Arguably one of the most beautiful places on earth, the town of Pahalgam (Village/Valley of Shepherds) offers breathtaking views.The Pahalgam Valley presents glamorous look due to its pine forests, snow clad mountains, healthy climate and vast meadows and pastures. Pahalgam skirts Lidder river and torrential flow of water in Lidder river enriches the awesome beauty of the Valley.The Lidder river rises from the Kolohoi glaciers, Tarsar lake and Sheeshnag to join as tributary of Jhelum.It has an average elevation of 2740 metres (8989 feet).Tourist attractions of Pahalgam –
SHIKARGAHA :Shikargah is a renowned wildlife reserve preferred by visitors as a destination for spending quality picnic time with family and friends. The reserve with its varied wild life was traditionally a hunting place for the Royals in the past. It is located in close proximity to the market place of Pahalgam which allows tourists to easily avail ponies for rides. However, walking is also a convenient option for reaching the wildlife reserve.
BETAB VALLEY :At a walkable distance is a tourist spot amidst pine trees in pahalgam is famous for many film shootings.
TULIAN LAKE :Most captivating lake at an altitude of 4000m, surrounded by the snow capped mountains. It is a full day long trek from Pahalgam. Assistance of a local guide is highly recommended for conducting trekking to this high altitude lake.
MAMAL TEMPLE :Mamalika one of the ancient temple in Pahalgam built in 11th century by King Jayasimha, is situated on the right bank of the Lidder. The temple has a pedestal and a Shivalinga. A pure water spring rises at the site covered by a basin.
ARU VALLEY :is 11km from Pahalgam with a motorable road. From here, famous trek via Lidderwat leads to the Kolohoi Glaciers (36km) at an altitude of 3400mtrs. Here, you can have a glimpse of Kolohoi Peak, 5370 mtrs. Another trek from Lidderwat leads to the most desired twin Lakes, Tarsar 3794mtrs & Marsar 3788 mtrs (2-3 days trek).
AISHMUQAM :Shrine of a Sufi saint Baba Zaina-ud-din Wali on a hillock at Ashmuqam is 86 km from Srinagar on route Pahalgam. Commonly known as “Zaino Shah Sahib”, the Sufi was a follower of Alamdar e Kashmir “Shiekh Noor ud Din”. The main sanctorum is situated inside a deep and narrow cave, several relics associated to Bab are kept in a room inside the cave. One week long Zool festival is celebrated in the month of April in respect of the Shiekh Zaina-ud-din Wali in a peculiar way of holding torchlights “leshi” in a procession, which start in the shrine are displayed to the public for seeking blessings.
MARTAND SUN TEMPLE :64 km from Srinagar and just 7 km from Anantnag is “Sun Temple” of Martand that belongs to the era of Pandvas These are the most impressive ancient ruins of Sun temple built by King Lalitaditya Mukhtapida 699-739 AD situated a top a plateau. According to a legend, Surya, the sun god was the l3th child born from a life less egg called Martand to Aditi wife of saint Kashyap. The foundation of the temple is said to have been between 370-500AD.Whereas some record the construction of temple by Ranaditya.
AVANTIPUR TEMPLE :30 km Srinagar, exist the massive and most impressive ruins of stone temples built during the rein of King Awantiwarman (855-883 AD). Awantipur once the capital of Kashmir is on the right bank of river Jehlum. A short stopover enroute Pahalgam will certainly be liked by the visitors interested in the history of the vale.
AMARNATH JI YATRA :Pahalgam(Nunwan) is a base camp for the annual Amarnath Yatra. Which starts from June to August every year. Enrote to Anarnath Cave is Chandanwari (2,895 m), 16 kms from Pahalgam, is the starting point of the. From Chandanwari onwards the track becomes much steeper, and is accessible on foot or by pony. About 11 kms from Chandanwari is the mountain lake of Sheshnag (3,574 m), after which, 13 kms away is the last stop, Panchtarni. The Amarnath cave is 6 kms away from there. During the month of Sawan, an ice stalagmite forms a natural shivling in the Amarnath cave, which waxes and wanes with the moon.This Hindu pilgrimage is believed to be the discovery of a Muslim shepherd named Butta Malik who’s descendants still receive a percentage of the donations made by pilgrims.
HOW TO REACH :Pahalgam is in Anantnag District and is about 96 Kms from Srinagar. The nearest Airport is in Srinagar International Airport. The nearest Rail Head is at Udhampur and from there National Highway NH1A connects the Kashmir valley with India.From Srinagar Pahalgam can be reached via Khanabal as well as Bijbehara villages. Every type of Transport suit every budget from Buses to MUV Cabs are available from Srinagar as well as from Kahnabal (KMD bus terminal Anantnag).
From Jammu Pahalgam can be accessed via Khanabal Anantnag which lies on National Highway 1 A.During Amarnath Yatra the transport service is restricted on the Pahalgam route.Yatris holding valid permits should commute in a special yatra coaches from Jamu and Srinagar that move as per fixed schedule.The private taxis and coaches can also be hired.
TO DO :Horse Riding, Golf, Fishing, White water Rafting, Trekking, ShoppingTrout fishing in Lidder River is quite popular sport in Pahalgam. Brown and Rainbow trout’s in the soft & hard levels of the river challenges an angler to throw a line at different beats. Kashmir is said to be the cheapest trout fishing destination in the world. Permits have to be collected well in advance from J&K fisheries department.Best season for fishing is April to September. The Tourist Office near bus stand provides assistance and information to the visitors.
ACCOMMODATION :JKTDC Huts and Tourist Bungalow are most popular amoung Indian and International tourists. Our Hutments and a Tourist Bungalow on the meadow facing the Lidder river makes a stay here pleasurable one. All the huts have well stocked kitchen.
TO EAT :Most of the hotels in Pahalgam have their inhouse restaurants where one can order for all types of continental and Indian food.There are good number of restaurant in the main market where the tourist can get the fast food as well as the mughlai delicacies.From early morning to late night dinners can be relished at these food joints.
During Amarnath yatra pure vegetarian food is provided at most of the restaurants and hotel.The bhojnalyas in the main market also provide the Indian food.The free Langars are available for the Yatris on the entire route upto the Holy cave.(Day Yatra)