Pahalgam - The Village of Shepherds    !

Kashmir valley came into existence during the post Geo-synclinal stage of the development of the Himalayas and lies between the two main Himalayan ranges; the Pir Panchal and the Zanskar. It is roughly 135 km long and 40 km wide and was initially an intra-mountain basin covered by ice cover of glacier epochs. Due to endogenic and exogenic forces, Kashmir's water got drained leading to basins in the shape of Dal, Wular, Manasbal, Nageen and Anchar etc. Archeological evidence shows first Kashmiri (Neolithic Man) appeared around 2700 BC ago at Burzhama (Dal Lake) and at Bomai (Wular Lake) besides at Pahalgam (pit-civilization). Palaeo-climatic study reveals that the level of pollutants was almost negligible as it is seen today. Dal and Wular and all other water bodies witnessed pollution right from 5000 years ago as man's entire need of living was satisfied by the fresh and clean water from drinking, washing, agriculture to food and fish.

It is a popular tourist destination, and every year, many tourists visit Pahalgam. This world famous hill station is 45 km. from the District Head Quarter at Anantnag and located on the banks of river Lidder at an altitude of 7200 ft. from sea level. Pahalgam is one among the five tehsils of Anantnag district and tehsil head quarters are located in the main town of Pahalgam.

Besides tourist huts, several hotels in private sector have come up here and these hotels provide modern facilities to their guests. A number of treks in this region also begin from Pahalgam, as the 35 km trail traverses through pinewoods to the spectacular Kolahoi Glacier.

Pahalgam is also associated with the annual Amarnath Yatra. Chandanwari (2,895 m), 16 km 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 km from Chandanwari is the mountain lake of Sheshnag (3,574 m), after which, 13 km away is the last stop, Panchtarni. The Amarnath cave is 6 km away from there. During the month of Sawan, an ice stalagmite forms a natural Shivling in the Amarnath cave.


Tourist Attractions in Pahalgam

Situated at 2,895 m and 16 km (10 miles) from Pahalgam, is the starting point of the Amamath yatra. The road from Pahalgam to Chandanwari is curvy, sometimes a relatively flat terrain, with quite a few steep curves. It can be undertaken by car (not busses and trucks for most part) with some skilled driving. From Chandanwari onwards the track becomes much steeper, being accessible on foot or by pony only. 11 km from Chandanwari is the mountain lake of Sheshnag, after which, 13 km away is the last stop, Panchtarni. A narrow spiralling path from Panchtarni leads to the Amarnath Cave.

Pine forests dot this meadow which presents a picturesque view of the snow-clad mountains. The snow covered Tulian lake at an altitude of 3353 m is 11kms from Baisaran.

Sheshnag Lake
The waters of this greenish blue lake are covered with ice till June. Sheshnag lies at a distance of 13 km from Chandanwari and is at 11,330 ft above sea level. The place has derived its name from seven peaks that look like the head of Sheshnag, the sacred snake in the Hindu mythology.

It is the confluence of five streams and gives Panchtarni its name. For those headed towards the holy cave of Amarnath, Panchtarni is the last camping site. From Panchtarni, Amarnath is located at a distance of 6 km.

Amarnath Cave
Pahalgam is the base for the religious trek to the abode of Lord Shiva. A narrow spiralling path from Panchtarni leads to the Amarnath Cave. The massive ice shivlingam is visited by thousands of pilgrims between July and September.

This charming meadow can be reached by walking along a mountain path. The river Lidder disappears at Gur Khumb and reappears after 27 mts.

A beautiful camping site set among dense forests. Starting point of the trek to the Sindh Valley.

Activities in Pahalgam

Pahalgam has lots of recreational activities especially trekking adventures. It offers wonderful treks, skiing, mountaineering and camping sites. Trekking can be undertaken to Kolahoi Glacier which is very beautiful via Aru village. Sledging at the frozen Glaciers is also offered by locals. You can take long walks in the jungles and explore rich flora and fauna. Pahalgam is the main base camp to Amarnath Cave. Alpine Skiing is also available at high altitudes. A Popular trek from Sonamarg to Pahalgam and trek to Chandanwari and Sheshnag lake can also be undertaken. The Liddar River is popular among travelers interested in angling. Stretches of this river are suitable for trout fishing. Pahalgam has a golf course at 2400 meters above the sea level. Camping equipment, ponies and skiing equipment is readily available.

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