Gulmarg is a town, a hill station, a popular skiing destination and a notified area committee in Baramula district in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The town is situated in the Pirpanjal range in the western Himalayas. Gulmarg is one of the beautiful place that can be visited in Kashmir valley. Gulmarg literally means the meadow of flowers. The meadow of flowers About 50 kms away from Srinagar, it is a cup-shaped meadow 3 kms long, and over 2000 metres high. Then natural beauty of Gulmarg has attracted tourists since long.
Originally named Gaurimarg (“the fair one”) by shepherds in honor of the Hindu goddess Parvati, the resort was renamed Gulmarg(“meadow of flowers”) by Sultan Yusuf Shah of the Chak Dynasty who frequented the place with his queen Habba khatoon in the 16th century. During the colonial rule over India, the British discovered the hill resort of Gulmarg in 1927. Gulmarg also hosted the British Resident and his fellow Europeans. The snow-clad peaks and the lovely landscapes of Gulmarg have provided background for several Bollywood ventures.
The slopes of Gulmarg make it Asia’s only heli-skiing resort. Gulmarg is the main skiing resort for the adventure lovers. The skis, sticks, snow boots, woollen socks, mufflers, windproof jackets, goggles, caps and various other equipments and the Ski instructors are easily available in Gulmarg. Even the amateurs can enjoy the skiing with the ski lifts and chair lifts.
Tourist attraction at Gulmarg :
Apharwat Peak :
A picturesque water body at the foot of the twin Apharwat Peaks, Alpather Lake is a stunning natural attraction. At an altitude of approx. 4,200 meters above the sea level, the Apharwat Peak is one of the most beautiful places to visit in and around Gulmarg. The Apharwat peak is a trekking center and a must-visit for those who love trekking. It is a place which provides beautiful scenes to the tourists who visit here. this lake is frozen until mid-June and even later in the year one can see lumps of ice floating in its cold waters. Another noteworthy point is that the Line of Control (LOC) is only a few kilometers from this peak. From Gulmarg, you can reach the lake on a horseback through a well-graded track. The horse ride through snowy trails is in itself alluring enough to make you come again and re-visit.
Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve :
Home to numerous species of flora, fauna, & avifauna, the Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve is among the most popular tourist places to visit in Gulmarg for wildlife lovers. Biodiversity blooms here in its richest form. The conifers and green herbs give the entire sanctuary a scenic appearance. This offers ample opportunities to capture the animals in scenic settings. The reserve area is located at a distance of 48-km from Srinagar, to its southwest. Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve is famous for its vegetation and wildlife. The reserve is spread over an area of 180 sq. km. The reserve houses upland and pheasant birds. Nature has blessed this sanctuary with expansive patches of conifers and green herbs that give it a scenic appearance. Here, you can catch sight of the endangered Musk Deer – the main attraction of the park. Also seen in this park are Hangul, Leopard, Brown Bear, Black Bear and Red Fox. The area has a large population of indigenous and migratory birds including, inter alia, Griffon Vulture, Blue Rock Pigeon Monal, Snow Cock, Kashmir Roller, and Jungle Crow. It is all together a different experience to be surrounded by rich Himalayan wildlife and there can be no better place to experience this thrill than in Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve.
Strawberry Valley :
A favorite destination of the yesteryear Bollywood movies, many important scenes of the Shashi Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan starrer Namak Halal were shot around this idyllic hill station. The idyllic Strawberry Field is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Gulmarg. During summers, taste the freshest strawberry Gulmarg has to offer at Strawberry Valley. Walk down the valley to get through the unexplored part of Gulmarg.
Ferozepur Nallah :
Ferozepur Nallah is a captivating mountain stream flowing through verdant valleys between the beautiful Chinamarg and Nurpur Pass. Flowing through Chinamarg and Nurpur Pass, Ferozepur Nallah is situated 5kms from Gulmarg. Camping beside this stream is one of the best things to do in Gulmarg. Reached from the Tangmarg road, or from the Outer Circular Walk, this mountain stream meets the Bahan River at a popular picnic spot known as ‘waters meet’. The stream is reputed to be particularly good for trout fishing. The duo of Ningle Nallah and Ferozepur Nallah are two mountain streams flowing through the lush green valleys. The grassy pastures on the sides of the streams put these attractions among the best places to visit in Gulmarg for camping and picnic.
Ningle Nallah :
Ningle Nallah is a beautiful stream with flowing water right from the melting ice of the Apharwat peak. It is situated at a distance of 10 kms from Gulmarg. It is a popular picnic spot, which is situated about 8kms from Gulmarg. Ningli Nallah is a stream that has its origin in Allaptri Naag. The water formed by the melting of ice in Apharwat Peak and Alpather Lake is the main source of Ningle Nallah. After passing through mountains and valleys, this stream merges into the River Jhelum near Sopore. The grassy pastures on the sides of the stream are ideal for camping and picnics.
St. Mary’s Church :
Boasting of fine Victorian style of architecture, St. Mary’s Church is one of the star attractions of Gulmarg. A Victorian style Church, St.Mary’s is a small place of worship in Gulmarg. The church is famed for its stained glass artwork and utter peace. The verdant meadows, lofty alpine trees and towering mountains that are covered with thick snow during winters in the surroundings greatly enhance the beauty of this church. The church, which was built more than 100 years ago, in the beginning of the 20th century, is like stepping back in time. The attraction has become a point of interest for not just the religious travelers, but also the photography enthusiasts.
Shrine of Baba Reshi :
The shrine of Baba Reshi is 500 years old and holds an important position as a religious place in Gulmarg. Named after a known Muslim scholar and Saint, Baba Reshi Shrine is 5 kms from Gulmarg and is located at a height of 2133 m above sea level. The saint after whom this shrine was built was a member of the court of King Zain-ul-Abidin. Shrine of Baba Reshi is one of the religious places to visit. People from all walks of life visit the shrine to seek blessings. It is accessible by a motorable road from Gulmarg. Baba Reshi who spent his days in meditation and prayer here. It’s also an architectural beauty. What makes an immediate impression is the old Kashmiri architecture of the shrine – lattice work windows, intricately carved deodar pillars and exquisite craftsmanship. Tourists from different parts of the world, visit here to have a look at the Mughal and Persian style of architecture which makes up the shrine.
Seven Springs :
Seven Springs is famously known for seven natural outlets of water, a mesmerizing sight. The Seven Springs offer a majestic view of both Srinagar and Gulmarg valleys from the top. The famous Gondola cable car ride takes you from Gulmarg to the Seven Springs in Kongdori.
Alpather Lake :
Located about 13 km from Gulmarg, the Alpather Lake is among the enchanting places to visit in and around Gulmarg. A picturesque water body at the foot of the twin Apharwat Peaks, Alpather Lake is a stunning natural attraction. Alpather Lake is one exciting place for a day trip from Gulmarg. Embraced by rocky mountains and endless meadows that are covered with wildflowers, this lake is doubtlessly, every nature photographer’s delight. The breathtaking topography and perfect setting for photography has made this destination a favorite among the nature lovers as well as photography enthusiasts. The lake also provides an adventurous opportunity to the visitors, who can take up activities like horse riding and ridge climbing. During winters, the lake remains frozen, and the surrounding fields get laden with snow. From Gulmarg, you can reach the lake on a horseback through a well-graded track. The horse ride through snowy trails is in itself alluring enough to make you come again and re-visit.
If you are visiting the “meadow of flowers”, then this place is one of the must visit for sightseeing in Gulmarg. Khilanmarg is 4 kms from Gulmarg. Khilanmarg is the famous spot for skiing in winters. From Khilanmarg, you can enjoy the views of the Kashmir valley and the Himalayan range.The place is surrounded all over from mountains and it provides a great view during spring season when it is filled with wild flowers. There is a view point in Khilanmarg with its spectacular vistas of the great Himalayas, that you shouldn’t miss if you are visiting Gulmarg.
Golf Course :
What can be better than acres and acres of open green grass surrounded by mountains and peaks? Golf Course in Gulmarg, situated at a height of 2,650 mabove sea level, is the highest green golf course in the world. This 18-hole golf course is completely managed by the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation. This place was used to play golf by Britishers since 1911 and the golf course was inaugurated formally in 2011. Temporary membership, even for one day, is available at the club for the golfers. Visitors are allowed to take their cars inside for a ride and enjoy a ride in one of the most beautiful golf courses in the world.
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