What to see in Pahalgam | Sightseeing in Pahalgam

by Vimal Bhatia

As the common saying about Kashmir goes, “if there is a paradise on earth, it is Kashmir.” And a paradise inside this paradise is Pahalgam, which holds its own among the many beautiful places in Kashmir. A place which is full of nature’s glory and pristine beauty; it has so many attractions that it is difficult to cover all of them in a short stay. Pahalgam has such beautiful vistas that they look straight out of a painting or a poster. Flanked by beautiful Lidder river, picturesque green meadows, stunning valleys, lush pine backwoods, and snow-clad Himalayan peaks; this is one place which presents the most eye-catching views one can ever get. The list of tourist attractions here can be a really long one and to answer the question of what to see in Pahalgam in a single post is really tough.

Pahalgam is also called the “Valley of Shepherds”. Its pristine beauty and scenic locations present numerous options to explore nature as well as yourself. So many movies have been shot here just because of its exotic locations. Pahalgam is a must see place as it offers something for every kind of traveler. Whether you are traveling with family or in a group; whether you are a couple or a solo traveler; you will find in Pahalgam several things to charm you-you as well as to rejuvenate your body and soul.

Pahalgam has a religious significance as well. It is host to famous Amarnath Yatra, the annual Hindu pilgrimage to the cave shrine of Lord Shiva, known as Amarnath Gufa. Every year in the month of July, millions of devotees throng this place to start their pilgrimage to the famous shrine.

What to see in Pahalgam

What to see in Pahalgam

List of Places to Visit in Pahalgam

Let me first present to you, a list of the top places to see in Pahalgam:

  • Betaab Valley
  • Sheshnag Lake
  • Mamaleshwar Temple
  • Aru Valley
  • Baisaran Hills
  • Avantipur Temple
  • Chandanwari
  • Kolahoi Glacier
  • Tulian Lake
  • Pahalgam Golf Course
  • Lidder River
  • Aishmuqam
  • Shikargarh
  • Tarsar Lake & Marsar Lake

Also Read: Best Time to Visit Pahalgam | When to go to Pahalgam

About the Tourist Places in Pahalgam Listed Above

Here is more about each place that I have mentioned above:

Betaab Valley

Located between Pahalgam and Chandanwari at a distance of 15 km from Pahalgam, this is a place straight out of a picture postcard. Read any article or travel guide and you will find this name in the top 5 places to visit in Pahalgam. Betaab Valley got its name from the 80s hit Bollywood movie of the same name, which was extensively shot here. It was earlier known as Hagan Valley which is still its actual name but the name Betaab Valley is the one that gets used most often.

A spread of green pastures, surrounded by snow-capped mountains, tall Deodar trees, and Pine forests is what makes this valley picture perfect. Add to this the river Lidder flowing through it and you have a complete package to feed your body, mind, and soul. The breathtaking beauty spread all around is sure to mesmerize you. Not only the stunning landscape, but Betaab Valley is also well known for being a base for many treks. So those of you who are adventurously inclined will find it an ideal place to start a thrilling trek.

Besides, this is a paradise for photography lovers. If you are a photography enthusiast, this is a place for you to be in. It is a favorite of honeymooners too. The lush green meadows, winding streams, and tall trees add a romantic tinge to the whole atmosphere.

Sheshnag Lake

One of the must see places in Pahalgam, Sheshnag lake combines natural beauty with peace and serenity. It is so calm and peaceful that you can actually hear the silence until you yourself decide to disturb it. Surrounded by green meadows and snow-covered hills, it is a glacial lake which holds a religious significance too. According to Hindu mythology, the mythical Sheshnag (the 100 headed serpent) made this lake its home. Thus the lake derives its name from it. Many people believe that Sheshnag lives here even now.

The lake is situated about 20 km from Pahalgam and involves an uphill trek to reach here. Alternately, you can use a pony ride. You can also find famous trout fish here. Apart from this, Sheshnag Lake is also a great place for trekkers and nature lovers. If camping in Pahalgam is on your mind then you will not find a better place to do so other than on the banks of Sheshnag.

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Mamaleshwar Temple

If you are in Pahalgam, you can’t miss Mamaleshwar Temple in the city. Situated on the banks of river Lidder, this is a12th-century temple made entirely of stones. The temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, holds special significance and pilgrims from distant places come here to get blessings of Lord Shiva, There are a platform and a Shiva Lingam in the temple along with a gold-adorned sanctum. This was set up by the former ruler of the state. Mamaleshwar Temple has a pure water spring in a gorge. People throng this temple throughout the year to seek divine blessings. Usually, people walk to this temple from Pahalgam as this is hardly a kilometer away.

Aru Valley

Another entry in the list of must visit places in Pahalgam would be the charming Aru Valley. It is stunningly beautiful and is located about 15 kilometers from Pahalgam. In fact, drive from Pahalgam to Aru Valley itself is so full of scenic spots that it would be difficult for you to put down your cameras even for a minute. The spread of lush green meadows in the valley gives the feeling of being in an entirely different world. Spending a few quiet hours in the lap of nature is the utmost incentive that you must visit Aru Valley for. Besides, it is an ideal spot for honeymooning couples.

This is one of the most popular tourist spots of Pahalgam as well as entire Kashmir and serves as a base for various treks and lakes and meadows. There are quite a few resorts here which provide a variety of activities also. Aru River, a tributary of Lidder River flows through this place adding to its natural charm. And then there is Aru village nearby, where people will welcome you with open arms to experience their lifestyle and enjoy their hospitality. So do not miss a visit to Aru Valley while you are in Pahalgam.

Baisaran Hills

Termed as “Mini Switzerland”, this lush green meadow is a treat to the eyes. It is called so due to the meadows present here that resembles the one found in Switzerland. Located just 6 km away from Pahalgam, this beautiful place is an excellent option for a leisurely stroll or a family picnic. The pristine beauty of the place is a must see for everyone. The green grass surrounded by thick pine trees gives a special carpet-like look to this place contrasting with snow-white hills visible on one side of this place.

To get to Baisaran Hills, you need to use ponies. The ride is scary, thrilling as well as adventurous at the same time. With pony walking on the edge of the hill it gives scary moments but the natural scenic view on the way makes you forget this and soak in the beauty all around. You will get an amazing view of the Lidder Valley from here. You can also indulge in activities like zorbing and fun games at Baisaran Hills.

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

Avantipur Temple

This beautiful temple was built by King Avantivarman who ruled from AD 855-883. Though the temple is in ruins now, it is still a must-visit site for its history and to marvel at its architectural excellence. This amazing temple is of equal interest to history buffs, historians, religious devotees as well as photography enthusiasts. The architectural expertise of that era is still visible in the ruins of the temple and you can’t help but gasp at the sheer brilliance of this. Various deities carved on the sculptures and the pillars testify the architectural acumen of the people during that period.

There are two main temples here. One is Avantishwar temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiva and the other one is Antiswami temple which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Both these temples are equally beautiful and amazing. These are ideal spots for clicking pictures. Avantipur Temple is located 57 km from Pahalgam on Srinagar-Pahalgam highway and is a treat to watch.

Chandanwari

Located about15 km from Pahalgam, Chandanwari is symbolized by snow-covered vistas. A beautiful place, it is significant from a religious point of view also. This is the point where Amarnath Yatra starts. It is an annual pilgrimage trek for Hindus which is undertaken every year in the month of Sawan (July-August). Apart from that, this is also a place to enjoy natural beauty. If you are fond of playing in the snow, this is the place for you.

This picturesque place boasts of undulating landscapes which will warm your heart. The drive to Chandanwari itself is a thrilling experience. The road meanders along river Lidder and you get a clear view of the snow-capped mountains. Apart from this, there are numerous waterfalls which you encounter on the way. You can stop at any of these and have a short picnic or click pictures to your heart’s content. There is a facility for hiring snow boots and jackets which means you can have fun in the snow without any hindrance.

Also Read: Gulmarg Gondola – How to Plan your Ride?

Kolahoi Glacier

Another place to take your breath away is Kolahoi glacier. This is a hanging glacier over the river Lidder and is a sight to behold. Imagine standing at 18,000 feet and inspecting the stunning view spread all around. Won’t you feel on top of the world? Well, that is what Kolahoi glacier is all about.

But reaching Kolahoi glacier is not an easy walk. You have to undertake a moderately difficult trek to reach this place. Along the way, you will find dense mountain vegetation. The river Lidder flowing with a thundering sound and icy rivulets make it all the more thrilling. You must carry adequate warm clothing with you. As everyone may not be able to undertake this not so easy trek, there is an alternative of riding a pony to reach Kolahoi glacier. This glacier is located at a distance of 25 km from Pahalgam.

Tulian Lake

This sparkling blue water lake is sure to mesmerize you with its stunning beauty. Located at a distance of 8 km from Pahalgam, the way to this lake goes through Baisaran. Situated between Pir Panjal and Zanskar mountain range, Tulian Lake is a must-see spot. Once again, you have to undertake a trek to reach this amazing beauty. Of course, there is always an alternative of a pony ride. But more adventurous kind would sure love the trekking part of it.

This alpine lake has a beautiful setting with snow-covered mountains on three sides. These snow-capped peaks are generally 1000 ft higher than the lake. The lake itself is situated at an altitude of 12000 ft. Nestled in pine forests, it presents a perfect picturesque view with barren hills encircling it; and provides you the best way to see and admire the beauty of Pahalgam and Kashmir as a whole. Tulian Lake is definitely one of the best places to visit in Pahalgam. One precaution though – it is advisable to take a guide along if you are trekking to Tulian lake because trekking trails beyond Baisaran are not very clear.

Pahalgam Golf Course

The beautiful Pahalgam golf course is one of the highest golf courses in the world. Situated at a height of around 8000 ft, this golf course is nestled in the Himalayas and has a charm of its own. If you are a golf enthusiast, you may enjoy a couple of rounds in this 18 holes golf course. Even if you are not into golf, you may learn some basics of golfing here and enjoy the experience.

Apart from this, you can enjoy the natural beauty with high mountains on one side and river Lidder flowing on the other. You can check out some of the refreshments available on the premises to satiate your hunger. This is another beautiful spot in Pahalgam to be in for its sheer beauty.

Also Read: Srinagar – How to Plan your Trip and Explore?

Lidder River

Lidder River will actually be your companion for the most part of your trip in Pahalgam. It is a glacial river that originates from the Kolahoi glacier and flows through the valleys of Pahalgam. Its crystal clear water is home to many different kinds of fish and is also a lifeline for the locals as it gets used for irrigation purpose as well. Its blue waters against the backdrop of lush mountains covered with carpets of green and white caps are a sight to behold. Many tourist activities like white water rafting, angling, horse riding, and fishing are done in Lidder River.

Lidder Amusement Park

If you are traveling with family and have kids in the group, Lidder Amusement Park should be among the must visit places in Pahalgam for you. Some of the fun activities that you can enjoy here are swings, paddle boats, bumping cars, and a few other fun games.

Aishmuqam

Aishmuqam is the shrine of a Sufi saint Baba Zaina-ud-din Wali, also known as Zaino Shah Sahib. It is located about 19 kilometers from Pahalgam. You can actually visit it while coming to Pahalgam or going back. The shrine is located on a hillock and a one-week long festival is held here every year in April to pay respect to Shiekh Zaina-ud-din Wali.

Shikargarh

It was once a hunting place for the royal of Kashmir but now is a renowned wildlife reserve. It is located close to the main marketplace of Pahalgam and is actually popular among tourists and locals both as a picnic spot. You can either walk to the reserve or hire a pony from the market place to get here.

Also Read: Doodhpathri – A Comprehensive Travel Guide

Tarsar Lake & Marsar Lake

Now to end the list, the final entry among top places to visit in Pahalgam are the twin lakes of Tarsar and Marsar. Both of these lakes are located 5 km away from Nagberan village and can only be reached by a moderately difficult trek. I agree that it would mean for you to stay back in Pahalgam for a few days but trust me, a trip to these lakes is worth every minute you spend in Pahalgam and every effort you make to reach here. The entire trek gives you a perfect chance to enjoy the stunning beauty that Kashmir is. You get to experience scenic hills, aesthetic valleys, and two beautiful unspoiled lakes. The rocky landscape of the trail and sheer beauty of the lakes put their name among the best tourist places to visit in Pahalgam.

What to do in Pahalgam

Below is a list of things to do in Pahalgam apart from visiting all of the above-mentioned places.

  • Trekking
  • White Water Rafting
  • Skiing
  • Shopping
  • Camping
  • Angling
  • Fishing in Lidder River
  • Horse Riding
  • Photography

I will explain the activities above in a little more details.

Trekking in Pahalgam

There are numerous trekking trails across Pahalgam where you can go for trekking and explore the beauty of the place. There are trekking trails of varying degrees of difficulty or easiness. So you may choose the one that suits you the most. The best time to trek in Pahalgam is from April to June. You can try some winter treks as well in January or February but would definitely need some professional guidance and help for that.

Also Read: Aharbal Waterfall – A Complete Travel Guide

White Water Rafting in Pahalgam

You can enjoy the beauty of the Lidder River with white water rafting on it. While passing through Aru Valley, there is a stretch of 2 km where river rafting is done. Rafting here generally starts in the month of May and is then again shut down during monsoon season. It then again resumes towards end of September or early October and shut down in November.

Skiing in Pahalgam

After Gulmarg, Pahalgam is the most sought after and the best place for skiing. Once again, Aru is the epicentre of skiing in Pahalgam. Skiing in the midst of a picturesque landscape is an unforgettable experience. The best time to enjoy skiing here would be the months of January and February. A two days snow Festival is held in Pahalgam each year during winter season and presents an opportunity for tourists from all around the world showcasing their skills at winter sports.

Shopping in Pahalgam

You will get a lot of local things to shop for in Pahalgam. Check out Kashmiri handicrafts and carpets. Buy authentic Kashmiri shawls and kaftans and many more Kashmiri specialties from Pahalgam.

Photography

Last but not least, photography is one thing that would come naturally to you while in Pahalgam. No matter you have a big bulky DSLR or just a Smartphone camera, you will find it hard to keep yourself from clicking and recording every minute of your trip and every sight you see.

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

Places to visit in Pahalgam in One Day / What to see in Pahalgam in 1 Day

Most people plan a trip to Pahalgam from Srinagar with a 2 night’s and one-day stay. If you were thinking of doing then visiting the local market, Aru Valley, Betaab Valley, Chandanwari and Pahalgam Golf Course would be your top places to visit in Pahalgam.

What to see in Pahalgam in 2 Days

If you can add a day more and stay in town for 2 days then you can easily cover the following places

  • Betaab Valley
  • Mamaleshwar Temple
  • Aru Valley
  • Baisaran Hills
  • Avantipur Temple
  • Chandanwari
  • Pahalgam Golf Course

Top 10 places to visit in Pahalgam

The following can be considered as the top 10 places to visit in Pahalgam.

  • Betaab Valley
  • Sheshnag Lake
  • Mamaleshwar Temple
  • Aru Valley
  • Baisaran Hills
  • Avantipur Temple
  • Chandanwari
  • Kolahoi Glacier
  • Tulian Lake
  • Pahalgam Golf Course

Must Visit Places in Pahalgam

If you asked me to name a few must-visit places in Pahalgam as per me then it would definitely be Aru Valley, Betaab Valley, Chandanwari and Baisaran Hills.

Also Read: Yusmarg – A Comprehensive Travel Guide

How to reach Pahalgam

By Air

The nearest airport to Pahalgam is at Srinagar which is 95 km away. From here you can hire a taxi to reach Pahalgam.

By Train

The nearest railway station is at Udhampur which is 218 km away. However, there is only a limited number of trains operating up to this place. The nearest major railway station is at Jammu which is 255 km away and is well connected to all the major cities of the country.

By Road

Pahalgam has a very well laid out road network and can be easily reached from anywhere by road.

Where to Stay in Pahalgam

Pahalgam has many hotels suiting all budgets as well as a few resorts. There are some homestays also available for stay in Pahalgam. Apart from that, you may also opt for JKTDC cottages also. Finding budget accommodation, however, can be a bit tricky especially during tourist season.

Conclusion

So, with all the above information, get set and visit Pahalgam for a once in a lifetime experience. I hope the information above 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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2 comments

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devjyoti jana June 29, 2019 - 2:18 pm

plz make a blog about lolab valley in details

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Vargis.Khan June 29, 2019 - 5:47 pm

I will. Thank you for suggesting.

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