- GENERAL INFORMATION
At an altitude of 2,130m and about 95-km from Srinagar, Pahalgam is probably the most popular hill resort in the Kashmir valley. Since it is rather lower than Gulmarg the nighttime temperatures do not drop so low and it has the further advantage of the beautiful Lidder River running right through the town. 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. Journey to Pahalgam is about four-five hours on a semi-road that has the Lidder river meandering on the one side, and lofty, snow-capped mountains on the other.
Around Pahalgam, there are locations which are about a day’s trip away. Some of the popular ones are:-
A small village, 11 kms upstream the Lidder River, is a beautiful locality. The route is picturesque with ample campsites. This village is the starting point for treks to the Kolahoi glacier.This charming meadow can be reached by walking along a mountain path. The river Lidder disappears at Gur Khumb and reappears after 27 mts.
Situated 16-km from Pahalgam, Chandanwari is the starting point of the Amarnath Yatra. It is famous for snow sledging on a snow bridge. At Chandanwari, the Sheeshnag river is captivating with its sheer force and clear waters. You can get an opportunity to do sledge riding and get up to some heights, upto the fifth point which is also a route that yatris take to reach the Amarnath Cave. Filmgoers will recognize it instantly as it has been the location of several movie scenes.”Betaab Valley” is the place where they shot the famous scenes from movie Betaab.
5 kms from Pahalgam is a lush meadow surrounded by hills and covered with dense vegetation. This region looks very similar to European resorts and is a good campsite. Pine forests dot this meadow which presents a picturesque view of the snow-clad mountains. The snow covered Tulian lake at an altitude of 3353 m is 11kms from Baisaran. The most beautiful of huge, undulating meadow of Baisaran, surrounded by thickly wooded forests of pine.The most beautiful of these is the huge, undulating meadow of Baisaran, surrounded by thickly wooded forests of pine. 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.
The lofty plateau, on which the remains of the ancient temple of Martanda stand, overlooks the modern village of Matan, located at its foot.
Enveloped by thickly wooded forests, Patnitop offers beautiful picnic spots, peaceful walks and breathtaking views of the mountainscape of the Chenab basin. In winter, the resort is generally covered with a thick mantle of snow thus providing opportunities for various snow games including skiing. It is the best developed tourist spot of Jammu and is second to none in its natural charm, climate, pine forests and lush green cover.
Patnitop lies on a plateau at a height of 2024 meters above the sea level. During winters Patnitop is completed snow covered. There are several picnic spots in Patnitop, as pine forests on all sides surround it. This area is perfect for nature walks. There are three fresh water springs at Patnitop and it is believed that the waters here are medicinal. There are facilities for those interested in pony rides and camping activities.
Once the pleasure retreat of Empress Nur Jehan, Achabal (1,677 m) has a fine garden in the Mughal style, with its own special charm and character. It was in Kashmir that the Mughal Garden was brought to perfection, and Achabal is one such masterpiece. Situated at the foot of a hill with a row of majestic chinars framing it, the Mughal garden is a visual delight with their stepped terraces, formal elegance, ornamental shrubs, sparkling fountains and falling water. Achabal is 58 kms from Srinagar, via Anantnag.
Past the Mughal Gardens of Achabal, with their tinkling fountains, through the breathtaking splendour of the springs at Kokarnag, lies Daksum. Tucked away in a densely forested gorge at an altitude of 2438 m, Daksum would be completely silent but for the Bringhi river which gushes through it. Daksum is a walker’s paradise. Up the hills which are swathed in coniferous trees, past gurgling brooks, the simple, haunting notes of a flute will waft down to you from where an unseen shepherd tends his flock. For in the hills surrounding Daksum, suddenly you will find yourself in grassy meadows where sheep are taken to pasture. Daksum is a reviving experience -the bracing mountain air, the solitude, the densely clad hills, and beyond them, snow covered mountains, all contribute to Daksum’s mystique, making it the perfect retreat
Situated in the heart of Bringhi valley, Kokernag (2,020 m, 70 kms from Srinagar), is set amidst sprawling gardens fragrant with the bloom of thousands of flowers. The Kokernag spring bubbles at seven places at the foot of the forested mountain. The water of the spring is famous for its medicinal and digestive properties.
Gradually, the distant rumble becomes a roar as one approach the waterfall of Aharbal, which crashes down a narrow gorge. Aharbal is more than just a waterfall. There are several places to picnic in the surrounding areas, as well as delightful walks of varying lengths all over the hillsides. Interesting treks-one of them to the high altitude lake of Kounsernag at 13,500 ft above sea level-takes off from Aharbal.
Located 80 kms from Srinagar at an altitude of 1,876 m, the spring of Verinag is believed to be the chief source of the river Jhelum. Construction of the octagonal base of the spring and the arcade around it was undertaken by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir and completed during the reign of Shah Jahan. Down the stream to the east lie the remains of a Mughal pavilion and baths. Verinag can be approached through the link road, which turns off, from the national highway at Lower Munda.