Pahalgam promises to charm even the most laidback of travellers. This stunning valley, pecked with hues of green along the Lidder river, is decked up in a pristine ivory when winter hits. Flanked by the mighty Himalayas on either side, and carpeted with a stunning meadow, Pahalgam is one of the most ideal places to laze around and spend the day while in the valley.
The river is lined with scenic rocks and flows at a steady pace, ushering in peace and calm into the lush meadows. The mornings are perfect- the horizon fades into the distance, leaving only the crystal clear air and green hues to soothe and heal even the most tired of souls!
Gulmarg to Pahalgam
As we went from Gulmarg to Pahalgam the whole sight changed. This is one big fact about Kashmir that its hues change with every new place we visit!
It was surrounded by Alpine peaks, Lidder & Seshnag rivers, deep-cut mountain valleys covered with giant conifers, rich vegetation and dominant forest cover which was indeed spectacular. Numerous beauty spots, more than 20 lakes, umpteen guides and horsemen to mentor you… Pahalgam and the way to Pahalgam with saffron fields and apple garden are a feast for eyes.
Pahalgam doesn’t have an airport or a railway station. One has to take a taxi or a bus from Srinagar to Pahalgam which is around 90 km drive. The roads are well maintained and takes about 2.5 hours to reach there.
The rates vary according to seasons and the cheapest mode of travel can be the local buses from the bus stand. However, they are a little uncomfortable. So, it’s always better to have a taxi at tow.
Once you reach Pahalgam, there are guided ponies and horses to guide you through the captivating beauty of the Pahalgam.
Where to Stay in Pahalgam
We stayed at Hotel Heevan Pahalgam, Kashmir. It is perched along the Lidder river and has ideal spots to rejoice the hills adorned with the snow crown. The hotel is built intricately with scope for plenty of sunshine and fresh air in the rooms and lush green views (which were covered with white blanket when we went). But it’s scenic at any time of the year.
Heevan Pahalgam has all the basic amenities and add-on facilities to make your days in the valley as dazzling as the white mountains.
Places to Visit in Pahalgam Kashmir
The avantipora ruins in Kashmir are an epitome of the rich culture and heritage India had. They speak of the glorious past but also tell a story of how they reached the dilapidated state.
A Sikh guide told us of how the kings stopped by the temples, which have now lost their sheen! Built centuries ago now this place has sculptures, Avantiswami temples, Shiva and Vishnu temples and tourists galore.
Enroute stop at the Apple Valley and have lunch around the delightful apple gardens.
Kahwah at Noor Bhat Pampore
It was enroute Pahalgam that we encountered some of the best authentic kahwa there is! The Noor Mohammad Bhat in Pampore specialises in kahwa brewed fresh and served in traditional tea cups.
Ask any local and they’ll have no trouble redirecting you to this famous retailer, where you can find a steaming cup for every taste!
Spend Time with the Locals
Once a hamlet predominantly populated by shepherds, raring precious wool-bearing sheep, Pahalgam’s popularity skyrocketed it to one of the most scenic and peaceful places in the valley.
The locals are eager to help tourists and are warm and welcoming- a rare delight for nay traveller! We suggest you spend more time chatting up the locals as you’re likely to soak in a lot of local tips and tricks to navigate the valley.
Join The Valley Tours
Reserve a full day to explore all three valleys in one single tour. Yes, these tours are done in one go – you have to hire another local driver who charges 1600 INR. The driver will take you through the mysterious yet beautiful roads covered with white blanket of ice, surrounded by the tall trees and bushes.
You cannot take your own vehicle or taxi to these spots.
Aru valley is a small yet enchanting hamlet in Kashmir that is surrounded by snow-clad mountains in winters. Base camp for several lakes, it had a view that I still cannot get over.
With snowflakes descending on the green lawns, meadows and peaks, Kolahoi glacier and Tarsar lake added on to its scenic beauty, Aru valley left us spell-bounded. It leaves one in awe and wonder making us think about the marvels of god.
Pahalgam Kashmir is a big draw for tourists because of innumerable beauty spots but the Betaab valley is worth the watch. It has breathtaking views with mountain ranges surrounded by tall deodar trees and pine forests with Lidder river flowing through it. Bird songs add to the beauty of this place.
This place also has a special connection with Bollywood, with a lot of movies being shot here, including the famous movie Betaab.
One can do horse riding here, rent Kashmiri dresses and get clicked amidst the splendor of this place.
This valley is popular for the Amarnath Yatra which commences from here. It is a great place for shopaholics and food lovers with exquisite crafts & sumptuous food available.
There is a famous Mamal Shiva temple situated nearby Chandawari which again is one of the lovely places to visit in Pahalgam Kashmir.
Golf Course Pahalgam
Located 2400 meters above sea level, Pahalgam’s golf course does more than serve as one of the most attractive courses to play in the country.
Lined with dense pine trees and snow clad mountains, the course is one that promises an invigorating game any day of the week! What’s more, the golf course has withstood some of the most fierce storms and lives to tell it’s tale.
Not to Forget
· Early March to End June embarks the onset of summer season which makes Pahalgam a pleasant hamlet ideal for a visit. It is the best time to visit as Pahalgam actually witnesses a good footfall during this time.
· July to September is the best time to enjoy the outdoor activities so highly recommended for the sports enthusiasts.
· October to February are the cold months with sparkling snow, white dunes all over. The cluster of trees are covered with the small white snowballs that fall from the heaven above. So it wouldn’t be wrong to say that Pahalgam in winters is a glory to experience.
· The local lore can be amicable but sometimes deceptive too. They might offer you to take short treks and may promise to provide you with all the equipment, shoes and much more but don’t get duped they charge you highly for nothing worthy.