Pahalgam is also mentioned as the Valley of Shepherds because for several centuries, this place was the grazing land for nomadic herdsmen. According to mythology, Lord Shiva wished to share the secret of the universe, the source of his immortality and about elixir of life with his wife. So, he chose a secluded and serene place to avoid eavesdroppers. He chose Amarnath caves for this task. On his route to Amarnath caves, he and Parvati stopped at numerous destinations to enjoy the natural beauty. The first stop was Pahalgam. This was where he left his guardian deity, Nandi. Nandi took the form of a bull and stayed in Pahalgam. This is why Pahalgam is the starting point of trekking journey towards Amarnath caves for pilgrims.
According to some of the early recorded literature, Pahalgam was under the control of Mughals. Mughal literature records Pahalgam as a part of Kashmir, an independent region. Up to the 14 th century, the region of Pahalgam and the surrounding areas were under the control of Hindu rulers. In 1346, Sham-Sud-Din took control of the region and his dynasty ruled the area until Mughals invaded. In 1586, Pahalgam and the entire region of Kashmir was under the control of Akbar. In the 18 th century, it became a part of Afghanistan after being invaded by ruler Ahmed Shah Durrani. In the early 19 th century, Ranjit Singh annexed it to his Sikh dynasty, only to be taken control by the British, a few decades later.
Under British rule
British did not have Pahalgam for long under their control. They sold Kashmir along with Pahalgam for INR 7.5 million (in 19 th century) to Gulab Singh, who became the Kashmir’s king. According to this treaty, Kashmir and the regions of Pahalgam were to remain as independent kingdom throughout the rule of British, and it did so until the partition of British India into Pakistan and India. It became a part of independent India after its independence.
Development of tourism
Pahalgam started to gain popularity because of the pilgrimage sites around it, especially Amarnath. Due to its rich history, Pahalgam has a diverse culture of Sikhism, Hinduism, and Islamic backgrounds.