Pahalgam, the Village of Shepherds !
The Lidder river runs through Pahalgam in a rushing gray-green torrent,
foam flecked, breaking in curling waves against the boulders that lie in
its path. Its sound is an eternal as the whisper of wind through pine and
fir, its force primeval its untamed splendor.
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Long before this little village 96 Km east from Srinagar 2400 meters
above sea level, became the popular holiday resort it is today, it was the
preserve of nomadic shepherds. Its rugged charm has remained un-spoilt by
progress, while a bustling main street and its wide range of tented camps,
hotels and lodges have established it as a favorite holiday resort.
Pahalgam spreads along the banks of the Lidder, which is the focal
point of interest to the angler. The trout fisherman delight, the Lidder
is divided into three fishing beats between Mattan and Phalgham, and the
trout are so thick that even the first time fisherman can land a good
Pahalgam is perhaps best known as the take off point for trek into the
surrounding mountains. The resort is well geared to meet the demands at
onward going trekkers and camping equipments is readily available, as are
ponies and porters. Walking the Lidder valley is scenically most
rewarding, through forests of virgin pine, fording crystal clear mountains
streams and through meadows of wild flowers, higher up the valley.
Popular treks from Pahalgam are to the Kolohao Glacier Via Aru,
Satlanjan and Dudsar Lake, and to the high altitude lakes, that dot the
meadowland and mountain ridges between Pahalgam and Sonmargh.
Cottages in a tourist village, a full fledged
club and a large number hotels have come up this beautiful resort
pilgrimage to a cave of an 'ice-lingam'.
There is something about the pure and re-vitalizing air of Pahalgam.
Perhaps dense pine and cedar forests make it oxygen rich. Limited
accessibility combined with limited telecom connectivity make it an
ideal getaway from the grind of daily life and professional stress.
The town is at the junction of the Aru and Sheshnag Rivers and
surrounded by soaring, fir-covered mountains with bare, snow-capped
peaks rising behind them. The Aru flows down from the Kolahoi glacier
beyond Lidderwat while the Sheshnag from glaciers along the great
Apart from adventures, Pahalgam is the starting
point of the annual Amarnath yatra (holy journey) to the holy cave
shrine of Amarnath, which is said to be the abode of Lord Shiva. Every
year in the month of July/August, thousands of pilgrims descend on
Pahalgam on their way to the holy cave .
Chandanwari 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.
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