Located 95 km from Srinagar at a height of 7200 ft,
Pahalgam, known as the 'Valley of Shepherds', is a
famous hill station in Jammu and Kashmir where many
films have been shot. Standing at the confluence of Lidder river and the Sheshnag lake, Pahalgam is
surrounded by thickly wooded pine forests, breathtaking
vistas of meadows and the snow-clad Himalayan mountains.
Serving as the base camp during the Amarnath Yatra, the Pahalgam-Chandanwati-Amarnath route is preferred by tourists trying to reach the mountain cave of Lord Shiva. The town also holds an amazing two-day long Snow Festival that showcases winter sports like skiing, snow-sledging and many more which tourists can participate in. Other activities that tourists can indulge in are golf, trekking and angling.
Apart from being a pilgrimage site, Pahalgam is also a treat for adventure junkies and is the starting point for several treks. However, the highlight of the activities available for tourists is the white water rafting facility winding down the Lidder River through the forests and down the rapids.
While shopping in Pahalgam, remember that there are only three banks with ATM machines and hawkers will ask for five times the rate of the product, so don't forget to bargain. However, the Kashmiri shawls, carpets and clothing with chain-stitch embroidery are beautiful and a must buy.
Popular treks from Pahalgam are to the Kolohao Glacier Via Aru, Satlanjan and Dudsar Lake, and to the high altitude lakes, that dot the meadowland and mountain ridges between Pahalgam and Sonmarg.
Cottages in a tourist village, a full fledged club and a large number hotels have come up this beautiful resort pilgrimage to a cave of an 'ice-lingam'.
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 make 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.
Apart from adventures, Pahalgam is the starting point of the annual Amarnath yatra (holy journey) to the holy cave shrine of Amarnath, which is said to be the abode of Lord Shiva. Every year in the month of July/August, thousands of pilgrims descend on Pahalgam on their way to the holy cave .