Aru Valley, Pahalgam. Photo: Athul Prasad
The picturesque town of Pahalgam in Jammu and Kashmir, nestled in the confluence of two rivers, is best known for its mountain trails, wildlife sanctuary and mountain caves. As March comes closer, the snow melts, giving tourists the perfect weather to enjoy the beauty of the region. To get there, you can fly into Sheikh-Ul-Alam airport in Srinagar first and get a cab to Pahalgam, which is two hours away. If you prefer taking a train, Udhampur Railway Station and Jammu Tawi Station are the two closest options. Once you get there, here’s where you can stay
Where to stay in Pahalgam
Grand Mumtaz Resort
Located in the midst of tall pine trees, the Grand Mumtaz Resort lives up to its name, delivering comfort and luxury to every guest. The property has 122 spacious rooms that are centrally heated and done up with paintings, drapers and plush patterned carpets. Pahalgam’s sprawling 18-hole golf course will be right at your doorstep here, along with a view of snow capped mountains. There are several dining options available in-house, with multiple restaurants serving Mughlai, Indian as well as continental food. Here, you can also enjoy a Kashmiri Wazwan-a traditional multi-course meal comprising meats, fruits and vegetables.
Doubles from Rs6,500. Website
Welcomhotel Pine n Peak
This luxury retreat is perched atop the Rajwas Plateau, opening up to the gorgeous mountains and the valley. The hotel is perfect for a relaxed getaway as well as a workation with a view. Each of the 66 rooms and suites promises a view of the lush, towering pine trees or the hotel’s lawn and alfresco dining area. With three in-house restaurants, you can try something new every day. Discover age-old Kashmiri recipes at WelcomCafe Lolaab, enjoy smokey barbecue flavours under the sky at Gulistaan and sip on some Kashmiri Kahwa at Saahil Tea Lounge. While Pahalgam has a lot to offer, the hotel doesn’t fall behind either. Their curated experiences include a Garhwali thaali experience, outdoor cooking classes and hands-on mixology sessions. You can choose between three and four-bedroom luxury cottages and expansive suites that will give you all the privacy you need.
Doubles from Rs10,999. Website
The Chinar Resort and Spa
Located in a quieter end of the popular tourist town, this resort promises a relaxing escape from life, with a view of the Himalayas as far as the eye can see. The tastefully designed rooms have modern amenities, plush, elegant interiors and a spacious balcony, making it the perfect place for a staycation where you want to treat yourself all the way. The multi-cuisine restaurant and cafe on the property look out to beautiful green walnut orchards and have an easy-going vibe, making them suitable for gatherings with family and friends as well as romantic dinners with a loved one. After a hard day’s trek, unwind at the spa, which offers a range of therapies to let you relax and let go.
Doubles from Rs7,120. Website
Eden Resorts and Spa
At an altitude of 2,130m, flanked by the Himalayan mountains, beautiful greenery and the Lidder river in front, this resort has it all. The 30 rooms are spacious, centrally heated and feature large windows and luxurious decor. Take your pick between a mountain, valley or river view and soak in the silence and calm. The hotel also has a gorgeous indoor swimming pool for you to dip your toes into, as well as a spa and sauna to unwind after a long day.
Doubles from Rs8,000. Website
This boutique hotel is situated at 7,500 feet above sea level, with the Lidder river down below and thick pine woods in front of it, all against the backdrop of the glorious Kolohai mountains. The cosy rooms feature intricate woodwork and brick walls, with a scattering of copper serveware adding a rustic feel to your stay. The restaurant serves Indian and Chinese cuisine, with a Kashmiri Wazwan available, if you provide intimation in advance. On request, the hotel staff will also pack and organize a picnic for you and your group or help you plan out your trekking expeditions. If you want to visit places nearby, they can even arrange for a pony ride—a popular transport option in the region—to get to your destination.
Doubles from Rs9,000. Website
Wildflower Villa Resort
Situated along the banks of the Lidder river, this resort offers the perfect blend of luxury and comfort. The rooms have cosy wooden furnishings and subtle lighting, along with modern amenities like plush beds and a spacious design. Pick one of the many rooms or, if you’re travelling with kids, go for the Family Suite, which has bunk beds for the little ones. The two restaurants on the property allow opportunities for fine dining as well as relaxed meals. Indulge in Asian and European food at Cloud 9 or dine at the Alfresco Restaurant for scrumptious Kashmiri delicacies.
Doubles from Rs4,250. Website