Pahalgam is situated at the confluence of the streams flowing from the Lidder river and Sheshnag lake. Pahalgam was once a humble shepherd’s village with breathtaking views. Now, Pahalgam is the famous hill resort in Kashmir valley and cool even during the summer when the maximum temperature does not exceed 25 degree Celsius. This hill resort is set between fairly steep hills. Its natural splendor is described by snow clad mountain peeks on all sides, a white water river that traverses the bottoms of the narrow valley, and the wonderful weather. While Gulmarg was the favourite summer resort of the British during the Raj, rich Indians patronized Pahalgam.
Climatic conditions favour tent life and visitors prefer to spend their holidays under the rivers. The flora and fauna is good and the scenery is also captivating. Pahalgam is also the base point for undertaking the annual Amarnath Yatra. Foreign visitors like Pahalgam because they can relax in a surrounding that compares favourably with the Swiss Alps or they can undertake adventure treks into the high altitude meadows. The best time to visit Pahalgam is during the summers, between mid of April to mid of November.
Shopping in Pahalgam
Pahalgam, originally a shepherds’ village, is naturally known for products made of wool. Gabbas and Namdas can be purchased from local shops.
Adventure Activities in Pahalgam
Trekking, golf, fishing, angling and horse riding are the various activities which can be done in Pahalgam. Pahalgam Golf Club has a nine hole golf course at 2400 meters above the sea level. The course is an expanse of relatively large plain area in a relatively narrow valley. The golf course can be used by tourists. Golf sets can be hired from the Tourist Office. This golf course is sometimes referred by the locals as the plateau. There is a golf club on one side of the plateau.
The tourists can also enjoy the fishing at the Lidder River. This river has excellent fishing beats for brown trout. The fishing season stretches from April to September. Permits are issued, for a maximum of three days at a time, on a first-come – first-served basis and are charged on a per day per rod basis. Fishing equipment can be hired in Srinagar. Live baits and spinning are not allowed. The environment in Pahalgam offers various trekking opportunities. The best time to take the trekking in Pahalgam is from April to June. Trekking in the high altitude area of Himalayas is not without hazards and must be done in the company of trained guides. One of the best known trekking route is from Pahalgam to Amarnath which covers Chandanwari, Sheshnag and Panchtarni.
Accommodation in Pahalgam
A number of hotels and lodges cater to all preferences and budgets, from luxurious hotels to trekkers lodges and huts.
Tourist Attractions in Pahalgam
There are various places of tourist interest around Pahalgam. As this resort is set between fairly steep hills, it is worth visiting the places on a pony rather than walking.Some of these famous places are Baisaran, Mamal, Aru, Chandanwari, Sheshnag, Panchtarni and the holy Amarnath Cave.
From Chandanwari, the next stoppage is at Sheshnag. The mountain lake of Sheshnag is situated about 11 kms from Chandanwari. The waters of this greenish blue lake are covered with ice till June.
Chandanwari is located about 16 kms from Pahalgam. It is famous for its snow bridge. This is the starting point of the Amarnath yatra, which takes place every year during July-August. The road from Pahalgam to Chandanwari is on fairly flat terrain and can be travelled by car. From Chandanwari onwards the track becomes much steeper, and is accessible on foot or by pony.
Panchtarni is the last stoppage of the Amarnath Yatra. Panchtarni is located about 13 kms away from Sheshnag. It is the confluence of five streams that gives Panchtarni its name. A narrow spiralling path from Panchtarni leads to the Amarnath Cave. The Amarnath cave is 6 kms away from there.
The Amarnath Cave is situated about 44.8 kms. from Pahalgam and 6 kms away from Panchtarni. It takes about five days to reach the Amarnath Cave from Pahalgam. The Amaranth cave is believed to be the abode of Lord Shiva. Amarnath cave is situated on the mountains of Lidder valley amidst iced snow at a height on 13,000 feet. The thousands of Hindu pilgrims undertake the tour (yatra) to the Amarnath Cave from all parts of India in the month of Sawan (July-August) to have a glimpse of Shivlinga formed from iced snow. According to the legend, the Lord Shiva narrated to Parvati the secret of creation, in the caves of Amarnath. Without their knowledge, a pair of mating doves eavesdropped on their conversation and having learnt it, they were reborn over and over again and since, have made this cave their eternal abode. Many pilgrims have spotted these doves here. During the month of Sawan, an ice stalagmite forms a natural Shivling which waxes and wanes with the phases of the moon. The most auspicious occasion to visit Amarnath for a pilgrimage is on the night of the full moon in the month of Sawan. The Amarnath yatra is done only once in the month of July to August as it is totally cut off from the rest of the world during winter. The dates of the yatra varies every year due to the weather conditions and according to Purnima (Raksha Bandhan) in the month of Sawan.
Mamal is one of tiny village in Pahalgam. A Shiva temple is also situated here, which is considered to be one of the oldest existing temple in Kashmir, dating to the 5th century.
Aru is a charming meadow that can be reached by walking along a mountain path. The Lidder river disappears at Gur Khumb and reappears after 27 mts.
Baisaran is one of the most beautiful place in Pahalgam. Baisaran is situated about 5 kms. from Pahalgam. The huge, undulating meadow of Baisaran is surrounded by thickly wooded forests of pine which presents a picturesque view of the snow-clad mountains.
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