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Pahalgham

" The Valley of Shepherds" Situated at the confluence of the streams flowing from Sheshnag Lake and the Lidder river, Pahalgham (2,130 m) was once a humble shepherd's village with breathtaking views. Now it is Kashmir's premier resort, cool even during the height of summer when the maximum temperature does not exceed 25 deg C. A number of hotels and lodges cater to all preferences and budgets, from luxurious hotels to unpretentious trekkers' lodges, including J&K TDC huts.

Pahalgham
Pahalgham
Pahalgham
View of Pahalgham

Around Pahalgham are many places of interest, and because the resort is set between fairly steep hills, it is worth hiring a pony rather than walking. Pony fares are posted at prominent locations.

Amarnathji Yatra - a journey into faith

Every Year Shri Amarnathji Yatra will commence from both the routes, of Pahalgam and Baltal. The Antm Darshan will held on Raksha Bhandhan. Lord Shiva is known to have made his home in the Himalayas. He built no house nor shelter, not for himself or his bride. He was an ascetic, and yet married; he could be both for "he was the wild god sporting in the forest or taking his ease on a cloud."

Legend has it that Shiva recounted to Parvati the secret of creation in the Amarnathji cave. Unknown to them, a pair of mating pigeons eavesdropped on this conversation and having learned the secret, are reborn again and again, and have made the cave their eternal abode. Many pilgrims report seeing the pigeons-pair when they trek the arduous route to pay obeisance before the ice-lingam (the phallic symbol of Shiva).

Amarnath Yatra
A View of Amarnath Yatra in Pahalgham
Pahalgham
Amarnath Yatra

Situated in a narrow gorge at the farther end of Lidder valley, Amarnathji stands at 3,888 m and is 45 km from Pahalgam and 141 km from Srinagar. Though the original pilgrimage subscribes that the yatra be undertaken from Srinagar, the more common practice is to begin the journey from Pahalgam, and cover the distance to Amarnathji and back in four or five days. Pahalgam is 96 km from Srinagar.

Chandanwari (2,895 m), 16 kms from Pahalgam, is the starting point of the yatra that takes place every year in the month of Sawan (July to August). The road from Pahalgam to Chandanwari is on fairly flat terrain and can be undertaken by car. From Chandanwari onwards the track becomes much steeper, and is accessible on foot or by pony. About 11 kms from Chandanwari is the mountain lake of Sheshnag (3,574 m), after which, 13 kms away is the last stop, Panchtarni. The Amarnath cave is 6 kms away from there. During the month of Sawan, an ice stalagmite forms a natural shivling in the Amarnath cave, which waxes and wanes with the moon.

Since the base point for the pilgrim's trek is picturesque Pahalgam, a large tented township springs up to accommodate the pilgrims. The conduct of the yatra is a gigantic task in which the State Government takes the assistance of the security departments for providing security and helping to keep the route open. All intermediate halting places have the same kind of facilities as are provided at Pahalgam, and a Yatra Officer is appointed to conduct the pilgrimage.

What To Do

Horse Riding Ponies can be hired directly or through the Tourist Office. Tariff boards are displayed at all important locations.

Golf

Pahalgham has a 18-hole Golf Course, which is presently under upgradation and is expected to be playable by the middle of 2010.

Fishing

The LidderRiver has excellent fishing beats for brown trout. The fishing season stretches from April to September. Permits are issued, for a maximum of three days at a time, on a first-come - first-served basis and are charged on a per day per rod basis. Fishing equipment can be hired in Srinagar. Live baits and spinning are not allowed. For permits contact the Directorate of Fisheries, Tourist Reception Centre, Srinagar.

Trekking

The environs of Pahalgham offer exciting trekking opportunities, the best known being: Pahalgham - Chandanwari- Sheshnag- Panchtarni- Amarnath Cave Temple- Sonamarg. Equipment is available on hire from Tourism Department ; besides Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering also facilitates the Trekkers.

Other Facilities


Clubs

Pahalgham Club, managed by J&K Tourism Development Corpn, is being rebuilt and will have a restaurant, auditorium, health club, open food court, amphitheater and other facilities.

Tourist Information

The J&K Govt. Tourist Office is located at the head of the main bazaar, where the tourist coaches stop. Tourists are urged to visit the office for all kinds of information and assistance, and for the latest information on trekking, hiking and other recreational activities in Pahalgam. They should make it a point to enquire from the Tourist Office whether one should proceed on a particular trek or not.

The most beautiful of these is the huge, undulating meadow of Baisaran, surrounded by thickly wooded forests of pine. Hajan, on the way to Chandanwari, is an idyllic spot for a picnic. Filmgoers will recognize it instantly as it has been the location of several movie scenes.Pahalgam has within it no fewer than eight tiny villages, one of which is Mamal. There is a Shiva temple here, generally considered to be Kashmir's oldest existing temple, dating to the 7th century.Betab Valley of Pahalgam is known for film "Betab" which was film picturised there