Sheshnag (the sacred snake in the Hindu mythology). The lake is known for various sports activities.
Pahalgam and the nearby region is famous for Trout Fishing. It is one of the most adventurous activity here, but one needs to get prior fishing licence approval. Besides, the tourists are permitted to catch only six fish in a day.
The adventurous village and the valley offers wonderful opportunities for trekking, skiing, mountaineering and camping. Routes to the Kolahoi Glacier, Amarnath Cave, Sonamarg, Chandanwari and Sheshnag lake are among the popular treks. Those interested in angling, can experience the thrill at the Lidder River. Pahalgam also has a golf course at 2400 meters above the sea level.
Pahalgam offers a number of hotels and lodges from budget class accommodation to the luxurious one. Apart from this, one can find good facilities in trekkers' lodges, and JKTDC's fully furnished huts.
How To Get There
By Air: Srinagar, 95 km, is the nearest airport.
By Rail: Jammu is the nearest railhead that is connected to other cities by NH 1A.
By Road: A road drive of about 2½ hours from Srinagar takes you to Pahalgam. Buses and taxis are operated on a regular basis from Srinagar and other major cities.