Thursday, 17 April 2014



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         A two years posting in remote Sharifabad let us sneak around to some lovely places in the Kashmir region. Pahalgam, in the Anantnag district, was one such stolen trip. And twice over. For that matter, any drive around Jammu and Kashmir has been a show stopper as far as I am concerned. A drive along the National Highway 1A is a delight for the many scenic treats. There will be willow wood stacked in the sheds, left to be seasoned before being honed into cricket bats. Once you hit Pampore in the Anantnag district, vast stretches of ground kissing saffron fields will greet you. You could get off at any point on the road and take in the view, inhale the fresh air and just relax for a few minutes.

Approaching Pahalgam

      Around two hours journey by road from Srinagar, Pahalgam is another halt for pilgrims taking the Chandanwari route to the holy shrine of Amarnath, a more arduous trek compared to the route taken from Baltal in Sonamarg. Once you approach Pahalgam, you would sigh your way through the beauty of the place, with the Lidder river keeping you company. Make friends with the river for this is what will make your stay here worthwhile and be the perfect host. The river gushes and frolics along the road as if to welcoming you to your destination.

Gujjarwal And his Lamb At Baisaran

    You could trek up or take a pony ride to the Baisaran meadow, of dipping and rising landscape surrounded by the thick coniferous woods. People take pony rides around this vast meadow or just soak in the ambiance, that had probably seemed distant till then. We chose to sit and relax in Baisaran and make friends with a few Gujjarwals, the local herders. Some of them will offer to let you hold their lamb, for a price. They have a hard life,especially during the winters when the entire area is snowbound. Summer is the only time when they can make money from the tourists and the pilgrims.

    Our next stop was Betaab Valley just 15 kms away from Pahalgam, a picturesque expanse with the Lidder river flowing along forested banks. The water is crystal clear and chilly, shallow at many points for you to wade in. This is another good place to sit down for a picnic. Didn't I say that Lidder will be the perfect host?  Many of you may know that this place got it's name from the Sunny Deol- Amrita Singh hit movie 'Betaab'. Don't know about the movie but this place will surely stay in your mind for a long long time.
Betaab Valley
     In the evening, we strolled around the main road of this little town taking in the hustle and bustle of the busy tourist season. Couples, families, groups of friends out to find their share of togetherness in the lap of nature. River rafting on Lidder is a popular tourist activity as is angling for trouts. Then of course, there are the inevitable Kashmir handicraft kiosks luring the tourists with saffron to shawls.

   Next day, we decided our place of relaxation to be Aru, 12 kms uphill. But our first stop was the centuries old Mamleshwara temple. The very entry to this little temple has an exotic feel with the climbing rose arching over the gate. Once you step inside, Mamleshwar stands before you, built of stones with a little porch supported by two pillars. A spring is said to originate under the temple whose water is collected in a stone tank in front of the temple. I would recommend this place as a little surprise or a visual  treat for the traveller.
Mamaleshwara Temple

     Aru is also the base camp for trekkers to the Kolhoi glacier, the biggest in the Kashmir valley. On our drive up, another pleasant climb, we came across little cottages and the gujjarwal huts by the river Aru, which is a tributary of Lidder. In the winters, Aru is frequented for skiing as well as heliskiing. With view of surrounding snow capped peaks, dense forest sloping down and  lush meadows, it is a place where one can connect with the inner self, happy to be with their thoughts.



    Pahalgam is perfect for a holiday if you are the nature loving kind. You could never get tired of all that it has to offer. And when it is time to leave, the Lidder will show you the way out, happy to host you again. I will leave you for now with this mosque nestled in the mountain which we came across on our way back.


This post was written for the A to Z Challenge.


  1. lovely pics.....Kashmir has been in my list of places to visit since long ...somehow it never worked out ...

  2. So serene nice and well described.It bought back my memories from Kashmir :)

  3. Beautiful post Ilakshi... I am a fan of your writing :)

  4. Nice pictures. I have it due this year. Btw, I would suggest to post the pictures in a little format. This will look really nice.

  5. Pahalgam looks so beautiful. It would be wonderful to take a horse ride through those meadows.

  6. TTT, you must try to accommodate this place. You will not regret it.

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  8. Going through my old snaps makes me want to go back again :), Ankita

  9. Shweta, it's been a long time! Where have you hibernated? And thanks :)

  10. avik, thank you stopping by. Hope you enjoy Pahalgam. Could you elaborate on the format?

  11. Niranjan, you will like everything about this place :)

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  13. lovely. You described the Jammu & Kashmir so wonderfully. Pahalgam hotels provide affordable accommodation with all the basic amenities. Check out Hotel Abshar Pahalgam, one of the best hotels in Pahalgam.


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