Gulmarg - A fascinating land of colorful flower filled pastures, lush greenery, snow-clad mountains, silent dales and pine covered slants. One of India's foremost hill destinations, Gulmarg was originally called Gaurimarg. The country's premier, and possibly only bonafide ski resort town, Gulmarg and its pine- fringed paddocks encircled by Mount Apharwat and surrounding snow-capped mountains have been part of popular culture and Bollywood since aeons. Gulmarg one of the most beautiful Summer/Winter destination in the Kashmir Valley, and has also been named the "Meadow of Flowers".
Gulmarg will let you experience the best abundances of nature. You can enjoy the best of nature walks amidst aromatic colorful gardens. In addition, Gulmarg is a favorite spree for adventure fanatics with cable car ride, trekking and skiing.
Here are the Top 12 Exclusive things to strike off from your bucket list in Gulmarg:
1.Try the Panoramic Gondola Ride at Gulmarg:
Gulmarg is 7th best skiing destination in the world and also boasts of housing the 2nd highest cable car in the world - the Gulmarg Gondola. It's a beautiful experience and people from all over the world visit this captivating hill station to experience an exhilarating ride with Asia's longest and highest cable car.
Gulmarg Gondola is a two-phase ropeway which carries 6 people at a time. The ride is divided into two phases, the first one is from Gulmarg resort to Kongdoori valley and the other phase is from the Kongdoori valley to Apharwat peak which is 14200 ft. above. It takes around 20 to 22 minutes to complete both the phases. Phase 2 ride is more stunning and will give you amazing panoramic views of Himalayan ranges including the highest peak.
Tickets of Gondola Ride: Gondola Tickets are available online at ( http://www.gulmarggondola.com) and at Gondola E-Ticket Block in Gulmarg.The ticket rates of the different phases of Gondola ride in Gulmarg is stated as below-
1st Phase (Gulmarg to Kongdoori) - INR 700 per adult
2nd Phase (Kongdoori to Apharwat) - INR 900 per adult.
2. Experience Sheer Adventure of Heli Skiing:
Heli SKiing was introduced to Gulmarg in 2011 with the opening of Kashmir Heli ski, a Heli ski operation that was started by industry experts. This premier ski resort town is known across the world for its Virgin skiing environment ,which makes it very popular amongst the yearning adventurous souls who love Heli skiing. This ultimate sport enables you to enjoy an overview of the enchanting beauty of the kashmir valley along with the wonderful experience of traversing the pristine tracks.Scale the exceptional snowfields and experience the spectacular terrain while maneuvering your way between the pine trees. Choose from various packages such as Powder Shot week-long programmed, or book a private charter to enjoy this eccentric sport.
3.Play golf at the most breathtaking hub:
The Gulmarg golf course is one of the spectacular golf courses in the country with 18 holes stretching over 7505 yards with a par of 72, makes it the highest golf course in the world. This famous golf course in Kashmir is situated at an altitude of around 9000 feet. Playing golf at such an altitude surely ecstasies oneself to his core. Golfing here is usually a success in the months of Summers. Adjacent to the snowy ski slopes, the lush green and bracing surroundings, highly contribute to the setting up of a perfect golf course.
4.Visit Apharwat peak:
Around,13kms from the Gulmarg, the phase 2 of Gondola takes you to the Apharwat peak, the peak which remains snow capped for almost all the months of the year, it captivates every breed of the visitors. The Line of Control (LOC) is barely a few kilometers away from here. Special permission is required from Gulmarg army base office to visit this place.
The view from the Apharwat peak is simply breathtaking. The peak is famous for its premium ski destination in the region. The peak is totally adventure packed and it is flawless for both beginners as well as expert skiers, being captured by entrancing snowy peaks and an unspoiled lake, the glory and greenery of the region is reflected in its full opulence. Even If you are not an Adventure lover, you can simply enjoy the scenic views in the vicinity with the family.
5.Get hand on Photography at Alpather Lake :
The gorgeous alpine lake, high up in the Apharwat peaks of the Himalayas, this striking natural lake is hugged by Rocky Mountains and paddocks of wild flowers. Alpather lake remains frozen for almost all months of the year. So, it is advised to visit this lake between May - September.
When the destination is a frozen lake fringed by immense snow-covered mountains, can you stop yourself from clicking photographs? The sparkling waters of the lake with meadows and mountains on the backdrop are no doubt, flawless natural settings that is hard to find elsewhere. So, make sure you don't forget to carry your camera! The beauty of lake is every photographer's delight & definitely calls for some mesmerizing clicks .
6.Seek blessings at the 13th century shrine:
In history dating back to 1840 , Baba Reshi Shrine is a religious and ancient spot settled on the slopes between Gulmarg and Tangmarg. It 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. On the way to Gulmarg, this religious building displays a mix of Persian and Mughal architectural designs. It is also famous for its internal wooden works of unique style, which beautifies the tomb. The shrine is placed in the green lawns, which is large enough to accommodate many thousand devotees at a time.
7.Learn Skiing & Snowboarding:
Gulmarg is blessed with heavy snowfall every year making it one of the most visited premier ski resorts of India. Skiers and snowboarders can experience the adrenalin rush while traversing a vertical descent starting from the summit of Mt Apharwat or while scaling the steep slopes from Mary Shoulder to Kongdoor continuing down to the base camp. These slopes are naturally groomed with powder snow, which provides a smooth track for riders to glide on. Adventure junkies from all over the world visit this charming town to make most of the ski season. Beginners can also learn skiing here under the guidance of certified ski experts.
8.Discover Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve:
Gulmarg biosphere reserve, which is spread across 180 sq.kms is known for its flora & Fauna & Avifauna. Spot many common to rare species here such as, hangul, leopard, brown bear, black bear and Red fox. Get a glimpse of the endangered Musk deer, which is the highlight of the reserve. You can watch many migratory birds here. It is altogether a different experience to be surrounded by rich Himalayan wildlife and there can be no better place to experience this thrill than in Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve.
An excellent place for wildlife lovers, Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve offers many opportunities to capture movements as well as moments of animals in their different moods.
9.Take a long walk with a fascinating views at Outer Circle walk:
Embark on the Outer Circle Walk, a popular 11 km long trail, which is the best way to explore the Kashmir Valley and Gulmarg. Enjoy trekking through the lush green grasslands, progressing your way via the perfectly spaced rows of pine trees. While traversing this nature trail you can also enjoy the views of Nanga Parbatthe world's fourth highest peak, and behold the beauty of the Harmukh and Sunset peak. Keep your camera handy, as you will come across several scenic vistas to capture in your lens.
10.Gulmarg Winter Music and Adventure Festival:
The Gulmarg Winter Festival was started back in 2003 with an aim to promote concert tours in India, encourage adventure sports, music and tourism in Gulmarg. Every year, the 3-day festival backdropped by an awe-inspiring Himalayan beauty opens with music bands, dance performances, photography, movies, food and of course, adventure activities. You can witness leading bands, renowned musicians, dancers and athletes who gather here put up a great show. Apart from the shows, savor some exclusive Kashmiri delights at the food stall or pick rare souvenirs, handicrafts from Gulmarg flea bazar during this time.
11.Enjoy at Ice Skating Rink:
The Ice Skating rink is one of the lesser known attractions in Gulmarg. Ice skating has a totally different meaning in Kashmir. Ice Skating is a lot like skiing, Balance of your body must be just right for you to smooth rightly. Amateurs can follow the simple rule of agility, steadiness and good sense of balance There are no fixed locations or grounds but almost unending frozen rivers that delight every ice skater. Frozen rivers and streams in winter present enormous scopes for adventure of which ice skating is one of its kind. For Ice Skating & Ice Hockey buffs, there is an Ice Skating Rink right at the heart of Gulmarg town near the cable car station. The best time for ice skating in Gulmarg is in the winter months of January and February. Skating lovers can get their own equipments for skating or else can hire from local shops at reasonable rates.
12. Taste some fresh Strawberries at the Strawberry Valley:
During summers, taste the fresh strawberries, Gulmarg has to offer at Strawberry Valley. That is not enough! Walk down the valley to get through the unexplored part of Gulmarg. Don't forget to pack some for later. The place is famous for its Bollywood connection as many important sequences of movies have been shot here.
Exotic flowers, timeless snow-covered slopes and the mighty Himalayan range in the backdrop, Go and Unseal your dreams in this valley of Kashmir which is the crowning glory of Jammu & Kashmir. Gulmarg charms you with something new to offer in every season . Not only scenic views but also more n more adventures . In spring, there is a dash of hues and the valley is full of beautiful scenes. Autumn brings with it hues of yellow and brown and in winter, it's all calm white.... Discover the charm of elegant Gulmarg.