“The Valley of Shepherds”
Situated at the confluence of the streams flowing from Sheshnag Lake and the Lidder river, Pahalgam (2,130 m) was once a humble shepherd’s village with breathtaking views. Now it is Kashmir’s premier resort, cool even during the height of summer when the maximum temperature does not exceed 25 deg C. A number of hotels and lodges cater to all preferences and budgets, from luxurious hotels to unpretentious trekkers’ lodges, including huts. Around Pahalgam are many places of interest, and because the resort is set between fairly steep hills, it is worth hiring a pony rather than walking. Pony fares are posted at prominent locations. Pahalgam is situated at an altitude of 2,133 meters amidst lofty deodars, fir, pine, junipers, and many other conifers. The place gets lively during the tourist months of the summer. There is something about the pure and re-vitalizing air of Pahalgam. Perhaps dense pine and cedar forests make it oxygen-rich. Limited accessibility combined with limited telecom connectivity makes it an ideal getaway from the grind of daily life and professional stress. The town is 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 Himalayas.
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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 center 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. On Chandanwari Road, Lies a beautiful valley of DREAMS known now as BETAAB valley. It derives its name from Sunny Deol’s ( Action Hero of Hindi Cinema and son of another veteran Dharmendra) Movie
BETAAB was shot extensively in this area. The producer of the movie had also built two Huts for the Movie and stayed in the area for about 2 months to shoot. The Hut has been demolished and a lodge cum rest house has come up in the area. A beautiful garden and a bridge to cross the Shesh Naag river have also come up now. some more construction activity is in progress and Pahalgam Development Authority proposes to Develop this valley as a Beautiful Holidaying spot. The Valley is surrounded by Snow Covered Mountains Peaks, Dense Pine and deodar Forests With River Sheshnaag originating from Sheshnaag Lake flowing majestically through it. The river Moves to join Lidder just 7 Kms below At Pahalgam. Clusters of Willows tossing each other in wind are lined on the banks of the Sheshnaag river. Like Lidder (Ancient name Lambodhiri ), this river is also home to TROUT fish. For fishing, Anglers have to procure a proper permit from Pahalgam. A group of photographers are always there to take your snaps in this Picturesque valley. I was informed by some Gujjars in this valley that monkeys and Bears have been seen by them regularly near their DHOKS ( Temporary huts built by Migratory Gujjars ). Like ARU valley in Pahalgam, this area is now a favorite destination of Tourists from Europe and America who camp in this valley and trek the adjoining 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
What To Do
Ponies can be hired directly or through the Tourist Office. Tariff boards are displayed at all important locations.
Pahalgam has an 18-hole Golf Course, which is presently under up-gradation and is expected to be playable by the middle of 2010.
The Lidder 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. For permits contact the Directorate of Fisheries, Tourist Reception Centre, Srinagar.
The environs of Pahalgam offer exciting trekking opportunities, the best known being Kolahoi Glacier, Tarsar Lake, Lidderwat. The most beautiful of these is the huge, undulating meadow of Baisaran, surrounded by thickly wooded forests of pine. 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 has within it no fewer than eight tiny villages, one of which is Mamal.
Pahalgam Club, managed by J&K Tourism Development Corpn, is being rebuilt and will have a restaurant, auditorium, health club, open food court, amphitheater, and other facilities., Pahalgam, originally a shepherds’ village, is naturally known for products made of wool. Gabbas, Namdas, Chain Stich material, Shawls, etc can be purchased from local shops.
Address: Opposite Hotel Pine Grove, Old Gagribal Road, Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India - 190001.
Government of J&K Tourism