Do you remember the paintings you did as a child? I do. Being fascinated by nature from childhood; for me paintings just meant one thing – ‘r’ shaped birds fluttering in the clear blue sky, sun rising over the mountains, a silent river melting down to form a beautiful stream and a wood house surrounded by tall trees which I’d call mine.
It was, and it is still my definition of a happy, beautiful place.
Why am I saying this story to you? I felt my painting, my dream coming alive when I first saw the Lidder Valley. Pahalgam, a hill station on the banks of the Lidder River is truly mesmerizing. The onrush of water from Lidder, the mountains, the lush green valleys, the clean air, the people, the horses – this is what it is to be happy. This is what it is to be beautiful.
I loved Pahalgam and I’m sharing some photographs and memories from my visit to Lidder Valley:
We explored Pahalgam with our horses – Dabang and Deewana. Shyam went alone with Dabang while I had Deewana and our wonderful ghoda-wala for my company. We rode through Kashmir Valley and Baisaran – talking about Pahalgam, Lidder, Amarnath Yatra and much more; stopping by whenever Deewana wanted a drinks break.
Pahalgam is surrounded by many small villages on the banks of Lidder. One such place is Aru Village. The village offers some stunning views of the Lidder Valley. It is worth the rough, bumpy uphill ride. Further, there is the famous Betaab Valley and Chandanwari which is the starting point of Amarnath Yatra. In Chandanwadi, we saw medical camps and tents being set up for the upcoming pilgrimage. Pahalgam remains very crowded during the Amarnath Season.
There was an instant connection with Pahalgam. I fondly remember walking in the night through Main Market Area in search of food. Relaxing at Baisaran. The chatty driver who drove us to Aru Valley. The amazing ghoda-wala. Deewana (the horse) splashing water and mud all over my jeans. Falling sick. The cold, silent night in our hotel and sleeping while listening to the rush of water from Lidder. Pure Bliss.