Tourists Places of South Kashmir which can be visited making Pahalgam as Base
Pahalgam can be made as ideal base to visit other important tourist places in south Kashmir which can be visited taking a Taxi for a day or even two rights from Pahalgam.
Pahalgam >Mattan>Martand Temple>Achabal>Kokernag>Verinag and even Daksum >Simtahn Pass> Aishmuqam
Shrine of a Sufi saint Baba Zaina-ud-din Wali on a hillock at Ashmuqam is 86 km from Srinagar on route Pahalgam. Commonly known as “Zaino Shah Sahib”, the Sufi was a follower of Alamdar e Kashmir “Shiekh Noor ud Din”. The main sanctorum is situated inside a deep and narrow cave, several relics associated to Bab are kept in a room inside the cave. One of the relics is “The Rod of Staff” of Prophet Moses PBUH, which is believed to have been gifted by Shah Hamdan to Shiekh Noor-Ud-Din Noorani who further handed over the relic to his disciple. In about 15th century, Baba Zaina-ud-Din Wali belonged to Hindu family fron Kishtawar(Doda),His name was Zia Singh.He suffered from a desease that could not be cured by any doctor of the time. When he approached the famous saint Shaikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani, his desease cured . There after Zia Singh became Shiekhs disciple and he accepted Islam. One week long Zool festival is celebrated in the month of April in respect of the Shiekh Zaina-ud-din Wali in a peculiar way of holding torchlights “leshi” in a procession, which start in the shrine are displayed to the public for seeking blessings.
Is famous for sun temple at a distance of 32 Kms form Pahalgam, the Mattan water gushes out underneath the Mattan Temple and goes in to the two springs which have fish which is treated as Holy Fish by Hindus hence not eaten. Opposite it the Mattan springs is the Shai Hamdhan Park with huge Chinar trees (sort of Maple trees) and other spring built by Mogul Emperor adding to the beauty of this is of Mattan
Martand - Sun Temple
Just 3 Kms from Mattan, uphill on way to Achabal gardens is the famous Martand sun temple (approximately 64 km from Srinagar) ,that belongs to the era of Pandvas . These are the most impressive ancient ruins of Sun temple built by King Lalitaditya Mukhtapida 699-739 AD situated a top a plateau. According to a legend, Surya, the sun god was the l3th child born from a lifeless egg called Martand to Aditi wife of saint Kashyap. The foundation of the temple is said to have been between 370-500AD, whereas some record the construction of temple by Ranaditya.
From Martand Temple just another 10kmr road through apple orchards and awesome scenery en route, take us to Achabal Garden with the famous spring located on a hillside in the town of Achabal town, about 69 kilometres southeast of Srinagar. A summer retreat for the Mughals, the garden is the work of Nur Jahan, wife of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir. Built c. 1620, and later remodelled, between 1634-1640 by Shah Jahan's daughter Jahanara Achabal ("the places of the princes") is also called "Begamabad"
The spring gushes out of the earth, as if it is issued from the bottom of some well with tremendous force. The water is so abundant that it ought rather to be called a river than a fountain. It is excellent water, and as cold as ice. The garden is very handsome, laid out in regular walks, and full of fruit trees apple, pear, plum, apricot, and cherry. There are trout fish ponds nearby taken care of by Fisheries Department of J&K Government. There is a lofty cascade which in its fall takes the form and colour of a large sheet. The garden is segmented into three terraces, with a central water stream along the north-south axis that features three fountain basins. There are two walkways on either side of the axial water stream. Smaller side water channels to the east and west parallel the principal axial stream, and receive water from a stream running east-west on the third terrace.
From Achabal the road winds up and slowly takes to higher altitude to famous Kokernag spring. This is at a distance of 21 km form Achabal. The Kokernag is spring is actually 5 small springs water coming underneath the hill like form 5 toes of a Chicken (hence Kokernag)The water is highly medicinal and has digestive properties .There are lawns bedecked with flowers and also wild flowers growing in the periphery of the spring area. Government Huts and eateries can be availed and even for styling overnight if one wishes so .Some private accommodation has also come up and can be checked using the local tourist office .
From Kokernag one can continue ahead and reach the higher spectacular scenic spot called Daksum. It is surrounded by dense forests and nearby streams flowing down form snow clad mountains .It is min Valley inhabited by villagers and nomads and one can enjoy the flavor of corn being grown in nearby fields .There are also Nomad huts which are mud huts called Kothas. Daksum is the spot where form one can go to Simtahn Pass ahead and croos to Kistwar valley for a longer Journey
From Kokernag coming back some 15 kms and going in opposite direction will take us to famous Verinag Spring. This is hexagonal and the construction by Mughal king is awesome. Verinag is source of river which is joined by Lidder river near Anantnag (Khanbal) and then called river Jhelum which goes all the way to north Kashmir through Srinagar and eventually to other side of Kashmir which is under administration of Pakistan (called Azad Kashmir)
From Verinag the return journey to Pahalgam will be approximately 2 hrs or one can stay even at the accommodation of Tourism Department at Verinag or in nearby private huts and some hotels .
From Verinag also connects with Srinagar Jammu NHW at near the Tunnel which connects Jammu with Kashmir Valley.
Thus Pahalgam is the ideal place with Ideal altitude, where form not only all the major trekking routes start but offer s many local day trips as well as longer one day local and longer trips like those in south Kashmir can be undertaken easily, without having to go back all the way to Srinagar particularly for trips to famous tourist spots in south Kashmir.
Oil the to Pahalgam,30 km Srinagar, exist the massive and most impressive ruins of stone temples built during the rein of King Awantiwarman (855-883 AD). Awantipur once the capital of Kashmir is on the right bank of river Jehlum. A short stopover enroute Pahalgam will certainly be liked by the visitors interested in the history of the vale.