Pahalgam is a city in India. Heaven on Earth. A Small place of 2-3 km but you can spend a week without getting bored.
Taxi from Srinagar Airport or town centre to Pahalgam should be Rs 2,200 and is a 2 1/2 hour trip one way. On the way you can see saffron fields (at Pampore) and apple garden. You can purchase authentic Kashmiri saffron from Pampore. From Jammu it takes approximately 8 hours to get to Pahalgam.
For budget travellers, the cheapest way to reach Pahalgam is to travel to Jammu by rail and then catch a share taxi (4WD Sumo or Minibus) from the Jammu bus stand to Srinagar which costs Rs. 200-400 pp and get off at Khanabal. This journey takes 6-7 hours. Within Khanabal district, catch a three-wheeler auto to Anantnag Sumo stand (Rs. 30 for an auto) from where you should be able to get another 4WD share Sumo to Pahalgam for Rs. 40-50 per person which drops you off at the Pahalgam Sumo stand in approximately 1-1.5 hours.
These rates vary from season to season with extreme rates in peak season (Mid-April to June). For those without any budget constraints, another option is to hire a personal Sumo from Jammu bus stand to Pahalgam for Rs. 3400 (March 2008). A hired sumo from Anantnag to Pahalgam costs Rs. 500-700 (March 2008)
Sometimes the localites confuse the word Share taxi with a hired taxi. So its easier to explain it to them by saying that you want to travel in a "Service gaadi".
Buses also ply from Jammu bus stand to Pahalgam but they are very uncomfortable and take more time (12-14 hours). The rates are around Rs. 150-200.
Getting around Pahalgam is done mostly by walking, taxi and ponies. Ponies are avaialbe at officially published rates everywhere - Main market, Laripora, Aru, etc. Aru can be reached by taxi for an onward treck to Lidderwat, Kolohoi Glaciers, etc. If travelling in winter carry proper boots, as often the roads will be covered with snow.
Aru is a great place to stay in - in the lap of nature. Options for stay here are rather limited though.
Three main sites in Pahalgam are : Chandanwari, Betaab Valley,(so called because the Hindi film Betaab was shot there) and Aru valley. You can only take local taxies- Sumo, Tavera or similar 7 seater car as taxis from Srinagar or Jammu are not allowed to take you sightseeing here. It will cost you about Rs 1500 as there is no bargaining.
Personal vehicle from other state also not allowed to make Sight seen at betaab valley , Aru and Chandawanri
Only Local vehicles and Army vehicle. Note that you are asked to pay an entry fee of Rs. 25 per head to enter Aru wildlife sanctuary, but there is no wild life there. You are just taken to a market place. Similarly an entry fee of Rs. 100 per head is charged to enter betaab valley, it is not worth it, you can see the valley while going to Chandanwari and judge for yourself. You get to play on snow in Chandanwari, special clothes or shoes are not needed but are available for rent. You are usually asked Rs.500 per head but you can bargain it down to Rs. 50.
Next thing to do in Pahalgam is Pony ride. Pony rides are available to a scenic meadow called Baisaran or 'Mini Switzerland' from city center and with full bargaining! At first you are asked to pay about Rs 1000 per person, but at last they will come with you at Rs 500 or even less.
White water rafting is must do thing in Pahalgam.
If you are travelling in the months of June and July, don't forget to carry your sunscreen lotions because if your skin is somewhat fair then you are prone to sun-burns.
- Amarnath Yatra The holy pilgrimage to the Shiva Lingam usually runs in June and July with exact dates announced each year. This yearly pilgrimage starts in Pahalgam and takes 3 days. Pilgrims take a taxi 16 km to Chandiwari then they walk or take a pony to the cave and back which takes at least 2 days with an overnight stay in either Shishnag or Panchtarni. It is a trip not for the faint hearted as it is quite arduous though the faithful in their devotion to Shiva push on regardless and always make it.
- Pahalgam offers lots of treks: Aru Valley, Kohli Glacier, Tarsar Lake, Chandiwari and Leh. The road to Ladakh is now open after winter so jeep safaris and camping trips to Leh, Pahalgam offers Fishing.
- Go for a pony ride to Kashmir Valley, Dabian and Baisaran where you can even have a picnic. Make sure to carry food and water along with you. Pony rides cost Rs. 500 or less (depending on your bargaining!) in off-season [Kashmir Valley, Dabian and Baisaran ] (Feb-Mar) and can even go as high as Rs. 1500 in peak season (May-July). Baisaran is also called 'Mini Switzerland' by the locals and is well worth the ride. Chandanwari is a glacier and the starting point of the Amarnath Yatra. Aru valley is also a scenic spot.
- Shooting the rapids Pahalgam offers white water rafting trips down the Lidder River. It is a beautiful trip winding down the Lidder River through the natural forests and down the exhilarating rapids.
- Himalaya Fun 'n' Tours, (firstname.lastname@example.org). The season for rafting is May to August and the trips go for 30 minutes and approximately 3 km.. White Water Rafting can be booked in advance by email. Each boat takes 6 passengers with 2 rafting guides with helmets and life jackets provided. No experience is required as all training provided,Trekking,Camping,Day hikes and taxi rental,air ticketing etc.phone-+91-1936-243072 edit
- Mountain Magic Trek,n,Tours, Lari Pora Pahalgam Kashmir 192126 (Just after Lari Pora), ☎ 01936 243255/211076, . Enjoy White Water Rafting. edit
- Pahalgam Glacier Treks n Travels (Pahalgam Glacier Treks n Travels), Pahalgam Kashmir (Above laripora village), ☎ 243051. White river rafting,treks and camping etc edit
View from besides the fisheries in Pahalgam
Pahalgam has many shops offering all things from Kashmir like, shawls, carpets, clothing with the unique chain-stitch embroidery and farens (long woollen ponchos unique to Kashmir). There are also three banks with atm machines (SBI, HDFC, J&K) for withdrawing cash. Beware of the hawkers, they will often ask for five times the actual price.
Pahalgam has many restaurants, dhabas and coffee shops and all the hotels and guest houses have their own restaurants.
- Nathu Rasoi is a budget restaurant (dhaba) specialising in North Indian food. It is highly recommended by the locals, although it opens only during the peak season.
- Dana Pani is a vegetarian restaurant serving delicious North Indian food at cheap rates (Rs. 100-150 pp in off season) [Rs. 50 for a Masala Dosa]. Fixed meals come at Rs. 75. Kulfi is a must try in this restaurant.
- Punjabi Rasoi' is next to the Nathu Rasoi.
- JKTDC Huts - Excellent Location along with personalized service. JKTDC Huts have the best location in terms of view and greenery. Ponies are readily available at gates as they have been restricted to enter the premises.
- Hotel Heevan,good one.excellent location.Great ambience,courteous staff.Dont miss the cofee shop by the river...
- Hotel Himalaya House, Laripora Road, tel. +91-1936-243072, .Hotel Himalaya House is situated right on the River Lidder foreshore in Laripora with beautiful views of the surrounding pine forests and mountains. Laripora is 5 minutes by taxi or a 20 minute walk into the centre of Pahalgam. Rooms start at Rs 1,000.to 4000/ Packages of room, room and breakfast or room and full board are available. Internet access wifi is available for the guests.
- Hotel Noor Mahal, Close to Main Market-Tourist Office, Pahalgam. Tel. 094149532530, 09906886742, Fax. +91-1936-243227. Very clean and comfortable rooms available at Rs. 1000 (Feb-Mar) and Rs. 2700 (May-June). Free Internet WiFi access is available for guests.
- Hotel Brown Palace, Lari Pora Pahalgam,tel.+91-1936-243255. . The place is ideally located with the lidder river running past it in the front. The hotel building is from early 70s - the rooms are varied, the furnishings are comfortable , some rooms are unsuited. The in-house restaurant specializes in home cooked meals, both western and Indian. The hotel includes modern amenities including hot showers, clean cozy rooms with great views, and a quiet location 15 minutes walk from the city.
- Hotel Pahalgam, A heritage hotel with breathtaking views of the Lidder. Probably the best hotel in Pahalgam. the food and hospitality are exemplary. Has hosted several celebrities and movie stars.
- Hotel Pine Lodge, Opposite First Bridge, Chandanwari Rd, Pahalgam (Head further from Pahalgam Club, until you reach the bridge in Laripora), ☎ 89688-11644, . Pine Lodge, Pahalgam is only 1 km from the Pahalgam Club, located on the Pahalgam-Chandanwari Load, at the first bridge on river Lidder (Laripora), with a river view. It has 10 Rooms with newly renovated bathrooms with running hot water, Cable TV in every room, Break-fast, dinner on order, spacious lawns, ample parking and local sightseeing arranged. Asking price is Rs1000 - 2000, but ask for off season discounts. 1000. edit
- Hakeem HomeStay (Dehwathu Pahalgam Kashmir), (20 Mintus drive Pahalgam bus stand), ☎ +91 9419045020, . checkin: 12 noon; checkout: 12noon. Hakeem Homestay is in the hills 10km from Pahalgam, Kashmir. The house is located in a small village very close to the Overa Wildlife Sanctuary. The village is located amongst pristine local farmland of rice paddy's, mustard fields & fruit orchards with views of the nearby mountains & is a short distance from the Lidder River. Many walks & day activities can be organised during your stay. 3000 INR. (1500INR,) edit
- Hotel Fifth season, (Located just 300 meters away from the River Lidder), ☎ 24/7(+91) 88-030-02733, and (+91) 94-190-10808. edit This hotel has contemporary style rooms with attached modern bathrooms with all facilities. It showcases a captivating view of forest. Non-Vegetarian restaurants offering wide variety of delicious delicacies, from Indian, Chinese and exclusive Kashmiri cuisine. Trained, skilled and friendly staff makes you feel at home.
- Riverfront Guest House, Aru Pahalgam (At Aru Road), ☎ 09906500026, . The selling point is definitely the river view A place where you can relax and recharge! Hotel is on the bank of the River Lidder. Enjoy the breathtaking panorama. Everything you need to keep you fit! Steer clear of the traffic jams! Free Spacious car parking is available just outside the hotel. Spacious room with windows facing the river. Great hotel close to everything, away in a peaceful spot on the river. The location is great, great room overlooking the Lidder River. 3200. edit
- HIMALAYA INN, Dehwathu Pahalgam, ☎ 9419045021. checkin: 12 Noon; checkout: 12Noon. Himalaya Inn is located paddy's, mustard fields & fruit orchards with views of the nearby mountains & is a short distance from the Lidder River,near white water rafting point. Rs.2000 to Rs.5000. edit