Pahalgam is probably the most popular hill resort in the Kashmir
valley. Since it is rather lower than Gulmarg the Nightstime
temperatures do not drop so low and it has the further advantage
of the beautiful Lidder River running right through the town.
Pahalgam is situated at the junction of the Aru and Sheshnag
Rivers and surrounded by soaring, fir-covered mountains with
bare, snow-capped peaks rising behind them. The Aru flows down
from the Kolahoi glacier beyond Lidderwat while the Sheshnag
along the great Himalayan.
At the confluence of the streams flowing from the river Lidder
and Sheshnag Lake, Pahalgam was once a humble shepherd's village
with breathtaking views. Now it Kashmir's premier resort, cool
even during the height of summer. A number of hotels and lodges
cater to all preferences and budgets, from luxurious to
unpretentious trekkers' lodges, including JKTDC's delightfully
romantic, fully furnished huts, partially concealed by giant
There are many short walks available from Pahalgam and in
addition it is an excellent base for longer treks such as those
to the Kolahoi glacier or to the Amarnath cave. Pahalgam can
also be used as a starting point for treks out of the region.
Pahalgam is particularly famed for its many shepherds and
they're a common sight, driving their flocks of sheep along the
paths all around the town.
are many places of interest, and because the resort is set
between fairly hills, it is worth hiring a pony rather than
walking. Pony fares are posted at prominent locations.
Mamaleshwara is only a km or so downstream from Pahalgam, and on
the opposite side of the Lidder, is this small Shiva temple with
its square, stone tank. It is thought to date from the reign of
king Jayasima in the 12th century, even earlier.
This meadow, about 5-km from Pahalgam and 150m higher, provides
excellent views over the town and the Lidder valley. Pine
forests and the snowclad mountains surround the grassy glen. One
can hire ponies for this trek from near the centre of town.
If one continues 11-km beyond Baisaran one reaches the Tulian
Lake at 3,353m, 1,200m higher up. It is covered in ice for much
of the year and surrounded by peaks, which rise more than 300m
above its shores. It also can be reached by pony trek.
The little village of Aru is actually the first stage from
Pahalgam on the trek to Lidderwat and the Kolahoi glacier. It
makes an interesting day walk from Pahalgam, following the
Lidder river for Pahalgam, following the Lidder river for 11-km
upstream. The main track, which also can be taken by car, is on
the left bank of the river. There is also a less used, and more
difficult path, on the right bank. At Aru one will often find
the Gujars, living in their log huts with their flocks of sheep
and goats, en route to the higher sheep and goats, en route to
the higher pastures for the summer.
Hajan, on the way to Chandanwari is an idyllic spot for a
picnic. Filmgoers will recognize it instantly as it has been the
location of several movie scenes.
Chandanwari & Passage To The Amarnath Yatra
from Pahalgam, Chandanwari is the starting point of the Amarnath
Yatra, which takes place every year in the month of Sawan
(Rain). The destination is the Amarnath Cave, believed to the
abode of Lord Shiva. Although 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, being accessible on foot or by
Located 11-km from Chandanwari is the mountain lake of Sheshnag,
after which 13-km away is the last stop, Panchtarni. The
Amarnath cave is 6-km away from there. During the month of 'Sawan',
an ice stalagmite forms a natural Shivling (also spelt as
Shivlinga), which waxes and wanes with the phases of the moon.
The state government makes extensive arrangements every year for
the successful completion of the pilgrimage, registering each
one of the over one lakh pilgrims, pony owners and Dandi Walas,
providing camps en route, and ensuring safe, comfortable and
speedy progress of the Yatris.
Even if one's visit to Pahalgam is not during the period of the
Yatra, one can still take a pony ride up to Sheshnag Lake,
returning late evening.
Pahalgam is one of Kashmir's popular trout fishing beats.
Kashmir is famous for its trout although they tend to be rather
small. Additionally, fishing licences are hard to get and rather
expensive. A compulsion is to keep am guide and one is also
permitted to catch six fishes, which is the daily limit.
On The Road To Pahalgam
The road to Pahalgam starts out towards Jammu but later branches
off to the east at Anantnag. There are a number of points of
interest along this route including several Mughal gardens -
indeed if one take a bus tour to Pahalgam one'll be thoroughly
saturated with Mughal gardens by the time one arrives.
Only 16-km out of Srinagar on the main highway south, Pampore is
the Centre of Kashmir's saffron industry. Highly prized for it's
flavouring and colouring properties and rather expensive,
saffron is gathered from flowers, which are harvested in
This popular stop on Pahalgam excursions is noted for its two
ruined Hindu temples. The temples were both constructed by King
Avantivarman, after whom this ancient centre was named, between
855and 883 AD. The larger of the two is dedicated to Vishnu and
known as the Avantiswami temple. A huge wall encloses the
central shrine with four smaller shrines around the centre. The
other temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and known as the
Avantishvara, is about a km before the Vishnu temple, but also
close to the main road. It is situated in a courtyard, enclosed
by a massive stonewall with a gateway on the western side. The
nearby village of Bijbihara has a huge Chinar tree, claimed to
be the largest in Kashmir.
A little further down the road, Sangam is interesting for its
strong local industry of cricket bat manufacturing! One'll see
thousands of cricket bats displayed by the roadside and
thousands more roughly cut lengths of wood being seasoned.
At this point the road fords, one route turning northeast to
Pahalgam and two others southeast to Achabal and Kokarnag or to
Verinag. The Jammu road leaves this route just before Anantnag
Anantnag has a number of sulphur springs, esteemed for their
curative properties. The largest spring is believed to be the
home of Ananta, the serpent on which Lord Vishnu reclines and
from which the town takes its name - 'Abode of Ananta'. Ananta
means 'endless' and the water issues from the base of a small
hillock and rushes into another spring in the middle of which is
a natural mineral deposit column which the locals revere as a
lingam. On the 14th day of a full moon fortNights in
September/October, there is a festival where the people fast and
pour rice and milk into the spring to feed the goldfish.
to Reach ?
Nearest airport to Pahalgam is at Srinagar which is around 95
kms away. It takes around 3 hrs to cover this distance by bus.
The closest rail head to Pahalgam is Jammu Tawi in Jammu. The
distance between the two centers is approximately 275 km. To
cover the distance, it takes at least 8 hrs of drive.
State transport buses run to and fro from to Srinagar. Some
private players also run their luxury and general coaches from
Srinagar to Pahalgam.