Welcome to Pahalgam
Not quite spoiling this great natural beauty is Pahalgam, sprawling 4km around the river junction. It's a major Indian resort town offering golf and rafting and is a staging point for the midsummer Amarnathji pilgrimage.
The best hiking actually starts 12km away in Aru (elevation 2440m), a mellow mountain village that is a better base for hikers; most backpackers blow straight through Pahalgam with just a change of vehicle.
It's important to check the security situation before heading off on foot into the hills; never trek alone.