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Pahalgam Diaries: Unveiling Captivating Moments in the Heart of the Valley

Nestled in the breathtakingly beautiful region of Kashmir, Pahalgam is a place that seems like it was plucked right out of a dream. With its lush green meadows, pristine rivers, and majestic mountains, Pahalgam has earned its reputation as the “Valley of Shepherds” and continues to captivate the hearts of travelers from around the globe. Pahalgam Diaries: Captivating Moments in the Heart of the Valley

Most tourists going to Kashmir today spend more time in Srinagar, and from there, they take a one- or two-day trip to Sonmarg and Gulmarg before returning to Srinagar. On the other hand, there is also a section of tourists who consider a trip to Kashmir incomplete without spending two or three days in Pahalgam. In this article, we invite you to embark on a journey through Pahalgam as we explore the enchanting moments that make this destination a true gem in the crown of the Himalayas.

Pahalgam’s Resilience: From Turmoil to Tourist RevivalPahalgam Diaries: Captivating Moments in the Heart of the Valley

In the 1970s and 1980s, Pahalgam in Kashmir was the first favorite destination for newlyweds. There used to be a lot of couples staying here during the wedding period, but after 1989, the situation suddenly changed. Kashmir became unsafe for tourism after Pakistani dictator Zia-ul-Haq started terrorist activities in Kashmir. Pahalgam, once bustling with tourists, fell into a financial crisis. People who depended on tourists began to struggle to make a living. This did not change significantly for twenty years, but after 2002, as the tense atmosphere of Kashmir became a little lighter, the influx of tourists started. In the very next year, 5,90,127 tourists arrived in Pahalgam. In 2004, 8,13,777 people came to visit Pahalgam; the following year, a total of 11,05,669 enthusiasts visited Pahalgam. The beautiful Pahalgam, which had lain dormant for twenty years, became alive again.

Pahalgam: Nature’s Masterpiece in the Heart of KashmirPahalgam Diaries: Captivating Moments in the Heart of the Valley

The beauty of Kashmir lies in the Himalayan mountains, in the green carpeted plains, in the forests of chid, deodar, and banyan trees, in the gushing springs, and in the beautiful banks of rivers formed by melting mountain snow. Pahalgam has a beautiful blend of all these forms of nature. Pahalgam, 2,740 meters (8.90 feet) above sea level, was inhabited years ago by pastoralists. In the local language of Kashmir, Pahal means shepherd; hence, the name Pahalgam means village of shepherds. Even today, if you go for a walk in that village and in the green surroundings, shepherds with flocks of sheep are often seen, surrounded by mountains. This beauty is as picturesque.

The Enchanting Journey from Srinagar to Pahalgam: Apples and Saffron Fields Await

Pahalgam Diaries: Captivating Moments in the Heart of the Valley

The journey from Srinagar to Pahalgam, which is 90 km away, takes two hours, and one can enjoy the natural beauty all along the way. Apple orchards are also seen on the way. One can go inside and taste fresh apples plucked from the tree with the permission of the owner of the orchard. In Kashmir, there is a variety of apple called ‘Delicious‘, which contains so much sweet juice that the pulp bursts out as soon as you bite into it. Another experience to be had on the Srinagar-Pahalgam journey is a visit to the saffron fields at Pampore village. Kashmir is considered to be the best saffron producer in the world, and Pampore is the main center of saffron cultivation. Visit a farm here, see the saffron plants up close, understand the process of extracting the saffron threads from the flowers, and taste the saffron-infused Kashmiri coffee. Original saffron can also be purchased.

Discovering the Unspoiled Beauty

Exploring Aru Valley: Nature’s Hidden Paradise

Pahalgam Diaries: Captivating Moments in the Heart of the Valley

Aru Valley, often referred to as a hidden paradise, is a pristine gem concealed within the heart of Pahalgam. As you traverse through the lush green meadows, you’ll be greeted by the melodious symphony of birdsong and the gentle murmur of the Lidder River. The towering pine trees provide a natural canopy, creating a serene environment that seems untouched by time.


Ancient Temples: Avanti Swami and Martand Sun Temple on the Path to Pahalgam

Martand Sun Temple Central shrine 6133772365

Proceeding from Pampore, the ancient Hindu temple of Avanti Swami is found at Avantipur village. It was built by King Avantivarman during the 9th century. Today, there are remains of the temple. However, the high platform made of stones, the pillars, and the (fragmented) sculpture carvings are worth seeing.

Martand Sun Temple is also worth visiting on the way to Anantnag from here. Martand means sun in the Sanskrit language. This temple was built between the 7th and 8th centuries by King Lalitaditya of the Karkot dynasty. Beautiful sculptures of gods and goddesses are carved on the walls of the temple. The 220-foot-long and 142-foot-wide compound, made up of artistic walls had a total of 84 small and big temples. The famous ‘Tere Bina Zindagi Se Koi Shikwa….’ song from the Sanjeev Kumar and Suchitra Sen starer ‘Andhi‘ was filmed in the premises of the Martand temple.Pahalgam Diaries: Captivating Moments in the Heart of the Valley

During the reign of Sultan Sikandar Butshikan, the Hindus of Anantnag were forced to convert to Islam, and the Martand temple was destroyed. Today, the remains of a fragmented temple can be seen throughout the complex, from which one can gauge the magnificence of the architectural masterpiece. Pahalgam can be reached in about an hour from Martand Temple.

Lidder River: A Serene OasisPahalgam Diaries: Captivating Moments in the Heart of the Valley

Lidder River, meandering gracefully through Pahalgam, is a sight to behold. Its crystal-clear waters reflect the surrounding snow-capped peaks, creating a mesmerizing contrast of blue and white. Take a leisurely stroll along the riverbanks or indulge in a thrilling session of white-water rafting for an unforgettable experience.


Gateway to the Enchanting Beauty of Lidar River and Mount Kolahoi

Pahalgam Diaries: Captivating Moments in the Heart of the Valley

If Kashmir is called heaven on earth, then Pahalgam is one of the most enchanting places in that heaven. On entering here, the Liddar (or Lidar) river is seen as a welcome sight. The Sanskrit name of Lidar is Lambodari. The river originates from the Kolahoi Glacier and, after a journey of about 73 km, merges into the Jhelum River. To the north of Pahalgam lies a peak of about 18,000 feet called Mount Kolahoi in the Himalayan mountains. It is the birthplace of the Glasier Lidar River, formed by an ice sheet. If you want to see this glacier, you have to trek on foot with a local guide or on a mule. The trek is a bit bumpy but full of natural beauty. After reaching the glacier, one cannot get enough of observing the beauty of the Himalayan mountains all around.

Pahalgam Diaries: Captivating Moments in the Heart of the Valley

Sparsely populated, Pahalgam is a small village overall, so a good option is to venture out on foot to enjoy its beauty. Take a walk in any direction you like, sit on the banks of a liddar and listen to the music of pure water, go to a plain and chat with the shepherds, stretch under the shade of a tree, etc. are all true methods of enjoying Pahalgam.

Pahalgam’s Rich Cultural Heritage

Betaab Valley: A Bollywood Love Story

Betaab Valley, named after the Bollywood movie “Betaab,” has a captivating love story of its own to tell. Surrounded by lush greenery and embraced by the Pir Panjal range, this valley has been featured in numerous Indian films. It’s the perfect spot for a romantic picnic or a peaceful walk amid nature’s splendor.Pahalgam Diaries: Captivating Moments in the Heart of the Valley

Between Pahalgam and Chandanwadi, the valley called Betaab Valley looks like a picture postcard. The original name of this valley is Hegan Valley, but since the shooting of the 1980s film Betaab, it has been known as Beta Valley. The trees and green fields in both valleys are wonderful. Therefore, instead of going for half an hour just for sightseeing, you should stay a little longer and go for a walk. Aru Valley is the starting point of many treks. Enjoy the natural beauty of Kashmir by trekking through uncultivated terrain with the right information and accompanied by a knowledgeable guide. There is also a village called Aru near the Aru Valley, where the locals welcome tourists to experience their lifestyle and hospitality.

Mamleshwar Temple:

Pahalgam Diaries: Captivating Moments in the Heart of the Valley

This ancient temple, located on the banks of the Liddar River, is dedicated to Lord Shiva. A Shivalinga has been installed in the sanctum of the temple. According to a mythological legend, Goddess Parvati kept her son Ganesha standing here as a gatekeeper. It was instructed not to allow anyone to enter without permission. Following this instruction, Ganesha stopped Lord Shiva from entering, so Lord  Shiva beheaded the child Ganesha in anger.

On the request of Godess Parvati, Lord Shiva resurrected Ganesha and gave him the head of an elephant. A temple was built at the place where the whole incident is said to have taken place and was named Mamal or Mamleshwar.

Baisaran Hill:Pahalgam Diaries: Captivating Moments in the Heart of the Valley

These hills are almost 6 km from Pahalgam. It can be reached by riding a mule. The lush green hills, vast meadows, and tall snow-capped mountains all around make one feel like they are in Switzerland rather than India. This is why the Baisaran Hills are called mini-Switzerland. From here, one can enjoy a wonderful view of Lidder Valley. This place is also ideal for hiking and camping.

Tulian Lake:Pahalgam Diaries: Captivating Moments in the Heart of the Valley

Located on the way to Baisaran Hills, this lake has clear blue water. Being 12,000 feet above sea level, standing there offers a beautiful view of the Pir Panjal and Zanskar ranges of the Himalayas. One has to either hire a mule or trek to reach Tullian Lake.


Pahalgam Diaries: Captivating Moments in the Heart of the Valley

This place is the base camp of the Amarnath Yatra. Millions of devotees come to Chandanwadi for the Amarnath Yatra in the months of July and August. The Amarnath Caves are located at an altitude of 3,888 meters (12,756 feet). Lord Shiva explained to Parvati the importance of salvation and immortality. Lord Shiva released his bull Nandi before reaching here. Over time, the place came to be known as ‘Belgam’ or ‘Belgav’, which is today’s Pahalgam. People who are not going for the Amarnath Yatra also come to Chandanwadi to enjoy the natural beauty and snow. Snow boots and warm jackets are available for rent here.

Sheshnag Lake: Myth and Legend

Pahalgam Diaries: Captivating Moments in the Heart of the Valley

Sheshnag Lake, nestled at an altitude of 3590 meters, is shrouded in myth and legend. It is believed to be the abode of Sheshnag, the mythological serpent king. According to legend, Sheshnag made this lake his home. Many devotees believe that the Sheshnag resides in this lake even today.The emerald waters of this high-altitude lake are a sight to behold, and the surrounding snow-clad peaks add to its ethereal charm. Twenty kilometers away from Pahalgam, Sheshnag Lake is a holy place for Hindus. The devotees proceed only by visiting this lake, as this lake is located on the way to Amarnath. The lush green plains surrounding the lake, the towering mountains, and their reflections forming the greenish brown back are a sight to behold.

Thrilling Adventures in Pahalgam

Golfing in the Lap of NaturePahalgam Diaries: Captivating Moments in the Heart of the Valley

Pahalgam boasts one of the most scenic golf courses in the world. Surrounded by lush greenery and framed by towering mountains, this 18-hole golf course offers a unique golfing experience that’s as much about the views as it is about the game.

Adventure Awaits in Pahalgam: Trekking, Skiing, Rafting, and More!

Pahalgam Diaries: Captivating Moments in the Heart of the Valley

Pahalgam is an ideal place for adventure sports enthusiasts. There are many options for activities like trekking, winter skiing, camping, rafting, golf, and horseback riding. Many adventurers come to enjoy rafting in the Lidder River in the summer. One of the highest golf courses is situated here. Golf lovers can enjoy the proximity of the hills, while those not interested in golf can enjoy the natural scenery. ‘Silsila‘, ‘Kashmir Ki Kali‘, ‘Betab’, ‘Khamosh‘, ‘Highway‘, ‘Rockstar‘, the natural beauty of Pahalgan have been shown on the screen. One has to go and stay for two to four days to enjoy the nature of Kashmir.

Trekking and Camping: A Tryst with the Wild

For adventure enthusiasts, Pahalgam offers a plethora of trekking and camping opportunities. Whether you’re a seasoned trekker or a novice camper, the trails and camping sites here cater to all levels of expertise. The Aru Valley and Lidder River areas are particularly popular for such activities.

Pahalgam: A Culinary Odyssey

Savoring Kashmiri Cuisine

No visit to Pahalgam is complete without indulging in the exquisite flavors of Kashmiri cuisine. Sample dishes like Rogan Josh, Gushtaba, and the delectable Wazwan, which are sure to tantalize your taste buds. Many local restaurants offer authentic Kashmiri dishes that allow you to savor the essence of the region.

Some Delicious Dishes of Kashmir

A visit to Pahalgam is incomplete without enjoying Kashmiri food. Kashmiri cuisine is quite unique, rich, varied, and delicious. Curd, fennel seeds, cardamom, clove, and mustard oil are heavily used in Kashmiri dishes. As the main diet of the people here is rice and mutton (lamb), there is a wide variety of Biryani and Pulao, and non-vegetarian dishes. Vegetarian food is also easily available. Let’s learn about some Kashmiri dishes worth enjoying.

Kahva:Pahalgam Diaries: Captivating Moments in the Heart of the Valley

This drink is a specialty of Kashmir. It is actually green herbal tea infused with saffron, spices, and dry fruits. Sugar, or honey, is added for sweetness. In Kashmir, kahwa is made in different varieties. Milk is also added to some types of kahvas.

Sheer/Noon Chai:Pahalgam Diaries: Captivating Moments in the Heart of the Valley

Noon means salt in the local language. Tea leaves, water, milk, salt, a pinch of baking soda, and almonds and pistachios are used in this special type of tea. As the color of tea is pink, it may not look like tea at first glance. The taste is also different from traditional tea, as it is salty.

Kashmiri Dum Aloo:Pahalgam Diaries: Captivating Moments in the Heart of the Valley

This dish originated from the traditional Kashmiri Pandit cuisine. Small potatoes are parboiled and fried, then mixed with curd, ginger paste, fennel, and various spiced gravies.

Kashmiri Rajma:Pahalgam Diaries: Captivating Moments in the Heart of the Valley

Rajma (kidney beans) is widely used in North India. However, Kashmiri Rajmas are smaller in size, and their color is dark crimson. This dish, cooked in tomato gravy, is a must-try here.

Kashmiri Naan and Kulcha:Pahalgam Diaries: Captivating Moments in the Heart of the Valley

This naan is quite different from the butter and Cheese naans available normally. Cashew nuts, raisins, coconut, honey are made into a paste inside Nanan. When the naan is ready, additional ‘decoration’ is done by adding cashews, raisins, coconut on it. Kulcha is made from a mixture of wheat flour and white flour. After roasting in the tandoor oven, the layer becomes very crispy and delicious. This dish is eaten by Kashmiris for breakfast with Kahva or Sheer tea.


Modhur Pulao:Pahalgam Diaries: Captivating Moments in the Heart of the Valley

This pulao is made with basmati rice, milk, saffron, sugar, ghee, and cinnamon. Dry fruits are sprinkled on the dish as it is ready. Modur pulao is full of flavor, and the aroma of saffron makes the pulao irresistible after smelling it.


Pahalgam Diaries: Captivating Moments in the Heart of the Valley

This Kashmiri dessert is made by mixing dry fruits, paneer sauteed in ghee, pepper, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and saffron in sugar syrup. Shufta is mostly used in winter.

According to Kashmiri Muslim tradition, wazwan is a full-course meal, with almost all dishes being non-vegetarian. Non-veg dishes like Rogan Josh, Goshtba, Yakhni, and Lamb Biryani are famous. There are many lakes around the Kashmir Valley, in which lotuses grow in abundance. Lotus root is used in different ways in food.

The Timeless Charm of PahalgamPahalgam Diaries: Captivating Moments in the Heart of the Valley

Pahalgam is not just a destination; it’s an experience that leaves an indelible mark on your soul. Its timeless charm, coupled with the warmth of its people, makes it a place you’ll want to revisit time and again. Whether you’re seeking adventure, tranquility, or simply a break from the mundane, Pahalgam offers it all in abundance.

Here are some key points to keep in mind while visiting Pahalgam:

When visiting Pahalgam, there are several important points to consider to ensure you have a memorable and enjoyable trip. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

Weather and season:Pahalgam Diaries: Captivating Moments in the Heart of the Valley

Pahalgam experiences different seasons, with summer (May to September) being the most popular time for tourists due to the pleasant weather. However, if you’re interested in winter sports like skiing, December to February are ideal.

Ideal Time to Visit:

The best time to visit Pahalgam is from March to October. There is a rush of devotees for the Amarnath Yatra in July–August. From December to March, Pahalgam gets a blanket of snow, so many adventurers visit Pahalgam for winter sports and trekking during this period.


Pahalgam offers a range of accommodation options, from luxury hotels to budget guesthouses and cottages. It’s advisable to book your accommodation in advance, especially during the peak tourist season.

Local Culture and Customs:

Kashmiri culture is rich and unique. It’s important to respect local customs and traditions. Dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites, and ask for permission before taking photos of locals.


The nearest airport from Pahalgam is Srinagar which is 90 km away, while the nearest railway station is Jammu which is 285 km away. Taxis, state transport and private buses are available for Pahalgam from Srinagar and Jammu. Roads to Pahalgam by Motorway are good.

Travel Permits:Pahalgam Diaries: Captivating Moments in the Heart of the Valley

Depending on your nationality and the current political situation, you may need special permits to visit Pahalgam and other areas in Kashmir. Check with the local authorities or your travel agency for the latest information.


Pahalgam is well-connected by road from Srinagar, which has the nearest airport. You can also reach Pahalgam from Jammu by road. Ensure your transportation arrangements are made in advance.


Pahalgam has a range of luxury to mid-range and budget hotel options offering comfortable amenities along the banks of the Lidar River. Apart from this there are tourist bungalows run by the government. Here are the details:

Health Precautions:

Carry essential medications and a basic first-aid kit. Altitude sickness can be a concern if you’re traveling to high-altitude areas, so acclimatize gradually and stay hydrated.

Pack Accordingly:

Depending on the season, pack appropriate clothing. In summer, lightweight and breathable clothing is recommended, while in winter, warm layers and winter gear are essential.

Local Cuisine:

Don’t miss out on trying Kashmiri cuisine. Sample local dishes like Rogan Josh, Dum Aloo, and Kashmiri Pulao at local restaurants and Dhabas.

Adventure Activities:

If you plan to engage in adventure activities like trekking, camping, or white-water rafting, ensure you have the necessary gear and are accompanied by experienced guides.

Respect Nature:

Pahalgam’s natural beauty is its most precious asset. Dispose of your trash responsibly, avoid using single-use plastics, and follow eco-friendly practices to protect the environment.

Cash and ATMs:

While there are ATMs in Pahalgam, it’s a good idea to carry some cash with you, as remote areas may have limited banking facilities.


Kashmir has experienced occasional political unrest. Stay informed about the current situation and follow any advisories issued by local authorities and your embassy.

Local Markets:

Explore the local markets in Pahalgam to buy handicrafts, traditional clothing, and souvenirs. Bargaining is common in markets, so be prepared to negotiate prices. Pahalgam bazaar offers great woolen warmers. Apart from this, pashmina shawls, handicrafts and handwoven carpets are appreciated.

Mobile Connectivity:

While mobile networks operate in Pahalgam, connectivity may vary in some remote areas. It’s a good idea to inform someone about your itinerary and check in periodically.

Enjoy the Scenic Beauty:

Finally, remember to relax and savor the breathtaking scenery. Pahalgam is a place to unwind, connect with nature, and relish the tranquility of the Himalayan region.

By keeping these points in mind, you can have a safe and enjoyable visit to Pahalgam, creating lasting memories of this enchanting destination.


So, the next time you plan a getaway to the Himalayas, consider Pahalgam as your destination of choice. Immerse yourself in the captivating moments, the natural beauty, and the rich cultural heritage of this remarkable place. Pahalgam is more than just a destination; it’s a journey into the heart of the Valley.

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Hey, fellow explorers! I'm the mind and heart behind "Voyage Vista." I started this travel blog to share the incredible stories of my journeys. "Voyage Vista" is your ticket to diverse cultures and landscapes, offering a glimpse into my adventures through storytelling and visuals. More than just a blog, it's a platform that advocates for responsible travel and community engagement. Exciting collaborations with travel brands and features in magazines have turned "Voyage Vista" into a dynamic online community. Join me at for a quick getaway and some inspiration for your next adventure!

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