Sweeping meadows, gentle hills and green grass…Gulmarg is where romance blooms. A land of ponies and peachy complexions, Kashmir has been a dreamland for most of us. During my childhood, I had travelled across the state which has the sweetest air and absolutely red cherries.
And 26 years later, when I went once again to Kashmir, nature remained pristine, the air was still sweet and the grass still green. Flowers bloomed and tall pine trees lined our path. Breathtaking and serene, Gulmarg is the where nature gently nudges, lures with its exotic beauty.
Things to do in Gulmarg:
Tall pines trees in Kashmir
Gulmarg apparently has a lot to explore, if nothing, you could enjoy walking through the meadows. But during my stay, it kept raining. The mist had kept the gondola shut which I believe is a not to miss ride offering a mind boggling view of the mountains. Even in that mist, there was strange beauty. The little clouds swirled and twirled over the ranges, weaving their way between the tall trees and resting over the blooming flowers.
Since, the rain Gods had decided to continue their showers, we just decided to enjoy the pitter patter. Carrying umbrellas, we drove to the meadows. And walked around, enjoying the wet air and ground. We just had to keep in mind to stay away from the boundaries where the army posts could be seen.
Must-see haunts in Gulmarg:
This is where you can enjoy pony rides, we were informed. And then we drove past an Army training centre and the mountaineering institute where a small herd of cows was standing wet.
Past the small bushes and the little violet flowers, we reached Mother Mary church. The stone church is hundreds of years old, established by the British, we were told. And the gate was locked. We squeezed through and took turns taking a round of the wooden and stone building. And then found a Muslim caretaker. He has been the caretaker for years and service there happened only once in a while, on some Sunday when the priest would come with the congregation from Srinagar.
We walked into the high space which had stained glass paintings of the Mother and Jesus. Little pine wreaths decorated the place. Some wooden benches rested in the absolutely clean space. Just below this church is the golf course which of course, at that time, was wetland.
And then it was time to see the cottage where the famous Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia starrer Bobby was picturised. The lovely valley was Bollywood’s dream destination during the 1960s and 1970s. To Kashmir’s credit is the famous Sharmila Tagore and Shammi Kapoor starrer Kashmir Ki Kali but this had more scenes in Srinagar.
Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia debut film Bobby
Not many know that the fairyland like Wild Flower Hall is the resort where Bobby was shot. It’s also the oldest and only resort in Gulmarg where liquor is served. With its old fireplaces and cottages distributed through the hills, I felt like Alice in wonderland. A hot brandy down my throat with some peanuts, I turned my eyes to see the main dining room which was like a hunting lodge with stag heads gracing the walls, reminiscent of times when hunting was allowed.
Walking out into the rain, through the flower laden path, with each sweep, we came across a wooden log cottage. And finally, we came to the room where the famous song, hum tum ek kamre mein band hon was picturised. It has been renovated to suit today’s traveler but the old fireplace still stands. Shutterbugs clicked, capturing the memories of the iconic film, it was time to head home. The rain didn’t stop long after I reached Delhi but the fragrance of the wet air, thick with pine and flowers, lingers still.
The airport is at Srinagar, and you can drive down to Gulmarg.