Gulmarg is located at an altitude of 2730m above sea level, it is also a popular ski destination located in the Pir Panjal mountain range of the Union of Jammu and Kashmir territory. Surrounded by soaring snow-capped Himalayas, flower meadows, deep ravines, evergreen wooded valleys, Gulmarg also has the second highest gondola ride in the world.
Among one of the best honeymoon destinations in India, Gulmarg prides itself on being a beautiful city without the crowds like Manali and Shimla. Gulmarg also developed as an adventure center, as the Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering is located here. The IISM offers numerous trekking, mountaineering, skiing and snowboarding courses. There are many other private tour operators in Gulmarg offering similar courses and facilities for skiing, snowboarding and hiking. Known for its scenic beauty, Gulmarg has also been a popular filming destination for several Bollywood films.
How to reach Gulmarg:
The closest airport to Gulmarg is Srinagar Airport, which is well connected to the country’s major airports. From the airport, you need to hire a taxi to get to Gulmarg. There are prepaid taxi cabs in the airport arrivals hall, as well as outside.
Nearest Airport: Srinagar International Airport (SXR) – 35km from Gulmarg (well connect with all major airports).
Gulmarg is well connected to the major cities of Jammu and Kashmir from some cities in Himachal Pradesh. Direct buses are available from Delhi to Gulmarg. Luxury and luxury public and private buses operate on this route. Gulmarg is about 60 km from Srinagar by road, which can be reached by self-driving car. However, due to the winding roads at high altitude, it takes a long time.
Direct (Luxury and Deluxe) buses are available from Delhi to Srinagar.
The nearest railway station to Gulmarg is Jammu railway station, which is situated 290 km away from Gulmarg. You can catch a bus from Jammu to Srinagar else you can hire a cab directly to Gulmarg. Being a small hill town, Gulmarg is travelled on foot by most of the tourists. One can also book a taxi which can cost you from anywhere in between Rs 800 to Rs 1500 for a trip around the town.
Nearest Railway station : Jammu (290km from Gulmarg)
Weather in Gulmarg (monthly)
The climate is cold and it is necessary for the tourist to wear woolen clothes. Temperatures in Gulmarg remain well below freezing for most of the year. Keep tightly covered with gloves, boots and coats to prevent freezing. On the way to Gulmarg, there are small shops where you can rent thick wool boots and coats. They are highly recommended as, at that altitude, you will need them. If possible, hire a guide (preferably someone who knows English). A place like Gulmarg, which is a once-in-a-lifetime visit, needs the right resources to make your excursion more enjoyable and meaningful. Skiers and snowboarders planning to cycle in the country should expect a significant avalanche risk and plan accordingly. A non-profit avalanche information center provides advice from avalanche experts on a daily basis. The notice is posted at the common access points of the cable car.
Gondola ticket reservations are available in advance at TRC in Srinagar before Lal Chowk and near JK Bank headquarters. It is close to the TRC (Tourist Reception Center) and therefore you can book the morning to night bus service to and from Gulmarg from TRC Srinagar. Check with TRC for reservations and timetables.
There are incredibly persistent touts who will continue to offer you guides, sleigh rides, ski rentals, and clothing rentals. Watch out for the guides, as they may trick you into telling you the gondola is somewhere else.
BEST TIME TO VISIT GULMARG
The best time to visit Gulmarg is the summer from March to June. The hill station is often visited for the adventure opportunities that await visitors and the panoramic views of the surrounding city. If you are a nature enthusiast who loves the heat, the months of April, May and June are the best months for a visit. Gulmarg is also known as the ‘flower meadow’ due to the flower fields that cover the city lands in summer. However, if skiing is what you are waiting for, December to mid-March is recommended.
Gulmarg in summer (April-June)
Summers in Gulmarg Hill Station ideally last from March to June. During these months, temperatures range from 13 degrees Celsius to 29 degrees Celsius. These temperatures give way to pleasant climates which is perhaps one of the warmest climates for this place. Gulmarg in the summer is ideal for sightseeing, as visitors don’t face freezing temperatures or snowfall. This is also a perfect time to visit, as the flowers are in full bloom creating an incredible sight that is worth witnessing with your own eyes at the hidden hill station atop the mountain ranges.
Gulmarg in Monsoon (July-September)
The monsoons in Gulmarg are not as impressive as the summers and neither is the winter avalanche of cold, hard snow covering the entire city. Gulmarg also receives a minimal and rather negligible amount of rain in the monsoons which causes the temperature to rise by a few degrees instead of decreasing. However, if you plan to visit Gulmarg avoiding the tourists and crowds, the monsoon may be the season for you. The lakes and waterfalls during these monsoon months also shine against the natural flora, making for a rather beautiful sight if you visit the hill station during this season.
Gulmarg in winter (October-March)
Not everyone likes winters in Gulmarg that last from October to February. Temperatures during the winter months drop below freezing and range from a bearable 11 degrees Celsius to -4 degrees Celsius. These temperatures prevent many visitors from considering Gulmarg as the winter season. However, if you decide to visit the nestled mountain village during these months, a party is actually waiting for you. During the winters, a large amount of snow causes Gulmarg to be covered in pristine white snow which completely transforms the hill station. The hills near Gulmarg also form an ideal location for skiing and other adventure sports which are applicable for the winter season. While visiting these months, you shouldn’t miss the extraordinary Christmas celebrations in December or the extraordinary Gulmarg Snow Festival. This festival is held every year for two days and has begun to promote not only tourism in the hill station but also to encourage gambling and enjoy winter sports. The festival attracts many sports fans and is a huge sight at the hill station.
PLACES TO VISIT IN GULMARG:
* Gulmarg Gondola ride
* Gulmarg Winter Music and Adventure Festival
* Boating in Dal lake
* Gulmarg Golf Course
* Trek to Alpather Lake
To Enjoy Nature:
* Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve
* Strawberry Valley
* St. Mary’s Church
* Baba Reshi Shrine
* The Maharani Temple
* Alpather Lake
Explore near by places:
* Awantipura Ruins
Gulmarg Gondola is the second longest and second tallest cable car in the world and the main attraction that Gulmarg is known for. Divided into two stages, it carries nearly 600 people per hour to and from Mount Apharwat, where most of the winter sports in Gulmarg take place.
Gulmarg Gondola Phase 1 transports people from Gulmarg Resort to Kongdoori station (middle station). It starts at 2,990m and has an elevation gain of 400m. Every hour it transports 1500 people to an altitude of 3,100 m from where it is possible to access several easy slopes for skiing. Phase 2 of the Gulmarg cable car connects Kongdoori mountain with Apharwat peak. The cable car climbs 1,330 meters in altitude up to almost 4,000 meters high and carries 600 people per hour. After arriving at the station, you can take a 30-minute hike to reach the top of the mountain. From here, the LOC or Line of Control is visible.
The Gulmarg cable car offers a magnificent view of Nanda Devi, LOC and the Pir Panjal mountain range. Besides appreciating the beauty of the Himalayan ranges, tourists can enjoy other activities such as horse riding and snow skiing.
Alpather Lake is a high altitude lake located between the twin Apharwat Peak in Gulmarg. It is popularly known as the frozen lake as it remains completely frozen from November to June. It is popular for the day hike which starts in Gulmarg and covers a distance of almost 13km.
The day trip to Alpather Lake from Gulmarg is moderately difficult and follows the Gulmarg – Khilanmarg – Apharwat Ridge – Alpather Lake route. The lake looks surreal during the winters when it is frozen over and ducks are seen walking instead of swimming. During the summers, the lake is surrounded by beautiful flowers and trees.
Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve
The Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve is a protected reserve located 48 km from Srinagar. It is known for hosting many exotic and rare species such as musk deer, snow leopard, etc. The reserve boasts its rich bird population, which is a beautiful sight during the migration months.
A hidden attraction in Gulmarg is Strawberry Valley, untapped by tourism and still retaining its budding beauty and charm. Emerald lawns with budding red strawberries look like a photo taken from the Garden of Eden. Wrapped in pristine elegance, with clear skies and green meadows all the time, a visit to Strawberry Valley is a fascinating experience.
The summer season is the busiest time of the year, as the strawberries are ripe and ready to harvest. Tourists can wander among rows of scarlet plantations and greenery. You can just walk around and admire the beauty of nature or just bring a basket of food and enjoy a wonderful picnic with your loved ones. The camps also pride themselves on having a connection with Bollywood in the past. Several films were shot in the destination due to the atrxia, vitality and general charisma of the place.
Dal lake is on the way to Gulmarg from Sri Nagar. It’s a prefect stop for travellers. This is worth including into your itinerary, this is one of the favorite with honeymoon couple after Chupke k sun song from Mission Kashmir. Take a ride on traditional Shikara boat or spend the night on the lake in a houseboat. Dal Lake makes relaxing romantic vacation.
THINGS TO DO IN GULMARG
Skiing and Snowboarding
Trek to Alpathar lake
Go Ice Skating at the rink
Gulmarg is a beautiful place located in Jammu and Kashmir where you can go with family and friends and enjoy the beautiful view along with other adventure sports. The lifting system is quite simple in Gulmarg.
During the blizzards, beautifully characterized open spaces in the forest terrain can be skied under Gulmarg, which can take you to local sanctuaries. In addition to all the fascinating sights, you can try skiing, use the Gulmarg cable car once, walk a few kilometers, do the rest and take a taxi for the rest. Gulmarg is gaining popularity and the number of skiers is also increasing day by day. Having the mountain to yourself is a thing of the past, so it is advisable to be alert and proactive.
Renowned as the highest 18-hole golf course in the world, Gulmarg Golf Course is also the longest in India. Located at an elevation of 8,700 feet above sea level, this venue has been used for golf by the British since 1911 and the golf course was officially opened in 2011.
The golf course is very beautiful and consists of a lawn with various varieties of beautiful and rare species of flowers. The flowers are in full bloom in the months of June to September. Visitors can bring their car inside for a spin and enjoy a ride on one of the most beautiful golf courses in the world.
The Ice Skating rink is one of the underrated attractions in Gulmarg. The rink is situated near to the Gondola base station and overlooks the golf course. Unknown to most, several training camps for students and professional Indian Ice Skaters have been held at this rink.
The best time for ice-skating in Gulmarg is in the winter months of January -February. Your hotel front desk will be able to help you find an instructor for ice skating. There are several rental shops in Gulmarg from where you can rent ice skating equipment and give the sport a try. Do keep in mind that equipment might not be in the best of shape, so do inspect it before you venture out. If you’re keen on learning ice skating, several professional companies will be able to provide you instructors and equipment. Two of them are listed in the skiing section of the guide.
FAQ’s on Gulmarg
1. What is famous about Gulmarg?
A great destination to visit in both summers and winters. Stunning landscapes throughout the year.
2. What is not so good about Gulmarg?
Curfew is very common in parts of Jammu and Srinagar which affect tourism. Outside private vehicles are not allowed in Gulmarg except for drop and pick at the hotel.
3. Who should visit Gulmarg?
A paradise for the honeymooners and romantic vacation. Perfect for adventure lovers as it is a great ski destination.
4. What is the best time to visit Gulmarg?
The best time to visit Gulmarg is in Summer from March – June. The hill station is often visited for the adventurous opportunities that await visitors and the scenic views of the surroundings from the town. If you are a nature enthusiast who loves the heat, the months April, May and June are the best months for a visit. Gulmarg is also known as the ‘meadow of flowers’ due to the fields of blooming flowers that cover the lands of the city in Summer. However, If skiing is what you are looking forward to, December to mid March are recommended.
5. Why is Gulmarg famous?
Gulmarg is a town, a hill station, a popular skiing destination and a notified area committee in the Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir, India. The town is situated in the Pir Panjal Range in the Western Himalayas and lies within the boundaries of Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary.
6. What does Gul means in Gulmarg?
Gulmarg or “ground of flowers” (‘gul’ meaning ‘flowers’) is the most beautiful hill station of Srinagar.
7. What is Gulmarg known as?
Gulmarg, Also known as Meadow of blossoms.
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