Gulmarg, popularly called a paradise on earth, is a hill station and India’s premier ski resort in Kashmir, a union territory of Jammu and Kashmir in India. It is located 56 km south west of Srinagar. Gulmarg, a legendary beauty spot, prime location and proximity to Srinagar makes it one of charming hill resorts in the country. Originally called ' Gaurimarg' by shepherds, its present name was given in the 16th century by Sultan Yusuf Shah Chak, who was inspired by the sight of its lush green grassy slopes emblazoned with wild flowers. Gulmarg Kashmir was a favorite haunt of Emperor Jahangir who once collected 21 different varieties of flowers from here.
Gulmarg is in the Pir Panjals, one of the six ranges which make up the Himalayas. It is on a mountain shelf which nestles under the 4124 metres high and 5 kilometres long Mt Apharwat. From here it overlooks the Valley of Kashmir to 8126 metre Nanga Parbat and other distant peaks in Zanskar and Korakarams.
The journey to Gulmarg Kashmir is as beautiful as the place itself. By road one travels from Srinagar to Gulmarg on a fairly good road till Tangmarg with picturesque villages. After Tangmarg, the climb to Gulmarg begins through Pine-covered hillsides. At one point, known as Zig View Point, travellers generally stop their vehicles for a few minutes photo shoot and look out at spectacle of snow-covered mountains and beautiful narrow valley leading to Apharwat.
Today Gulmarg Kashmir is not merely a mountain skiing resort of exceptional beauty, but 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 winters. Gulmarg ski resort is located near one of the best slopes for skiing in the world.
Gulmarg gondola, ascends from the resort at 2650 metres, via Kongdori, a mid-station to an elevation of 3980 metres, providing lift served access to 1330 metres vertical vast snow skiing terrain. The chairlift from Kondori to Marry shoulder gives an open air exciting ride to skiers and tourists.
Other modern infrastructure at Gulmarg Kashmir includes Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering (IISM), a premier ski school of Govt of India which trains youth of the nation in different skiing skills with modern ski equipment and Khyber Hotel a luxurious resort with very expensive stay for elite people. Snow scooters, snow grooming machines, Poma surface ski lifts, recently purchased ski equipment for a range of winter sports, a new ice skating rink, Gulmarg biosphere reserve offers one of the most attractive wildlife tour packages. During summers one can trek to the Alpather Lake a beautiful lake at the base of the Apharwat Mountain.
Christmas celebration, snow festivals, ski competitions and cultural events on the white snow fields are held every year in Gulmarg with much fanfare.
COME AND ENJOY SKIING WITH IISM GULMARG
Although Gulmarg is a year-round destination, you can plan your visit depending on what you would like to do there. A monthly breakup of Gulmarg’s climatic conditions for you to plan better:
October to February: While winters begin to creep in the month of October with the air becoming cooler, the temperature reaches to zero degree starting November which also marks the onset of winter season. Skiing, snowboarding options are excellent during this time and many honeymoon couples come to visit Gulmarg especially during this time. From December-end to mid-February, there is enough snowfall for you to create your own snowman! Make sure you pack heavy woollens as the temperature can drop down till minus (-) 8 degree Celsius.
March to June: Not only these months constitute the summer season in Gulmarg but this is also peak tourist season here. While you might come across very little snow on ground and on high altitudes in March, you would find the surroundings in their natural colours. No wonder you can witness the true Gulmarg which is popularly known as the Meadow of flowers during this season. The temperature does not go beyond 29 degree Celsius. This time is also ideal for all sightseeing and adventure activities as the weather and environment is quite favourable for all age groups.
July to September: Besides being the warmest month, monsoon season starts in the month of July. Although rains are not that heavy in Gulmarg, people often visit during this time as it is an off-season and many hotels offer attractive deals during this time. Walk through the meadows and listen to the raindrops splashing on the ground, get set for a visual treat in monsoons.