the Meadow of Flowers !
Gulmarg legendary beauty, its prime location and its proximity to
Srinagar naturally make it one of the premier hill resort in country.
Originally named Gaurimarg, it was renamed Gulmarg in the 16th century by
Sultan Yusuf Shah, who was inspired by the sight of its grassy slopes
emblazoned with wild flowers. Gulmarg was a favorite haunt of Emperor
Jehangir who once collected 21 different varieties of flowers.
Today Gulmarg is not merely a mountain resort of exceptional beauty it
also has the highest green golf course in the world, at an attitude of
2680 meters above sea level, and is the country's prime ski resort in the
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 colors could be the translucent green of spring, summer's rich
emerald, or autumn's golden hues, when scarlet chilies festoon windows of
village homes. After Tangmarg, the climb to Gulmarg begin through fir
covered hillsides. At one point on the way, known simply as View Point,
travelers commonly stop there vehicles for a few minutes and look out on
to a spectacle of snow covered mountains, almost within touching distance.
Gulmarg is, as its evocative name suggests, a flower strewn meadow. In
the shape of a bowl, its length is 3.5km and its width 1Km. Its undulating
expanse is grassy slopes for the most part, with a small scattering of
houses. The bowl is encircled by fir clad hills, and in the distance, snow
dusted peaks; because of its altitude, its 11Km Circular Road offers a
magnificent view of much of Kashmir Valley.
Gulmarg's charm stems from the fact that it offers the visitor a chance
to set his own pace be it a lazy relaxing holiday or a strenuous trek or
game of golf. All through the summer one can go on walks or pony rides of
varying lengths, or have rounds of golf on the famed 18 hole course. In
winter, snow covered slopes attract skiers from all over the world.
Not surprisingly, Gulmarg's year round popularity reaches its peak at
summer, when the highest temperature is 25. Buses, taxis even a helicopter
ply between Tourist Reception Center, Srinagar, and Gulmarg a distance of
56 Km. J&K Tourism has one, two, three, and four bed roomed huts, cozy and
inviting with their wood paneled interiors. These huts are fully furnished
with attached kitchens. It is possible to hire a cylinder of gas from the
Tourist office. In addition are several privately run hotels which range
from the well appointed to the modest, all with dinning facilities.
For the walkers there are several delightful walks around the resort,
the most popular being the meadow of Khilanmarg 4Km away, and Apherwat 7
Km away on the same route. From Apherwat with its unrivalled view of the
surrounding countryside, it is an uphill trek to Alpather Lake frozen for
most of the year, its silent blue depths surrounded by icy peaks. Ningal
Nallah and Lienmarg are each 10 Km from Gulmarg, making them popular for
date excursion and picnics. Tosa Maidan is a 3 day trek away from Gulmarg.
All these trips can be made on horseback as well. There are fixed rates
for each journey they can be ascertained at the Tourist Office who will
also provide guides, Pony riding is chief way of getting around Gulmarg,
cars not being permitted beyond a certain point. One particularly popular
ride is around the 11Km Circular Road which runs right through the resort.
It is for its golfing that Gulmarg has long been in existence for hundred
years and there are records dating from that time which make fascinating
reading. The Club house itself, with its quaintly sloping roof,
reminiscent of a Swiss chalet, has a rare old character and atmosphere and
relaxing in the Club house after day's game is, to golfers, one of the
highlights of Gulmarg.
Golfing holidays are so popular all through the summer months because
of the cool climate resulting in longer playing hours. Also a number of
national and state tournaments are played in Gulmarg during the year,
details of which can be obtained from J&K Tourism who maintain the course.
Temporary members are also welcomed: the payments of a daily entitles one
to play 18 holes. Those who wish to hire clubs can do so from the limited
stock available at the Tourist Office next door.
In winter, Gulmarg's natural slopes and inclines turn it 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. Many of these are infected with the excitement of the skiers,
and have donned their first pair of skis within a short while of their
Among the multitudes of slopes, there are a few which are serviced by
ski lifts. Most of the skiing becomes centered around these slopes, which
are specially suited to beginners and intermediate level skiers, with ski
runs ranging from 200 to 900 meters. Instructors are available for both
levels. All ski equipments including jackets are available on hire from
ski shop, run by the Department of Tourism.
As in the summer when each individual sets his own pace for a holiday, so
also in winter. Skiing can be adventures as the holiday makes wants. there
are a number of slopes, not served by ski lifts, of varying lengths and
gradients. Each of theses is quieter than the immensely popular ones with
ski lifts. Advanced skiers often trek in snow for several hours to the
very top of Apherwat peak to make a descent lasting no more than 30
Click Here to See
More Pictures of Gulmarg