Pahalgam Travel Guide: Places To See And Things To Do In Pahalgam (2022)
Pahalgam is a town in the Anantnag district of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is located at an altitude of 2130 m above sea level amidst the great Himalayan range. It is located beside the Liddar River, in the Liddar valley. Pahalgam is located 95 km east of Srinagar. It is famous for its pristine beauty and amazing weather throughout the year.
The weather in Pahalgam is alpine which means the Summers are mild while winters are extremely cold. Pahalgam is situated at the junction of the Aru and Sheshnag Rivers and surrounded by tall fir-covered mountains and snow-clad peaks forming a spectacular sight. It is believed that Pahalgam was once a humble shepherd’s village.
Pahalgam serves as the base of one of the most important pilgrimages in India which is the Amarnath Yatra. Chandanwari is a small village located around 16 km from Pahalgam is the actual base camp of the Amarnath. However, the major town for transportation and accommodation in Pahalgam. Pahalgam also offers a lot of recreational outdoor activities among which the most popular is the adventurous trekking activities. It is a paradise for adventure seekers as there are many beautiful and thrilling trek in the area. You can choose to trek to Kolhoi Glaciers via a beautiful village named Aru. The local people also offer sledding on the frozen glaciers which is a wonderful experience.
Being located close to the long stretches of rivers in Pahalgam is the perfect site for people who enjoy trout fishing. There are several treks in the area that take you to beautiful spots and you should not miss visiting them if you are an adventure seeker.
Pahalgam Travel Guide: Places To See And Things To Do In Pahalgam
A detailed guide to planning your trip to Pahalgam is mentioned below.
1. Aru Valley
Aru Valley is a gem in Pahalgam and is visited by thousands of tourists every year. The best part about the place is that it is not spoiled or commercialized so far which increases the beauty and charm of this place tenfold. It is located around 12 km from Pahalgam, 11 km upstream from the Lidder River. Aru Valley is famous for its natural beauty, meadows, lakes that are surrounded by the majestic snow-capped mountains. Aru valley is a base camp for trekking to the Kolhoi Glacier and Tarsar Lake. There is a village that lies on the left bank of the Aru river, which is a tributary of the Lidder river. The village is a base camp for trekkers to the Kolahoi Glacier, the Tarsar-Marsar lakes, and the Katrinag valley. It is also a base for the treks to Lidderwat, the Vishansar-Kishansar lakes, and Kangan. The Kolahoi is the largest glacier in the Kashmir Valley and is located near Mt. Kolahoi which is situated at an altitude of 5425m above sea level and is the highest peak in the Valley. The valley has several hotels, restaurants, and huts are available for boarding and lodging. There are about 20 alpine lakes, peaks, and meadows around the Aru Valley. In the winters, Aru receives heavy snowfall, and tourists come here to enjoy skiing and heliskiing are practiced. Other popular tourist activities include trout fishing in the Lidder river. There are also many trekking routes for the tourists to enjoy. One can also enjoy horse riding, sightseeing. The place is also a photographer’s paradise. Photographers come here especially to click pictures of the beautiful landscape.
2. Betaab Valley
The place is famous for its beautiful valleys adorned with rich flora and fauna. It is one of the most famous tourist spots in Pahalgam. Betaab Valley became more famous after the Bollywood shoots of some movies in the 90s and there was a surge of tourists to this beautiful place. Betaab valley is situated at a distance of 15 km (9.3 mi) from Pahalgam in the Anantnag district. The place is so heavenly that it looks like a carpet of emerald green has been laid out on the ground with the greenery all around with an interrupted river flowing through it and the snow-capped mountains in the background. It is covered by a thick cover of deodar and pine trees and is dotted with colorful flowers that add to the beauty of this place. The valley also serves as a base camp for trekkers that start from here. It is a paradise for adventure seekers as it leads to even more beautiful spots in the mountains. The fact behind the name of the valley is really interesting. A classic Bollywood, the movie was shot in the valley in the 80s named Betaab starring the Bollywood actors Sunny Deol and Amrita Singh. The valley was named after this movie. The valley falls on the way to the holy Amarnath temple yatra and is one of the three stunning valleys of Pahalgam, the other two being Chandanwadi and Aru. It lies halfway along the Chandanwari road and before it was named after the film, it was earlier known as Hagan Valley or Hagoon.
Chandanwari is a small valley town located around 16 km from Anantnag and is a famous tourist spot that is visited by thousands of tourists around the year. It is famously known as a base for the holy Amarnath Yatra. People from all over the country and outside come to this place to start their journey of a lifetime to the holy cave of Amarnath. Besides being a spiritual getaway, it is also a good tourist spot. Chandanwadi is surrounded by snow-capped mountains all around with the Lidder River flowing by. The valley is covered with exquisite flora and fauna with beautiful flowers. The view of the place bewitches you and makes you feel like you are in heaven. It is also a perfect place to enjoy a picnic with your family and enjoy nature in its raw form.
Chandanwari remains covered in snow from November to May which makes it ideal for sledding and skiing. The place is visited by many tourists during the snow season. However, the best time to visit Chandanwari is April to June as the weather is perfect for sightseeing during this time.
4. Lidder River
The river has been named many times in all the descriptions of all places here. The Lidder or Liddar is a 73 km-long river situated in the Kashmir Valley of Jammu and Kashmir, India. It originates from the Kolahoi Glacier and feeds the Jhelum River in Mirgund Khanabal, at an altitude of 1,615 meters. Lidder River is located in the picturesque beauty of Jammu and Kashmir that adds to the beauty of the place as well as the river. It flows through the valleys of Pahalgam, this mighty river is a sight to behold and is a popular tourist attraction. The peaceful aura of the places that the river flows through combined with its scenic beauty makes the Lidder River a perfect picnic spot. It is considered one of the most important tributaries of the Indus river. Lidder River is also the main source of water for the nearby Anantnag region which is only accessible by trekking. There are other adventure sports that you can enjoy here and the nearby areas where the river flows are white water rafting, angling, horse riding, and fishing. It is a perfect place for a serene and luxurious picnic and vacation.
5. Kolahoi Glacier
Kolahoi Peak is the highest mountain with a peak situated at a height of 7,799 ft, in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is located in the vicinity of Sonamarg in the Anantnag district. Kolahoi Peak is part of the Himalaya Range and is located between 15 km south of Sonamarg and 21 km north from Aru, Pahalgam. This valley glacier is revered by the locals as the “Goddess of Light” for being the perennial source of water that powers major rivers such as Jhelum and Lidder. Another fact about the glacier is that this five-kilometer-long hanging glacier has depleted over the years due to the effects of climate change. If the effect of climate change persists, the effects will be devastating. There is a very famous trek to this glacier that is called Kolahoi Glacier Trek. It is one of the most beautiful treks in the country and is a good sight for adventure seekers. The trek starts at Aru valley that is a gateway to more than 25 stunning alpine lakes and innumerable high-altitude ponds. The route takes you through the beautiful meadows, sprawling banks of the Lidder river, and wide-open Himalayan valleys. Throughout the trek, you will be able to witness the beautiful flora and fauna. The place is also famous for the rare flowers that bloom here. You will be able to see greenery as far as the horizon goes. The pinnacle of the trek is the magnificent Kolahoi Glacier which is a sight to behold.
6. Mamleshwar Temple
Mamleshwar temple is a very famous temple in the area, It is also known by the name of Mamal temple. It is located in a rural village in Pahalgam and this ancient temple dates from 400 CE. This temple has a shrine made of gold. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located at a distance of around 1 mile from Pahalgam main city. This temple is built in the classic old style and It is one of the few temples constructed purely of stone, by the then King Jayasima. The temple is marked as a significant place of worship in the region and receives tourists from all over the country and outside. This is one of the top-visited places in Pahalgam. If you are an architectural lover and like visiting ancient monuments and buildings, you will love this temple and should certainly not miss visiting while you are there. According to the legend, the site of Mamleshwar Temple is where Lord Ganesha sat as a door guard for Goddess Parvati to prevent Lord Shiva from getting inside.
Best Time to Visit Pahalgam
Pahalgam can be visited at any time of the year but summers are well suited for all activities that you can enjoy here at Pahalgam and for all the green meadows for you to witness. April to June is the best time to visit Pahalgam. However, every season has its charm in this town that invites you to visit at any time of the year. Many tourists come for the winter festivals during the season. Winters are considered to be the snow paradise in the valley and are a sight to behold. Winters are very chilly in Pahalgam but that does not stop tourists from visiting this beautiful place. As the summer starts, when the snow starts to melt, you will start seeing the greenery and flowers all around which makes the place look like heaven. You can enjoy paragliding and skiing also early in the summers at Pahalgam. The weather is pleasant in summers and is considered the ideal time to spend in the lap of the Himalayas.
There is a huge rush of tourists to Pahalgam from March to May and the temperature is pleasant compared to other parts of the country where it is brazenly hot. You can decide when you want to get away from the hustle-bustle of the city and want to stay and rejuvenate your cluttered mind in the lap of the Himalayas. It experiences rains between July and September. It experiences heavy snowfall from December to February.
How to Reach Pahalgam?
Pahalgam is well connected and can be reached easily from all major cities. There are several means of transport available to travel to Pahalgam. You can choose from air travel, trains, buses, or taxis to reach this heavenly town in this beautiful valley.
Air travel to Pahalgam: The Nearest airport is Sri Nagar airport and is connected to most of the major cities in India. The local airlines and carriers like Air India, Jet Airways, Indigo, Spice Jet, and others have direct flights from Delhi. You can take a taxi to Pahalgam which is around 92 km from Sri Nagar airport. To reach Sri Nagar, you can also take connecting flights from other local airports in India if a direct flight is not available from your nearest airport. You can hire a taxi from the airport to reach go to your destination in Pahalgam or the nearby cities if you are planning to go anywhere else.
Rail Travel to Pahalgam: The Nearest railway stations are Udhampur railway station which is 220 km from Pahalgam. There is a train specially named after the station. The railhead is connected to most of the major cities in India. The railhead is connected to most of the major cities in India. Udhampur railway station is directly connected to prime cities of the country, including Delhi, Bhatinda, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, and Jodhpur via several superfast, express, and mail trains. You can take a taxi or take a shared cab from outside the railway station to reach your destination. Public transport is also readily available outside the railway station. You can take a taxi or take a shared cab from outside the railway station to reach Pahalgam.
Road Travel to Pahalgam: This is the best but might be the hardest way to reach Pahalgam as you will have to take a connecting bus from the nearby cities like Jammu, Sri Nagar, or Anantnag. One thing is sure that you will be able to enjoy the views on your way to the city while traveling by road. Pahalgam is connected through all major cities nearby to all major cities by a network of roads to Chandigarh, Jammu, Sonamarg, Delhi, and Patnitop. Bus service is also available from all the nearby major cities in the north that connect to Pahalgam via Jammu and Sri Nagar. You can also choose to hire a taxi if you want to travel at your own pace to reach Pahalgam directly.
Best Places to Stay in Pahalgam
You can find places to stay in Pahalgam for all budgets. There are both luxurious and budget hotels you can choose based on your pocket size. Pahalgam has many homestays that have been hosted by the locals and built especially for tourism here. A vacation to Pahalgam is the ideal way to unwind and relax in the lap of nature away from the city crowds. There are many warm and cozy places to stay in the town for all budgets including hostels, resorts, homestays, etc. There are luxurious 5-star hotels, mid-range hotels, homestays, bed and breakfast, and other budget hotels in the main town and nearby places. Make sure you book your accommodation before visiting the place as the possibility of finding a good or any accommodation gets difficult during the peak season if you just drop by. You can also find many homestays which are quite famous among families as well as young people and adventure seekers as you can have the entire area to yourself and enjoy there as per your comfort. And if you are staying with a landlord at your homestay, you get to enjoy the local Kashmiri food that any restaurant in the city would not do any justice to. Some of the luxurious hotels and budget hotels you can choose from are Zebrina Guest House Pahalgam, Welcome Hotel Pine, and Peak by ITC group, Paradise Guest House, Royal Hilton Pahalgam, Hotel White House, Hotel Paradise Inn, Pahalgam Hotel, Hakeem Homestay, The Hermitage by Grand Resorts among the many places here.
Things to Eat in Pahalgam
You will get to eat the best food from one of the best cuisines in the world here in Pahalgam. Kashmiri cuisine is the local cuisine here with some of the most delicious dishes you would eat in your lifetime. There are many restaurants, luxury properties serving local to multicuisine food for you to relish. Make sure you visit these places and enjoy your time eating the best food while you are here and discover more cafes and restaurants to enjoy good food and time. The food is influenced and spiked with local taste and spices. Some of the most famous dishes in the area worth trying are Matschgand that is minced lamb meatballs in spicy red gravy, Kaanti which are lamb pieces in red hot gravy, usually eaten as a snack and not part of the main course. Other popular items are Modur Pulaav which is Sweet Pulao, usually eaten as a dessert, Muj Gaad which is Fish with Radish, Nadir-Haaq/Gogji/Monji that is lotus stems cooked with Spinach or Radish, Marcha-wangan korma, and Syoon Olav that is Meat with Potatoes cooked in spicy gravy. Make sure you try all of these dishes when you are in Pahalgam and the nearby areas. The food will force you to come back here again.