Pahalgam – Shepherd’s Village
Pahalgam is situated at an altitude of 2,133 meters, at the assemblage of two streams flowing from the Sheshnag lake and the Lidder river. It is 95 km east of Srinagar, the capital city of the state of Jammu and Kashmir in India. It was once called as shepherd’s village. Now it is one of Kashmir’s premier resorts with breathtaking views. It also acts as a starting point of the annual pilgrimage to the holy cave of Amarnath.
The sparkling waters of river Lidder attracts many tourists. There are lots of picnic spots around this river. Also it has a number of hiking and trekking trails near it. Since the resort is set between the valleys, one can enjoy a lot by hiring a pony for sightseeing rather than walking (Ponies are available for hire at prominent locations). One can have a panoramic view of the Himalayan ranges with lush green vegetation in the valleys and snow-capped peaks.
Baisaran is an extremely beautiful, huge, undulating meadow surrounded by thick pine forests.
It is an idyllic picnic spot, located on the way to Chandanwari, which is a wonderful location for film shooting. Once can spot lots of tiny villages around this place.
Mamal’s Shiva Temple:
Pahalgam also has Kashmir’s oldest Shiva temple. This temple belongs to the 5th century and is located in a tiny village called Mamal.
Pahalgam also attracts many adventure loving tourists towards it. One can enjoy an exhilarating trekking through virgin pine forest, clear streams and lush green meadows with wild flowers. Travelers interested in fishing (One has to obtain the fishing license from the Directorate of Fisheries in Srinagar) can enjoy the rainbow trout angling along stretches of Lidder river. Golf lovers can also enjoy playing golf in a 9-hole golf course situated here. The tourism office provides golf sets.
Pahalgam is the one and only saffron growing part of Asia. In the month of November travelers can enjoy seeing full blooms of saffron. The other vegetation here includes pine trees, interesting range of wild flowers etc. Travelers can purchase saffron and wool products like Gabbas and Namdas in Pahalgam.
As Pahalgam is the starting point for the annual pilgrimage called Amarnath Yatra, tourists can witness thousands of pilgrims descend on Pahalgam to go and worship the natural Shivling formed by ice stalagmite in a holy cave higher up. This pilgrimage takes place every year during the period called Sawan ie., from July to August. Pilgrims will enjoy the flat terrain till Chandanwari, after which the track is steeper and is accessible only by pony.
The mountain lake Sheshnag is 11km from here. 13km further one reaches Panchtarni. From here, Amarnath holy cave is only 3 km away.
The airport nearest to Pahalgam is in Srinagar, which is at 84 km from here. It is also easily accessible by road from Srinagar. Buses or taxis are available. (Travel time is two hours). Guided ponies and horses can be hired to explore the valley.