Pahalgam ,the valley of shepherds is 7,000 feet above sea level and is about 96 km from Srinagar. Originally a small
village of Shepperds, It has grown into a large hill station in Kashmir. Ideally situated at the junction of the Ladder Valley
and the sheshnag streams, It is set in a bosom of thick pine and fir covered mountains. This small charming valley is
very attractive and one of the most Popular resorts of Kashmir. One can do both longer and shorter treks from here.
Pahalgam is situated 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 Himalayan.
At the confluence of the streams flowing from the river Lidder and Sheshnag Lake, Pahalgam was once a humble
shepherd's village with breathtaking views. Now it Kashmir's premier resort, cool even during the height of summer. A
number of hotels and lodges cater to all preferences and budgets, from luxurious to unpretentious trekkers' lodges,
including JKTDC's delightfully romantic, fully furnished huts, partially concealed by giant pine trees.
Pahalgam Walks - There are many short walks available from Pahalgam and in addition it is an excellent base for
longer treks such as those to the Kolahoi glacier or to the Amarnath cave. Pahalgam can also be used as a starting
point for treks out of the region. Pahalgam is particularly famed for its many shepherds and they're a common sight,
driving their flocks of sheep along the paths all around the town.
Around Pahalgam are many places of interest, and because the resort is set between fairly hills, it is worth hiring a pony
rather than walking. Pony fares are posted at prominent locations.
Mamaleshwara is only a km or so downstream from Pahalgam, and on the opposite side of the Lidder, is this small
Shiva temple with its square, stone tank. It is thought to date from the reign of king Jayasima in the 12th century, even
This meadow, about 5-km from Pahalgam and 150m higher, provides excellent views over the town and the Lidder
valley. Pine forests and the snowclad mountains surround the grassy glen. One can hire ponies for this trek from near
the centre of town.
If one continues 11-km beyond Baisaran one reaches the Tulian Lake at 3,353m, 1,200m higher up. It is covered in ice
for much of the year and surrounded by peaks, which rise more than 300m above its shores. It also can be reached by
The little village of Aru is actually the first stage from Pahalgam on the trek to Lidderwat and the Kolahoi glacier. It
makes an interesting day walk from Pahalgam, following the Lidder river for Pahalgam, following the Lidder river for 11-
km upstream. The main track, which also can be taken by car, is on the left bank of the river. There is also a less used,
and more difficult path, on the right bank. At Aru one will often find the Gujars, living in their log huts with their flocks of
sheep and goats, en oute to the higher sheep and goats, en route to the higher pastures for the summer.
Hajan, on the way to Chandanwari is an idyllic spot for a picnic. Filmgoers will recognize it instantly as it has been the
location of several movie scenes.
Chandanwari & Passage To The Amarnath Yatra
Situated 16-km from Pahalgam, Chandanwari is the starting point of the Amarnath Yatra, which takes place every year
in the month of Sawan (Rain). The destination is the Amarnath Cave, believed to the abode of Lord Shiva. Although the
road from Pahalgam to Chandanwari is on fairly flat terrain, and can be undertaken by car, from Chandanwari onwards
the track becomes much steeper, being accessible on foot or by pony.
Located 11-km from Chandanwari is the mountain lake of Sheshnag, after which 13-km away is the last stop,
Panchtarni. The Amarnath cave is 6-km away from there. During the month of 'Sawan', an ice stalagmite forms a
natural Shivling (also spelt as Shivlinga), which waxes and wanes with the phases of the moon.
The state government makes extensive arrangements every year for the successful completion of the pilgrimage,
registering each one of the over one lakh pilgrims, pony owners and Dandi Walas, providing camps en route, and
ensuring safe, comfortable and speedy progress of the Yatris.
Even if one's visit to Pahalgam is not during the period of the Yatra, one can still take a pony ride up to Sheshnag Lake,
returning late evening.
Pahalgam is one of Kashmir's popular trout fishing beats. Kashmir is famous for its trout although they tend to be rather
small. Additionally, fishing licences are hard to get and rather expensive. A compulsion is to keep am guide and one is
also permitted to catch six fishes, which is the daily limit.
The Meadow Of Flowers
Thirty two miles from Srinagar situated amidst the snow capped mountains of pirpanjal at 8,500 feet, Gulmarg has a
excellent motor road, as we as 18 hole golf course, the highest in the world . The Place has charming walks, pleasant
pony rides though the picturesque Scenery of the surrounding woods. It commands a Panoramic view of the valley
and snow peaks of Nanga parbath, 26652 feet. Gulmarg also offers a winter play ground with some of the finest
ski_slopes and hali Sking.
Gulmarg looks like a fantasy set in a film and not surprisingly have been the venue of several films. The valley of
Gulmarg, a large meadow about 3-sq-kms in area, stands at 2,730 metres, 56-km south west of Srinagar . The name
means 'Meadow Of Flowers' and in the spring it's just that, a rolling meadow dotted with countless colourful Bluebells,
Daisies, Forget Me Not's and Buttercups. The valley itself is about 3-km long and up to a km wide.
Take a Hike!
All around are snow-capped mountains, and on a clear day one can see all the way to Nanga Parbat is one direction
and Srinagar is another. It's a popular day trip from Srinagar to Gulmarg, although many people extend their stay or
use it as a base for trekking. The road from Srinagar rises gently towards the lower slopes of the range, passing
through rice and maize fields.
From Tangmarg, at the foot of the range, there are two paths to Gulmarg - a steep footpath or a winding sealed road.
There is also a pony track from Gulmarg that leads upwards to Khilanmarg, Kongdori and seven springs.
This smaller valley is about a 6-km walk from the Gulmarg bus stop and car park. The meadow, carpeted with flowers
in the spring, is the site for Gulmarg's winter ski runs and offers a fine view of the surrounding peaks and over the
Kashmir Valley. It's a 600-metre ascent from Gulmarg to Khilanmarg and during the early spring, as the snow melts, it
can be a very muddy hour's climb up the hill. The effort is rewarded, if it's clear, with a sweeping view of the great
Himalayas from Nanga Parbat to the twin 7,100-metre peaks of Nun and Kun to the southeast.
Beyond Khilanmarg, 13-km from Gulmarg at the foot of the twin 4, 511 metre Apharwat peaks, this lake is frozen until
mid-June and even later in the year one can see lumps of ice floating in its cold waters. The walk from Gulmarg
follows a well-graded Pony track over the 3, 810 metre Apharwat ridge, separating it from Khilanmarg, and then up
the valley to the lake at 3,843 metres. The more adventurous trekkers can climb straight up the boulder-strewn slope
of the ridge and descend the other side to the path. For horse riding aficionados, Alpather Lake makes an exciting
day's excursion, starting early morning and returning late evening.
The Ningli Nallah:
Flowing from the melting snow and ice on Apharwat and the Alpather Lake, this pretty mountain stream is 8-km from
Gulmarg. The stream continues down into the valley below and joins the Jhelum River near Sopur. This long, grassy
valley is a popular picnic spot and the walking path carries on, crossing the Ningli (also spelt as Ningle) Nallah by a
bridge and continues on to the Khilenmarg, another grassy meadow and a good spot for camping. In early summer
one will probably share the campsites with Gujars moving their herds up to the high meadows.
Reached from the Tangmarg road, or from the Outer Circular Walk, this mountain stream meets the Bahan River at a
popular picnic spot known as 'waters meet'. The stream is reputed to be particularly good for trout fishing; it's about
five km down the valley from Gulmarg but quite close to Tangmarg. The river can be reached by walking 3-km down
the path from the gap near Tangmarg and then heading south through the forest, down a slope towards the stream.
Near here there is a bridge which leas to the small waters meet picnic spot on the right bank. Looking south from
Tangmarg the river can be traced up to its source close to the rugged peak known as Ferozpore or Shinmahinyu. On
the right bank the stream branches, the left path leading to Tosa Maidan, while the right bends away towards the
Gogaldara road at a second bridge, about 32-km upstream, and then leads away to the Ferozpore pass, Poonch and
One can continue on from here to Tosa Maidan, a three day, 50-km walk to one of Kashmir's most beautiful Marg's,
crossing the Basmai Gali pass at about 4,000 metres. The track here is very close to the ceasefire line with Pakistan
and on the right one will pass the Jamainwali Gali, the pass at 4,000 metres is one of the easiest and safest routes
into the Punjab.
Shrine Of Baba Reshi / Ziarat Of Baba Reshi :
This Muslim shrine is on the slopes below Gulmarg and can be reached from either Gulmarg or Tangmarg. The
Ziarat, or tomb, is of a well-known Muslim saint who died here in 1480. Before renouncing worldly ways he was a
courtier of the Kashmir King Zain-ul-Abidin. Every year thousands of devotees visit this shrine regardless of the faith
they believe in.
In winter, Gulmarg acquires a new persona - that of the country's premier skiing resorts. Skiing, to many who watch it
on TV, seems like a very elitist sport, requiring a high level of training and expensive equipment. They are surprised,
when they visit Gulmarg for a day's expedition to "see the snow", that others with the same level of physical fitness
and training are skiing down slopes. Gulmarg is the ultimate beginner's skiing resort. One doesn't requite a heavy
woolen wardrobe - slacks or a Salwar Kameez will do fine. In Gulmarg one will also be able to drift to one of the many
Ski shops and hire skis, sticks and goggles. Just find yourself a ski instructor and set off down a slope.
Neither does one need to exert oneself climbing up slopes. The gentlest slope of 200m is linked with a ski lift, which
helps one to go up. When one graduates to intermediate level - which will happen after the first few days of practice,
there are other slopes, longer and steeper, which are connected by chair lift. The longest ski run in Gulmarg is
provided by the Gondola cable car, which allows a ski run of 2,213m.
On reaching Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir from Delhi in an hour flight you are received at the airport and
Conducted to your reserved accommodation. Thence your programme starts, beginning with visit to the old city.
The old city huddles with houses, with narrow streets as suited the past when no conveyances worth the name plied,.
here you find the grand mosques, the fort and the hillock of hariparbath with shrines of the religious atop, The shrine
at Hagratbal the repository of the sacred relic of the hair of the prophet, the shankracharya hill commanding the view
of entire city. The four Mughal gardens laid superbly by the Mughal emperors around the Dal Lake Namely
The Cheshmashahi (Royal Spring)
The Nishat ( Garden of Pleasure)
The Shalimar (abode of Love)
The Pari Mahal ( an observatory in ruens alongside the cheshma shahi garden)
City Of Lakes
Srinagar's lakes are the reason why the city receives so many tourists. Not just expanse of water, the lakes are filled
with houseboats, villages, narrow water canals, lotus and vegetable gardens and houses and shops.
Life on the lakes, as witnessed from the confines of a Shikara, is unique. It is possible to book a Shikara for the whole
day and sightsee Nishat Garden, Nasim Bagh, Hazratbal Mosque, Pathar Masjid and Shah Hamdan's Shrine, having
a picnic lunch in the boat.
The Dal is famous not only for its beauty, but for its vibrance, because it sustains within its periphery, a life that is
unique anywhere in the world. The houseboat and Shikara communities have lived for centuries on the Dal, and so
complete is their infrastructure on the lake, that they never have to step on land! Doctors, tailors, bakers- one can see
them all in tiny wooden shops on the lake, near picturesque vegetable gardens and acres of lotus gardens
The most confusing parts of Srinagar for it's not really one lake at all, but three. Further more much of it is hardly what
one would expect a lake to be like - it's a maze of intricate waterways and channels, floating islands of vegetation,
houseboats that look so firmly moored they could almost be islands and hotels on islands which look like they could
simply float away.
Dal Lake lies immediately to the east and north of Srinagar and stretches over 5-km. The lake is divided into
Gagribal, Lokut Dal and Bod Dal by a series of causeways The main causeway across the lake carries the water
pipeline for Srinagar's main water supply. Dal gate, at the city end of Dal Lake, controls the flow of the lake into the
Jhelum river canal. It's the steady flow of water through the lake, combined with its relatively cold temperature, which
keeps it so clear looking.
Nagin is generally held to be the most beautiful of the Dal lakes. Its name comes from the many trees, which encircle
the small, deep blue lake. Nagin is only separated from the Larer Dal lakes by a narrow causeway and it also has a
number of houseboats moored around its perimeter.
Nagin Lake, which is usually thought of as a separate lake, is also divided from Dal Lake only by a causeway. The
causeways are mostly suitable for walkers and bicycles only so they make a very pleasant way of seeing the lake
without having to worry about traffic or Shikaras.
A Nice Getaway
If one wats to really get away from the chaotic city life all then Nagin is a good place to find a house boat and do it the
surroundings are much more serene and isolated than on Dal Lake. One can rent rowboats from the camping site
here - either to simply row around the lake or to look around for a houseboat.
Kashmir was a favourite of the Mughal emperors who visited it as often as they could. Cool and refreshing after the
plains of North India where the business of governance kept them, they planted gardens with stepped terraces and
flowing watercourses. When they rested in their gardens, they dreamt they were in paradise.
The next garden along the road that encircles the Dal is the Nishat, built by empress Nur Jahan's brother Asaf Khan.
The largest of the gardens, Nishat has several terraces, a central watercourse and a majestic site between the Dal
and the Zabarwan hills.
The third Mughal garden - the Shalimar - was planted by Jehangir, the Mughal emperor, whose love for Kashmir was
legendary. Shaded by magnificent Chinar trees, the Shalimar is a series of stone pavilions and flowing water with
paint box bright flowerbeds.
The Shalimar were built by Emperor Jehangir for his wife Nur Jahan, 'light of the world' in 1616. Although it is known
today as the 'garden of love' it was originally named the Farah Bakhsh or 'delightful garden'.
The garden is built in four terraces with traditional water channel running down the middle. The gardens measure
540 by 183 metres. During the Mughal period the top terraces used be reserved for the emperor and the ladies of the
court and was the most magnificent. It included a pavilion made of black stone in the middle of the tank. Black Marble
fluted pillars supported the pavilion, which was used as a banquet hall.
Shalimar Bagh has an air of seclusion and repose, and its rows of fountains and shaded trees seem to recede
towards the snowcapped mountains. A Son Et Lumeiere or sound and light show is put on here every evening during
the May to October tourist season.
The old Sufi college of Pari Mahal, the 'palace of the fairies', is only a short distance above the Chasma Shahi
gardens. One can easily walk from the gardens up to the Pari Mahal then follow a footpath directly down the hill to
the road that runs by the Oberoi Palace Hotel. The Pari Mahal consists of a series of arched terraces. Recently it has
been turned into a very pleasant and well-kept garden with fine views over Dal Lake. It's attractively sited on a spur of
the Zabarwan Mountains. The gardens are beautifully kept even today and a Son Et Lumiere show is put on here
every evening during the May to October tourist season.
The Nishat Bagh is another lovely garden with its 12 terraces representing the 12 signs of the zodiac, which descend
gradually and seem to almost merge into the lake. It is situated on the banks of world famous Dal Lake in the
backdrop of Zabarwan hills. With its flowerbeds, trees, fountains, the Nishat presents a dramatic sight. The gardens
were designed in 1633 by Asaf Khan, brother of Nur Jahan, and follow the same pattern as the Shalimar gardens
with a polished stone channel running down the centre and a series of terraces.
It's the largest of the Mughal gardens measuring 548 metres by 338 metres, and often the most crowed. The walks
beside the channel are bordered with lines of cypresses and Chinars. Also found within its vicinity are some remains
of Mughal period buildings including a double storey pavilion enclosed on two sides latticed windows.
Directly behind the garden is the Gopi Tirth, a small spring gushing forth crystal clear water, which feeds the garden
Cheshma Shahi is the first Mughal garden one will pass after Nehru Park. Built at a height above the city, its views
are as stupendous as its layout. The smallest of Srinagar's Mughal gardens, Cheshma Shahi has only three terraces
in addition to a natural spring of water enclosed in a stone pavilion.
Smallest of the Srinagar Mughal gardens, measuring just 108 metres by 38 metres, the Chasma Shahi, or 'Royal
Spring', are well up the hillside, above the Nehru Memorial Park. The fresh water spring in these pleasant, quieter
gardens is reputed to have medicinal properties.
The gardens were laid out in 1632 by Ali Mardan Khan and include three terraces, an aqueduct, waterfalls and
fountains. The water from the spring supplies the fountains and then goes through the floor of the pavilion and falls to
the lower terrace in a fine cascade of five metres, over a polished black stone chute.
Some extensions have recently been made to the gardens. Like all the gardens the Chasma Shahi is open from
sunrise to sunset but unlike the other gardens this is the only one, which charges admission. There is a small shrine,
the Chasma Sahibi, near the gardens, which also has a fresh water spring.