Situated at a height of 7200 ft, Pahalgam stands at the confluence of Lidder River and Sheshnag lake. It is surrounded by thickly wooded pine forests. Breathtaking vistas of meadows, gently flowing Lidder River and snow-clad Himalayan mountains, makes Pahalgam a treat for the eyes. The scenic locales of Pahalgam are preferred locations for film shooting.
Besides its natural beauty, Pahalgam attracts large number of tourists because of its festivals. The two-day Snow Festival showcases winter sports. Skiing, snow-sledging and other winter sports are held during the festival. Pahalgam also serves as the base camp during Amaranth yatra. The Pahalgam-Chandanwari-Amarnath route is preferred by tourists to reach the mountain cave of Lord Shiva.
Pahalgam is popular with golfers. It is also popular with trekkers and anglers.
Permission from Jammu and Kashmir government is required for angling in Pahalgam. Directorate of Fisheries, Srinagar issues the permits which are valid for a maximum of three days.
For a long time, Pahalgam was inhabited by shepherds and hence, also known as ‘The Valley of Shepherds’.
Not much is known about the origin of Pahalgam. However, during the medieval period, the region was ruled by the Mughals. During the latter half of the 15th century Kashmir was ruled by Mirza Muhammad Haidar Dughlat on behalf of Emperor Humayun. It remained a part of the Mughal Empire for a long time. Later, it became part of the Kingdom of Kashmir.
Pahalgam remained a part of princely state of Kashmir till it merged with India in 1947.
Bollywood movie Betaab starring Sunny Deol and Amrita Singh was shot in Pahalgam. Rockstar which featured Ranbir Kapoor and Nargis Fakhri was also shot here.
Phirans (long woolen Kashmiri cloaks), Kashmiri shawls, carpets, clothing with unique Kashmiri embroidery along with other woolen products such as Namdas and Gabbas (Kashmiri handicraft) are popular tourist buys.
Where to stay
Accomodation in Pahalgam ranges from budget hotels, mid-range hotels to luxury hotels. Tourist Bungalows and JKTDC huts are other accommodation options. However, during the months of March-November most hotels are booked on account of pleasant weather. During Amaranth Yatra almost all budget hotels remain booked.
Where to eat
The market area has a lot of restaurants that serve Mughlai delicacies. Every hotel in Pahalgam has in-house restaurants. Indian and continental cuisines are available in these restaurants. One can also find many fast food joints in the streets of Pahalgam.
Most restaurants serve pure vegetarian food during Amaranth Yatra.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Pahalgam is between March and November. The weather remains pleasantly cool during the period. During winter, temperature touches sub-zero. However, some tourists prefer to visit the town even in winter. In addition to the snow, the Snow Festival is an added attraction.