Gulmarg means meadow of Flowers, a large meadow situated in the lap of Mount Affarwat at an altitude of 2820 mtrs above sea level, it is 52 kms away from Srinagar (90 minutes drive). It is a popular day trip resort from Srinagar but many tourists extend their stay to enjoy the natural scenic beauty. The Gulmargs legendry beauty, prime location and close proximity to Srinagar and airport make it one of the premier resort of Kashmir. The place in the beginning was called Gourimarg mostly by the shepherds, named by one Sadhu namely VINAIK, on the name of his beloved GAURI, formally as per history reveals that Gulmarg was discovered in the 16th century by Sultan Yousuf Shah Chak a Mughal Emperor, who was inspired by the natural lush green scenic grassy slopes and the wild flowers. It was also the favourite hill resort of Mughal Emperor Jehangir. It is like a bowl / small valley in round shape covered by all the side with thick forests, which make unique than others.
Gulmarg is not merely a hill resort of exceptional natural beauty but is also the countrys premier Ski resort. The ski in this resort has been introduced by the british in 1927. Skiing makes it one of the worlds main attractions during winter, people from all the corners of the world throng this place to taste the real adventure of Skiing.
What To see:
Sight Seeing Places within Gulmarg: Outer Circular road, which covers whole gulmarg in circle = 11 kms. Inner Circular Road = 7 Kms Maharaja Palace Saint Merys Church Maharani Temple Childrens Parks with lake for boating. Golf Club Gondola Ride From Gulmarg to Khilanmarg, From Khilanmarg to Mount Apharwat. From Mount Apharwat on can have the view of whole Valley.
Besides the Gulmarg Bowl there are many other beautiful places in its vicinity where one can enjoy.
Khilanmarg: Khilanmarg is an uphill 4 kilometers journey from Gulmarg. It offers a natural green carpeted with wild flowers and unrivalled spactle of the peaks and the wide spreading waters of Seven Spring Lake. Khilanmarg is base of the mount Affarwat, one can have full view of Mountain from here. It is accessible by Gondola and by Ponies.
Alpather Lake: It is 13 kms backside of the main Apharwat peak. The water of this lake remains frozen till the middle of June carrying floating snow. It is accessible by Pony / Foot from Gulmarg, or by foot from phase 2nd of Mount Apharwat.
Ningli Nallah: It is about 12 kms from Gulmarg, the stream flows from the snow bed and spring near Apharwat and Alpather lake, and cuts through picturesque pine forests. It is accessible by Pony.
Shrine Of Babareshi:
It is a famous muslim Shrine 4kms from the middle Gap of Gulmarg, east of Gulmarg, the road leads down through thick forests and can be accessed by foot, pony and car also. The Shrine is of famous saint Hazrat Baba Payam-ud-Din Reshi the disciple of Baba Shakuruding, he lived here during the Mughal rule. He was a courtier of the Kashmiri King Zainul Abedin and died in 1480. All sects / religions make offering here.
Sranz Babareshi: Saranz Babareshi is a beautiful waterfall and is about 3 kms from Babareshi in thick forests, it is away from tourists rush, but is recommended visit. It is accessible by foot from Babareshi, or by pony as well as car.
Drung Tangmarg: The Tangmarg is located at the lap of Gulmarg, and lies 13 kms before Gulmarg, it is Known as Gateway of Gulmarg, it is a small town with small market. From here DRUNG is about 3 kms by road. Drung is a new tourist destination and is a beautiful destination in pine forests, and River Ferozpora passes through this spot, which makes it attractive for cold, ice chilled fresh water bath, water is coming from Appharwat mountain range.
The river is abundant with trout fishes, fishing can be done in this area after seeking the permission from fisheries department at Tangmarg.
There are also some historical monuments, which are called PANDO LARRI (Constructions of Huge Rocks)
Sports Activities (Summer)
Gulmarg area provide some well defined and adventurous trekking routes:
• Gulmar to Khilanmarg, Apharwat, Alapather= 1 day trek if one starts early morning.
• Gulmarg to Danwas, Pehjan, Toshamaidan via Jamian Gulli = 3-4 days trek.
• Gulmarg to Bota Pathri to Boniyar Uri = 2 days trek.
• Gulmarg to Sranz via Babareshi and Back = 1 day trek.
• Drung to Gulmar, Khilanmarg = 1 day trek.
Horse Riding. Golf: A newly reconstructed 18 Hole (72 Pars) Golf Course is available for Golfing.
• Besides these Table tennis / Billards / Snooker is also available in the heritage Golf Culb, which is the 2nd Oldest Club of the country.
Best Season to Visit: Gulmarg is in full bloom through out the year. For Summer Lovers: From April to October. For Winter Lovers: December to March.
Where to stay:
The Gulmarg resort offers Various types of accommodation in Government sector as well as private sector. All the accommodation is on inner circular road of the Gulmarg. There are hotels of all categories low budget and high budget, deluxe and semi deluxe rooms with latest facilities. Beside the hotels there are also guest houses and wodden huts of J&K Tourism and JKTDC which are available for hiring.
What to eat: One can find all types of meals / dishes here, Indian, Continental, Kashmiri, Chinese is available in all Hotels / Restaurants and Dabas.
How to Reach:
Gulmarg is accessible road whole year, it is at 1 ½ -2 hours drive from Srinagar and 30-40 mins drive from Tangmarg. One can enjoy the paddy fields, orchards, Kashmiri people traditional looks and living all the way from Srinagar to Tangmarg, as the road passes through villages and small towns all the way.