Gulmarg

Why To Go

Located in the Baramula district of Jammu and Kashmir, Gulmarg is a treat for sore eyes. Literally, Gulmarg means ‘a meadow of flowers’, the town is a one of the most beautiful places on earth and tops the list of the best hill stations in India. Gulmarg, apart from being a beautiful hill station, is also India’s very own ski town with travellers across the country, visiting this town for skiing.

Gulmarg lies in a cup shaped valley in the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalays, at an altitude of 2730m and around 56km from Srinagar. The soil of Gulmarg comprises glacial deposits.

The natural meadows of Gulmarg, which are covered with snow in winter, allow the growth of wild flowers such as daisies, forget-me-nots and buttercups during spring and summer.

The meadows are interspersed by enclosed parks and small lakes, and surrounded by forests of green pine and fir. Skiing and winter sports in Gulmarg are carried out on the slpes of Aphatwat peak at a height of 4,267m.

Travel Tips

The perfect time to visit Gulmarg is in the months of summer i.e. from end of May to June. The nature blooms in full swing during this time and would give you a refreshing vacation away from the midst of grey concrete. If you are a love of sports, especially skiing, pack your luggage during winters i.e. from December to mid March. But be aware; if you are not well practised with skiing do not try out. Basic ski training is a must before facing the downward slopes of snowy mountains. Children, pregnant women, people with cardiovascular diseases should not go for skiing. Keep necessary medicines like paracetamol tablets, digestive pills, pain relief creams or gels at hand.

Things To Do

There is a bunch of things you could do when you are in Gulmarg. Sports and adventure enthusiasts will be thrilled at the choice of novel activities the town provides. As mentioned before, Gulmarg is famous for skiing. With gentle slopes for beginners, as well as steep slopes up to 3 km long, this place is the one of the few skiing spots in India. The Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering offers short 10 to 21 day ski training packages for those who are really interested. There are various ski resorts that will offer you all the help and assistance required. Snowboarding is also one of the popular activities in Gulmarg. Travellers can also go for one of the various trekking programs that originate from Gulmarg, ranging from easy, medium to hard adventure treks. Trekking among the beautiful locales and rocky terrains of Gulmarg is both peaceful and exhilarating. And while you are in Gulmarg, you cannot afford to miss the Gulmarg cable car ride, popularly known as the Gondola Ride. The ride is divided into two sections – Gulmarg to Kongdori and Kongdori to Apherwat. The Gondola passes over the pine forests, starting from a height of 2690 m above sea level and rise up to 3090 m while reaching Kongdoor. The ride offers travellers with a view to die for, with the landscapes filled with snow covered mountain ranges, mist and lush greenery. It is an absolute marvel. Among picnic spots in Gulmarg, Alpather Lake tops the list with its scenic surroundings, breathtaking altitude and serene, calm water. It is a favourite spot among travellers, who want to just relax alone or with families. If you are willing to go the distance, the Shrine of Baba Reshmi is also an interesting spot to visit. You can take traditional means such as field chutes or sledges to cross the snow and reach the shrine, which is almost five centuries old and still intact in beauty and aesthetic. The twin Awantiswami temples built back in the 9th century are also worth a visit. One of them has been renovated while the other is in complete ruins, standing as an ode to Lord Shiva. The Golf Course in Gulmarg is an interesting sightseeing option for you, as it is the highest green golf course in the world, and is set apart by its class and elegance. Beside popular cuisines like Dum Aloo, Rogan Josh, Yakini , you should also try out local delicacies named Qabargaah, Modur Pulaav, Muj Gaad or almond mixed Sher Chaai or Kehwah – sweet green tea blended with almonds and cardamom.

Getting Around

You can move around within the small town in rented cars that are easily available, or even walk to explore the beauty of the town. The cable car or Gondola is also a fun way to travel around or go to mountain tops and picnic spots. You may experience the pony rides, which are also a great way to cross the snow.

How To Reach

FLIGHT

Srinagar (58 km) is the nearest airport and has connecting flights to all major cities, with maximum flights to Delhi. Taxi cabs and rental jeeps are easily available outside the airport for reaching Gulmarg and the journey takes around 2 hours.

TRAIN

Jammu is the closest rail head to Gulmarg (320 km), with connecting trains to and from all major cities in India. Some people also prefer to get off at the Delhi railway station and drive up from there. You may take hired cars, private taxis from Jammu and reach Srinagar and from there you can reach Gulmarg or directly reach Gulmarg via rented cars from Jammu station.

ROAD

Gulmarg is well linked by bus services from most of the cities in Jammu and Kashmir. State owned buses and Private tourist deluxe luxury buses are also available to reach Gulmarg from various parts of J&K like Srinagar, which is just 60 km from Gulmarg, Sonmarg and many other parts of the state.

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Surrounding Attractions

Gulmarg being located in the western side of the Himalayas has garland of mountain peaks to make it shine with radiance. The unbelievable natural beauty and the panoramic views are simply breathtaking to watch. The Gulmarg Gondola: This is a world famous cable car service run in Gulmarg. It is the highest place where such services are available. This awesome communication system to reach the skiing site of Gulmarg is tremendously memorable because the surrounding views that can be seen from the Gondola are unparalled in beauty and exclusiveness. Pahalgam is just around 140 km from Gulmarg and it takes less than 4 hours by car to reach there. A beautiful place with blossoms and natural charm, you can opt to spend few days there too.
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