Adventurous pony ride at Pahalgam

By Shreya Dalela
From National Institute of Technology, Silchar
Posted May 22nd 2013 4:30AM

Pahalgam is a small but beautiful town in the Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir. It's known for the wonderful views of the Baisaran valley, Pahalgam valley and the Lidder river that flows adjacent to the road. It's a dream hill spot at an elevation of 2740 meters above sea level when it is covered in snow.

How to reach there?
Once you reach Srinagar through flight or train, Pahalgam is just at a two and a half hour drive away. If however you are staying at Jammu, you will have to travel for about 8 hours to reach this place via shared minibus or taxi.

Where to stay?
If you are staying in Srinagar, you can travel to and fro from Pahalgam within a day and stay in the hotels in Srinagar. If you are keen on spending the night in Pahalgam, a large number of hotels provide accommodation there.

Where to eat?
Once you reach Pahalgam via taxi, you will find a number of food joints at the point from where you hire ponies for reaching the Baisaraan valley. Even at Baisaraan valley, you will find Maggi and fast food stalls where you can enjoy the warm food while sitting near the heater that runs on coal.

What about the climate?
Just like all other places in Kashmir, the place has two unbelievably beautiful faces. One in the spring when the valley boasts of lush green grass and flowers and one of extremely cold winters during which the place is covered with thick snow. You may choose to visit in either of the times depending on your liking. We visited during the end of December and it was a vacation we can never forget.

We embarked on our journey from Srinagar early in the morning after having a heavy breakfast at our hotels and reached Pahalgam. We had coffee from the food joints where the taxi was stationed as the journey ahead could be covered only on ponies due to the slippery and unleveled terrain owing to the snow covered tracks. At that instant, breeze blew and few extremely small snowdrops fell on us creating moments of ecstasy for all of us. We then hired the ponies and set out on an extremely adventurous and scary journey. The path was narrow and covered with thick ice over which the legs of the pony often slipped, scaring us. The pony riders that accompanied us however kept assuring us on their reliability and their years of experience on that route.

After what seemed like a really long and chilling journey, we reached the splendid valley of Baisaraan which is often referred to as 'Mini Switzerland'. After reaching there we could only marvel at the beauty of the vast expanse of land that was covered with snow and surrounded by snow capped mountains. The reflected rays of the sun, along with the pink clouds, formed a picturesque view. By the time we reached the valley, we were so cold that the first thing we did to have a plate of Maggi and omelette each. We found some salesmen selling beautiful stoles made of wool that was the softest we had ever touched. Though they were a bit expensive, we bought a few since it's these stoles that the place is known for. We spent some time walking on snow, playing with it and posing on it. After that, we returned on the back of our ponies for the ride back. By the end of it all, our backs were aching but we really did have the best time ever.
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