General Information about Gulmarg
Area:3.5 km long; 1 km wide
Best season:Throughout the year.
Clothing:Summer: Light woolens; winter: Heavy woolens
Information about Gulmarg
Gulmarg is one of the beautiful place that can be visited in Kashmir valley. Gulmarg literally means the meadow of flowers. Originally, Gulmarg was called Gaurimarg, named after Shiva’s coasts. Gulmarg’s legendary beauty, prime location and proximity to Srinagar make it one of the premier hill resort in the country. Gulmarg, the hill resort is located only 52 km. to the south west of Srinagar in the Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir. Gulmarg is situated at an altitude of 2730 meters above sea level and has a gently sloping topography. Its present name ‘Gulmarg’ was given in the 16th century by Sultan Yusuf Shah, who was inspired by the sight of its grassy slopes filled with wild flowers.
Gulmarg was a favourite haunt of Emperor Jehangir who once collected 21 different varieties of flowers from here. During the colonial rule over India, the British discovered the hill resort of Gulmarg in 1927. Gulmarg also hosted the British Resident and his fellow Europeans. Gulmarg attracts various tourists due to its natural beauty. The snow-clad peaks and the lovely landscapes of Gulmarg have provided background for several Bollywood ventures. Today Gulmarg is not merely a hill resort – but it also has the highest green golf course in the world, at an altitude of 2,650 m and also the Asia’s only heli-skiing resort in the winter. There is immense beauty and various adventure activities that make Gulmarg more than a cool hill resort. It is a convenient base for trek to the Himalayas and also offers various winter sports facilities to the tourists. Gulmarg can be visited throughout the year. The winter months from November to February are ideal for skiing. The months from May to September are pleasant to visit the place
Journey to Gulmarg
The journey to Gulmarg is half the enchantment of reaching there-roads bordered by rigid avenues of poplar give over to flat expanses of rice fields interspersed with picturesque villages. Depending on the season, nature’s colours could be the translucent green of spring, summer’s rich emerald, or autumn’s golden hues, when scarlet chillies festoon windows of village homes. After Tangmarg, the climb to Gulmarg begins through fir-covered hillsides. At one point, known simply as View Point, travelers generally stop their vehicles for a few minutes and look out a spectacle of snow-covered mountains, almost within touching distance.
It is for golfing that Gulmarg has long been famous. There is also a green 18-hole golf course in Gulmarg which is also the world’s highest golf course. The Gulmarg Golf Club has been in existence for over a hundred years and there are records, dating from that time, which make fascinating reading. The Clubhouse itself, reminiscent of a Swiss chalet with its quaintly sloping roof, has a rare old character. The Golf Club offers short-term memberships to the players.
The payment of a fee entitles one to play on the golf course. One can also hire the golf sets from Gulmarg.
Gulmarg also offers some excellent opportunities for long walks. Walking along Gulmarg’s circular path you only have to look down to have a complete view of the valley including Srinagar. A fine view can also be had of Nanga Parbat, the naked mountain which is over 26,000 feet and dominates the entire region.
Skiing & Winter Sports
Gulmarg is the main skiing resort for the adventure lovers. Some of the best slopes in the country for beginners and intermediate skiers are available at Gulmarg. The slopes in Gulmarg varies between 8,700 and 10,500 feet and are the highest skis in India. The skis, sticks, snow boots, woolen socks, mufflers, windproof jackets, goggles, caps and various other equipments are available on hire from the Ski-Shop in Gulmarg.
The Skiing instructors are easily available in Gulmarg. Even the amateurs can enjoy the skiing with the ski lifts and chair lifts. In winter Gulmarg’s natural slopes and inclines turn into the country’s premier skiing resort. Not all tourists who visit in winter come for skiing – some simply are there to watch the skiing or to enjoy a holiday in the snow. Among the various slopes, there are a few which are serviced by ski lifts. Most of the skiing becomes centred on these slopes, which are specially suited to beginners and intermediate level skiers, with ski runs ranging from 200 m to 3kms, instructors are available for both levels. As in the summer, when each individual sets his own pace for a holiday, so also in winter, skiing can be as adventurous as the holidaymaker can wantThere are a number of slopes, not serviced by ski lifts, of varying lengths and gradients. Each of these is quieter than the immensely popular ones with ski lifts. Advanced skiers often trek in the snow for several hours to the very top of Apharwat peak, to make a descent lasting no more than 30 minutes. And now, with the operation of the Gulmarg Gondola Cable Car, it has become all the more convenient for skiing enthusiasts, as they can gain a ski run of nearly 3 kms with the help of this cable car which goes up to Kongdori.
There are a host of snow sports at Gulmarg at this time of the year. Tobogganing, the most popular among them requires no skill. No skill is required – a flat wooden board is taken up the hill and is allowed to descend downhill. There are also snow scooters and snow bobbing, neither requiring special skills. The best season for skiing is from November to February.
Gondola Lift Ride
For a fun-filled ride of a most unusual kind, Gulmarg’s newly constructed Gondola lift through pine-clad slopes is an experience of a lifetime. This Gondola will take you up above 15,000 feet and is one of the highest in the world. Here, you can touch the skies and merge with the clouds.
Tourist Attractions in Gulmarg
The gorgeous hill resort of Gulmarg is dotted with various places of interest like Khilanmarg, Alpather Lake, Wular Lake and Manasbal Lake.
Khilanmarg is the famous spot for skiing in winters. From Khilanmarg, you can enjoy the views of the Kashmir valley and the Himalayan range. It takes a couple of hours by pony, to reach Kilanmarg as it is slightly longer on foot.
The Alpather Lake is a picturesque alpine lake that remains frozen until late June. The lake lies across the Apharwat peak. The adventure tourists can take the one-day and thirteen km trip to the Alpather Lake from Gulmarg.
The Wular Lake is situated on the route from Gulmarg to Srinagar on Baramula Road at Sangrama. The Wular lake is the largest fresh-water lake in Kashmir and the second largest in India. It looks like the Genevo Lake of Switzerland. It has a beautiful setting, with Haramuk Mountain at its head. The sunset at the lake is breathtaking.
The Manasbal lake is situated only a few kilometers away from the Wular lake. It is known for its lotus blossoms.
How to reach Gulmarg
Gulmarg is well connected by road with Srinagar, Pahalgam, Sonamarg, Jammu and various other cities of Jammu and Kashmir. Gulmarg is 56 kms from Srinagar.