At the confluence of the streams
flowing from the river Lidder and Sheshnag lake, Pahalgam was once a humble
shepherd's village with breathtaking views. Now it is Kashmir's premier resort,
cool even during the height of summer A number of hotels and lodges cater to all
preferences and budgets, from luxurious to unpretentious trekkers' lodges,
including JKTDC's delightfully romantic, fully furnished huts, partially
concealed by giant pine trees.
Around Pahalgam 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.
The most beautiful of these is the huge, undulating meadow of
surrounded by thickly wooded forests of pine. Hajan, on the way to Chandanwari
is an idyllic spot for a picnic. Film goers 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 8th
Chandanwari, 16 kms. from
Pahalgam, is the starting point of the Amarnath yatra
which takes place every year in the month of Sawan (July-August). The
destination is the Amaranth cave, believed to be the abode of lord Shiva.
Although 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, being accessible on foot or by pony. 11 kms. from Chandanwari is the
mountain lake of Sheshnag, after which, 13 kms. away is the last stop, Panthwari.
The Amarnath cave is 6 kms. away from there. During the month of Sawan, an ice
stalagmite forms a natural Shivling which waxes and wanes with the phases of the