Gulmarg literally means meadow of flowers. It is a majestic hill station in the district of Baramula of Jammu and Kashmir in India. The hill station, at an altitude of 2730 m, was earlier known as Gaurimarg, where Gauri stands for Goddess Parvati the wife of Lord Shiva. The name Gulmarg was given to this place by the King Yousuf Shah Chak. Nestled with stunning peaks in the Himalayan ranges, Gulmarg is a spectacular picnic spot attracted by all kinds of tourists with its lush green backdrop, beautiful landscapes, flowering gardens, serene lakes and pleasant climate during the summers and falls.
Mother Nature has blessed the regions of Gulmarg with all its showers of beauty and the tranquil atmosphere available presently in this region makes it a best tourist destination. Gulmarg is credited with the longest and highest cable car project in Asia. The experience in this cable car is breathtaking and really memorable. Gulmarg is spotted as one of the potential location for 2010 Winter Commonwealth games.
PLACES TO VISIT
It is a Muslim shrine located a few kilometres from Gulmarg. The shrine is built on the slopes below Gulmarg and can be reached from either Gulmarg or Tangmarg. Devoted to a renowned Muslim saint, who was a courtier of the Kashmir King Zain-ul-Abidin, the shrine witnesses thousands of devotees every year, regardless of any religion or faith.
This beautiful valley is the most picturesque place filled with countless flowers near Gulmarg. Located 6 km from Gulmarg, Khilanmarg offers a breathtaking view of the majestic peaks with their reflections in Wular and other lakes. Spring is the best season to walk through this valley.
13 km from Gulmarg, lies the Alpather Lake at the foot of the Apharwat peaks. The lake is covered with snow throughout the year. It is frozen until June and even later one can see lumps of ice floating in the lake. The lake and the nearby area is an ideal place for trekking.
There are several other places near Gulmarg that simply prove to be tourists' delights. The outer circular walk in Gulmarg is a wonderful way to have a glimpse of the Nanga Parbat, Harmukh, the rugged slopes of Ferozepur, Sunset Peak and the Apharwat Ridge.
The northern Pir Panjal Range is considered the best trek route of Gulmarg. It offers a glimpse of the majestic Nanga Parbat, Khilanmarg, and the steep hills on the west of the valley.
Gulamarg boasts of having the highest green golf course in the world. With a par of 72, the layout is similar to a normal golf course. The golf club in Gulmarg was started by the British and was opened for golf lovers in 1904. Presently, the J&K Tourism Development Corporation manages the club.
Adventure enthusiasts try out sports like skiing and paragliding too at Gulmarg in winters.
HOW TO REACH HERE
Nearest airport to Gulmarg is Srinagar which is 56 km away from Gulmarg. Jeeps and Taxi cabs are available from airport to Gulmarg, which will cost around Rs 1,000 – 1,200. Srinagar is well connected to Delhi with daily regular flights. Many other Indian cities are also connected to Srinagar by air.
Closest Railhead from Gulmarg is Jammu. Jammu is connected by rail to many cities in India especially direct trains are available from northern cities. Tourists can take trains from Delhi (Jammu Rajdhani), Kolkata (Himgir Exp), Mumbai (Swarak Exp), Chennai (Andaman Exp) and even from the the southern most Trivandrum Railway station (Himsagar Exp).
Gulmarg is well linked by bus services from most of the cities in Jammu and Kashmir. State owned buses and Private tourist deluxe luxury buses are also available to reach Gulmarg from various parts of J&K like Srinagar (Rs 150), Sonmarg (Rs 300) and many other parts of the state.