Pulwama, also known as the ‘Rice Bowl of Kashmir,’ at an altitude of 1,630 metres, is just about 40 kilometres from Srinagar. The town has a rich cultural and historical importance, it was ruled by the Mughals in the 16th-century and then the Afghans in the 19th-century. However, the highlight of Pulwama is its scenic beauty thanks to the bountiful apple orchards, majestic mountains which hold the cascading waterfalls, dazzling streams and verdant valleys.
One of the most glorious sights is that of Aharbal Falls, falling down a narrow gorge and onto a valley of dense pine and fir trees. While the fall may not be very high, the volume of water that flows down is absolutely incredulous. That’s what makes it the most famous one in the entire Kashmir Valley. Aharbal hill station is situated close to Pulwama; and offers adventure activities like trout fishing, trekking and rafting.
A picnic spot with abundant wildlife, Shikargah was once a favourite hunting ground among the royals, especially Maharaja Hari Singh, the last one to rule the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Surrounded by dense forests and snow-clad mountain peaks, Shikargah is a charming holiday spot.
About 3 kilometres from Pulwama, Payer Temple is located in the village after which it is named. The unique 10th-century temple is said to have been carved out of a single monolith stone and still retains the glory of its architecture. Another temple and a major historical site, Avantishwar Temple, by the banks of river Jhelum, too is an example of the architectural brilliance of the bygone era.
The most pristine twin lakes of Tarsar and Marsar are a must visit; they are situated in Aru – the most enchanting part of Kashmir Valley. These almond-shaped lakes lie separated by a mountain and are surrounded by breath-taking ranges. Perched at an elevation of 3,795 metres, the lakes freeze during the winter months from December to March.