• Gulmarg is famous for its highest Gondola rides (cable car rides) in the world. There are 2 phases to this ride and the ticket counters are only at the starting point, so one must decide in advance whether they want to cover both the phases and its worth going to Phase 2.
Phase 1 rate – 750 per adult
Phase 2 rate (it also includes phase1) – Rs. 1750 per adult
Each Gondola can accommodate upto 6 adults and they try to fill all the Gondolas with maximum capacity due to the rush. There is a queue for getting these tickets but it’s easier if you have an accompanying guide who can get it faster for you. The ticket counters are open from 9:00am to 5:00pm.
Note – We travelled in end of April, when there was hardly any snow in Phase 1, so going to Phase 2 was worth it.
• One will definitely need the following accessories to go to phase 2 i.e. Snow boots, jackets and goggles (the snow reflects a lot making it difficult to see around). Boots and Jackets can be rented at Rs.250 per head and goggles (Rs.100 per head) you need to buy if you have forgotten yours like I had. Else please remember to carry your own and the ones bought here look funny and they are too colorful to even use later.
You will also need these if you go only to phase 1 when its covered in snow based on the season you choose to travel.
• At Gulmarg, Phase 2 there are vendors who will frequently pursue you to take the sledge rides (note- sledges are pulled by humans only) which cost around 400 per head and the skiing expedition will take you at the highest point and show you the LOC very close. This adventure to the top may cost you upto Rs.3000 per head (owing to your bargaining skills).
Personal experience is Sledge ride is fun, Skiing can be skipped because you do not get to ski alone. You stand behind a skiing expert just holding him while he takes you around. Also the younger tourists can still do it for adventure as its scary at times since you are at a steep height and they ski you through the edges of the mountain where it is very difficult to even fix your foot to stand. It is not advisable for the old and kids even though the vendors may persuade you for their business.
• One expense that can be totally avoided is taking the pony ride in Gulmarg. Its walkable up to the Gondola Ticket counter and it’s not a good idea to go on a pony until phase 1 through the uneven mountain routes. Also one cannot go to phase 2 on a pony as it is very steep and snowy. It is definitely time consuming as well. Do not go for the ATV mountain bikes either, as it’s a walkable route unless you are going in winters when the snow starts from the foot of the mountain and you want a to experience these. ATV bikes cost around Rs.400 per hour.