You can read the previous parts of the travelogue here:
We drove about 3 hours from Srinagar to reach Pahalgam, across rocky paths, mountains, villages and gushing streams. I was immediately enchanted by the simple beauty of the place when I reached Pahalgam. The fresh mountain air hit us as soon as we got out of the car, and the slight drizzle that was there set our teeth chattering.
I found Pahalgam extremely beautiful – probably the most beautiful part of our trip. It has a lovely, old-world charm about it, is very peaceful, and is comparitively less commercial (at least the part that we visited). Thanks to a stomach bug that hit me as soon as we reached Pahalgam, we couldn’t explore much. We couldn’t do the touristy things in Pahalgam – like riding to the Betaab Valley (where the Sunny Deol-Amrita Singh starrer was shot) and Baisaran, which is also called Mini Switzerland. There is no real mode of transport to these touristy spots except horses, and we were not too keen to do horse riding again after the one at Sonamarg. We were tired to the bone, and Pahalgam was the perfect place to rest and recuperate for us. Pahalgam was located somewhere in the middle of our one-week holiday in Kashmir, and I am glad it was. We could regain a little bit of strength and will power to proceed on the rest of the journey after Pahalgam. We spent most of our time here cosied up inside our warm blankets on our hotel bed, looking out the window at awesome views, reading and watching TV, and occasionally going out for short walks to look around.
The Lidder river runs through Pahalgam, and river rafting on its many tributaries is quite common here. We weren’t up to doing it, but we loved watching other tourists in action.
Pahalgam was where I had my first encounter with pine trees, which I had only read and fantasised about till then. I had loads of fun picking up pine cones to carry back home. And, of course, I went crazy taking pictures of these lovely trees, which give the place a straight-out-of-a-painting look.
The hotel we were staying in in Pahalgam was in the midst of a small village, with not many shops around. We had gorgeous views all around us, though. For instance, this spot (in the pic below) was just outside our hotel – a perfect, tranquil place to sit and talk or read, or just play hop, skip and jump on the many stones here. Until you are spotted and assailed by one of the hundreds of shawl- and dress material-vendors who roam around here with their wares bundled up in huge sacks on their backs, that is.
We had to walk about 5 minutes from our hotel, to meet this, another gorgeous view (the pic below). Fresh-water streams are everywhere in Pahalgam, and the water is amazingly cool and clear. It is a beautiful feeling to put your hand inside these waters (the current is too strong to stand or play in the waters, though).
Snow-capped mountains are charming, no doubt about that. They look all the more charming when you view them through some beautiful pine trees. Apart from the pines, I fell in love with the roses that abound in Pahalgam.
We were not ready to bid goodbye to Pahalgam when we had to. We were sorry that we hadn’t seen much of it, but the rest had done us good, and we were fit as fiddles when the onward journey beckoned us. We most definitely want to go back to Pahalgam to see all that we missed then.
PS: So you thought the Kashmir diaries had come to an end, eh? Not yet! 🙂