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 (SBI, HDFC and J&K) 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.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN PAHALGAM
Pahalgam has luxury, budget and mid-range hotels. However, the JKTDC huts offer the best views of the region. The huts also provide ponies for transportation, though they have been restricted from entry into the premises, they wait at the gate.
However, during the months of March-November most hotels are booked on account of pleasant weather. During Amarnath Yatra almost all budget hotels remain booked.
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN PAHALGAM
While most restaurants serve vegetarian food during the Amarnath yatra, the market area is filled with restaurants that serve delicious Mughlai delicacies during the rest of the year. All the hotels in Pahalgam have in-house restaurants that serve Indian and Continental cuisines but the fast food joints on the streets still serve the best meal.
The average minimum and maximum temperature of Pahalgam is as given below. The best time to visit Pahalgam is also specified.