Camping is one activity which promises a quaint camping holiday in the heart of Kashmir. The rich green valley dotted with pine trees and the beautiful Lidder River which adds beauty to the scene. At the meadows, over a dozen tents show how much interested tourists are in camping.
While camping at Pahalgam some short trips and excursions to nearby Tarsar & Marsar Lakes in upper Dachigam and then to Lidderwat, Sheshnag, Panchtarni and Baltal make the best of camping times. Then you can camp and embark on short trips and get some trekking experience also which allows the tourists to unfold many unseen areas.
Tour organizers usually instruct people to be camping ready by bringing the essentials, which are apt for the season and general camping needs. However, if you can bring some extra tidbits, it ups the experience quotient much higher and then everyone benefits. Here are some of our recommendations. You can also bring your own items:
Mint Lozenges High altitudes and low temperatures can congest some chests at night. Mint or menthol lozenges can come handy. A nasal decongestant can be added to your list.
An extra hanging Lamp Though tour operators have everything on them, and organize a camp fire at night but an extra lamp can enliven your spot especially after the fire has died out. One small lamp can brighten up the locale so much, everyone will be amazed.
Glucose Powder/Tabs Sometimes high altitudes make you nauseate and you don’t feel like eating. Popping a couple of glucose tabs helps you to maintain your energy.
Antacid Tab/Liquid The cook’s food on the tour may not suit everyone your taste or stomach which can result in bloating. Antacid pouch/tablet/liquid is easy to carry and easily helps from breaking the overall tour.
Some Fine Sewing NeedlesMany a time thorns and bushes may pierce awkwardly on our skin. Removing them is necessary else it can mar your entire trip. A fine needle comes handy. By chance if any dress is torn out, a sewing needle at least can help you tide over the situation. (Note, a strong thread is also welcome, and a slightly thick thread for stitching your luggage)
NOTE: There is a difference in camping and staying at hotels. Do not expect same levels of luxury like room service.
How to Reach Pahalgam
Pahalgam unfortunately does not have any airport and depends on the closest one in Srinagar, which is 90 km away. This Sheikh-Ul-Alam Airport has excellent connectivity with Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Jammu and provides quick service to the tourists.
Cabs and taxis can be hired from the airport to reach Pahalgam. If you are a couple, you can also use a shared taxi and pay only a fraction of the fare needed for a full taxi. It is best to negotiate with only one cab else noisy scenes result if you turn to another vendor.
Udhampur is a nearest railway station at 220 km, then the next nearest is Katra, 270 km and the farthest is Jammu, 285 km away, that connect Pahalgam to the major cities of India. After reaching any of the stations, a private vehicle is required to reach Pahalgam. The travelers have the option of either hiring a private cab or taxi to reach their destination.
Local taxis and cabs are available at Jammu & Udhampur stations for various destinations in the valley. Katra is new on the circuit and not many options exist for travelling further. It is better to get down at Udhampur.
If travelling in a group you can also hire mini buses. We advise to negotiate beforehand and never turn to other operator midway, as noisy scenes are reported. Couples and small families can try hiring a shared taxi and you can save much money travelling.
From Srinagar, Pahalgam is 98 kilometers away. State Road Transport buses, luxury buses and taxis ply to and fro. Buses take around 2.5-3 hours whereas cabs need half the time. The best part being you can halt the cab at any point for clicking pictures.
If you can wait for a few minutes, even rigid cab owners give in to charging per person. This benefits all individual passengers and couples because booking a full cab means paying manifold.
Driving Own Vehicle
If you are travelling on own vehicle we recommend you to change your tyres with those that can handle roads in this region. It can make a huge difference in costing and budget travelers should consider another mode of travel.
Best Time to Visit Pahalgam
The best time for families start from March end onwards. However, it all depends on what temperatures you can withstand and what you are looking for! Every season & every climate has its own merits.
Kashmir has reserved something very unique for every season. For example, Skiing and every snow related activity needs the winter season.
Pahalgam welcomes tourists with open arms throughout the year. The tourists prefer to visit in three distinct seasons: Summers, monsoon and winters. Each has its own merits which tourists like and flock in big numbers.
The summer season in Pahalgam between April and June sees the maximum footfall from general as well as from those participating in the annual Amarnath Yatra. During this season, the weather is pleasant and maybe even a bit warm and favourable for day sightseeing. When planning to stay out please carry a light jacket, just in case the weather sees drastic change. You definitely need light woolens at night because the nights are sometimes chilly. Temperature generally ranges between 11 and 25 degrees.
Winter in Pahalgam is all about fresh, flaky snow and heavy woolens. The temperature usually hovers near sub-zero levels. The season starts in November and continues till February. Sightseeing is minimum as the landscape is white and some more white. However, those interested in skiing and skating (in the rink nearby or on frozen rivers), this is the ideal season as when it snows, it pours and pours. December and January it usually snows heavily.
If you love playing in snow, this is the time for throwing snowballs and making the snowman. Teenagers love the ease by which they roll down hills. They also love the experience when their feet get buried in snow. The chilly winds often play spoilsport making the winter a spine chilling experience.
The rainfall from July to September is scanty but the weather can be extremely humid though it rarely stays for long. The rain seldom spoils your outdoor activities. Couples love the mystic environs as the hovering clouds try filling the valley with their vapours. The skies are generally clear and are great for stargazing.
This is also the offseason period and my tourists prefer visiting Pahalgam now. The tourism industry rains freebies in a bid to welcome the meager tourists.
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