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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

What tips does one need for a trip to Pahalgam?

Abhishek Sharma DEC 10 2012
0 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

Answer: We're usually used to living in the comforts of our homes where everything is within easy reach. This might not be the case when you're travelling, so it's important to keep certain things in mind which you otherwise usually take for granted. Keep these following tips and guidelines in mind and you're good to go.

  • Plan ahead

If you're arriving during high season or around major festivals and events, particularly the Winter Festival, make sure to book as far in advance as possible. During the festival, you are unlikely to get a place to stay on the spot. Regardless of the time of the year, it is a good practise to book your place of stay before coming here. Ensure that you have a written confirmation from the hotel via mail and carry its printout as proof of your booking and the type of room you had booked. Additionally, book the flight/train tickets in advance to avoid any last minute surprises. Check the flight booking option on ixigo and find regular flights to the nearest airport.

  • Weather check

Severe snowfall is a feature of this place, especially from November to February. Check the weather forecast before you leave for Pahalgam. You don't want to be snowed in or stranded midway in a new place. Call up the Tourism Office or the hotel you're staying at to get a clear picture about the current climate.

  • Money

Carry sufficient cash with you when travelling to Pahalgam. There are 2 ATMs in Pahalgam, but completely depending on them may not be safe. Additionally, many of the hotels in Pahalgam do not accept credit/debit cards. There are plenty of ATMs in Srinagar and Jammu from where you can withdraw money before leaving for Pahalgam. Also, carry plenty of cash in smaller denominations like INR 10, 20, 50 and 100, as you will need it here for sled rides, pony rides, shopping, etc.

  • Travelling by Car

Unless you are very confident of navigating through the icy, slippery hilly terrains of Srinagar and Pahalgam, it is better if you hire the services of a professional who knows his/her way around. The road trip will be an experience in itself. There are few essential things to keep in mind:

Snowfield conditions can highlight any existing minor faults, particularly in the electrical system. So it is essential to thoroughly check your vehicle before leaving home. Have your tyres, battery, brakes, cooling system, engine and windscreen inspected. Add anti-freeze to your engine radiator. You'll need to match the amount of anti-freeze to the capacity of the coolant system. If this isn't done and the coolant freezes, the engine will block and radiator may crack, leaving you stranded with an expensive repair bill. Most modern cars use coolant with wide temperature capabilities, but you'll need to check with your service provider if special coolant is needed.

If you drive a diesel vehicle, ensure you use fuel formulated for use in cold conditions, as diesel ‘waxes' at low temperature which blocks the fuel system and immobilises the vehicle.

Ensure you allow enough time for the trip. Weather can change quickly in mountainous areas, with a corresponding effect on the roads and travel speed. In Winter, do not forget to attach snow chains to the tyres or you will find yourself going backwards instead of uphill on your drive to Pahalgam.

  • Clothing
    Depending on when you travel to Pahalgam, make sure you carry ample warm clothes accordingly. If you travel during Winters, be certain to pack that long, wooly overcoat and some sturdy boots. Also carry good snow shoes for comfortable treks and walks in and around Pahalgam. Even if you travel during Summers, make sure to pack a shawl or two and some light sweaters and mufflers.
    At all times, make sure you apply a coat of sunscreen lotion before stepping out. The chilly air and sunlight can lead to nasty sunburns if you're not careful, even though the sunshine may seem mild on the outset.

  • General Guidelines

While travelling to Pahalgam, make sure you are carrying some form of identification proof. There are a number of checkpoints on the way, where proof of identity is required. For foreign nationals, Visa is a must to carry with you at all times.

Save the emergency contact numbers in your mobile phonebook. The possibility of having no network reception is strong, especially if the weather takes a turn for the worse. If you venture out to ski in the backcountry region, let someone know where you are heading and preferably have someone accompany you. Also note that Blackberry services do not function in the valley, so you'll literally be cut off from all your emails (and isn't that awesome!). The state of Jammu and Kashmir also does not allow pre-paid mobile services for security reasons, so keep that in mind too.

Carry a torch, preferably head torch. There are no lights in the village and it gets quite dark at night. Often the electricity at the hotels will go out. If you're lucky your hotel will have a back up generator. As mentioned above, there are very few hospitals Pahalgam. Pack a first-aid kit with you including cold and flu tablets, Imodium and electrolyte tablets.

We hope these tips make you feel confident, and more than that, excited about your holiday at Pahalgam. And don't forget to pack that camera along!

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