Out of the numerous places in Kashmir, Pahalgam stands out as one that is a must see. With unimaginably beautiful vistas that look like a perfect painting, complete with the sparkling Lidder River, lush meadows, snow-capped mountains all around, Pahalgam will take your breath away with its beauty. Here are few places that you must visit in Pahalgam:
Named such after some scenes from the movie ‘Betaab’ were shot there, this valley is gorgeous with its manicured lawns, a crystal clear stream and the towering mountains in the background. It is easy to mistake this place for a Swiss alpine village. During winters the valley transforms as the white sheets of snow, the fiery orange tress in the background and the winter sky makes the valley divine. Betaab Valley is my personal favourite and I believe you should take out a day to stroll in the gardens, sit by the river and appreciate the beauty around.
Aru Valley is stunningly beautiful and is located about 15 kilometers from Pahalgam. In fact, drive from Pahalgam to Aru Valley itself is so full of scenic spots that it would be difficult for you to put down your cameras even for a minute. The spread of lush green meadows in the valley gives the feeling of being in an entirely different world. There are pony journeys available for exploring the valley & various picturesque points around it. Adventure lovers can entertain in zorbing, ziplining, powered paragliding and river-crossing.
Chandanwari holds significance both because it is the starting point for the holy Amarnath trek and also due to its gorgeous snow-covered vistas. It is the nearest place to visit in Pahalgam where you can spend time playing with fresh snow and enjoying the scenic beauty of the place. The picturesque drive is dotted with waterfalls and views of the mighty snow-capped mountains with the Lidder River meandering alongside. Chandanwari remains covered in snow from November to May which makes it ideal for sledging.
Pahalgam looks like a fairytale as is, but Tulian Lake is the hidden gem of the valley which needs to be explored. The lake lies around 16 km from city center amidst the Zanskar and Pir Panjal mountain ranges and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks. It remains frozen for most of the year and there is a short window when it displays the most gorgeous shades of blue. The contrast with the snowcapped peaks and green meadows is mesmerizing. It is an alluring trek with loads of nature – lush green meadows, forests of deodar touching the blue sky, water streams, amazing mountain range view throughout, and treacherous steep rocky ascent. You will see marmots roaming around freely and the horses galloping in the bright meadow. It can’t get better than this.
If you have few extra days, I highly reccomend Kolahoi Glacier trek. During this week long trek, you will cover a distance of 60kms to reach a height of approximately 5,423m. It is one of the largest glaciers across Kashmir and locals hold it in reverence with the name of “Goddess of Light” as major rivers such as Lidder and Jhelum derive water from it. They make the key water source for locals in Kashmir. This trek from the very beginning gets you smiling as it starts from the pretty Aru valley. Thereafter, it has you walking through forests, opening up to Himalayan valleys and high-altitude ponds. Eventually when you reach the glacier, its beauty is said to be capable of overwhelming you as you journey with snow-capped peaks that keep you company for a good amount of time.