Pahalgam to Aru Valley to Srinagar
The plan for the day was to first drive from Pahalgam to Aru Valley, then to Baisaran hills, and then go back to Srinagar. In short, it was a leisurely day with neither a lot of driving involved nor the need to rush through it. So far, the trip to Pahalgam was nothing like what we expected it to be and I was really hoping that at least Aru Valley will live up to the hype.
I was the last one to get up that morning. I think it was at around 8 am that I finally got out of bed and joined my friends on the hotel lawn for a cup of tea.
Our travel plans were discussed again and Shoyab suggested heading straight to Gulmarg from Pahalgam rather than going back to Srinagar. But then after a bit of further discussion, we decided to stick to the original plan only.
The next hour or so was spent packing and getting some breakfast. By 9 am, we were all ready to check out of the hotel and move on. The first destination of the day was the famous Aru Valley.
So let me first talk about what Aru Valley actually is without trying to glorify the place unnecessarily. Aru is basically a small village. The local pronunciation of the place can be both Aru and Adu. It is located at a distance of about 12 kilometers from Pahalgam.
This village is the starting point of several treks that lead out of Pahalgam, most of them lasting a few days. The trek to Tarsar – Marsar lakes also starts from here. When you are in the village, more than the regular tourists, you will actually find trekkers either ready to start or returning from their trek.
All the places that you see in the pictures below are in the forest around the Aru Village. You will have to trek to all these places and Depending on which part you want to cover, the trek can last from 1 day to several.
The village consists of a few shops, some houses, dhabas, and a few decent enough hotels. On one end of the village is a large meadow-type area, a ground that also serves as a picnic spot for a lot of locals.
That is all Aru Valley or village really is. In all honesty, it is probably the best place to visit in and around Pahalgam. The drive from Pahalgam to Aru is on a narrow and very steep road but is also very scenic.