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Camping at Lidder Valley: The Arrival

Aru, the last motorable town towards Lidder Valley
Aru, the last motorable town towards Lidder Valley
Grassland giving way to pine trees on the trail to Lidder valley
Grassland giving way to pine trees on the trail to Lidder valley
First stretch of the road passes through pine forest
First stretch of the road passes through pine forest
A Gujjar travelling the trail towards Lidder Valley from Aru
A Gujjar travelling the trail towards Lidder Valley from Aru
Umbrella is a must have item on a hiking expedition, especially in summer
Umbrella is a must have item on a hiking expedition, especially in summer
The trail towards Lidder Valley
The trail towards Lidder Valley
Gujjar Shepherds basking in the sun
Gujjar Shepherds basking in the sun
The pine forest opens to vast valley
The pine forest opens to vast valley
The Lidder River flows between the mountains forming a gentle valley
The Lidder River flows between the mountains forming a gentle valley
A Gujjar woman returning home from herding cattle
A Gujjar woman returning home from herding cattle
A horse grazing in the Lidder Valley
A horse grazing in the Lidder Valley
A crow basking in the sun after the rain at Lidder Valley
A crow basking in the sun after the rain at Lidder Valley
The Lidder River flowing through the valley
The Lidder River flowing through the valley
A bridge suspended over Lidder River
A bridge suspended over Lidder River
Arriving at the camp at Lidder Valley
Arriving at the camp at Lidder Valley

Lidder Valley is a dream destination for hiking and camping. Traversing the trail from Aru to Lidder Valley was worth every step. Narrow footpath had become slippery after the rain, mud beaten up in heavy slush and tramping of cattle. The road cuts through a rather steep pine-wooded stretch, after half an hour walk from Aru. After an hour walk or so, the valley widens in the form of gorgeous, gentle grassland. Along this 12 km stretch, there were no settlements, except for makeshift huts built by the Gujjars for their nomadic routine. 

Owned by Malik brothers, our camp was new and had no name yet. The Malik brothers set their camp at Lidder valley, 12 km hike from the nearest village Aru and were doing it on a relatively larger scale for the first time. They needed a new name to establish and steady their brand and so we were asked to come up with names for our camping site. Here are some of the names that we suggested: Heaven’s Walk, Paradise Valley, Peace on Earth, Roaring River Campsite, Lidder Valley Camp, and many more.

Our group was made up of two middle aged American couples and a 50 something British woman. We had laughed with almost every name that came up and the activity dragged on longer than what we thought it would. The most common words that crossed our mind were ‘peace’ and ‘paradise’. Though I left the Valley still undecided with a name for the campsite; as I look back I feel as if those two days at the camp were like a therapy; it worked wonders for my mind.

I came across a lot of Gujjars and a bewildered Korean tourist who was on a pony with a guide. The valley was just perfect even for a day hike but it would be a waste not to spend a night at this beautiful valley. Our campsite was at Lidder valley (the locals call it Lidder Vat) just on the bank of the Lidder river. The State tourism department had tourist guest house nearby and it was the biggest valley in the nearby areas. It was more like a playground where even Gujjar children play every evening. 

After almost 3 hours we reached our camp. It would not have taken so much time had I not lingered around the landscapes. The place and the people living here mesmerized me so much; it is definitely the most beautiful place I had been to on a trekking trip.

As soon as we reached the camp we were served tea and biscuits and I was taken to my tent. It had been a wet-cloudy day and the sky was still gray. The rain poured again heavily when we were sitting at a campfire. We had planned our dinner by the campfire but it had to be abandoned because of the rain that showed no sign of stopping. Under a solar lamp, we had one of the most sumptuous meals of rice and mutton. It rained hard and knocked off any effort to start a good conversation. We retreated to our tent early but the ferocious thunder and lightning kept us awake. 

At first I was skeptical about the idea of sleeping in tent on a rainy night. I thought that the ground would soak up the water and we’ll have a hard time keeping it dry. But there was no such issue. It was very pleasant and I slept like a rock. 

3 Responses to “Camping at Lidder Valley: The Arrival”

  1. Swati Sethi says:

    We are 2 families with 4 kids aged 8-12years. Interested to do camping at lidder valley from aru on 16th and 17th april. We will arrive at Aru on 16th. Please let me know how you can help us in this.

  2. Ayswarya says:

    So how does one get in touch with the Malik brothers?

    • moitours says:

      Hi Ayswarya,
      I’m sorry I don’t have their contact numbers but you can find them at Mondlan Village, 8kms from Pahalgam. It is a small village and you can easily find them. They own a small shop, the only shop in the village.

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