Category Archives: Tourist Information

Its cold in Pahalgam – with power shortage

May 28th kind of broke the records -when the plains were hot hot at 45 Degrees, it was actually snowing in Pahalgam! Prior to this, the last know day in May when it actually snowed in Pahalgam was May 12th.

Before you visit Pahalgam, plan your trip by checking the weather forecast here.

However, with tourists thronging Kashmir to escape the heat wave in plains of India, the fall in temperature at Pahalgam ended up giving a tough time to visitors. Tourists complained of non-availability of power supply as the town remained mostly under darkness for past many days. Continuous rain has also limited people’s movement.

Around 12000 tourists are presently at Pahalgam and most of them are complaining of poor infrastructure including lack of power during nights. The incessant rains have added to their woes as most of the hotels and huts are devoid of heating system. Use of generators during the night helps, but then created a noise problem.

Some bright sun during the days is beginning to help – however the temperatures remain particularly low.

If you can’t happen to take the cold, you may also want to try out using a Kangri with a shawl or phiran. The Kangri is the earthen pot that is filled with smoldering charcoal and ashes on top, and kept under a shawl that then provides a small amount of continuous warmth. This is what the locals use to beat the cold in the worst of times. Beware however, it can be serious fire hazard if you are not careful, or happen to doze off!

2010 Amarnath Yatra Registration

  • Registration to Start June 8
  • e-registration is unlikely this time
  • Registration slips in seven colors, separate colors for all seven days of the week
  • registration will last about 76 days
  • pilgrims taking aerial route will have to trek seven kms
  • First batch of the yatris is scheduled to have darshan on July 1 from both the tracks
  • Last darshan will be performed on August 24

123 branches of Jammu and Kashmir Bank Limited (JKBL) will start registration of Shri Amarnath ji shrine pilgrims, tentatively from June 8 to 10 all over the country. The registration process will last 76 days during which a maximum number of 4.10 lakh pilgrims will be registered for annual Amarnath Yatra. Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), like the previous year, has entered into an agreement with Jammu and Kashmir Bank Limited (JKBL) for registration of 4.10 lakh pilgrims-2.5 lakh each from Baltal and Pahalgam tracks.

The agreement has been finalised and the process of registration will begin most likely from June 8 or latest by June 10.The registration will continue up to August 22 for Pahalgam (Chandanwari) route and up to August 23 for shorter Baltal track. Annual pilgrimage to Shri Amarnath ji shrine is scheduled to begin from July 1 and will conclude on August 24 coinciding with Shravan Purnima and Raksha Bandhan. The yatra will last 55 days.

Highest number of 26 J&K Bank branches will register the yatris in New Delhi. Fourteen branches have been designated for registration in Mumbai and 13 in Jammu and Kashmir. Seventy branches will offer registration to pilgrims in rest of the country including Chandigarh zone, Chennai, Lucknow, Ahmedabad etc. 5000 pilgrims will be registered every day by the J&K Bank branches including 2500 each for the two tracks-Baltal and Pahalgam. As the registration will last about 76 days, the Bank will register a maximum of 4.10 lakh pilgrims. Depending upon rush for the pilgrims in some zones, more yatris can be registered on some days to complete the quota of 4.10 lakh. The Bank has printed 4 lakh tickets but could add 10,000 more, if the situation warranted.

To ensure that the pilgrims registered for a particular day undertake journey on the scheduled date, the Bank has this time published registration slips in seven colors, separate colors for all seven days of the week. On Monday, white color slips will be issued for Pahalgam route and craft paper for Baltal track. On Tuesday, it will be red color for Pahalgam and white for Baltal while on Wednesday the pilgrims will get ground orange slips for Pahalgam and red for Baltal route.

Colors will be changed to yellow for Pahalgam and ground orange for Baltal on Thursday while it will be green for Pahalgam and yellow for Baltal on Friday, blue for Pahalgam and green for Baltal on Saturday and craft paper for Pahalgam and blue for Baltal on Sunday.The color slips will help the security and police personnel on duty to ensure that only the registered pilgrims and that too of the same date undertook journey to have darshan of holy Ice Lingam of Lord Shiva. The J&K Bank will notify its branches designated for the pilgrims through advertisements in newspapers nation wide to ensure that the aspirants could get to know of their nearest branch for registration.

The e-registration is unlikely this time, sources said, adding the decision to do away registration, sitting at home, might have been taken as a security measure. Last year, a number of pilgrims had registered themselves via internet. First batch of the yatris is scheduled to have darshan of holy Ice Lingam of Lord Shiva on July 1 from both the tracks. Last darshan will be performed on August 24 on the occasion of Shravan Purnima. As reported, the administration has decided to make tight security arrangements, almost at par with last year, for the yatra. IGP Kashmir Farooq Ahmed and IGP Jammu Ashok Gupta will supervise security arrangements in their respective zones. The deployment of para-military personnel will start from June 15 and it will be completed well ahead of scheduled date of start of yatra.The State has requisitioned nearly 75 additional companies of para-military from the Centre which were expected to start reaching here before June 15. Rest of the security will be met through internal resources including para-military deployed in less sensitive areas and local police.The SASB has already decided that air services for this year’s yatra will be operated from Baltal as well as Pahalgam but only up to Panjtarni, which means that the pilgrims taking aerial route will have to trek seven kms to reach the holy cave shrine.

River Rafting in Pahalgam – 2010 Status Update

For the story on this topic from previous years and the issues involved, see here.
Rafting started in Pahalgam from April 1 onwards. There are 12 companies or agencies providing the service – so the visits should see some healthy competition working in their favor.
For the ride in the meandering waters, the starting point is Yaner, some 5 kilometers before Pahalgam. There is unfortunately no structures set up so far and people have to arrange their own means of getting to Yaner. Which could be a great opportunity for Sumo or taxi operators. Or may be slowly the rafting companies would start providing this service to take back to and fro from the rafting site.
The president of Rafting Owners Association is Muhammad Ibrahim.

Efforts on to promote winter sports, adventure tourism in Pahalgam

News Agency of Kashmir 8/27/2009 5:33:41 PM

Srinagar, Aug 27(NAK): Minister of State for Tourism and Culture, Nasir Aslam Wani replying to question of Altaf Ahmed Wani in Legislative Council said that the Department is putting its best efforts for promotion of winter sports and adventure tourism in Pahalgam. Various activities and festivals are being organized to boost the winter sports and adventure tourism in the area adding that the Department conducted Spring Festival at Pahalgam for promotion of adventure sports in Pahalgam, Para gliding was introduced during the festival besides trekking and rafting.

He said that the Commercial White Water Rafting has been introduced in a big way by involving local un-employed youth to start their ventures. This year permission for such activities has been give to 12 registered agencies to facilitate the Rafting for the enthusiastic tourists. In order to promote the sport of Rafting in Pahalgam, 2nd State Rafting Rally was organized this year by the Department. Six local Rafting teams participated in rally.

Trekking equipment like sleeping bags, tents, ruck sacks etc. are being provided to local youth and tourists on nominal charges to undertake various trekking programmes. Trekking equipment Hire shop is likely to be established at Pahalgam for benefit of trekkers.  Last year , it was proposed to hold some ski courses at Aru/Pahalgam but due to inadequate snow fall these could not be held. However, during the forthcoming winter, it is proposed to conduct winter sports activities such as snow ski and ice skating at Pahalgam.

In addition to this Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering and Winter Sports conducted various courses in adventure sports in summer as Basic and Advance Mountaineering, trekking, Rock climbing and adventure courses for youth.  The Institute a joint mountaineering expedition to Kolhoi with North East Adventure Foundation Gowhati, Assam and Jammu and Kashmir Armed Police. The expedition was flagged off on 4th August 2009 with an aim to study how to control glacier recessing taking care of flora and fauna and to clean the environment around Lidderwat-Satlanjan-Kolhoi area.

An artificial Rock climbing is being planned in the vicinity of Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering and Winter Sports at Nunwun, Pahalgam.  The Institute of Mountaineering and Winter Sports also intends to conduct winter packages in coming winter in Pahalgam subject to sufficient snow fall with the aim to carry out recee of the area for ski lifts in Baisaran and Aru, so that during coming years winter sports like skiing can be promoted in Pahalgam.

2009 National Rafting Championship at Pahalgam

Srinagar (PTI): The hill resort of Pahalgam in South Kashmir will host National Rafting Championship next month, state Tourism and Cultural Minister Nawang Rigzin Jora said on Sunday.

The championship will be held in the third week of June at Pahalgam, 100 kms from here.

He said the state government was exploring the possibility of tapping Pahalgam’s rich potential in golf and adventure tourism given its treasure of natural landscape best suited for modern tourism-related sports activities.

“Pahalgam will get certain add-on facilities to make tourism year-round activity,” Jora said during a visit to Pahalgam.

He said holding the National Rafting Championship will be a beginning in that direction.

Pahalgam, like Gulmarg, is also ideally suited for heli-skiing, which can attract more tourists, Jora said.

The minister took stock of various ongoing developmental projects in the hill resort and met representative of various tourism-related associations.

He inspected the golf course at Pahalgam, which is being upgraded to an 18-hole course at a cost of Rs. 26 crore and is spread over nearly 142 acres of land.

He said the development of golf course would be completed by the end of current financial year.

The minister said in order to provide facilities that can match the best in the world, a health club, six tourist huts and a cafeteria would be constructed in close proximity of the golf course.

Pahalgam Club, with facilities to host national and international conferences, is being constructed at a cost of Rs 12.50 crore, he said.

The officials of Pahalgam Development Authority said the basic infrastructure in Betaab Valley has been created at a cost of Rs 2.38 crore and work on sewerage project at Pahalgam is afoot. They said Rs. 20 crore is being earmarked on upgradation of tourism infrastructure in the area and Rs. 11.59 crore have already being spent for the purpose.

The minister also inspected the newly-renovated Tourist Reception Centre and Adventure Complexes, completed at a cost of Rs. one crore and directed the authorities to keep available all the facilities to the visitors.

He sought cooperation from the people associated with tourism for maintaining ecological balance and urged for awareness campaigns for banning use of non-biodegradable items like polythene at tourist destinations.

Amarnath pilgrims can stay in Pahalgam hotels

In a decision of great significance to tourists and locals alike, the authorities agreed to let tourists and Amarnath Yatris stay in Pahalgam area hotels.

News item: Srinagar: The Amarnth pilgrims will be totally free to stay in private hotels at Pahalgam during the two-month-long yatra, starting from June 18, Chief Executive Officer(CEO), Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) Arun Kumar said today.

Announcing the decision at a joint meeting of various departments and representatives of hoteliers, he said the yatris would be free to decide whether they wished to stay in hotels or in the Nunwan camp. The hoteliers and other traders were protesting that their business was affected when the base camp was shifted to Nunwan.
He said it has been decided to regulate tourist and pilgrim movements to Pahalgam and to the base camp of the yatra at Nunwan.

The Serbal security check post would also be relocated near Nunwan and the usual tourist traffic diverted to Pahalgam via a circuit road. Dr Kumar said the new plan of action was revealed under which a booth would be established near the check point to serve as an information counter regarding availability of accommodation in the picturesque valley for desirous pilgrims. The CEO said with this measure, tourists from outside could visit Pahalgam even during the yatra period without any obstacles. The measure, he said, would boost the occupancy of hotels even when schools reopen in the rest of the country after the summer vacations. ”’We want pilgrims to stay anywhere they like. In fact, the Shrine Board is not averse to shifting of the Nunwan base camp to its traditional and ancient location of Sadhu Paraw, ahead of Pahalgam that will be beneficial for all, the hoteliers, craft dealers and local traders,” Dr Kumar said.

Reliance to launch mobile phone services in Pahalgam and other places

Reliance Communications is planning to launch its mobile phone services in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, including Pahalgam in next couple of months.
A top company source told Business Standard that Reliance would emerge as the most favourite cellular service provider in the state, with its extensive network not only in the Jammu and Kashmir region but in entire Ladakh, bordering China. With its 700 towers, the company has managed to cover even the remote areas of Kishtwar, Doda, Ramban, Rajouri, Uri, Kupwara, Baramulla and Leh-Ladakh.

Reliance has covered the entire national highway right from Lakhanpur at Punjab border to Srinagar and Uri. It has also laid reliance network chord (R-chord) to provide quality internet services to its customers in J&K. This chord has already been laid from Punjab border to Jammu, Srinagar and up to Sonamarg which is on the Srinagar-Leh highway.

All the major tourist destinations including Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Sonamarg, Patnitop and Yusmarg have been covered besides important pilgrimage sites including Katra Mata Vaishnodevi, Chara-e-Sharief, Khir Bhawani. Those visiting Shri Amarnath ji pilgrimage would also benefit from the service to larger extent.

The broad band facility to the customers will be available shortly after the launch of cellular service. It has started the process of erecting 144 towers in the Ladakh region where no other private player could reach so far. A special team of experts in the Reliance Group are in Kashmir to supervise work on this most difficult mountainous region of Ladakh.