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7 BEST Places to Visit in Pahalgam in Winter, Kashmir

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“Agar firdaus bar roo-e zameen ast, hameen ast-o hameen ast-o hameen ast” – “If there is a paradise on earth, it is here, it is here, it is here”, said Amir Khusro on Kashmir, and rightly so! Kashmir is Paradise on Earth regardless of the season you become its guest. Kashmir is the greatest winter destination in India, with Pahalgam as its unofficial winter capital. The Land of the Shepherds changes colours with each season – winter being its most beautiful hue.

The town resonates with immeasurable beauty and revels in snow-capped mountains, frozen rivers, and snow-sprinkled deodars and pine trees. There are many places to visit in Pahalgam in winter that will make you wish to live there forever. The town is a potpourri of opportunities, making it the perfect place to witness a sombre snowfall, among other things to do in Pahalgam in winter. It makes up for the best one-day detour in Kashmir that you must do when visiting this Paradise on Earth.

Top 8 Places to Visit in Pahalgam in Winter, Kashmir

1. Aishmuqam – A Mesmerising Mazaar

Aishmuqam
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If you have seen Bollywood’s Bajrangi Bhaijaan, you have already witnessed the beauty of this mazaar in its ‘bhar do jholi meri’. Aishmuqam is a beautiful shrine or ‘dargah’ dedicated to Sheikh Zain-ud-din, painted in hues of green and gold. It is high up on a mountain top that you have to reach by climbing 272 stairs. The view and spiritual vibes here are unmatchable. Even from the base of the hill, you can see clouds and mist forming atop the hill, with the mausoleum playing hide-and-seek behind them. As you climb higher, you will feel closer to God and nature as you witness the ever-changing beauty of Pahalgam with every step you take. The relics of the Sufi saint are enshrined within a cave here that only a few people can view at once.

The shrine is popular among both Muslims and Hindu devotes due to its culturally mixed history. Sheikh Zain-ud-din was born a Hindu prince to King Yash Singh and converted to Islam, keeping his mother’s promise to the legendary Sufi saint Sheikh Noor-ud-din.

2. Mini Switzerland View Point – Baisaran Valley

Baisaran Valley
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The Mini Switzerland View Point is the starting point of the Baisaran Valley trek in Pahalgam. If you’re not up for a trek, you can visit the viewpoint and return. To reach here, you will first have to reach the main parking lot of Pahalgam. As cars are not allowed to travel up to the viewpoint, pony rides are available for you to hop on. There are many horses and ponies available in the parking lot that will take you up the hill to the viewpoint and also take you back for your return journey.

The view from the Mini Switzerland View Point is a beautiful one. It is a far-stretching land covered in snow and surrounded by sky-touching pine trees and deodars. Watching the trees sprinkled with snow in winter is a treat to the eyes. The place will remind you of Khajjiar in Himachal Pradesh! You can have fun here with your friends and family as you play in the snow. Click Instagram-worthy pictures or sledge! Because a lot of trekkers come here, this viewpoint is among the most frequent places to visit in Pahalgam in winter.

3. Baisaran Valley – A Trek for Those Not of a Faint Heart

Baisaran Valley is a beautiful valley in Pahalgam that offers breathtaking views of the surrounding environment and the Lidder River from atop a hill. The trek is 18 kilometres long – around 9 kilometres each way. It starts from the main parking lot of Pahalgam and goes through 6 major viewpoints before reaching the top. One of the points is the Kanimarg Point, which is extremely famous among tourists.

In winter, the whole trek is ridden with inches-deep snow, and it is suggested that you do this trek on a pony instead of on foot. Due to the temperature and difficulty in walking through snow, this trek will be difficult and require more time than usual. A famous stop here is Kanimarg, which literally means “rocky road/earth” because of the rocks that cover the complete path. Be careful while treading this path, as the rocks will be seldom visible and covered with blankets of snow!

When you reach the top, you will see land on one side stretching far and completely covered in snow, and on another side, you will see the valley – with the majestic Lidder slowly making its way across a winding path guarded by trees along with majestic mountains by your side that stand guard to this beautiful valley.

Tip: Buy a pair of snow shoes beforehand; they will come in handy at all the places to visit in Pahalgam in winter!

4. Aru Valley – The Land of Peaches

Aru Valley
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Aru Valley has derived its name from the Urdu/Hindi meaning of the word ‘peach’. It is a beautiful place just 11 kilometres from Pahalgam’s centre. Magnificent trees and snow surround the route to the valley, and the valley’s viewpoint is dotted with colourful buildings and ponies. The vibe here is extremely aesthetic. Aru Valley is on top of the list of places to visit in Pahalgam in winter due to its extravagant scenery. Vibrant wildflowers and winding streams beautify this tranquil valley, producing a scene that enthrals tourists. Aru is well known for its calm and quiet, providing a pleasant haven for both adventure seekers and nature lovers.

The valley is the starting point for several hiking paths that lead visitors to discover the unspoiled splendour of the neighbouring mountains. The Lidder River also passes through Aru, which has a picturesque appeal. Activities available to visitors include camping, horseback riding, and just taking in the beauty of nature. Aru Valley is a refuge for people looking for a restorative getaway in the heart of the Himalayas because of its beautiful surroundings and the kind hospitality of the inhabitants.

5. Betaab Valley – One of the Most Loved Places to Visit in Pahalgam in Winter

Betaab Valley
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Betaab Valley got its name after the movie Betaab was shot here. It is a beautiful place just next to Aru Valley and is the most sought-after location in Pahalgam. The Lidder River runs through this valley, and you will get mesmerising views and photo opportunities here. It is a beautiful place dotted with long deodars and pines, covered completely in snow, giving you the Narnia experience. The stones in the river get completely covered in snow during the winter months and look magical.

The valley is a refuge of natural beauty, surrounded by towering snow-capped peaks, crystal-clear streams, and lush green meadows. It is nestled within the Pir Panjal range. The Lidder River adds to its picturesque appeal. Encircled by thick pine and deodar trees, Betaab Valley offers a tranquil haven for both nature lovers and thrill-seekers. The peacefulness and expansive views of the terrain make it a well-liked location for hiking, camping, and photography, giving guests a peek of the Kashmir Valley’s unspoiled splendour.

6. Chandanwari – The Start of the Amarnath Yatra

Chandanwari is a beautiful stretch of land that acts as the starting point of the famous Amarnath Yatra. From here, pilgrims walk for 3 days to reach the holy shrine of Baba Barfani. You can enjoy the scenic views here. Everything is covered in snow – everywhere you look, you will find blankets of snow wrapping around the valley in their arms. You will also come across small streams of water – some might even be frozen! The river here gets frozen in the winter, and you can actually stand upon it!

As this is the starting point of the holy Amarnath Yatra, there are many places here for you to have food. Some shops also sell traditional Kashmiri products like woollens and tea for you to take home as souvenirs. Chandanwari is next to Betaab Valley, and you can visit Aru Valley, Betaab Valley and Chandanwari in one go. It is one of the best places to visit in Pahalgam in winter due to its enchanting scenery and magical snow.

7. Sheshnaag River and Lake – A Hidden Gem in Chandanwari

The frozen river and small streams in Chandanwari are from the Sheshnaag River that meanders along this area. Chandanwari is also the starting point for a lesser-known trek called the Sheshnaag River trek that takes you through the winding paths the river travels to its starting point – the Sheshnaag Lake. It is a beautiful lake believed to have been created by the King of Serpents – Sheshnaag. The lake is of great importance in Hindu mythology, and many pilgrims perform this trek when going for Amarnath Yatra. It is a short one-day trek that you can try as well if you have time on your hands!

5 Best Things to Do in Pahalgam in Winter

Horse and Pony Riding

Horse and Pony Riding
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The snow-covered paths of Pahalgam offer a fantastic opportunity for one to ride a horse to each of the places to visit in Pahalgam in winter. You will find horses everywhere that you can ride at every one of the places mentioned above. It is a thrilling experience to go horse riding when there is snow around you.

Trekking

Trekking
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Pahalgam is famous for its treks. You can trek to the Mini Switzerland Viewpoint, Baisaaran Valley, Sheshnaag Lake and more on your trip to Pahalgam. Ensure you are fit enough for these treks in winter, as the snow makes it difficult for one to climb higher easily.

Witness the Snowfall

Witness the Snowfall
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Snowfall in Pahalgam is magical. Feel the soft flakes of snow falling on your face and relish their magic. It is a rare experience to witness and feel the snow falling from the sky. Behold as the flakes cover the areas that surround you as you sip a cup of Kahwa tea.

Relax and Unwind

Pahalgam is the perfect place to relax and unwind away from the bustle of Srinagar. You can relax by the tranquil Lidder River as you take in the beauty and snow-covered greenery of the town.

Interact with the Locals

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The locals here are very sweet and friendly, and you can interact with them to learn more about their lives and how they spend their time in such a beautiful town.

Shopping in Pahalgam

Although Pahalgam is not a shopping hub, you can find top-notch saffron here – people from all over the world visit Kashmir to buy this saffron! You can also find Kashmiri pherans, caps, and shawls here to keep you warm or as souvenirs.

Tips for Touring the Places to Visit in Pahalgam in Winter

 Ensure that you buy snow boots as there is heavy and deep snowfall here – you don’t want your shoes and socks to get wet!

· Many locations, such as Aru Valley and Chandanwari, might be closed due to heavy snowfall, so ensure they’re open before heading out to them.

· If you can, travel by a Kashmir tour package where you will be provided with a cab and a driver that will take you sightseeing in Pahalgam – they will also know of any road blockages and weather conditions

· Although Pahalgam can be toured in a day, you can stay the night here and make it a two-day trip if you want to explore every place here!

Conclusion

Pahalgam, located in the centre of the Himalayas, is a winter paradise that goes beyond typical travel experiences. The places to visit in Pahalgam in winter tell a story of natural beauty and cultural diversity, from the magnificent Lidder River to the snow-capped hills and charming Betaab Valley. Here, embrace the calm of winter when each snowfall enhances the beauty of the surroundings. Discover undiscovered places, bask in the warmth of friendly locals, and unearth hidden treasures. Whether you want to go skiing or hiking or take in peace, your journey in Pahalgam awaits as you organise your winter getaway and discover the mysteries of this Himalayan treasure!

Riddhi Sompura
Riddhi Sompura
Riddhi Sompura- Content Writer at The India Explorer Riddhi, our experienced content writer at The India Explorer, is a passionate traveler and a skilled storyteller. Join Riddhi on a journey of discovery as she unveils India's rich cultural heritage, stunning landscapes and hidden gems, inspiring wanderlust and encouraging meaningful exploration along the way.

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