Horse/Pony Riding Scam in Pahalgam - Kashmir Tourism based on lot of lies and lobbying to make the max possible money from each tourist

This was my second visit to Kashmir and Summers is main tourist season in Kashmir valley. It seems, Summer of 2022 are quite popular and  lot of tourists visited Kashmir valley. We could see long queues, crowd at almost every place we visited. And somehow we also chose to go to all the most popular destinations in Kashmir which were probably most crowded in summers. and at the end my brain compared lot of things from my first visit to Kashmir with the recent one. I have had my share of learnings to plan my trips better, especially when we visit any place in peak season. Anyways, in this blogpost we are sharing some of the experiences from which everyone can learn and plan better for Kashmir. Today we are going to talk about Pahalgam, which is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Kashmir valley.

This was my second visit to Kashmir and Summers is main tourist season in Kashmir valley. It seems, Summer of 2022 are quite popular and  lot of tourists visited Kashmir valley. We could see long queues, crowd at almost every place we visited. And somehow we also chose to go to all the most popular destinations in Kashmir which were probably most crowded in summers. and at the end my brain compared lot of things from my first visit to Kashmir with the recent one. I have had my share of learnings to plan my trips better, especially when we visit any place in peak season. Anyways, in this blogpost we are sharing some of the experiences from which everyone can learn and plan better for Kashmir. Today we are going to talk about Pahalgam, which is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Kashmir valley. 

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So here is the typical setup - Your taxi drops at the stand and there is high probability that his person/associate is waiting for your taxi. Your taxi driver has already made his person aware about the location. When you are driving from Srinagar to Pahalgam, your driver has already done your profiling and figured out that how much you can pay for different activities in Pahalgam. He will also ensure that you are impressed by some of the key places to see and start feeling FOMO if you don't do those things or visit those places. E.g. - our driver talked a lot about the waterfall, which dries up in summers. Which means he knew that Waterfall is not active but still he consistently sold that waterfall to us and created a beautiful visual in our imagination :).


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So here is the typical setup - Your taxi drops at the stand and there is high probability that his person/associate is waiting for your taxi. Your taxi driver has already made his person aware about the location. When you are driving from Srinagar to Pahalgam, your driver has already done your profiling and figured out that how much you can pay for different activities in Pahalgam. He will also ensure that you are impressed by some of the key places to see and start feeling FOMO if you don't do those things or visit those places. E.g. - our driver talked a lot about the waterfall, which dries up in summers. Which means he knew that Waterfall is not active but still he consistently sold that waterfall to us and created a beautiful visual in our imagination :). 


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When you reach the taxi stand of Pahalgam., there is a board at the pony stand, which shows 6-7 points that pony guy is going to show you. All that is simply crap and the only thing worth seeing is last point which is a nice meadow surrounded. So keep it in your mind that you getting that pony, if you are, for that meadow. Now let me ask if you are in good health and like hiking? If answer is yes, do that and I promise you that you will have lot more fun unless you want to do a pony ride. I was super scared of that pony ride and I didn't enjoy that ride through tricky trails and the pony decides the path :).

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When you reach the taxi stand of Pahalgam., there is a board at the pony stand, which shows 6-7 points that pony guy is going to show you. All that is simply crap and the only thing worth seeing is last point which is a nice meadow surrounded. So keep it in your mind that you getting that pony, if you are, for that meadow. Now let me ask if you are in good health and like hiking? If answer is yes, do that and I promise you that you will have lot more fun unless you want to do a pony ride. I was super scared of that pony ride and I didn't enjoy that ride through tricky trails and the pony decides the path :). 


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Please notice that your driver has already influenced you that 6000 for 2 ponies is good price, so you feel good that the person has agreed for 6k instead of 12K. Soon after you realise that others got the same deal for 3-4K :). There is very good profiling of tourists done by taxi drivers and info shared with pony owners here.


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Please notice that your driver has already influenced you that 6000 for 2 ponies is good price, so you feel good that the person has agreed for 6k instead of 12K. Soon after you realise that others got the same deal for 3-4K :). There is very good profiling of tourists done by taxi drivers and info shared with pony owners here. 


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It doesn't stop there. Now the pony owner will stop at some random places in the forest and will start counting the sightseeing points. All rubbish except the final destination where you see a beautiful green meadow.  After an hour or so your pony owner/boy will insist on going down as they want to give ride to another group to make more money, while when you book with them they tell there is no time restriction. So with all that you feel cheated multiple times - pricing, sight-seeing points, timing etc.


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It doesn't stop there. Now the pony owner will stop at some random places in the forest and will start counting the sightseeing points. All rubbish except the final destination where you see a beautiful green meadow.  After an hour or so your pony owner/boy will insist on going down as they want to give ride to another group to make more money, while when you book with them they tell there is no time restriction. So with all that you feel cheated multiple times - pricing, sight-seeing points, timing etc. 


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If you are healthy and like hiking, it's a good hike to do and rather avoid these ponies. Reach us through comments section below if we can answer your questions. Idea here is to ensure that you have a good time in Pahalgam.


Related Blogpost - Stunning Peer Ki Gali - An Exceptional Himalayan Terrain with high mountains fulls of lush grass meadows, shining snow covered peaks, musical water teams, high trees & a lot more around Old Mughal Road in Jammu & Kashmir of Incredible India 


If you are healthy and like hiking, it's a good hike to do and rather avoid these ponies. Reach us through comments section below if we can answer your questions. Idea here is to ensure that you have a good time in Pahalgam. 


If you feel you can't hike and need a pony ride, make sure you take your own time to negotiate and be clear on time etc. So that when you pay agreed money, you journey is peaceful and you enjoy. If you are staying in Pahalgam, may be you can get better vendor through hotel with professional services. So bottomline is to find a reliable and honest vendor, if you can. 


Related Blogpost - Kashmir Tourism needs involvement of authorities to regulate things and put a stop of scams which are disturbing for tourists


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