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If people go that far to take out quick personal loans and travel to Jammu and Kashmir, one can only imagine how many attractions are there. This week, we are taking you to such a gem in Kashmir.

Pahalgam throws many lures at tourists. Situated at the confluence of streams that flow from the Lidder River and Sheshnag Lake, Pahalgam was once a humble herding town with a breathtaking panorama. This city is more lively during the summer and at the time of Amarnath Yatra (pilgrimage to ‘Ice-lingam’). As the hot days begin in other parts of the country, the laid-back town of Pahalgam awakens to welcome a horde of tourists to their favorite summer spot in Kashmir.

Despite being a small town, Pahalgam packs in an incredible amount when it comes to tourism. On the way to Pahalgam, stop at Mughal Gardens. A hundred varieties of blooming flowers is a satiating sight to behold. The ruins of two temples at Avantipur near Pahalgam, a step back in time, are a must see. Mattan is another Hindu pilgrimage with many springs full of fresh trout flowing nearby. Visit Mamaleshwara on the opposite side of Lidder, which is home to a 12th century Shiv temple in the time of King Jayasima.

Apart from the pilgrimage season, this is a good place for hiking, pony rides, or just enjoying the healthy mountain air. Pahalgam is a hiker’s paradise like no other. Tourists love the long climb to high-altitude lakes like Kounsarnag, Nandakol, Sheshnag, and Gangabal to catch freshwater trout. No traveler will miss a pony trek to Lake Tulian at an altitude of 3,350 meters, where the views are simply stupendous. It is covered in ice most of the year. The same can be said for Lake Sheshnag, which is located on the way to Amarnath Cave.

Hajan or Betaab Valley (Bollywood movie Betaab was filmed here) on the way to Chandanwari from Pahalgam is a heavenly place for a picnic. Chandanwari is best known as the starting point of the Amarnat pilgrimage. Continue to Sheshnag, Panchtarni and finally the Amarnath cave temple. Panchtarni, an incredibly beautiful place hidden at the foot of Mount Bhairav, boasts of having 5 rivers. Pilgrims often camp here on their way to Amarnath Cave.

Aru, a picturesque town near Pahalgam, is the first step on the way to the world famous Kolohai Glacier. From here you can also walk to Sonamarg, known as the gateway to the land of the moon. In Aru one will often find the Gujars, living in their ramshackle with their flock of sheep and long pansies. A short distance from Pahalgam is Baisaran surrounded by a thick forest of pine, fir, cedar and snow scattered over the Lidder Valley. These are the most frequented walks in Pahalgam.

Anantnag, which is just an hour from Pahalgam, has several springs and ponds. Sulfur springs are found in this region that are believed to have healing properties and the water is used in traditional treatment. According to the myth, the largest spring is the home of Ananta, the king of snakes.

Pahalgam does not excite buyers except for wool products like Gabbas and Namdas. Pampore, near Pahalgam, is the center of the Kashmir saffron industry. Saffron, carefully extracted from native flowers, is a bit expensive due to its unique coloring and flavoring properties. Succumb to the power of the Himalayas, a world far from routine and stress.

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