Approach to Pahalgam

Road links, air travel and Indian Railways

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Pahalgam is well connected by road. Of course you will have to either fly to Srinagar, or take a train uptil Jammu or now Udhampur

P a h a l g a m is situated 96 kilometers (60 miles) east of Srinagar. If you fly into Srinagar, the summer capital of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, you can reach Pahalgam by a taxi. There are private and public buses that ply between Srinagar and Pahalgam as well. The public buses are run by the J&K State Road Transport Corporation.

Travelogue - travel to Kashmir (Copyright Check out the drive in Pictures All thumbnails | Flash Slideshow
Date: June 10, 2006 -> Jalandhar to pathankot is a two lane highway. Left jalandhar at 810 am. Drive mostly though Hoshiarpur district of Punjab. Cross Himachal pradesh twice between Mukerian and Pathankot. Gas prices are very high in Punjab, so just makes sense in buying gas anywhere, but not in Punjab. Cross river Beas at this point. It was dismaying to find that the entire big river was all but dried up. four laning of Jalandhar Pathankot highway is about to begin - we did see some boards laid out to that efect, but no work has started yet. A few kms again in Kangra. Got petrol fillled up which was Rs2 cheaper than Punjab. Cross Jai Ma Durge temple with a tall Shiv idol outside. 114 KM before jammu just outside pathankot 4km. Army training range outside. There is an airstrip in Pathankot ? the airport is about 4 km from city see the directions. Jammu is 105 from the other end of pathankot. Time is 1020 am. And Srinagar exactly
400 km. There is no bypass to pathankot, and directions within the city confusing at best. Sujanpur just outside has many petrol pumps. And some vaishno dhabas. So a place where one could stop by for a cup of tea.
Madhopur is the border on the Punjab side - Lakhanpur on J&K side. The excise toll post at lakhanpur is a pain. Can easily take anywhere between 5 to 20 minutes with just one lane open for cars (though there are 5 lanes). Just beyond is the famous market for 'laddoo' chaat - balls of dal or lentil flour. Stopped and savoured them. Left at 1130. The toll charge was Rs125 - which also included toll for Quazigund - for later on arrival in Kashmir valley. Entered kathua. 83 km short of jammu. Crossed other dry river bed, with a temple constructed on the side. The road just before kathua is low. And in rainy months one can expect to drive through channels of water on the crests on the road. One shiv temple under construction. And qanother temple 36 km febore kathua; this whole stretch has scores of temples of worship in all. Area is dryland with stone queries and brick kilns. Including gurudwaras and sai baba mandir 17 km from kathua (163 km from Jalandhar). Bein bridge under construction 13 km before Samba. Area has many excavations.
At 1235 crossed over to Dhar road which can save at least one hour by bypassing Jammu and connecting directly to Udhampur. The route is shorter by 30-35 KM, and one can avoid a lot of Jammu bound NH1A traffic. But there is a price to pay in terms of broken stretches of road. There are good chances that you would not be allowed on this road if you are amarnath yatra bound yatris. Expect minimal roadside vehicle repair points. Would avoid most of heavy large vehicular traffic. 10 km before mansar lake is a small landslide spot. Very muddy hills, not good in rainy or windy days. 3 km from mansar. Road gets better after mansar. Rail bridges 14 km before Udhampur and pine trees start and weather tends to get a milder durin summers. Some 228 km before Srinagar, the dhar road joins NH1A. Time 2:05 pm. crossed chenani at 240, while gaininh height.
Patni top patisa nashree viewpoint on way to batote pic697 . Had rice rajma in pure desi ghee at peeda and left at 500 pm. Brathtaking view of baglihar project on chenab . Ramsu 605.ramsuis low, as is ramban.there is climp up and then down between two.640 banihal. After tunnel quazigund 17 miles. Tunnel 2525m. Gas averagw honda city 297 miles for 1600 rupees or for 32.5 litres.

Amarnath Yatra
Date: June 21, 2006 -> Tata Sumo is the vehicle of choice for going from Pahalgam to Chandanwari. The cost is Rs600 for the entire vehicle one way, or one could take a seat on a per seat basis (negotiable). For Amarnath Yatra, the vehicles line up at the security checkpoint at Laripora village (2km from Pahalgam towards Chandanwari) where they are allowed to go ahead at a certain time early in the morning (between 6:00 AM and 7:00 AM).
Local commuter mini-bus service is also available, but is generally used only by the locals.
The vehicles are reserved in advance from Pahalgam Taxi Stand. There are more than a hundred of such Sumo Taxis available, and most are generally busy during the yatra period, so booking in advance is highly recommended. The taxis make five to six trips to Chandanwari everyday during the Yatra period.
The road from Pahalgam to Chandanwari has been notoriously bad for all these years ? in fact there hardly has been any road. But in March 2006 the entire stretch has been laid well with good quality macadamized road, though its still one lane. But most of the drivers are very well versed with each and every curve and turn on the 12 odd km stretch. The steep curves and the high speeds can make the ride very exciting, but spend your time looking outside at the meandering river Lidder flowing below with gushing waters and steep drops. And don?t miss the view of the mouth of the lidder valley as you leave it behind when you take the height; and the many water falls you see on the way. Only in five miles you will see on your right a widening of the valley as the Lidder calms down over a flat land. Localites fondly remember the location for the ?shooting? of the famous hindi movie Betaab. This was the place where the farmhouse that was the centerpiece of the movie, was set up. As you drive up, you will see directions to Shiv Temple Cave, at Shivmarg. This is not a well known temple, apparently having come there in past few years. Try to stop by and take a look if you can; but the taxi Sumos would not.
The taxi stand is one and a half km short of Chandanwari snow bridge. Expect to be encountered by a horde of ?ghorewalas?. Now if you have not already arranged for a pony (or a horse, however you would like to call the animal), this is your ?moment of truth?! Getting the right pony and the right pony-wallah is crucial to a good, well organized and safe yatra experience.
There are three basic categories of ponies and pony-wallahs. The first category are the ponies and ponywallahs that belong to Pahalgam and surrounding areas. These are experienced ponies and experienced guides who have traversed the yatra route multiple times ? even the ponies understand the route. The second broad category is the gujjars who jump into the fray to make some money during yatra days. Their ponies are actually ?ponies? - smaller built and also not too familiar with the route peculiarities. They may come at a slightly lower rate, but the gujjars lack professionalism ? and that, like in any other service profession, has its own value. Professionalism means that the guy keeps an eye on the rider all the time, it means when to hold the horse or the rider during a steep climb down, it means to be not only timely with lunch breaks, but to be able to guide and suggest as to how much time is good for a break, etc.
The third type is the ponies and their owners who come all the way from Katra (in Jammu) specifically for Amarnath Yatra. Of course, their knowledge of local terrain, language and experience is limited. By one account there are just 1,200 ponies which actually belong to the Pahalgam area, out of a total of about 10,000 that may be active on the route on a yatra day.
The ponies themselves are a stretched lot: not very long ago, the ponies were awarded a day of rest after every two or three days of labor, which means a day off for rest after every trip to Amarnath. But not any more. They work continuously for ten days and even more before they are rewarded with a day of rest.

If you drive to the Kashmir valley from Jammu, the summer capital city, you can proceed to Srinagar, or may choose to take a diversion to Pahalgam near the district headquarters of Anantnag. Pahalgam and Srinagar are each about 55 kms from Anantnag. If you were to drive directly between Srinagar and Pahalgam, there is a shorter, direct route that takes about three and a half hours. The state road conditions may not be best, hence be wary of depending on any co-relation between the distance, and the travel time. Some of the small bridges on the state roads could be tree-trunk bridges, creaky and scary. But they work fine for the traffic, provided one drives carefully. Extensive night time travel is not advised.

Jammu is very well connected with the rest of the India with the road and the railways system (Click here to download Indian Railways Time Table - July, 2004). A project is underway to extend the rail reach to the town of Udhampur en route to the Kashmir valley. Some work is also going on to establish a railway line in the Kashmir valley, albeit not connected to the main Indian Railway network. One could fly to Srinagar from Jammu, Amritsar in Punjab, or from New Delhi. State run Indian Airlines, as well as now some private airlines operate flights to Srinagar.

The road to Pahalgam can be taken to Khannabal or alternatively from Bijbehara villages from National Highway NH1A. Every sort of transport to suit every budget from Buses to Taxis ply on this Highway. It takes around 10 to 12 hours to cross this mountainous road, which crosses some beautiful spots and the famous Jawahar Tunnel linking Kashmir Valley with India. Bus service is available from Srinagar and Anantnag, which leave at fixed time from the Bus stands. Taxis and other sort of transport can be hired from Srinagar at pre-fixed rates. Assistance is available at Tourist Reception Centre, Srinagar. On Road to Pahalgam one comes across the beautiful Lidder Valley with important spots of Mattan and Aishmuqam.

Best time to Visit Pahalgam The weather in Pahalgam is alpine. Summers (April-June) are mild while winters (November-February) are cold. It experiences rains between July and September. It experiences heavy snowfall from December to February.

Travel to Pahalgam Udhampur Railways Bridge Construction

By Road

National Highway 1-A, connecting Srinagar with Jammu, is a good, all-weather road with several sharp inclines and hairpin bends. It is maintained by the Border Roads Organization (BRO), which clears the road of any obstructions resulting from natural causes like landslides and heavy snowfall. The famous Jawahar Tunnel that connects Jammu with the Kashmir Valley across the Pir Panjal range falls en route. After Quazikund, take a diversion from Anantnag to Pahalgam

Super deluxe, A-class, B-class busses are operated by J&K SRTC as well as other transport agencies. These take approx. 11 hours to cover the journey and the cost per seat in J&K SRTC bus is Rs 150/- for super deluxe, Rs.110/- for A-class and Rs.100/- for B-class coaches
From Delhi an express coach service is available, which takes 26 hours to reach Srinagar at the cost per seat of Rs.750/-. For booking contact J&K SRTC Office, Kanishka Shopping Plaza, Ashok Road, New Delhi. You could take a bus or taxi to Pahalgam.

It is also possible to travel by taxi from Jammu to Pahalgam in about 8 - 10 hours. The cost is Rs.2100/-(Tata Sumo) & Rs.2400/- car taxi. If you are travelling alone, it is worth enquiring at the taxi stand in the Tourist Reception Centre, Jammu (Tel 2546266) about the availability of taking a shared taxi at an approximate cost of Rs.460/- per head in car taxi Rs. 300/- per head in Tata Sumo.

For those wishing to travel to Srinagar by a private car from Jammu, there are several places en route which have been developed for the convenience of the motorist. Among them Jajjar Kotli, Kud, Pantnitop, Batote, Ramban, Banihal and Qazi Gund, all having tourist bungalows and provisions for meals, snacks, petrol pumps and repairs

Please check the latest rates independently

Rent a car to Pahalgam: here

Delhi to Jammu Tawi Trains Time-table (March 2006)
Train No. Train Name Origin Dep.Time Destination Arr.Time Days Of Run Classes
M T W T F S S 1A 2A FC 3A CC SL 2S
2413 JP JAT EXP *DELHI CANTT 21:12 JAMMU TAWI 08:25 Y Y Y Y Y Y Y - -
2425 JAMMU RAJDHANI NEW DELHI 21:00 JAMMU TAWI 05:50 N N N N Y N N - - - -
2445 UTTAR S KRANTI NEW DELHI 20:30 JAMMU TAWI 05:50 Y Y Y Y N Y Y - - -
4033 JAMMU MAIL DELHI 21:10 JAMMU TAWI 10:40 Y Y Y Y Y Y Y - - -
4645 SHALIMAR EXP NEW DELHI 16:05 JAMMU TAWI 06:15 Y Y Y Y Y Y Y - - - -
1077 JHELUM EXPRESS *NEW DELHI 21:50 JAMMU TAWI 11:40 Y Y Y Y Y Y Y - - - -
2473 SARVODAYA EXP *NEW DELHI 05:00 JAMMU TAWI 16:20 N N N N N N Y - - - -
2475 HAPA JAT EXPRES *NEW DELHI 05:00 JAMMU TAWI 16:20 N N N Y N N N - - - -
2477 JAM JAT EXPRESS *NEW DELHI 05:00 JAMMU TAWI 16:20 N N Y N N N N - - - -
9367 MALWA EXPRESS *NEW DELHI 08:10 JAMMU TAWI 18:30 Y Y Y Y Y Y Y - - - -
8101 TATA JAT EXP *NEW DELHI 20:40 JAMMU TAWI 12:05 Y Y Y Y Y Y Y - - - -
06317 MDU JAMMU EXP *NEW DELHI 00:35 JAMMU TAWI 14:45 Y N N N N N N - - - - -
06687 MDU JAMMU EXP *NEW DELHI 00:35 JAMMU TAWI 15:10 N N N Y N N N - - - - -
6031 ANDAMAN EXPRESS *NEW DELHI 00:15 JAMMU TAWI 14:45 N Y N N Y Y N - - - - -
6317 HIMSAGAR EXP *NEW DELHI 00:35 JAMMU TAWI 14:45 Y N N N N N N - - - - -
6687 NAVYUG EXP *NEW DELHI 00:35 JAMMU TAWI 14:45 N N N Y N N N - - - -

The Tourist Reception Centre (TRC), Srinagar is a unique, all-inclusive service, providing various tourist facilities within one complex. Besides housing the offices of the State Department of Tourism and those of the J&K Tourism Development Corporation (JKTDC), it has information counters on almost every activity connected with tourism. These include hotel and houseboat booking counters, Indian Airlines City booking office, booking of J&K TDC accommodation, transport, etc. Also located within the complex are the offices of the Fisheries Department from where fishing permits can be obtained. Next-door are the J&K Transport Corporation (J&KSRTC) booking offices from where bus tickets can be purchased, both for long distance travel (to Pahalgam) and sightseeing trips. The State Bank of India and J&K Bank has a branch each within the TRC where foreign exchange transactions are also made. A post office and a Telecom Centre also function within the TRC for the benefit of the tourists.

May 22, 2004 A tricky task for train to Udhampur
June 3, 2004 Udhampur rail link inauguration likely to be low-key
May 4, 2005 Jammu-Udhampur train Uttar Sampark Kranti Express
May 22, 2004

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A tricky task for train to Udhampur
JJAMMU: Much hype and hoopla has been generated since Commissioner Safety, Railways GP Garg traveled on newly laid Jammu-Udhampur railway track and declared it fit for journey and why not because for the first time passenger trains will run to garrison town of Udhampur.

If everything goes smoothly then the train to Udhampur will start soon as dust generated by power brokers has settled down on the 14th Lok Sabha elections.

But take a walk down the memory lane and it is still fresh in the minds of people when single track railway line on Jammu-Kathua was on the `hit-list` of ultras.

However, they did not succeed in their nefarious designs to blow up the track but many a times railway gangmen detected IEDs and other explosives on the track, particularly in Samba-Vijaypur area.

Besides this Jammu Railway platform shoot out still haunts people when young Lieutenant Triveni Singh sacrificed his life after killing fidayeens responsible for the attack.

Considering several tunnels and bridges in the hilly terrain from where trains have to pass before reaching Udhampur besides presence of ultras in the the region, foolproof security apparatus is in deed needed and furthermore to sustain it, round the clock surveillance is of utmost importance

Before peeping into security aspect of the track, let us have a glimpse of its salient features.

The total length of the track from Jammu to Udhampur covers a distance of 54.5 kilometers having 158 bridges and 20 tunnels. The lengthiest bridge of 1.1 kilometre is on Tawi River while the lengthiest tunnel is Tunnel Number 8 at Chilla spanning 2.5 kilometres. From Jammu to Udhampur, there are five stations.

Talking to KTNS Inspector General of Police (IGP) Crime and Railways, AR Khan said, "we have already sent a proposal to Director General of Police Gopal Sharma regarding requirement of security personnel on the newly-laid track, who in turn has forwarded it to the state government. Now state government has to take up with the Railways authorities as both have to share equal burden on security".

Khan further said, "I don`t know whether state government has taken up the matter with Railways authorities but as and when our proposal gets the nod deployment will be made on the entire track well before running of passenger trains".

"Regarding bridges and tunnels, of course, they will be on priority list and bigger bridges and tunnels will of course be guarded on both the ends to keep saboteurs away", said IGP Crime and Railways.

Elaborating on security aspect of the track, he said, "minimum of 900 men from Government Railway Police (GRP) and Railway Protection Force (RPF) will be deployed and 330 men alone will be meant for patrolling of 54.5 kilometer long track".

He added, "for round the clock vigil two armed personnel would patrol one kilometre in three shifts and this way entire track in break up will be guarded against ultras".

When asked about deployment in tunnels and bridges, IGP Crime and Railways said, "385 security personnel will look after 28 bridges and 21 tunnels considered to be big. Two hundred men will be deployed on both the sides of 21 tunnels at strategic locations while seven major bridges will also have sufficient deployment to thwart any possible attack of saboteurs".

He further said, "two GRP stations with staff in strength at Udhampur and Kishanpur Manwal will provide back up to the deployed men on track besides three GRP posts at Bajalta, Sangad and Udhampur Cantt would also assist in keeping the track away from saboteurs".

However, he admitted that considering difficult terrain and militancy infested region, it would be a Herculean task to look after the track in an effective manner but exuded confidence that like always his men will come up to the mark.

Khan said, "Army on higher reaches in the region may be asked to oversee track including tunnels and bridges. As far as train escort is concerned, within few days I will be leaving for Delhi to sort out the matter with Railway authorities whether the escort will be of RPF or GRP".

He also hinted that, if needed, men from Armed Police might also be requisitioned for the job.

"So far we have effectively and efficiently guarded Jammu-Lakhanpur track besides Jammu Railway Station and we are ready to face the challenge of effectively guarding Jammu-Udhampur track. Ultras would not be allowed to sabotage the track and inflict casualties", were the words of IGP Crime and Railways AR Khan.

Whether words are really converted into deeds or simply vanish in thin air it would be known only when trains to Udhampur start back and forth journeys.

June 3, 2004

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Udhampur rail link inauguration likely to be low-key
JAMMU, June 3: If it`s not the 14th Lok Sabha session then it`s the low profile persona of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh that may be yet another obstacle, responsible for delay in inaugurating the Jammu- Udhampur rail track.
Although the previous NDA government had decided to inaugurate this track through former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee with the aim of `attaching` yet another feather to it`s cap but seems like the present United Progressive Alliance ( UPA) led by Singh has something else in mind.
The buzz in the administrative circles in Delhi has given a totally different direction to this entire railway project. Sources claim that to counter the `popular` strategy of the NDA, the UPA would like to take a different direction and keep this rail inauguration a low key affair with the aim of dedicating the project to the people unlike the previous government who intended to cash on this particular project even during the elections.
The sources also point that although the project has been completed since April- May, the department is still awaiting a formal go ahead from the Ministry of Railways. Reason being, the present government is unable to decide as to how they should go about the entire project.
It may be noted here that the rail track despite being `ready to move` has still not taken off, initially due to the Lok Sabha elections and then due to uncertainty in the parliament. Currently, this track might just be a victim of administrative strategy at the centre. For how long, even the officials don`t know.
Where on one hand the department is awaiting the run of Jammu-Udhampur rail, obstacles seems to be hovering around even the Qazigund-Baramulla section of this railway project which was due to be operational by December 2005. But that is not happening at the moment due to non payment of land compensation amount.
The matter was discussed by the Northern Railways General Manager, RR Jauruhar with chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed at a high level meeting where Jaruhar informed Sayeed that the amount of compensation for land acquisition had already been deposited with the state government by the railways and disbursement needs to be taken up at a fast pace, otherwise it would be difficult to complete the project on schedule.
Sayeed later assured Jauruhar that all help pertaining to the completion of the project, when completed, would link the valley with the rest of the country.

May 4, 2005

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Jammu-Udhampur train Uttar Sampark Kranti Express
The Jammu-Udhampur train Uttar Sampark Kranti Express will run from Delhi to Udhampur on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Uttar Sampark Kranti, which has been chosen as the first train to ply from New Delhi to Udhampur, would ply three days a week. From New Delhi, it will be flagged off on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 8.30 pm and reach Udhampur Railway Station at 7.50 am next day. Wednesday, Friday and Sunday are the days fixed for its plying from Udhampur to New Delhi. The train will leave Udhampur Station at 6.40 pm and reach New Delhi at 8 am next day. The train would have 16 to 18 boggies.