56-km South West Of Srinagar, Kashmir Region, J&K
Main Attractions: Alpather
Lake, Golf Courses & Skiing
Best Time To Visit: In Summer
- May To September
In Winter - November To February
The Meadow Of
huge cup shaped meadow, lush and green with slopes where the
silence is broken only by the tinkle of cowbells. Gulmarg looks
like a fantasy set in a film and not surprisingly have been the
venue of several films.
The valley of Gulmarg, a large meadow about 3-sq-kms in area,
stands at 2,730 m, 56-km south west of Srinagar . The name
means 'Meadow Of Flowers' and in the spring it's just like a
rolling meadow dotted with countless colourful Bluebells, Daisies,
Forget Me Not's and Buttercups. The valley itself is about 3-km
long and upto a km wide.
Take a Hike!
around are snow-capped mountains, and on a clear day one can see
all the way to Nanga Parbat is one direction and Srinagar is
another. It's a popular day trip from Srinagar to Gulmarg,
although many people extend their stay or use it as a base for
trekking. The road from Srinagar rises gently towards the lower
slopes of the range, passing through rice and maize fields.
From Tangmarg, at the foot of the range, there are two paths to
Gulmarg - a steep footpath or a winding sealed road. There is also
a pony track from Gulmarg that leads upwards to Khilanmarg,
Kongdori and seven springs.
This smaller valley is about a 6-km walk from the Gulmarg bus stop
and car park. The meadow, carpeted with flowers in the spring, is
the site for Gulmarg's winter ski runs and offers a fine view of
the surrounding peaks and over the Kashmir Valley. It's a
600-metre ascent from Gulmarg to Khilanmarg and during the early
spring, as the snow melts, it can be a very muddy hour's climb up
the hill. The effort is rewarded, if it's clear, with a sweeping
view of the great Himalayas from Nanga Parbat to the twin
7,100-metre peaks of Nun and Kun to the southeast.
Beyond Khilanmarg, 13-km from Gulmarg at the foot of the twin 4,
511 metre Apharwat peaks, this lake is frozen until mid-June and
even later in the year one can see lumps of ice floating in its
cold waters. The walk from Gulmarg follows a well-graded Pony
track over the 3, 810 metre Apharwat ridge, separating it from
Khilanmarg, and then up the valley to the lake at 3,843 metres.
The more adventurous trekkers can climb straight up the
boulder-strewn slope of the ridge and descend the other side of
the path. For horse riding aficionados, Alpather Lake makes an
exciting day's excursion, starting early morning and returning
The Ningli Nallah:
from the melting snow and ice on Apharwat and the Alpather Lake,
this pretty mountain stream is 8-km from Gulmarg. The stream
continues down into the valley below and joins the Jhelum River
near Sopur. This long, grassy valley is a popular picnic spot and
the walking path carries on, crossing the Ningli (also spelt as
Ningle) Nallah by a bridge and continues on to the Khilenmarg,
another grassy meadow and a good spot for camping. In early summer
one will probably share the campsites with Gujars moving their
herds up to the high meadows.
Reached from the Tangmarg road, or from the Outer Circular Walk,
this mountain stream meets the Bahan River at a popular picnic
spot known as 'waters meet'. The stream is reputed to be
particularly good for trout fishing; it's about five km down the
valley from Gulmarg but quite close to Tangmarg. The river can be
reached by walking 3-km down the path from the gap near Tangmarg
and then heading south through the forest, down a slope towards
here there is a bridge which leas to the small waters meet picnic
spot on the right bank. Looking south from Tangmarg, the river can
be traced up to its source close to the rugged peak known as
Ferozpore or Shinmahinyu. On the right bank the stream branches,
the left path leading to Tosa Maidan, while the right bends away
towards the Gogaldara road at a second bridge, about 32-km
upstream, and then leads away to the Ferozpore pass, Poonch and
One can continue on from here to Tosa Maidan, a three day, 50-km
walk to one of Kashmir's most beautiful Marg's, crossing the
Basmai Gali pass at about 4,000 metres. The track here is very
close to the ceasefire line with Pakistan and on the right one
will pass the Jamainwali Gali, the pass at 4,000 metres is one of
the easiest and safest routes into the Punjab.
Shrine Of Baba Reshi / Ziarat Of Baba Reshi :
This Muslim shrine is on the slopes below Gulmarg and can be
reached from either Gulmarg or Tangmarg. The Ziarat, or tomb, is
of a well-known Muslim saint who died here in 1480. Before
renouncing worldly ways he was a courtier of the Kashmir King
Zain-ul-Abidin. Every year thousands of devotees visit this shrine
regardless of the faith they believe in.
winter, Gulmarg acquires a new persona - that of the country's
premier skiing resorts. Skiing, to many who watch it on TV, seems
like a very elitist sport, requiring a high level of training and
expensive equipment. They are surprised, when they visit Gulmarg
for a day's expedition to "see the snow", that others
with the same level of physical fitness and training are skiing
down slopes. Gulmarg is the ultimate beginner's skiing resort. One
doesn't requite a heavy woolen wardrobe - slacks or a Salwar
Kameez will do fine. In Gulmarg one will also be able to drift to
one of the many Ski shops and hire skis, sticks and goggles. Just
find yourself a ski instructor and set off down a slope.
Neither does one need to exert oneself climbing up slopes. The
gentlest slope of 200m is linked with a ski lift, which helps one
to go up. When one graduates to intermediate level - which will
happen after the first few days of practice, there are other
slopes, longer and steeper, which are connected by chair lift. The
longest ski run in Gulmarg is provided by the Gondola cable car,
which allows a ski run of 2,213m.
A circular road, 11-km in length, runs right round Gulmarg through
pleasant pine forests with excellent views over the Kashmir
valley. Nanga Parbat is clearly visible 137-km to the north,
Haramukh 60-km to the east while to the south one can see the
Ferozpore and Sunset Peaks and the Apharwat Ridge. Nanga Parbat,
the 'lord of the mountains', is the fourth highest peak on earth
at 8,500 metres.
HOW TO GET THERE
is in Baramula District and is 56-kms from Srinagar District . The
nearest Airport from here is situated in Badgam District, which is
well connected with all the major cities of the country.
Rail: The nearest railhead is at Jammu.
Road: The journey from Srinagar to Gulmarg takes
approximately 2 hours in bus and may take short time by chartered
conveyance. The road to Gulmarg is very beautiful and is lined
with poplar trees all through. All sorts of transport are
available to Gulmarg from Srinagar bus stand at Batmallo and from
private transport operators.
WHERE TO STAY
There are numerous
hotels of various standards available for accommodation purpose in
Gulmarg, some of them being luxury, several being comfortable in
addition to JKTDC's winterized, fully furnished huts, which are
great value for money. Assistance for booking accommodation can be
had from the booking manager at tourist reception centre in Srinagar.
Srinagar : 56-km.