Traversing the pine- covered mountains of Pir Panjal range, the boisterous waters of Vishav river tumble down straight 25 metres below at Aharbal creating a waterfall. This famous waterfall is located in the south western part of the valley in Kulgam district, some 75 kilometres from Srinagar at an altitude of 2266 metres above sea level. The sheer volume of water that comes crashing down on the rocks below is enough to make its roar audible from a distance. The serenity all around pronounces the sound of waterfall to deafening decibels as one nears it. Of late arrangements have been made for visitors to make it up to the edge of the fall, thus infusing adventure into the sightseeing of Aharbal waterfall.
It is also referred to as the Niagara Falls of Kashmir, owing to the volume of the water that falls down. The source of the water lies deep in the pine and fir forests in the form of gorgeous Kounsarnag Lake (13,500 ft above sea level). Aharbal acts as the starting point for trek to Kousarnag Lake which passes through stunningly beautiful elevated valleys and meadows. All along the way wild flowers, gigantic alpine trees, roaring waters of Vishav and myriad wildlife invigorates the trekker. Famous for its scenic beauty, Aharbal has become a well known picnic spot for school children and the locals who throng the place when plain areas witness sweltering temperatures.
TThe scenic meadow of Kungwatan lies at the halfway point of the two-day trek to the high-altitude Konsarnag Lake. Surrounded on all sides by dense canopy of verdant alpine trees, the meadow is a calm and tranquil place, mostly inhabited during summers by the cattle herders. One can even enjoy angling in the Vishav river as it teems with trout fish, introduced into it by the Fisheries department. All it needs is just a fishing permit which can be obtained from the Fisheries department stationed at Aharbal.
HOW TO REACH
Aharbal is easily accessible from Srinagar and lies eight 8 km left of the Mughal Road that connects Srinagar and Poonch. It takes about 2 hours by car or bus via Pulwama and Shopian to reach there. It is 18 km south of Shopian town and 28 km west of Kulgam. An alternate route leads to Aharbal via Kulgam, Aharbal Development Authority, responsible for development in Aharbal, has built tourist infrastructure including huts and a cafeteria here. Besides, lodging and boarding facilities are also available.