In the agriculturally rich district of Pulwama in Jammu Kashmir also known as the ‘Rice Bowl of Kashmir’, the town of Pulwama resides at an elevation of 1,630 metres. Highly acclaimed for its milk and rice production, the appellations of this region are aplenty like “Anand of Kashmir” or “Dudha-Kul of Kashmir”. Located 40 kilometres from the capital city of Srinagar, the district where this town is located has cultural and historical importance going back to the days of yore. Known as “Panwangam” or “Pulgam” early on, this region was ruled by the Mughals in the 16th century before the Afghans took over in the 19th century. Well known for apple orchards and the cultivation of saffron, Pulwama has scenic beauty hidden away in the secretive mountains which hold sparkling waterfalls, dazzling streams and unparalleled valleys in their midst. A charming town, it has some of the most amazing places in Kashmir one must visit. The best 5 places in Pulwama are listed here.
1. Aharbal Falls
It is the glorious sight of the Veshu river falling 25 metres down a narrow gorge in a valley of dense Pine and Fir trees in the Pir Panjal mountains that makes Aharbal falls such a pristine sight. A tributary of the Jhelum river, Veshu river flows in its entirety down this gorge providing a magnificent view. The fall may not be very high but the sheer amount of water that flows down from it is incredulous. That’s what makes this breathtaking falls the most famous and the most gigantic one in the entire Kashmir Valley. Located 75 kilometres from Srinagar, Aharbal hill station is situated close to Pulwama at an elevation of 2,266 metres. Abuzz with adventure activities like Trout fishing, trekking, rafting etc., Aharbal is one of the best destinations for a rejuvenating holiday.
A cherished picnic spot 3 kilometres from Tral in Pulwama district, Shikargah is an enchanting region with abundant wildlife. A favorite hunting ground among the royals, Shikargah was frequented by Maharaja Hari Singh, the last one to rule the state of Jammu & Kashmir, who loved the rich flora and fauna present at the site. Surrounded by dense forests and gazed upon by the snow-clad mountain peaks, the site is located at an altitude of 2,130 metres, at the junction of the mountains of Wasturwan and Kherwon. The wide stretch of lush green slopes enclosed by dense trees of the forests makes this a charming holiday spot.
3. Payer Temple
Located 3 kilometres from Pulwama, the Payer temple is located in the village after which it is named. Believed to date back to the 10th century, the unique temple of Payer or Payech is said to have been carved out of a single monolith stone. Its unique architecture still retains the glory of its ancient past. Set deep among the woods, the view of the encompassing mountains is a mind-blowing sight.
4. Avantishwar Temple
A major historical site, the Avantishwar temple is located in the Jawbrari Village of the Pulwama district. Built by Raja Awanti Varma in the 9th century AD, the temple is dedicated to the Hindu Gods, Vishnu and Shiva. Set by the banks of river Jhelum, the intricacy in the architecture of the temples is astonishingly marvelous. The temple of Avantiswami also resides here, less than a kilometre away from Avantishwar temple. Quite similar in architecture, both the sites are now under the protection and maintenance of the Archaeological Survey of India. The region also holds ruins of ancient temples constructed by Lalitaditya Muktapida of the Karkota Empire, who was the most powerful ruler of the Kashmir region in that era.
5. Tarsar and Marsar Lake
One of the most popular treks of the Kashmir Valley is the Tarsar Marsar Trek that takes one to the unblemished site where these twin lakes reside. Situated in the site of Aru of the Anantnag district in the Kashmir Valley, these almond-shaped lakes lie separated by a mountain and surrounded by the breathtaking ranges including the Kolahoi mountain massif. The Marsar Lake lies close to the Dachigam National Park and together with the Tarsar Lake, these are known as the twin sisters. Having been known since 16th century, these lakes were mentioned by Yusuf Shah Chak, the ruler of Kashmir at the time, in his lovely poetry dedicated to his beloved. Flowing in the opposite directions, Tarsar Lake flows into the Lidder River, 15 kilometres from here, at Lidderwat, while the Marsar Lake drains out to the other side of the Aru. The lakes freeze during the winters from December to March and sees heavy snowfall around this time. Perched at an elevation of 3,795 metres, the best part about the lakes is their location in Aru, which is the most pristine side of the Kashmir Valley, untouched and unparalleled in beauty.
It is extremely difficult to choose just 5 breathtaking sites out of so many unbelievably enchanting places that reside in Pulwama. The above mentioned five places are the best in and around Pulwama that one must experience.
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