Surrounded by snow-capped mountains with rows of pinewood trees and fragrance of fresh apples in the air, a visit to Gulmarg will leave you relaxed and refreshed. The heartland for winter sports in India, the town is buzzing with tourists all round the year. Situated in Jammu and Kashmir, Gulmarg or the ‘Meadow of Flowers’ is a lovely blooming sight where an opulence of flora displays various colours with the changing seasons.
A hot tourist destination, Gulmarg offers a lot to keep you busy. While you are here, keep a hired cab at your disposal. Less than an hour away is Tanmarg, the main destination for skiers riding down from Gulmarg during the winter months. Horse riding is a hit with the travellers in summer. Just 3.5 km from Tangmarg, a motorable road leads to this famous picnic spot called Drang. With ice cold water flowing between rocks, one can sit here and bathe in the sun. Popular sacred places here include Baba Reshi Shrine, St Mary’s Church and the Maharani temple.
For adventure freaks
In winter, Gulmarg’s natural slopes and inclines turn into the country’s finest skiing destinations. The equipment is available on rent at local shops along with skilled snow boarders as guides. The summer is just as busy. Activities including trekking, horse-riding and golf keep tourists busy. A popular trek here is to the phase one (half way) of Mt Apharwat.
Touted as the world’s highest cable car service, the Gulmarg Gondola is a pride of the town. The ride is divided into two phases. The first phase is from Gulmarg to Kungdoor, the ticket for which costs `400 per adult. As you get down, treat yourself to tea, coffee and instant noodles at dhabas. Ride the Gondola again to reach Mt Apharwat, the culminating point of the ride (ticket: `600 per adult).
Satiate your taste buds
A trip to Kashmir is incomplete without mouth watering delicacies. Try the Haak Saag, Nadru Yakhni and a dish made of plum fruit — a must try for vegetarians. For the non-veggies, options are ample. Go for Gushtaba or Rogan Josh. Visit Chaikash at The Khyber, Himalayan Resort & Spa in Gulmarg to choose from a variety of tea, coffees, tisanes and kahwa.
For the curious traveller
If you’re left with a day at leisure, visit the main city of Srinagar. Take a round in the Dal Lake in a filmy named shikara, followed by a visit to Nishat Bagh and Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden.
The author’s trip was sponsored by The Khyber, Himalayan Resort & Spa, Gulmarg