Pahalgam, also known as the crown of Kashmir needs no introduction. It is one of the most visited destinations in Kashmir and probably the most popular among tourists!
Located 90 kms away from Srinagar, Pahalgam is known for its lush valleys, mesmerizing views, pristine waters and insanely beautiful valleys. The place is also noted for the annual pilgrimage to the Amarnath Yatra which starts around the months of July and August.
When it comes to exploring the beautiful valleys of Kashmir, you have a plethora of options to choose from! In this article, I will be taking you along with me to beautiful valleys in Pahalgam which you should definitely not miss while planning your Kashmir Trip.
Places to visit around Pahalgam
Though Pahalgam in itself isn’t that scenic (there is not much to do as well!), it is the starting point to various beautiful valleys around it. So lets go to all these one by one.
PS: These valleys can be visited all year round!
In my opinion, Aru Valley is one of the best valleys in the whole of Kashmir! If you are someone who is looking for some quiet, peace and tranquility, Aru valley is the place to be.
Located about 13 kms from Pahalgam, the drive to Aru Valley is super scenic and one you will never forget. The valley lies in between snow clad mountains, vast meadows and a beautiful river running through it.
Here you truly disconnect with the world (no cellular or internet services) to connect with nature. The best way to explore this valley is on foot. This is also the starting point of a lot of popular hikes in Kashmir!
Located just 15 minutes away from Pahalgam, Betaab Valley is known for its gorgeous and breathtaking views. Formerly known as the Hajan Valley, the name was changed to Betaab after the famous Betaab movie was shot here!
This is the only valley where you will have to pay an entry fee of INR 100 to access the park. The valley is adorned with lush green shrubs and dense vegetation. A river cuts right across the valley which adds to its beauty!
This is also a famous picnic spot and way cleaner than a lot of valleys you’ll see in Kashmir.
Chandanwari in one word for me was – Out of the world!
During the winter season (and that’s when I will highly recommend going), Chandanwari turns into a winter wonderland. The starting point of the famous Amarnath Trek, Chandanwari is a popular destination among tourists.
Located 40 mins from Pahalgam, the drive to Chandanwari is AMAZINGGG! Also, on the way you get the most spectacular arial view of Betaab valley (Trust me you’ll be mesmerised!).
Just a word of caution, I observed some exposed rods around the area, so be super careful!
Known as the Mini Switzerland of India, Baisaran Valley looks straight out of a Bollywood movie. Located 5 kms from Pahalgam, this is the one valley I would recommend visiting during the summer season to see it in full bloom.
You can take a pony ride to reach here as no cars ply to this location. If you love to trek, then you can also reach this place after a 60 minute walk.
Originating from the Kolahoi glacier, the Lidder river flows through the valleys of Pahalgam, and will be your companion for the most part of your trip here.
During the winter months, parts of the river freezes and truly turns into a wonder!
How to reach Pahalgam
Pahalgam is 2.5 hours away from Srinagar. You can easily drive down here via the NH 44 which is the longest running National Highway in the country. On your way to Pahalgam you can stop at the Saffron fields and the Apple Orchards.
Local commute within Pahalgam
The taxi you hire from Srinagar will only be able to drop you off in Pahalgam.
You cannot use the same cab for local sightseeing. The local taxi union restricts the cabs plying from Srinagar to take tourists to places like Betaab Valley, Chandanwari, or Aru Valley.
For visiting local attractions, you will have to rent another cab from Pahalgam itself. Depending on the places you want to visit and the kind of car you hire, the cost varies!
Where to stay in Pahalgam?
When it comes to stay, Pahalgam has a lot of options to choose from. However, the hotels in Pahalgam are slightly at the pricey end. During the Amarnath yatra, the prices shoot up even further!
If you are looking for budget stays then I would recommend staying near Aru Valley as the place offers a rooms in the range of INR 800-1000.
Checkout the hotel we stayed at here – Hotel Sparrow
Days required to explore Pahalgam
No amount of days will be enough to explore the beauty of Pahalgam. If you are a trek enthusiast then there is so much to do that even a week won’t be enough!
But, if you are on a tight schedule then 2 days are more than enough to cover all that I have mentioned here.
I hope you enjoyed this blog and it helps you plan the perfect trip to Pahalgam. If you have any other queries, then drop them in the comments section below. I will get back to you soon :). If you are planning a short getaway to Kashmir, then do check out this blog – Three days in Kashmir – The perfect itinerary
Until then, see you next time!
4 thoughts on “Pahalgam – Ultimate Travel Guide and Itinerary”
Very informative! 👍