About this blog: We usually love to visit waterfalls. And Aharbal waterfall in Kashmir was no exception. We fell in love with this spectacular waterfall as soon as we set our eyes on it. This blog is about our experience of travelling to Aharbal Waterfall, an unexplored destination in Kashmir, how to reach there and other relevant information. Read on to know more.
I saw one picture of Aharbal Waterfalls. And I was totally mesmerized by it. So when we reached the entrance of the path that led to the waterfall, I could not just wait to walk down the trail towards Aharbal Waterfall.
It is known as the Niagara of Kashmir. Although I am not quite keen on such names, Aharbal Waterfall is truly spectacular. Located in the Kulgam district of Kashmir, the waterfall seems to come straight out of a picture postcard. We had realized that Kashmir is full of surprises, and that too, pleasant ones. And the valley is much more than Gulmarg, Sonmarg and Pahalgam, though all these places are heavenly and beautiful in their own rights. We travelled across Kashmir looking for unexplored destinations and found this beautiful waterfall.
Where is Aharbal located?
Aharbal, located at 7434 feet (2266 m) is a small hill station in Kashmir located in Kulgam district , about 70 km from Srinagar city. The place is known for the famous Aharbal Waterfall, also called “The Niagara of Kashmir”, because of the sheer volume of river that falls down.
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Aharbal Waterfall is formed when the Veshaw River falls 25 metres down a narrow rocky gorge of granite boulders. River Veshaw is a tributary of River Jhelum. After the drop, the river continues through the valley.
Aharbal Waterfall – Our Experience
We were returning from Aru Valley and Pahalgam towards Srinagar and still had time at hand. Our friend who accompanied us throughout the trip suggested we visit Aharbal Waterfall. Well, he definitely gave us a few reasons on why we should visit Aharbal – the place is relatively unexplored by tourists. Mostly locals visit the waterfall and finally, the place is absolutely gorgeous.
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To be honest, he did not give us any reasons. We are always up and ready to explore lesser known places. So, we started from Pahalgam, crossed Anantnag and Sophian to finally reach Aharbal. As usual, the journey was quite scenic with mountains keeping us company. And the apple orchards at Sophian were absolute beauty!
It was drizzling a bit when we reached Aharbal. Rain seems to have been a constant companion for the last few days. Infact, we could hardly explore Pahalgam as it was raining quite heavily the previous days. Nevertheless, after asking for directions, we reached Aharbal Waterfall. We had by now realized that the social way of asking directions is best in Kashmir. Google Maps does not always give the best way to reach a place and we had learnt the hard way while looking for Kalaroos Caves in Lolab Valley.
There is a small ticket counter from where we had to get our tickets. The parking lot is just behind the counter. After getting our tickets, we followed the path that led to the waterfall. After walking a few metres, there was a small open area.
At one end there was a flight of steps that led to the waterfall. On the opposite side, there was a big meadow and a Jammu and Kashmir Tourism building. There are tourist huts for accommodation, which you can book online. And beyond that, we could see the snow covered peaks of the Pir-Panjal ranges looming in the horizon. It was indeed a great sight.
To the Waterfall
But I was more excited to visit the waterfall. So we followed the steps and the trail leading to the waterfall. The Veshaw River kept us company as we walked towards the viewpoint. We could hear the sounds of the gushing river as we approached the viewpoint. And finally we could see the Aharbal Waterfall.
Aharbal Waterfall is a stunning one. The water gushing down from a height looks quite stunning. I have seen a number of beautiful waterfalls like the Tiuriahu Falls in Mizoram, the mighty Jog Falls and the several waterfalls in Cherrapunjee. Aharbal Waterfall is equally stunning. What it lacks in height, is compensated by the ethereally beautiful landscape of Kashmir.
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There were quite a number of locals at Aharbal Waterfall that day. Perhaps it was a holiday or a weekend that day. While travelling, we often seem to forget about weekdays and weekends. Does that happen to you as well?
I loved the sound of the waters. It was pleasing to the ears, even though I could not hear what Agni was telling me from beside. I also enjoyed the caress of the water droplets on my face. This is one of the best things that I love about waterfalls.
We spent some time at the viewpoint. The walking trail continues till the edge of the waterfall. The entire area is surrounded by fences and boundaries. As much as the waterfall is beautiful, it is also quite dangerous. A few lost their lives after slipping down the rocks to the water. Although there was a boundary, but a few daring young men found out some chink and went near the mouth of the waterfall. I could say it looked dangerous. Hope they knew what they were doing and were careful.
Trekking trails from Aharbal Waterfall
We heard that there is a trekking trail from Aharbal that leads to Kausar Nag Lake and the beautiful Kungwatan meadows. Kausar Nag LAke is the source of River Veshaw. You will need 3-4 days if you want to attempt this trek. There are many beautiful trekking trails in Kashmir that we are usually not aware of. We went for one such trek, the Dumail trek in Naranag and it was totally worth it. Kashmir just kept on amazing us each day we spent there.
How to reach Aharbal Waterfall?
Aharbal is located about 75 km from Srinagar city. The distance obviously depends on the place from where you start. From Srinagar, you can hire a car to visit Aharbal Waterfall. The route to follow is
Route 1: Srinagar – Nowgam – Pulwama – Keegam – Shopian – Aharbal Waterfall
Route 2: Srinagar – Pampore – Kakapora – Gangoo – Keegam – Shopian – Aharbal Waterfall
Both these routes take a similar amount of time. The last 15 km of the route is a steep climb.
If you are travelling to Aharbal Waterfall from any other destination (like we came from Pahalgam), you have to reach Sophian first, and then ask for directions towards Aharbal.
Getting a shared cab to Aharbal Waterfall is difficult. For budget travellers, we would recommend to form a group and travel together. Shared cabs in Kashmir are mostly sumos and I don’t think that there are any direct shared sumos available from Srinagar to Aharbal.
You can get a shared sumo to Sophian and from there you have to ask about shared cabs to Aharbal. But getting it will be tough. Well, if you don’t get one, you just have to hitchhike.
Are there any buses from Srinagar to Aharbal Waterfall?
There are no direct buses from Srinagar to Aharbal. If you have to take a bus, then you have to break your journey a number of times. First, take a bus from Lal Chowk in Srinagar to Shopian. From there, you have to look for shared cabs or have to hitchhike.
Aharbal Waterfalls Travel Guide
Aharbal Waterfall, located in the Kulgam district of Jammu and Kashmir is known as the Niagara of Kashmir. The waterfall is located at an altitude of 2266 m above the sea level.
A private taxi will take about Rs 2000-2500 for a day trip to Aharbal Waterfall from Srinagar, including the driver and fuel. For SUVs like Scorpio and Innova, it will cost about Rs2500, while smaller cars will cost around Rs1800-2000.
The best time to visit Aharbal Waterfall is between April and October. The place looks really gorgeous in autumn (September and October). This is the time when the leaves turn orange and the vistas look stunningly beautiful. Aharbal looks mesmerizing during the sunset in autumn.
You can also visit during the winter months, but the landscape will be a bit dull during this time. However, you will get snow all around.
Since Aharbal is not yet developed fully for tourists, finding an accommodation is a bit difficult here. There is a J&K Tourist Bungalow where you can book a room online. When we went there in 2021, we saw a couple of homestays coming up. The place is usually visited as a day trip from Srinagar.
There are no major restaurants or eateries. There were a few shops at the parking area from where you could get snacks, water and tea.
No, there are no banks and ATMs near the Aharbal Waterfall. The nearest ones are at Sophian.
We hope the information we provided about Aharbal was helpful to you. Kashmir is beautiful, both in scenic landscapes and in culture. Visit Kashmir with an open mind and you will be quite happy in the “Heaven on Earth”. If you have any questions about visiting Aharbal Waterfall or Kashmir, ask us in the comments below, or you can drop us a mail with your queries.
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