About GulmargGulmarg which means "Meadows of Flowers" is a small town and a popular hill station which is famous amongst the tourists for the various options of skiing, a popular snow sports played all over the world. The town is quite famous for both summer and winter sports alike. It is located in Balamura district of Jammu and Kashmir. The town is situated just miles before the line of control in between Pakistan and India.
History of GulmargOriginally known by the name Gaurimarg, the town’s name can be found mentioned in Shivpuraan. The meaning of the original name is meadow of Parvati Devi. One can still fine a temple of Lord Shiva here. Gaurimarg was frequently visited by the Hindu Kings residing in Kashmir. The current name of Gulmarg was given by Yousuf Shah Chak who was a Muslim ruler. Jahangir and Yousuf Shah Chak visited the place quite often for recreation. It was also considered a favorite destination in summers for British residing in India.
Climatic Condition of Gulmarg
Since Gulmarg is located at 8830 ft above the sea level, the climatic condition is cold for most of the time of the year. Even during sweaty summer months in the rest of the country, the town of Gulmarg experiences pleasant weather. The winters can be harsh and is usually between the months of November to March. The town and its surrounding place receive heavy snowfall accompanied with cold winds too. Because of the snow clad mountains the town has gained popularity worldwide and is known to be one of the best destination for Skiing. Also Read.
Main Occupation in GulmargSince Gulmarg is a major tourist destination hence people mainly rely on tourism industry as their daily means of livelihood. People here are mainly involved with the activities related to tourism. While some are engaged in the hotel industry there, many derive their livelihood by acting as guide or instructor of the various sports that can be played and makes Gulmarg famous in the world map. Many people are also engage in the Handicrafts and Shawl industry. Pashmina Shawls are very famous and almost every one visiting there gets one for themselves or gift it to near and dear ones. Horticulture has also developed significantly in Gulmarg. One can find strawberries almost at all the places during the month of May.
Tourist Destination in Gulmarg
Because of its location Gulmarg is a favorable place to visit in almost all the season. Especially during spring and winter season. In spring season one can witness the blossoming of colorful and variety of flowers in the whole valley which does justice to the name Gulmarg as it signifies "Meadows of flowers". In winter season due to it being situated at a very high altitude of 2730 meters above the sea level, the town receives heavy snow fall making it a great destination for skiing.
Though the whole of Gulmarg has something or the other to offer because of its beautiful landscape, however, amongst them Khilanmarg, Gondola lift and Alpather Lake are a must visit when here. Khilanmarg has dense forest and one can view variety of flowers during spring season. In winters it is a special attraction for skiing enthusiasts. Gulmarg is famous for the Gondola lift, which is a cable car operating at a very high altitude of 3090 meters. When riding in Gondola you can get the total view of the picturesque town full of greenery and in winters the snow clad mountains provides an amazing view that will remain in your memories for ever.
Located at about 13 kilometers from the town is the serene Alpathar Lake. The lake is frozen for most of the year and starts to melt only after late July. The sight of fresh water along with slice of ice is a treat the eyes. Many visitors also enjoy trekking all the way from Gulmarg to this lake. You can even think of paying your respect to the shrine of Baba Reshi who was a Muslim saint. Many people irrespective of cast and creed come here to seeking blessings for a healthy and prosperous life.
Also Read, Tourism in Gulmarg
Transportation in GulmargGulmarg is situated at about 50 Km from Srinagar. In case traveling via plane then one needs to arrive at Srinagar and from there take a cab to Gulmarg. Gulmarg does not have its own airport or railway station. The nearest railway station is Jammu which is 157 Km from Gulmarg. When in Gulmarg the whole town which is pretty small can be seen best walking. One can also take the cable car famously known as the Gondola to get a bird’s eye view of the beautiful town. Ponneys are also available for those who do not want to walk while seeing around Gulmarg.
Shopping in Gulmarg
Gulmarg is a great shopping destination. It does not have malls or very big sores like the ones in big cities. However, the small shops situated everywhere sells good stuffs that can be bought for yourself or as a souvenir for your friends and families. The various local items that are available include ornaments, jewellery, furniture made of local timber which are intricately carved, handmade clothing such as fur, leather, wool, linen and cotton, gorgeous shawls and rugs, items made of brass, pashminas and the list goes on. For large items like blankets, some of the shops have the facilities to pack those and send it to your home via mail, so that you do not have to carry it along.
Things to do in GulmargThere are various things that can be done such as:
Adventure Activities in GulmargThose who wish to go beyond the natural beauty of Gulmarg can indulge in various adventure activities that the town has to offer. Ice sports, mountainous sports and the likes can be enjoyed here. Tourist can go on a bike ride or cycle ride on the challenging mountainous terrain. Paragliding and snow motor biking is also popular adventurous sport. Gulmarg is famous for skiing both for experienced and armatures in this field. Helli skiing has been launched in 2011 and is gaining a lot of popularity. The thrill of being flown on a helicopter to the top of a mountain and skiing from there is an experience in itself. The adrenaline rush that you get while doing it can’t be compared to anything else.
In case you want to avoid the crowd then you can resort to fishing in the streams which are a heaven for anglers. For trekking enthusiast there are three trails which are Khilanmarg, Alapther Lake and Apharwat. You can choose one as per your preference. However, a word of advice here, it is wise to hire a guide who knows the territory well. Camping and hiking can also be done here. If not interested in any of the above activities you can resort to walking round Gulmarg if your health permits or you can explore Gulmarg riding on horses or ponies available there. Riding on ponies or horses itself is an adventurous experience and needs courage too. Nevertheless all of the above is going to give you a great experience of your stay in Gulmarg.
Sports in Gulmarg
Playing golf in the 18 hole golf course that can be found in Gulmarg is an ideal way of spending your holidays. Golfing has begun as early as 1920's in Gulmarg during the Britishers time who came to Gulmarg for vacationing. The present course has been redesigned and remodeled. It was inaugurated in the year 2011. Number of visitors can be seen flocking Gulmarg to pursue their favorite sport here. The entrance fee has been fixed at Rs 800 for Indians and Rs 1200 for foreigners which is subject to change. There is also a membership fee for visitors who wish to play golf regularly during their visit to Gulmarg. Read More.
Picnics in Gulmarg
After the sightseeing and the adventure sports are over it is time to relax and what better way to do so than going on a picnic to some secluded corner that can be found in plenty in Gulmarg. You can carry your own picnic basket or eat delicious meals of French fries, parathas and the very special hot tea prepared at the dhabas that can be found in most of the places. Ferozpore and Ningle Nallah are such places where you can go on a picnic and spend some beautiful time with family and also admire the natural beauty all around.
Tea Plucking in Gulmarg
Visiting to the terraced tea gardens here is must when in Gulmarg. You can go on tea picking and can also resort to tasting the two specialized tea of Gulmarg i.e. Kashmiri Kahwah and the Sheer tea. While Sheer tea is a salty tea that has a pinkish color due to the presence of soda in it, Kahwah is the green tea that is commonly consumed by people of the Kashmir valley and is prepared using special tea leaves grown locally. The tea can be accompanied with some locally baked items too.
Visiting Wildlife in GulmargGulmarg Biosphere Reserve which is located very near to Srinagar is famous for exotic and rare species such as musk deer. A varied and rich flora and fauna can be seen here and appeal visitors from all over the world. Conifers occupy a large portion of the vegetation. Pinus griffithii, Aesculus indica, Cedrus deodara are some of the species that can be found there.
The wildlife reserve is home to several protected and endangered species and birds. When on a safari you can get glimpse of Musk Deer, Leopard, Serow, Black Bear, Red Fox, Hangul, Leopard, Brown Bear etc.Large variety of both migratory and resident birds such as Blue Rock Pigeon, Jungle Crow, Snow Cock, Griffon vulture, European hoopoe, Kashmir roller, Koklas can be seen here. There are specific months in which if visited, tourist will be able to view the rare animals and birds. While September to March is ideal for seeing wild animals, March to May is ideal for bird lovers.
Eating Out in Gulmarg
Foodies have great options to try from the different authentic Kashmiri dishes available in the restaurants and dhabas that are there in Gulmarg. Some of the restaurants that can be visited are Nedous Dining room, Hotel Highland Park, Alpine Lounge, Big Bite Fast Food, Bakshi, Hillpoint and many such restaurants which servers different Kashmiri dishes along with Chinese, Continental and other world cuisine too.
Most of the restaurants provide great view of the picturesque valley. Hence, you can enjoy your food at the same time enjoy the great natural beauty all around. Because of the cold climate one can also enjoy the special tea of Kashmir i.e. Khawa tea which is the green tea made with spices and dry fruits and also Nun Chai which is salty in taste and has a pink color made from tea leaves grown locally.
With so many options to choose from visitors will have a fun filled vacation when in Gulmarg. Gulmarg has something for everybody. Also with the great hospitality of the local people the stay in Gulmarg becomes all the more memorable. Eat Here.
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