Gondola Cable Car
Gulmarg which is a picturesque town in Jammu and Kashmir has various activities which can provide much entertainment to visitors visiting this place. Amongst other activities that can be indulged into while on Gulmarg, Gulmarg Gondola is one of the primary attractions that is responsible for tourist visiting the city from all over. The popularity of it comes form not only the fact that it provides breathtaking views of the meadows and the mountains but also about the fact that it is the longest and the highest cable car in Asia. Both Jammu and Kashmir Government and Pomagalski which is a French firm had taken the responsibility of building the rope way project.
Phases of Gondola Ride in Gulmarg
There are two phases of the gondola ride. Phase one is for those who wish to take the ride from Gulmarg to Kungdoori and was first started in the year 1998. It is almost at a height of 10000 feet above sea level. The whole journey in phase one is extremely thrilling and lasts for few minutes where you will be able to view the tall pine trees and mountains all around you. In phase one the main attraction would be the origin of the seven springs which is a delight to watch. You will also be able to see Khilanmarg the meadow that is full of colorful flowers. Khilanmarg can later be visited at any time during your trip on pony and the approximate time it takes is 30 minute if going there on foot. Ski slopes are other major attractions from the Gondola when going on phase one ride.
The second phase was completed within 2 years and started its operation from 28 May 2005. Most of the visitors prefer going for the phase two rides due to the thrill that comes with ascending sharply in the rocky terrains of the mountains there. The total journey which takes much more time than in phase one is about 20 minutes and during those 20 minutes the gondola will take you to about 13500 feet above sea level. The journey is from Gulmarg to Alpanther.
For better view of the scenic beauty all around it’s wise to sit in the front cabin of the gondola cab. In phase 2 because of the high altitude which the cable cars takes the visitor to, one will be able to get the total view of the Kashmir Valley which is mesmerizing. You will also be able to view Alpanther Lake which remains frozen for most of the time. It takes approximately 30 minutes to reach the lake from the peak which the gondola takes you to. If you are lucky and the sky is clear you would be able to view Panj Peer range, LOC and also the Nanda Devi. Rare and colorful flowers of different variety can be seen too. Phase 3 which has also started takes you further from Kongdoori to the place Mary shoulder and transportation is done using chair lift.
A word of caution here. Those with heart problems, respiratory problems and children below 5 years are not allowed to take this ride for safety reasons. As they might face health issues while on such a high altitude. Also wearing of warm clothes is a must as you may face very cold weather at all times of the year. If not carrying sufficient woolen clothes then you can hire snow boots and parkas from the locals there which are available at reasonable prices.
Tickets for Rides in Gondola
With the use of internet in almost every field, online booking of tickets have also been started for booking tickets before hand in order to avoid the rush that you normally get to see near the ticket counters. When purchasing online tickets be sure to take the boarding passes from the online counter before boarding the cable car. You need to provide identification details also while taking the boarding passes.
If you were not able to book tickets online then you need to approach the counters which sell tickets from 8 Am to 4 Pm. If you are lucky you can also get the chance of purchasing premium tickets which are available in few at the discretion of JKSCCC. If government officials or VVIPs have not bought the tickets then you might as well get the chance to travel using premium tickets. 3 hours is the maximum time of validity of the boarding pass that has been given to you. The price of the tickets for phase 1 is Rs 400 per person and for phase 2 you might be required to shell out Rs 600 subject to change.
On an average day, you might have to wait for couple of hours in the queue before getting the chance to see the magnificent beauty of Gulmarg.
Getting to Gulmarg GondolaFor those who are traveling via flight Srinagar is the nearest airport from Gulmarg after that you need to take buses from Batmallo bus stand or private cabs to reach Gulmarg gondola. It is a one hour drive from Srinagar. Often the buses that ply will drop you at Tangmarg which is located at a close proximity to Gulmarg. Tourists may hire Qualis, Scorpios or sumos during winters as the road becomes extremely narrow and slippery due to heavy snowfall on a continuous basis.
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