Camping in Pahalgam is not a new concept but it is only for the more adventurous travellers. A 12 km hike to Lidder Valley from Aru might be too much for amateur trekkers but riding on a horseback to reach the valley is an option if you are determined to give it a try.
Few travel agents organize camping in Lidder Valley. It comes with food and lodging but they can be expensive and sometimes take away the fun and essence of true camping spirit. So camping on basics with a group of friends, looking after yourself is the ultimate camping experience. During my three days stay at Lidder Valley, I came across few avid campers. I found out that most of them were camping for the second or the third time. Once you get the fun out of camping, you want to keep going back.
On the first day a group of Kashmiri youth camped near our campsite. The next morning they left for Tarsar Lake and returned in the evening. They were avid trekkers and had plans of trekking to Kolhoi Glacier (Kolahoi), Zaser Lake, Royal Lake, Marsar Lake and Basmi Lake within the next 4-5 days.
On the second day, an Indian gentleman from Dehradun arrived with a guide, a cook and two ponies. They stayed at the tourist lodge in Lidder Valley. He was a hotelier and had been there the previous year. He was determined to hike to Tarsar Lake, Royal Lake and Kolhoi Glacier. He was one of the only few avid Indian trekkers from the city. When I address the issue of Indian travellers not being adventurous to venture out of the car, he smiled and said, 'We should be thankful Jim; with a population as big as of India, there will be no peaceful place if everyone starts exploring. I’m happy that such a place as this, exists.'
His statement made sense. By the end of second day, a bunch of foreign tourists made their camp right on the banks of Lidder River. On all my trips, I have come across foreign tourist even at most unexpected and remote places. They are more adventurous and have a free flowing spirit; just the contrary to majority of Indian travellers.
But with city life becoming more taxing more and more people are escaping to the mountains. Finding a remote and serene place could soon become a difficult task with more Indians taking the road like never before.
What to take on your camping:
2. Sleeping bag
3. Pot and pans for cooking
4. Preferably steel mug and plates
5. Torch (Solar) and matchbox
6. Food and ration
8. If you bring your camera, you’ll need extra battery as there is no electricity.