8 Things to Do in Pahalgam in the Winter


Are you planning a winter trip to a scenic destination in the mountains? Then I recommend set your course to Pahalgam, Kashmir. This destination is also known as the “Mini Switzerland of Kashmir.” We have compiled a travel guide with 8 practical things to do in Pahalgam in the winter. Learn about the top attractions in Pahalgam, Kashmir, and how to make this trip a memorable one.

About Pahalgam

Pahalgam is in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, a famous tourist destination. It is famous for having the nearest annual pilgrimage, the Amarnath Yatra, as this destination is just 45km away from Anantnag district. Due to its high altitude, the climate of Pahalgam is cool. August is the hottest month, with a temperature of 25°C, and January is the coolest month, with a temperature of -8 °C.

In winter, you can enjoy snow falling, which starts at the end of October and continues until January. This destination is famous for its panoramic natural beauty, as it is situated on the bank of the Lidder River. Lush green surroundings and the snow-covered mountains of the Himalayan range are enough to capture the attention of tourists.

Tourists can connect with nature and enjoy many activities in Pahalgam, as the resort is not only famous for its beauty but also offers a lot to do. Here, you can enjoy rafting in the Lidder River, fishing, trekking, and skating in the high Himalayan mountains, enjoying nature by camping, horseback riding in the green meadows of Pahalgam, and shopping by buying Kashmiri shawls, handicrafts, and carpets. Now let’s explore the 8 things to do in Pahalgam in the winter.

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1. Visit Aru Valley

Aru Valley
Aru Valley

Aru is a small village and a tourist destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers. This valley is 12km from Pahalgam, and 45 minutes are required to reach the valley. The distance can be covered by a private car, or a taxi can be hired. You have to pay INR 25 to enter the valley.

This valley is famous for its scenic beauty and wildlife sanctuary. Many rare and endangered species are found in the dense pine forest of the valley. Green meadows and pristine lakes are beautiful and have a peaceful environment to enjoy the natural beauty. 

The best time to visit this valley is from July to September, but due to snowfall in winter, the mountains are covered with snow and become the best place for skiing. Nature lovers can enjoy the beauty of the Aru River, green meadows, and high snow-capped mountains, as well as the flora and fauna of the forest.

Also Read: 8 Top Offbeat Places in Kashmir in summer

The valley also has a lot for adventure enthusiasts, as this valley serves as a base camp for trekking to Tarsar, Marsar Lake, and Kolahoi Glacier. One of the things to do in Pahalgam is hike in the valley. There are also other small trails for trekking. You can ride a pony or horse in the green meadows of the valley by paying INR 1,000 to INR 1,500 per person. Camping, fishing, and snowboarding are also enjoyable activities in Aru Valley.

2. Visit Betaab Valley

Betaab Valley
Betaab Valley

Betaab Valley is also one of the sub-valleys in Kashmir. This valley is 15km from Pahalgam and is famous for its picturesque view. The Bollywood movie Betaab, featuring Sunny Deol and Amrita Singh, was shot in this valley and then got its name Betaab. This beautiful landscape was under Mughal rule before the early 15th century.

This valley is settled between two Himalayan ranges, Pir Panjal and Zanskar, on the way to Amaranth temple. It is a base camp for tourists who want to enjoy trekking for further discovery. You have to pay an entry fee of INR 100 for the valley.

Meadows are lush green, and streams flow through snow-covered mountains, presenting a majestic valley overview. This beautiful landscape is the best option for romantic couples to capture their memories in the beauty of nature.

Also Read: Is it a safe Kashmir trip with 2-year kids in winter

One of the things to do in Pahalgam is rent Kashmiri dresses. By paying just INR 60, you can rent out the dress and click out a beautiful couple of shots. The valley is also adorned with deodar trees and pine trees in its surroundings, which make the valley full of greenery.

3. Tulian Lake Adventure

Tulian Lake
Tulian Lake

Tulian Lake is an alpine lake tucked 16km from Pahalgam in the Southwest. This lake has 3684 altitudes, and the lake is surrounded by 4800-meter-high mountains on three sides. Lake water is bluish-green, and sometimes, due to low temperatures, you can see chunks of ice floating on the lake.

This lake has a highly peaceful environment and is the best option for photography. Photographers can click on pictures of beautiful surroundings and snow-covered mountains, presenting a fantastic view to enjoy.

The trek to access the lake is quite steep. Thus, the lake is a great attraction for adventure seekers, as to reach there, you have to cover the trek by trekking. This trek takes two days to reach here and is accomplished in three parts. This is another great thing to do in Pahalgam.

The first is starting from the base, and then, in the second, you come across a beautiful valley on the bank of the river L. Then, by starting from the valley, you will reach Tulian Lake. It takes two days to reach the lake, but this trek can also be covered by hiring a pony that will cover this trek in one day. 

Also Read: Is it safe to travel to Kashmir in April with a 2-year-old

4. Explore the snow falling at Chandanwari. 

Chandanwari is a beautiful place located in Anantnag district, 16km from Pahalgam, at 2895 meters above sea level. You can easily reach here by hiring a taxi from Pahalgam Village Taxi, as a taxi from outside the village is not allowed. You can visit this valley from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The place’s popularity is due to its scenic beauty and serene atmosphere.

You can relax from the hectic routine of the city and enjoy the beauty of nature. The valley is also vital for pilgrims; it is the starting point for the Amarnath Yatra. This yatra is an annual pilgrimage for Hindus.

This valley has many exciting activities to do, such as sledding on an ice bridge in winter, which is an exciting sport. By paying INR 300 for one round, you can enjoy this sport. The winter season is the best time to indulge in snow sports, and a snow festival is arranged every year in January. At this festival, sledding races, skiing races, and other snow sports are arranged by the government, and you can enjoy many of these activities. This festival is the reason to add exploring Chandanwari to the list of things to do in Pahalgam.

Also Read: What to pack for the Kashmir trip in October

5. Visit Baisaran, the “Mini Switzerland of India.

Baisaran Pahalgam
Baisaran Pahalgam

Baisaran is a green hilltop located 5km from Pahalgam, and you can reach it here by pony ride. Still, if you are physically fit and an adventure lover, then hiking is an excellent option to reach Baisaran. This place was nicknamed the “Mini Switzerland of India” due to its mesmerizing beauty.

The valley is full of green meadows and is surrounded by high mountains, which are fully covered with snow. The pristine white snow on these mountains gives a picturesque view for photography. It has dense pine forests, and the wildlife in these forests is quite interesting. 

This offbeat place is entirely free from pollution, and you can enjoy remarkable free time in the company of nature. Nature enthusiasts can find a lot to see, and it also serves as a base camp for trekking to Tulian Lake. Here, adventure seekers can also indulge in ziplining, zorbing, horseback riding, and pony rides. All great things to do in Pahalgam.

Also Read: Month Is Best To Visit Kashmir

6. Visit Kolahoi Glacier 

Kolahoi Glacier is located in the Northwestern Himalayan range and 26km north of Pahalgam. The altitude of this glacier is 15,400 feet, and the trek is full of stunning scenery. This glacier is Kashmir’s biggest glacier and is a water source for the Jhelum River, which is a blessing for Kashmir to use for agricultural purposes.

This glacier also provides water to the East Lidder near Amarnath and the West Lidder near Pahalgam. The trek to Glacier is classified as easy to moderate, and if you are physically fit, you can cover this easily. 

Aru Valley is easily accessible by car and serves as a starting point for a route to Kolahoi Glacier. Due to reaching a high altitude, you can suffer from mountain sickness, and cider also has some risks, due to which it is recommended to see it from a certain distance, as walking near it can be dangerous.

While trekking the route, one can see the beautiful snow-capped mountains and captivating views and enjoy the beauty of nature. The trail of Kolahoi didn’t involve any skills, and anyone with physical fitness can cover this. Passing through the green meadows of Aru Valley, you will see dense forest throughout the trek. This glacier is called the Goddess of Light by locals because it is the primary water source for rivers.

7. Enjoy a Shikara Ride on the Lidder River

Lidder River
Lidder River

Another thing that you can do in Pahalgam in winter is to enjoy a shikhara ride on the Lidder River that originates from the Kolahoi glacier. This river is 73 km long and has crystal-clear water. Pine forests and snow-capped mountains surround this river so that you can enjoy a fantastic view. As the river is in the scenic Lidder Valley, you will enjoy lush green and beautiful valley views reflecting in the crystal-clear river while sitting on the bank of this river. 

A shikara is a traditional wooden boat. It is the best accommodation for up to four people. You will enjoy colorful cushions, beautiful carpets, and many luxury items in the shikhara while having a ride. Shikara can be booked hourly from the main market in Pahalgam.

You will enjoy a beautiful bird’s-eye view, a snow-capped mountain view, and a pine forest view on the banks while having a ride in Shikara. The river also has some islands, so you can stop there for rest and pictures. One of the famous islands is the beautiful Char Chinar Island.

8. Visit Lidder Amusement Park.

Lidder Amusement Park
Lidder Amusement Park : CC Picnicwale

Lidder Amusement Park is located on the bank of the Lidder River and is the best option for adventure, fun, and entertainment. This park has a lot to offer. You can enjoy multiple games and rides there, regardless of age and gender. Snow-capped mountains and scenic views will make you feel mentally fresh and calm. You can also enjoy paddle boat rides, bumping car rides, and an arcade. 

The best visiting hours for this park are from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. For winter, it is the best option to visit because of its refreshing contrast.

Which is more beautiful, Gulmarg or Pahalgam?

Both sites have their pros and cons, but in general, both places are beautiful. If you are interested in more scenic views, then visit the Gulmarg. You will enjoy the highest gondola ride and ski resort experience there. If you love more peace and less crowded areas, you can visit Pahalgam. You will enjoy valleys and lakes with beautiful, lush green views there. So, Pahalgam is a more peaceful and spiritual place. 

Is one day enough in Pahalgam?

Actually, more than one day is needed to visit Pahalgam as it has a lot to offer. But if you have a time shortage and want to visit Pahalgam, then early in the morning and first visit the Betaab valley. Then, visit the Chandanwari Valley. After having your lunch, visit Aru Valley and Baisaran Valley. That’s all you can visit in a day, so you should return to your residence by evening. 

Pack Your Winter Gear!

This is all about 8 things to do in Pahalgam in the winter. Pahalgam, located in Kashmir, is a paradise on earth, and its valleys are unmatchable in natural beauty. These valleys are famous for their uniqueness and tranquility in natural beauty, and Pahalgam is one of these beautiful places.

The sub-valleys near Pahalgam have a peaceful environment, and you can enjoy many outdoor activities in these tourist destinations. In winter, the mountains are covered with snow, and you can enjoy skiing on these steep hills.

The crystal-clear water of streams and rivers in valleys has a soothing effect on the soul. If you want to travel towards Pahalgam, especially in winter, then pack your woolen clothes and thick blankets because it is a perception about Kashmir that it is unbearable in winter.

Stay tuned for more adventure guides from Salam Travellers.

Ajmal Sheikh

A Travel Blogger

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