Pahalgam is probably the most popular hill resort in the Kashmir
valley. Since it is rather lower than Gulmarg the nighttime
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
from glaciers along the great Himalayan.
Pahalgam is located in the western part of the state of Jammu
and Kashmir, India.
It is located at an altitude of 2130 m above sea level amidst
the great Himalayan range. It is positioned beside the Liddar
River, in the Liddar valley. Pahalgam is 95 km east of Srinagar.
The weather in Pahalgam is alpine. Summers (April-June) are mild
while winters (November-February) are cold. It experiences rains
between July and September. It experiences heavy snowfall from
December to February
Pahalgam Walks - 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.
Around Pahalgam 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
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.
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.
Chandanwari & Passage To The Amarnath Yatra
Situated 16-km 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 pony.
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.