Pahalgam – Valley of Shepherds
Pahalgam, The Valley of Shepherds, is situated at the junction of the tributaries flowing from Sheshnag Lake and the Lidder river. Iit is a world famous tourist destination located around 90 kilometers from Srinagar on the banks of beautiful Lidder river at an altitude of 7200 feet from the sea level. Now it is Kashmir’s premier resort, cool even during the height of summer when the maximum temperature does not exceed 25 deg C. The valley holds a rich cover of vegetation; the forests consist of Cedars, Pines, and various other conifers along with a lot of shrubs. There are many species of rare, endangered and protected nature which include Hangul, Musk Deer, Serow, Brown Bear, Leopard, Grey Langur and others.
Around Pahalgam are many places of interest, and the most beautiful of these is the huge, whirling meadow of Baisaran, surrounded by thickly populated forests of pine. Aru, 12 kms from Pahalgam, is a delightful pasture and base point for trekking to Kolhai Glacier, Katar Nag, Lidder Watt and Tarsar & Marsar Lakes. Kolohai Glacier located up the Lidder valley, just beneath the Kolohai peak, is a hanging glacier. It is accessible from Pahalgam via Aru through the Lidderwatt valley.
Another fascinating spot is the “Betaab Valley” situated at a distance of around 15 kms from pahalgam. The valley got its name after a bollywood movie “Betaab” was filmed in that region. The valley is surrounded by lush green meadows, snow clad mountains, and are covered with heavy vegetation.
Pahalgam is also associated with the annual Amarnath Yatra. Chandanwari (2,895 m), 16 kms from Pahalgam, is the starting point of the yatra that takes place every year. Horse riding is favourite and also recommended means to travel inside the valley for the travelers as it is located between steep hills and there are many places to explore. Pahalgam has a 18-hole Golf Course, which is of extraordinary beauty and quite unique. Pahalagam is an angler’s delight and even an amateur can catch a rainbow trout from the rushing streams. The Lidder River has excellent fishing beats for brown trout. The fishing season stretches from April to September.