Best Time to Visit Pahalgam | When to go to Pahalgam

by Manu Mohan

There is really no perfect or exact answer to the question of the best time to visit Pahalgam or any place for that matter. Why? Because it will be different for each individual and depends on what kind of trip were they looking for. With that being said, there is a certain time of the year when every tourist destination receives the majority of its share of visitors and weather is usually the driving factor behind it. With that logic, the months of April, May, and June are mostly considered to be the best time to visit Pahalgam but will that time suit you as well? Read on to find out.

When is the Best time to visit Pahalgam?

It starts to snow in Pahalgam towards the end of December and continues well into March. So if you wanted to see snow then you would have to plan a trip during this time. Chances of catching a live snowfall are more in January but the snow on the ground is more in February. However, if cold weather bothers you then you must avoid visiting anytime before March end. If you just wanted to enjoy pleasant weather and sunny days, then anytime from April to June would be good enough. This is the peak tourist season and all tourist related activities and business too would be up and running. Keep in mind though that May and June is also the time when it gets a little crowded in Pahalgam. With vacations in school, a lot of families plan their trips at this time.

Amarnath Yatra starts in July and it is probably one of the worst times to be in Pahalgam because of two reasons. First one is that it is going too crowded with devotees in both July and August and secondly, it will also be the monsoon season which means a lot of rain. From a photographer’s point of view, visiting in April or September would be best because vistas are best in these months. November is overall a bad month because the scenery is very dull at this time. For a budget trip, visiting in August or November will be perfect. If you want to avoid the crowd, plan in either September or October.

When not to visit Pahalgam?

The time of Amarnath Yatra will definitely be the one as I explained above. The months of July and August when monsoon can wreak havoc would be another bad time. A trip in the weeks of 26th January and 15th August too can be problematic due to increased security in Srinagar and surrounding areas. Similarly, a trip in the weeks of Eid al-Fitr (Meethi Eid) or Eid al-Adha (Bakra Eid) may make it hard for you to find a hotel as the workers go on leaves to celebrate the festival. Visiting in the month of Ramzan too will leave you traveling through a sleepy valley everywhere as people fast and spend most of their time praying. Last but not least, keep an eye on the news and if there is any news of trouble in Kashmir, best postpone your plans for another time.

Let us take a look at these details in a little more details.

Best Time to Visit Pahalgam

Pahalgam

Have you ever imagined waking up hearing the symphony of the flowing river and galloping horse? You walk to the window and see the lush green pine trees and the snow capped mountains. It’s Pahalgam, a family destination in the beautiful state of Jammu and Kashmir. Pahalgam is a tiny town situated in the heart of Lidder valley, formed by the Lidder river. This small town is more like a family and honeymoon destination, where you can roam around the small town exploring the small markets, trying pony rides, relaxing at the club park and many more.

How to reach Pahalgam

Pahalgam is connected to Srinagar and Jammu by road. If you are coming from very far away location and have much less time to travel, you can reach Srinagar by Flight and from there it’s about a 2 to 3-hour journey. But I would say the best way is to travel by train to Jammu and from there take the road to Pahalgam via Anantnag. It takes 10 to 11 hours to reach Pahalgam from Jammu. It’s a long journey, but we know that the journey is not always about the destination. It’s about the experience. Private taxis are available from Srinagar Airport. From Jammu, you can opt for private taxis or shared taxis to Anantnag and Pahalgam.

Pahalgam by road
  • Buses are available from Delhi to Jammu
  • Private taxi or Shared taxi to Anantnag
  • Private Taxi or Sumo from Anantnag to Pahalgam
  • Bus from Jammu to Pahalgam can be time-consuming
Pahalgam by train
  • The nearest railway station is Jammu and is well connected with the rest of the country.
  • Private taxi or Shared taxi to Anantnag
  • Private Taxi or Sumo from Anantnag to Pahalgam
Pahalgam by flight
  • Nearest Airport is Srinagar
  • Private taxi to Pahalgam
Things to do in Pahalgam

Pahalgam is a very small town and you can cover it all just by walking. It is a little bit crowded during the peak tourist seasons but you can still explore the town all day and won’t get bored. You will get to hear the sound of the river a little far away. The small yet busy market offers humble and inexpensive things for your memories. If you get tired of exploring, you can sit and relax with your family and loved ones in the Club Park; or with a book as your companion if you were traveling alone; or just let your thoughts flow with the sound of the river. And there are Ponies everywhere. You can have a pony ride to the beautiful meadows nearby.

Aru valley, Chandanwadi and the exotic film location, Betaab valley are some of the wonders to see in Pahalgam. Roads to Aru Valley and Chandanwadi deviate from Pahalgam town and Betaab Valley lies on the way to Chandanwadi. There are nominal entry fees to enter Aru Valley and Betaab Valley. Chandanwadi is also famous as the starting point of Amarnath Yatra.

When to visit Pahalgam

Even though it is a small town, you could stay there for months and long for even more. Each day have something new to show you and every month have something to offer, be it the bone-chilling winter or the heart-warming summers or the cool monsoon, Pahalgam has something to offer in each season.

Also Read: Is Kashmir Safe for Tourists to Travel ?

Pahalgam in Winter

This picturesque town witness a considerable long and cold winter. The months of December, January and February are ideal for those who want to experience snow. Extreme cold winds and snowfalls await the visitors and the entire valley gets painted white. A hot Kashmiri Chaai in the morning and steaming hot breakfast from any small street stalls is an indelible experience.

Temperature lowers to sub-zero in peak winter months so make sure you are geared up for that. A pair of good quality trekking boots is highly recommended as roads can be slippery.  Average temperature ranges from 5 to -5 degrees C and makes it ideal for activities like skiing and other winter sports like Ice skating, sledding, snowboarding, and snowmobiling.

Pahalgam in Summer

Starting from March to late June, the mountain town offers pleasant weather and is considered to be the most favorable time to visit. Snow starts melting by late March and the trees start blooming; flavoring the air with the scent of freshness. This season witnesses the maximum inflow of visitors during the month of May and June. Average temperature ranges from 7 to 18 degree C.

Pahalgam in Monsoon

Pahalgam receives scanty rainfall, with maximum precipitation in the months of July and August leaving a pleasant and cool climate in September; which makes it ideal for travelers who want to experience the misty mountains and lush green landscape.  Monsoon leaves a pleasant scent of earth and cool; wet air cleanses the mind filling the body with a heavenly freshness. Average temperature ranges between 10 and 20 degrees C and most humid. However, in the months of July and August, it can sometimes rain enough to cause landslides and leave people stranded.

Remember the Kashmir Floods of 2014? It left several thousand Amarnath Yatris started in Pahalgam and the nearby areas. So do remember that before you plan a trip to Pahalgam in either July or August.

Best time to visit with family

Like I have mentioned, Pahalgam is a family destination. The months of May to June and September to October are ideal for those who wish to explore the valleys completely. Since this is the peak tourist season, all the amenities are easily available. You will easily find a budget or a luxury hotel to stay as per your liking. Small street food to proper restaurants and easy access to transportation, everything is available in these months. If you wish to travel to Aru valley, Betaab Valley or Chandanwadi, you can do that too.

Best time for Solo travelers

The mountain town offers year-round access to solo adventures. One could spend time relaxing in the meadows during the pleasant summer evenings, do an adventurous snow trek to the nearby woods or do a long walk around the wet winding roads during the monsoons.

Also Read: How to Plan Your Trip to Gulmarg, Kashmir

Best time for photography

White snowy landscapes with clear skies await you in the month of February. Be it a small Smartphone or a high-end digital camera, just click and you will see wonders captured. Apples orchards bloom in the month of April and make the way to Pahalgam truly a photographer’s paradise. If you like to capture the clear skies with lush green pine woods and meadows, August and September is the ideal time.

To be more specific, let me give you a month by month detailed description of what to expect in Pahalgam at a certain time of the year.

Pahalgam in January

In January most of the Pahalgam is covered in snow and it is the time for adventure lovers to visit and experience snow and snowfall. Extreme cold climate can be expected during the first two weeks. Average temperature goes into negative during this time and visitors should carry heavy woolen clothes and proper boots while visiting this month. Hotel and restaurants do not see much business at this time but will still cost you a little high because cost of living in such harsh weather too goes up. The town will be less crowded and not an ideal time for those with large families or people who despise cold weather.

Pahalgam in February

A symphony of clear sky with vivid blue shade and snow; this is what February is in Pahalgam. The month of February sees more visitors than any other winter month. This is the Ideal time for snow enthusiasts. Weather conditions are more or less the same as in January.  Temperature ranges between an average of -1 to 5 degree Celsius and one can expect snowfall throughout the month. February is the best time for snow photography.

Pahalgam in March

Occasional rain can be expected during this month and the temperature starts rising to a comfortable level. Nights are still cold with temperature occasionally falling below zero. Moderate winter gears are recommended during this month. Hotels and restaurants start getting ready for the coming busy months and can expect a small hike in cost. But a good bargain can do the trick.

Pahalgam in April

Snow starts melting during early April and inflow of travelers too starts to increase. Apple blooms during this month and those white flowers can be seen all the way to Pahalgam. Comfortable days with colder nights mark the month of April and light but decent clothes to withstand the weather are necessary. Hotels and restaurants will be available at decent rates and it is an ideal time for all sorts of travelers.

Also Read: Gurez Valley – The Most Comprehensive Travel Guide

Pahalgam in May

Same as in April. The inflow of travelers’ increases and temperature gets pleasant in the range of 7 to 18 Degree Celsius throughout the month. You should still carry a pullover or jacket, as the nights can be cold.

Pahalgam in June

This is the best time to escape from the scorching heat for north and central India. Mid May and June witness the maximum tourist flow for summer months and availability of hotel needs to be ensured before starting the journey. Temperature ranges from 10 to 20 Degree Celsius. Regular cottons accompanied by light woolen clothes are necessary.

Pahalgam in July

Average temperature goes up to 21 degrees C. Weather becomes unpredictable during this month and thunderstorms and rainfall is to be expected. At night the temperature falls to an average of 11 degrees Celsius. Bring clothes that are easier and faster to dry like polyester.

Pahalgam in August

Pretty much the same as in July. Temperature falls down a little and nights get cooler. Thunderstorm and evening showers can be expected, so make sure you are geared up for rain.

Pahalgam in September

This is probably the best month to visit Pahalgam in my opinion. Vistas will be lush green and the scenery will be at its best. Post monsoon hills will look like they have just been washed clean. Temperature ranges between an average of 8 to 16 Degrees Celsius. This is an ideal month for all sorts of travelers. The town is however a little crowded during this month and pre-booking of hotels is necessary if you are visiting as a family.

Also Read: Food to Try in Kashmir – What to Eat in Kashmir

Pahalgam in October

Predictable climate and temperature for travel make October a great month to plan a trip to Pahalgam. Temperature goes down to an average of 3 Degree Celsius at night. So don’t forget to pack your jackets and woollen cloths. You can also expect busy streets and hotels, so pre-booking of hotels is recommended. A cool breeze during this month is both chilling and refreshing. October is also the time of Autumn and all that was green in September becomes golden orange at this time, giving a magical touch to the valley.

Pahalgam in November

Pahalgam starts getting ready for the winter days to come. Trees start shedding leaves and cold dry wind reminds you of the arrival of Winter. Temperature falls between an average of 9 to -2 Degree C and heavy winter clothes are must. Tourist flow is less during this month. The scenery is very dull and dry at this time. Weather will be cold and there won’t even be any snow around making it a bad time to visit. On the other hand, it is perfect for someone looking for as few people as possible and traveling on a shoestring budget.

Pahalgam in December

December is officially the winter season so make sure you carry plenty of woolen clothes and a heavy windproof jacket. The first half of the month, however, is mostly dry and it only starts to snow after 20th of the month. It is not really an ideal time for families with kids and old people. The extreme climate continues from mid-December to January and tourists are considerably less during these periods. Temperature goes to sub-zero at night.

When is the Best time to Visit Pahalgam

So in order to sum it all up,

  • For photography: February, April, July, August, and September
  • With Family: April, May, June and September
  • Budget Trip: October, November, and December
  • For Snow: February
  • For Snowfall: January
  • Best Season to visit Pahalgam: Spring and Post-Monsoon
  • Best Month to visit Pahalgam: April and September
Conclusion

Every month has something to show you, to pull you towards the wilderness of mountains. Pahalgam is well connected through roads and many consider this location in their Itinerary along with Sonamarg and Gulmarg. The mountain town welcomes adventure seekers throughout the year. However, if you are visiting with families, avoid the extreme winter months. One should carry woolen clothes even if it’s in the summer months. I hope the information above on the best time to visit Pahalgam was of help. If you have any questions; or need any other details; please feel free to ask in the comments section below; or at our Community Forum; and I will be glad to answer.

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10 comments

Avatar
Malcolm February 17, 2020 - 8:59 pm

I am planning a trip to Kashmir for the first time in my life this month. Please suggest which is better…gulmarg or pahalgam?.. thank you!

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Avatar
Vargis.Khan February 19, 2020 - 3:44 pm

Both are equally good but if you have to pick one, go with Pahalgam.

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Srihari rangan January 25, 2020 - 4:58 am

Hey Manu, I have a few questions.

1) Would it snow there in December? We want to go to Pahalgam to experience rich snow, and we can only travel in December, so would it be suitable to travel then?
2) How to reach Pahalgam from Srinagar during the month of December?
3) Are there vegetarian options in Pahalgam, because most of us are vegetarian.

Thanks, and have a nice day 🙂

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Avatar
Vargis.Khan January 25, 2020 - 2:08 pm

Hey Srihari,

1. Yes but go towards the end of December
2. Cab is the best way
3. Yes, you can get vegetarian food easily. There are restaurants and you can order at your hotel as well.

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Srihari Rangan January 27, 2020 - 4:33 am

Hey Vargis, thanks for the amazingly quick response, just a few more questions.

1) We plan to be there from 22 to 25 December, would there approximately be snow there?
2) Are there Christmas festivities in Pahalgam?
3) How long is the taxi ride from Srinagar to Pahalgam, and from Pahalgam to Srinagar airport?
4) Given that we want to stay at a snowy place in Kashmir, which of Sonmarg or Pahalgam should we stay at? We looked at Gulmarg, but accomodation in Gulmarg seems to be way more expensive than Sonmarg or Pahalgam.
5) How far is Srinagar airport from the main city centre, and how much would we approximately be paying for the taxi ride?
6) Given the recent news about the internet blockage and etc in Kashmir, how is the situation actually down there? Is mobile data, coverage and wifi readily accessible?

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Vargis.Khan January 27, 2020 - 2:54 pm

Hi Srihari,

1. Hard to say right now, depends on the weather but it usually starts to snow by that time.
2. No. Majority there are Muslims and rest are Hindus or Sikhs.
3. About 3 hours
4. Chances of finding snow are highest in Gulmarg. Next will be sonamarg and Pahalgam third.
5. Not too far. Cab will charge you about Rs. 500 from Airport to near Lal Chowk or Dal Lake
6. Internet has been restored and things are calm right now.

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Srihari Rangan January 28, 2020 - 3:13 am

Wow, thanks for the info Vargis.

Following up on your answers,

1) Given Gulmarg seems to be the place for snow, is there really any budget or cheap hotels there? I couldn’t find absolutely any of the sort on Booking.com or airbnb
2) If we have a flight in the evening, would it be practical to assume we can leave Gulmarg/Sonamarg/Pahalgam in the morning and reach Srinagar airport in time for our flight?
3) Which of Srinagar/Pahalgam/Guimarg would be the best place to experience Xmas?

Sorry for asking too much questions Vargis 🙂

Avatar
Vargis.Khan January 28, 2020 - 6:26 pm

1. No cheap hotels there. Gulmarg is an expensive place.
2. Yes
3. Gulmarg

Avatar
md yousuf khan June 18, 2019 - 9:47 am

actually vargis when i read out the details given by you i was deeply involved imagining myself traveling to pahalgam and it’s surroundings through your explanation you have given every minute detail now what is the use of traveling when already you made my journey
I don’t if i am prepared to go to pahalgam bcos of freezing cold anyway when we are leaving in India we should see the paradise of our country.

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Manu June 18, 2019 - 11:36 am

Hi Yousuf, some things in life cannot be explained, it has to be experienced.:)

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