Gulmarg – The Heartland of Winter Sports in India
Gulmarg literally means ‘the path of roses’ where gul means rose and marg means path. Gulmarg is a small hill resort in Baramula district in the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir. Gulmarg was originally called ‘Gaurimarg’ the name of Lord Shiva’s wife, but was re-christened as ‘Gulmarg’ in 16th century by Sultan Yusuf Shah, who was mesmerized by the beautiful landscapes. Then it was just grassy slopes emblazoned with wild flowers. Today it is not just a hill-station or a winter holiday resort – it also has the highest green golf course in the world, at an altitude of 2,650 m, and is the country’s premier ski resort in the winter. Gulmarg is also noted for having one of the worlds highest Gondola (cable car).
Gulmarg’s close proximity to the prime and popular location and capital city Srinagar makes it one of the popular hill resort of India. It is located just 52 kms away from Srinagar in the Pir Pranjal Mountain range. It has an average elevation of 2,690m (8,825ft).
The peak season starts with the snowfall in December and lasts until March (April if it is a good season). The main activity to indulge in peak season is snow skiing. One can enjoy skiing in the long and high slopes of the snowy mountain ranges and experience a difference. The skiing season starts on Christmas i.e. 25th December each year. As it is the time when winters are in full bloom and whole city is covered in a thick blanket of snow.
Another very exciting attraction for tourists here is the Gondola (cable car) that runs up to 3995 meters. A sight seeing trip to top of the Gondola is one thing you must do in your visit. It will cost you somewhere around Rs.300 for stage one and appx Rs. 800 for stage two (stage one cost included) for a return trip.
Gulmarg is probably on of the best ski resorts for good and long powder snow descents. Golfing, Sledging, and horse riding are other activities (best enjoyed in the summer). Major Tourist Attractions of Gulmarg are Alpather Lake, Baba Reshi Shrine, Gondola, Cable Car to Kongdor, Gulmarg Gold Golf, Khilanmarg, Maharani Temple, Skiing and a visit to St. Marys Church.