The land from where emperors collected flowers and romanced their hearts out, Gulmarg makes for an ideal place to honeymoon.
Now known as the meadow of flowers, it was once upon a time referred to as the fair one. In ancient times, this beautiful hill town was called Gaurimarg by the shepherds after Goddess Parvati.
Wild Flower Hall, Gulmarg, Jammu & Kashmir, India
It was here that emperors mellowed and romanced their beloveds. The name was changed in the 16th century by Sultan Yusuf Shah of the Chak Dynasty who spent a lot of time here with his mistress Habba Khatoon.
It is said that Mughal Emperor Jahangir collected 21 varieties of flowers for his gardens from here.
Much later in the 19th century, it came to be known as a summer retreat for British Civil officers. Hunting and golfing being their loves, three golf courses were made here. Now only one survives and at an altitude of 2,650m, it is the considered the world’s highest golf course.
And then in 1927, the ski club was established. And two annual ski events were hosted during Christmas and Easter.
After the British Raj, Gulmarg was absorbed into the state of Jammu & Kashmir. The lovely meadows have also seen strife with Pakistan and now the Indian Army has a High Altitude Warfare School specialising in snow–craft and winter warfare here.
Famous ForGulmarg Gondola Cable Car, Jammu & Kashmir, India
Skiing—it’s been called the perfect winter sports destination in Asia. And the Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering was established in 1968. As years went by, Heli-skiing was introduced in collaboration with the French skier Sylvain Saudan of Himalaya Heli-Ski Club of France in the mid-1980s.
The hearts melt in summer as the cup-shaped valley comes alive with daisies, forget-me-nots and butter cups. Small lakes get filled with water and the forests of green pine and fir radiate freshness.
Things To Do
Take ride in the gondola cable car till Mount Apharwat, which where skiing slopes are.
Go for pony rides in Tanmarg.
Visit St Mary’s Church built in 1902 by the British.
Take trips to Baba Reshi, Haji Murad at Kreeri and Tangmarg.
Go to Khilanmarg, meadow at the foot of Mount Apharwat, and enjoy the sun light up the awesome Nanga Parbat.
Enjoy some brandy and drinks at Wild Flower Hall, the oldest and only resort which serves liquor in the town. It also houses the “Bobby Hut’ where a song from the Rishi Kapoor-Dimple Kapadia starrer Bobby was shot.
What’s interesting in Gulmarg
The three-day Winter Festival in March which promotes budding musicians, artists and photography lovers.
Where to StayThe Khyber in Gulmarg
Fragrant pine trees, The Khyber; Image Credit: Ambica Gulati
Wild Flower Hall; The Khyber Himlayan Resort and Spa; Pine Palace Resort, Hotel Hilltop; Gulmarg Meadows to name a few places.
How to Reach
Gulmarg is easily accessible from Srinagar via road, passing through paddy fields till Tanmarg. And then it’s uphill through pine and fir forests.
From the TRC bus stand in Srinagar, tourist buses take around two and half hours to reach Gulmarg.