Jammu & Kashmir seems to be an expensive state to travel: there are quite pricey accommodations, people on TripAdvisor write about hiring cabs to travel around and some travelers are planning a 40-50k budget for a two-week trip. That’s like 800 USD! I thought there should be some inside-outs, as there are many villages, where local people live and commute around the state.
This post will be about ways to reach from Srinagar to Pahalgam on a budget. Though the distance between Srinagar and Pahalgam is 90km, it’s a bit of an adventure to reach there.
The personal taxi fare from Srinagar to Pahalgam is 2-3k INR for a day trip. While there are packages that cover popular places in Kashmir (Srinagar, Sonamarg, Gulmarg, Pahalgam) in 5-6 days, I strongly recommend spending at least 2 days in each place (in both popular and offbeat towns) to have a feel of it.
There are several ways you can reach from Srinagar to Pahalgam like a local.
Srinagar to Pahalgam by shared taxi via Anantnag
There are buses that connect main cities of Jammu&Kashmir, though I found it easier, comfortable and more reliable to choose shared jeeps for closer destinations. That’s also how local people commute.
There are shared jeeps that go to Anantnag, a half kilometer from the main TRC bus stand in Srinagar. To be precise, they start from the jeep parking lot near Jan bakers (here are coordinates – 34.077059, 74.829879).
It takes 1.5 hr to reach from Srinagar to Anantnag and ticket cost is 90 INR which you need to pay directly to the driver. The jeeps start when they get filled. As a rule, every half an hour. You don’t need to pre-book seats in advance.
You need to specify to the driver that you intend to go to Pahalgam. He will drop you on the main road near the jeep stand in Anantnag. From there shared jeeps start to Pahalgam (coordinates: 33.738012, 75.145763).
It costs 80 INR from Anantnag to Pahalgam and it takes one hour to reach. Jeeps leave every 20 minutes, as a rule. Ticket price is paid directly to the driver.
Overall it takes 2.5 hours and it costs 170 INR to reach from Srinagar to Pahalgam via Anantnag.
Srinagar to Pahalgam by shared taxi via Bijbehara
Bijbehara is a locality that comes before Anantnag if you start from Pahalgam. Though there is a shortcut from Bijbehara to Pahalgam, it takes the same amount of time to reach, to be honest. I would recommend going to Pahalgam via Anantnag and you can come back via Bijbehara.
Bijbehara is much smaller locality than Anantnag, hence there will be more people traveling from Anantnag to Pahalgam and jeeps will leave more often.
You can take a jeep from Srinagar Jan Bakery to Anantnag that will drop you to Bijbehara. Tell the driver that your final destination is Pahalgam, so he will drop you close to the jeep stand in Bijbehara.
It costs 80 INR from Srinagar to Bijbehara and takes 1 hour 20 minutes to reach. It takes one hour to reach from Bijbehara to Pahalgam (not including waiting time for the jeep) and it costs 80 INR. The ticket money is paid directly to the driver.
Overall, it takes 1hr 20 minutes and costs 160 INR to reach from Srinagar to Pahalgam via Bijbehara.
Srinagar to Pahalgam by bus and train
Do you want to try something different and adventurous? There is a train network connecting main towns in Kashmir valley, hence there is a possibility to reach from Srinagar to Pahalgam by bus and train combo.
Unlike the previous two options which I’ve personally experienced, this one I’ve asked information on the station only. There are regular trains from Srinagar to Anantnag. You can buy unreserved tickets at the station for 20 INR and it is a one hour journey.
You can take a jeep from Anantnag to Pahalgam from the stand here (coordinates: 33.738012, 75.145763). It costs 80 INR and takes one hour to reach. People also told there are buses from Anantnag to Pahalgam. I asked at the stand and couldn’t find specific information about this. To sum up, I recommend choosing this route only if you wish to experience the train journey.
Overall, it takes 2.5 hours to reach from Srinagar to Pahalgam by train and bus and costs 100 INR. Nevertheless, there are two extra costs. You will need to reach Srinagar Railway Station, which is 10 km away from the TRC bus stand in Srinagar.
Though there is a local city bus network, buses are often crowded and you will need to figure out the routes. Autos will charge arm and leg. Also, the train station in Anantnag is 4.5 km away from the jeep stand which you will need to cover as well.
There is also a direct bus from Srinagar to Anantnag via JKSRTC bus network. Nevertheless, they are not regular if you travel in low season or offseason. You need to confirm the information about JKSRTC buses at TRC bus stand in Srinagar.
I believe Jammu&Kashmir needs more tourist attention than it’s getting. If you are an individual budget traveler, you know now that there is a space here for you too 😉
If you have experienced one of these routes as well or you are from Kashmir and know some other alternatives for this journey, don’t hesitate to comment!