Heavenly Pahalgam

How to get there: Go to a taxi stand near petrol station. It’s a shared taxi, in form of Tata Sumo jeep going to Anatnag (Rs.50) it will take about one hour. In Anatnag, change another shared taxi to go Pahalgam (Rs.50) for 45 minutes ride. Same goes to way back (Pahalgam-Anatnag, Anatnag-Srinagar). Alternatively, you can always take return J&K Bus at Tourist Info Center, the same way we get to Gulmarg. But have to check first which day they run to which place (they usually rotate Gulmarg, Sonamarg and Pahalgam). But I guess shared taxi is faster with same price. Do not take Tata Sumo jeep in front of bus station, as they will be chartered for you only and you have to pay fares for whole car. 

Pahalgam is definitely my favorite place in Kashmir. Nicknamed as Switzerland of India, we were really on cloud nine when arriving in this place we almost feel as paradise of earth. Initially wanted to go by bus as we did for Gulmarg, but unfortunately when we went to the Bus Station early morning to book a ticket, they say they’re only going to Sonamarg today and Pahalgam will be tomorrow. We dont have another tomorrow to visit Pahalgam and we would skip Sonamarg over Pahalgam. So when we went out to find taxi, we found the mysterious guy again and he helped us to find our way to another taxi stand which can get us to Anatnag, and from Anatnag we can get another taxi to Pahalgam.

It was easier than we thought, right after arriving Anatnag, you can clearly spot a taxi driver shouting ‘Pahalgam! Pahalgam!’ and simply get into one. It was a packed Sumo jeep, and both Az and I were sitting in front, next to the driver! (There are 3 people in front!). The ride was kinda fun with Hindi song playing on radio although the jeep front mirror was scarily cracked =,= Watch the video for real action!

  

It’s very relaxing to enjoy scenery of Pahalgam. You’ll be seeing yourself walking towards along the mainroad (however far you like!), with both sides are sitting cute hotels, mountain at the back, people wearing kashmiri coats with their horses. The best part of it we hardly see any other tourist around.

We walked into small lane randomly, trying to escape to some inside area away from the main road. After crossing the bridge over ladder, we immediately found ourselves in a small village, although there was a small resort hotel there, but the rest were still original as a residential village with local people living.

There was a small mosque, and a school, and we saw some girls playing cricket outside. Girls playing cricket! Everyone plays cricket here, nothing surprising about that. And a few steps later, we came across two little girls having the most exotic face ever :) (they were in the video clip as well!)

Az said the girl with head scarf looks like the one you see on National Geographic magazine cover :)

  

And we found some other bunch of little kids we can’t help but have to take their portrait picture! Although we dont know each other’s language, it was enough to use body and face language!

Now. Isn’t this amazing?? :) I so wanna move and live here!

 

The ladder river we just crossed, and seen from afar are some houses (maybe also resort hotel) built at the hill foot.

We found a perfect spot for our camwhoring session :P Here, with the help of wooden pillar-stick being the (non-functioning) fence, we put our camera on it pretending it’s a tripod and started palying with self-timer. And ta-da! We took hundreds of our photos together here!

 

Another pose, among many. And the small path that lead us to this wonderfully quiet place :)

We spend more than an hour here just wasting time, it was too perfect to leave so early. Needless to say, it has the freshest air we ever breathe in Kashmir.

 

The tiny mosque we passed by, and the main road in Pahalgam town.

  

Local people in Pahalgam, nothing to do with tourist. And another mosque we passed by (but we didnt stop here, coz we had seen another bigger mosque on the way out.

This is it, I think the main mosque in Pahalgam. We stopped here for Zuhur and Asar prayer. It has a separate section for women in another building, which I dont know why.

And later, we went to do some shopping before we go back to Srinagar. Yup, in fact we spent in Pahalgam much shorter than we had planner earlier (I was initially thinking to do 2 overnights in hotel here!). Then again if you are not planning to do pony-riding, trekking further inside the hills, hiking, and other activity (which mostly have to rely on guided trips provided by hotels here) I guess one day trip to Pahalgam is sufficient enough to walk for a few kilometers around the town to enjoy the scenery.

As for shopping, we went into a few shops to compare prices before we go back to whichever we found gives the most reasonable figure. And this shop particularly we had a great time with the owner.  I have asked 5 other shops about the price of a neck scarf I’m buying for Mama, and all would give Rs. 240 while this shop only offers Rs. 100! During our comparison between shops, we noticed that after we had a look at their stuff, and then said ‘erm, we’re looking only’ and smile, the owners would immediately change face and turn their head away. But not in this case of this man, he would still smile and say yes, no problem, thank you and come again. Amazing, and we ended up doing half of our shopping at his shop.

And please, do watch this video, apart from the shop owner exclusive message that we recorded, there’s another guy taking the chance to be interviewed just as well as if we’re people from media! :D

When we’re done, we walked until we found a Sumo Taxi again and left for Anatnag.

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