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Jammu and Kashmir: Pahalgam
Pahalgam is undisputedly the most beautiful destination of the entire Jammu Kashmir region. It is at a distance of 94 kilometers from Srinagar and takes about 3 hours to travel. It is possible to go to Pahalgam and come back the same day, but it should be avoided. It is advised that you spend a couple of days at this piece of heaven, and soak in the unmatched beauty offered by this place. Quite a few hotels are here to give you a pleasant stay, you can try the link at the bottom of this page.
On your way to Pahalgam will be Pampore. Pampur is one of the two places of this world where expensive Saffron is cultivated, the only other place being Spain. October is the month when saffron flowers bloom, and the valley turns golden.
The next stop will be Sangrama, which is famous for its will wood cricket bats. Interested tourists can also buy these willow bats which comes cheap here.
Next stop would be Avantipore, which used to be the Capital of Kashmir in 855ad to 883ad, before it was shifted to Srinagar. The ruins of Vishnu temple and Shiva temple can bee seen. The biggest Chinar tree of Kashmir is also here.
21 Kms from Avantipur is Khanabol and 1 km from Khanabal is AnantaNag. Here there is a waterfall desecding from the mountains, and two kunds (reservoirs) have been formed. In the middle of the two kunds, a temple has been built. Shiva and Radha Krishna is worshipped here by Bengali priests. One of the Kund has hot water, while the other one has cold water. The water from the waterfall has many medicinal properties.
Aurangzeb has renamed Anantanag to Islamabad, but Maharaja Gulab Singh brought back the old name of Anantanag again. You will get a 15 minutes halt here if you are making it with conducted tour.
Achabal is situated at 1677 meters height and about 8 kilometers off Anantanag. It might have been built by Jahangir, her daughter Jahanara or by King of Kashmir (5th century BC) Akshabal. Whoever had built it, the garden is a treat to the eyes. There is a trout hatchery too, nearby.
26 Kilometers from Anantanag is Kokernag, literally meaning roosters and snake. There is a mountain that has numerous markings like that of rooster’s legs. Water trickles down from each of those markings, and gives rise to a stream. The water is high in medicinal value. There is also a picturesque rose garden. It is situated at a height of 2012 meters.
15 Kilometers from Kokranag is Daksum, another small hill station. A few trekking routes starts or passes through Daksum.
After AnantaNag,the conducted tour bus stops at Bhavan. The Martanda temple is a 3 km walking stretch from Bhawan. The temple is about 2 thousand years old, and was possibly built by Maharaja Lalitaditya. The Pir Panjal range can be clearly viewed from this temple. Most of the temple is in poor condition.
33 kilometers from Bhawan, and you reach the paradise of the paradise on Earth, Pahalgam of Kashmir! Pahalgam or Pahalgaon means no. 1 village. While coming to Kashmir from Amarnath, this is the first village, hence the name. The two rivers, east Leder and West Leder meet at Pahalgaon. Glorifying the beauty of the place, the two Leders join into Leder and flows out of Pahalgam. The main pathway is by the bank of this Leder and the whole town is based on it. The permafrosted snow capped mountains forms a permanent backdrop to Pahalgam. Sceneic beauty is splendid, and cannot be explained in words, one have to experience it. And if angling is your passion, then you can try your hand at trout angling (fishing) at payment of a small fee. There is also a 9 point golf course.
Cross the leder and travel for another 1 and half kilometers to reach Mamaleshwar, and Shiv temple. You can also hire ponies for the journey. There are gardens here, along with a natural Kind. The whole town can also be viewed from the temple.
Similarly you can also travel to Aru. Aru is about 12 kilometers away from Pahalgam, and is home to the Gujjars community. Aru offers breathtaking scenic beauty. Greens of the plains and Snows of the mountains are in a healthy competition at Aru. You can take a pony or hire a car to Aru. If you are high on physical and mental strength, travel uphill for 11 kms more to Lidderwat, which will offer you pristine virgin beauty of Kashmir. The green meadows have been circled by White Mountains. There are rest houses in Lidderwat too.
Seasoned trekkers can try out Kolahoi glacier from Lederwat. The distance is about 13 kilometers, and the height is 3352 meters. Kolahoi will give you views that will remain with you always. The glacier oozes out a purple glow from it. The Leder river also originates from it. It is not quite possible to return the same day, hence you will need to carry tents. The journey can be made on ponies too.
Tarsar lake can also be travelled to, form Leaderwat. It is at a distance of about 16 kilometers. Nature is of unparallel beauty here. It also has a collection of wild flowers.
Another must visit is Baisharan, about 5 kilometers away from the town. The whole Pahalgaon and the Leder valley can be viewed from Baisharan. You can trek to it, or hire ponies. If you travel another 11 kilometers up, you will come across a beautiful painting by nature, the Tulian lake, at a height of 3353 meters. The pathway is breathtakingly beautiful. You will always be accompanied by snow covered mountains. The lake would have floating ice pieces too. Try not to miss it.
Achhabal Mughal Garden View from Mountain
Snow Covered Mountain