Before we even talk about the town of Gulmarg, we have to tell you about the drive to it from Srinagar. The aesthetic beauty is unmatchable and there are countless places with beautiful backdrops and wildflowers to stop for pictures. Srinagar to Gulmarg is just one and a half hours away by car or you could catch a bus for a little over 350 rupees. You can also book a taxi from Srinagar to Gulmarg or a mini coach. In the winter, we recommend you hire a heavy vehicle like an SUV due to heavy snowfall and low temperatures. Read travel information about Srinagar here.
Located in Jammu and Kashmir, and the travel from the capital of Srinagar to Gulmarg being easy, it is a popular tourist destination. Famous for its wildflowers, the name literally translates into Meadow of Flowers. Gulmarg, previously known as Gaurimarg, is a quiet destination - although extremely popular – and does not boast crowded streets like Manali or Shimla. It is a favorite among honeymoon travelers as well. At an altitude of about 3000 meters above sea level, Gulmarg isn’t just another destination to get away from the city life but is an ideal spot for adventure seekers as well. As in other cities in and around Jammu and Kashmir, it offers quite a bit of winter sports like skiing and sledging.
In fact, it is famously called the ‘Heartland of Winter Sports’ and the first ever ski resort was established here in 1927. It also contains the country’s longest golf course and considering the extravagant backdrops of the town, it attracts thousands of tourists every year. Gulmarg's also gloats the world’s second largest and Asia’s largest cable car ride known as the Gulmarg Gondola. Read travel information about Gulmarg here.
As one can read, Gulmarg isn’t just another one of those destinations near the Himalayas that gives a vibe of perfect tranquillity with its ambiance and also caters to adrenaline seekers. It is a small town near the Himalayas that has a lot more to it that another place where tourists can participate in winter sports with a soothing atmosphere. This Gulmarg Travel Guide will give you all the tips and details to have a fun-filled time in the town.
Just like the town itself, Gulmarg’s attractions are nothing else than jaw-dropping. Gulmarg tourism flourishes because of the places one can visit and considering Srinagar to Gulmarg is not a large distance to cover, a weekend to visit these attractions is all one needs.
Kongdori, Gulmarg Gondola:
The most visited attraction in Gulmarg is the Gulmarg Gondola. Being the world’s second largest and Asia’s largest cable car project, it gives you the most extravagant scenic views in all of Kashmir. The 1st phase of the Gondola takes tourists to the height of 8530 ft to Kongdori Station and the second stage of the Gondola goes up to the height of 12293 ft. It can carry six people at one time. Kongdori also offers horse riding through the Strawberry Valley, Leopard Valley and the frozen lake, Al-Pathar.
This temple belongs to the Dogra Kings in Jammu and Kashmir and was built back in 1915. It is an epitome of secularity with a Muslim priest performing all rituals. The shrine, however, is dedicated to Lord Shiva and the unique feature of the Maharani Temple is that it can be seen from any corner of Gulmarg.
This is just the right spot for family and friends to have a day filled with games and excitement. At an elevation of 3,980 m above sea level and away from everyday drudgery, Apparwath instigates excitement and awe. The twins peaks are known for their twists and turns when it comes to skiing, giving professionals a run for their skill. Apharwat Peak holds the glory of being the longest ski slope in Asia. It poses a real challenge, however, there is no harm in a beginner trying something new with skiing. If one isn’t up to the task, they can spend their day relaxing in the snow or having snowball fights and playing in the snow.
Although we already mentioned this under Kongdori, we think it deserves a special mention because it is a beautiful asset to Gulmarg, Kashmir. At a distance of 13 kilometers from Gulmarg, it hosts a gorgeous view of the rocky mountains and flower-laden meadows. The best time to visit would be between May and September, during summer as in the winter, the Lake is usually used for skating.
The beautiful paradise is located at a distance of 6 kilometers from the Gulmarg bus station. The famous Nanga Parbat, which is 7100m high, is close by and helps create the perfect scenic photograph. During winter, it becomes an ideal spot for skiing while in summer, the valley is filled with wildflowers, making ideal for a picnic spot or a place you can finally finish that book in some peace and quiet.
St. Mary’s Church:
Boasting some magnificent Victorian architecture, St. Mary’s Church was built in 1920 and is a Roman Catholic Church. It is open throughout the year, every day from 7.00AM to 5.00PM. It portrays the perfect example of a small countryside chapel with gray stone walls and green tiled roof with wooden decorations inside.
Only 10 kilometers away from Gulmarg, Ningle Nallah is a small, but significant, stream flowing through the mountains to being about a richness to the valley that would have otherwise been impossible. The white snow makes the tourists flock down here for some photographs and a stroll along the stream.
Gulmarg Golf Course:
Famed as the highest 18 hole golf course in the world, this golf course is also the longest in India. Situated at an altitude of 8700 feet above sea level, this place was used to play golf by Britishers since 1911 and the golf course was inaugurated formally in 2011. Gulmarg is known for its wide variety of wildflowers and the Gulmarg Golf Course does not fail to live up to the standards of the town. The flowers are in full bloom in summer providing an aesthetic beauty to the gentlemen’s sport of golf.
The valley is open throughout the year, every day from 10.00AM to 4.00PM. However, it was only officially opened after 22 years in 2012. Newly-weds and romantics rush to this place in Gulmarg for its serenity and snow-clad mountains. The place is a good idea to visit on a day for relaxation, taking photographs with a beautiful backdrop and eventful picnics.
This historical town was once called Shankerpur after Raja Shankarvarman. It is believed that he built this town in the 9th century. If you have an entire day to spare for travel, Pattan is located about 40 kilometers from Gulmarg and is considered as a heritage site. Visitors come here for its rich history. It is said that Pattan used to the main market for cattle, cotton, and fruits.
Baba Reshi Shrine:
This shrine has its history dating back to 1840 and is dedicated to Baba Reshi - a Muslim saint and scholar who served as a major courtier during the reign of the king of Kashmir, Zain-ul-Abidin. It is an ancient spot on the slopes between Gulmarg and Tangmarg. The shrine is a striking fusion of architecture and spiritual significance with Mughal and Persian style. This is a three-storied building. It also has a unique roof spire, rising from the rooftop.
Drung is another widely popular stream known for activities like fishing and rock climbing. It is a small and less-crowded area of Gulmarg where people can come and enjoy the gush of the water.
Gulmarg tourism is highly dependent on the winter sports and other activities for tourists to flock to Gulmarg. Anyone would be willing to travel from Srinagar to Gulmarg for these exciting adventures!
This is one of the most thrilling activities in Gulmarg. The steep slopes on many of the peaks and snow-clad mountains are a challenge for experts and an adrenaline rush for beginners. There are two areas for skiing: the high mountain/off piste areas served by the gondola; and a beginner's area near the hotels on the hills of the Gulmarg golf course. The high mountain ski lift is open from approximately 8:30 to 3:30 daily. However, ski rentals are not available before about 10:00 AM and the equipment is very low quality, so if you are an excellent/off piste skier who wants to ski all day, bring your own equipment. The beginner’s area is open from 10:00AM-1:00 PM, then closes for lunch. Lifts reopen 2:30PM-4:00 PM, However, we recommend that you get your equipment from Srinagar as there is the little availability of good quality equipment in Gulmarg.
Gulmarg Golf Course:
We’ve mentioned all the wonderful details about this place in the top attractions and if you’re feeling like a game of golf in the midst of lush greenery and wildflowers in summer, this is the place for you to go.
Alapther Lake, Khilanmarg and Apharwat – all of these offer great trekking trails for beginners and experts alike. Trekking along the vale to the mighty Pir Panjal is a favorite with professionals. We recommend you hire a local guide as the terrain in these parts can be harsh and difficult with those who are unfamiliar.
This is a relaxing past time if you’re around one of the lakes or streams. Fishing around the Confluence is refreshing and there are countless fish to catch! |
Do not miss out tea picking and sample some Kashmiri Kahwah or the odd blend of salt and soda in sheer tea. Do visit the terraced tea plantations.
Outer Circle Walk:
Outer Circle Walk is a trekking trail, covering a distance of 11 km around the heavenly Kashmir Valley and Gulmarg. This path offers a refreshing nature walk with mesmerizing vistas to behold. While traversing the rugged terrains of this circle, tourists can enjoy splendid views of Nanga Parbat – world's fourth highest mountain crest. Haramukh and Sunset Peak, two frequented tourist hotspots of the region, can also be seen while trekking this beautiful route.
One of the most happening events in Gulmarg is the Gulmarg Winter Sports and Music Festival. Started in 2003, the Gulmarg Winter Festival (also known as GWF) was organized to promote music, adventure sports, and tourism in Gulmarg. This is also the first winter festival in India, promoted by the J&K government. Every year, the festival opens with music bands, dance performances, photography, movies, food and of course, adventure activities. Read about tulip garden festival here.
The best time to visit this beautiful destination is October and June and usually, two or three days is enough to experience the town fully. Hill Top Hotel and Royal Park Hotel are luxurious and provide various amenities.Various cheaper alternatives are also available but have an inadequate supply of hot water and electricity. Like most of the areas around it, the essential and most popular bits of Gulmarg's cuisine include Rogan Josh, Dum Aloo, and Yakhni. A menu bit more local would list down, Qabargaah (Fried Rack of Lamb; The Kashmiri Muslims refer to this dish as "Tabakh maaz"), Modur Pulaav (Sweet Pulao, usually taken as a dessert) and Muj Gaad (Fish with Raddish).
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