Meadow Of Flowers
A huge cup shaped meadow, lush and green with slopes where the silence
is broken only by the tinkle of cowbells, Gulmarg looks like a fantasy
set in a film and not surprisingly have been the venue of several
The valley of Gulmarg, a large meadow about 3-sq-kms in area, stands
at 2,730 metres, 56-km south west of Srinagar . The name means 'Meadow
Of Flowers' and in the spring it's just that, a rolling meadow dotted
with countless colourful Bluebells, Daisies, Forget Me Not's and
Buttercups. The valley itself is about 3-km long and up to a km wide.
Take a Hike!
All around are snow-capped mountains, and on a clear day one can see
all the way to Nanga Parbat is one direction and Srinagar is another.
It's a popular day trip from Srinagar to Gulmarg, although many people
extend their stay or use it as a base for trekking. The road from
Srinagar rises gently towards the lower slopes of the range, passing
through rice and maize fields.
From Tangmarg, at the foot of the range, there are two paths to
Gulmarg - a steep footpath or a winding sealed road. There is also a
pony track from Gulmarg that leads upwards to Khilanmarg, Kongdori and
This smaller valley is about a 6-km walk from the Gulmarg bus stop and
car park. The meadow, carpeted with flowers in the spring, is the site
for Gulmarg's winter ski runs and offers a fine view of the
surrounding peaks and over the Kashmir Valley. It's a 600-metre ascent
from Gulmarg to Khilanmarg and during the early spring, as the snow
melts, it can be a very muddy hour's climb up the hill. The effort is
rewarded, if it's clear, with a sweeping view of the great Himalayas
from Nanga Parbat to the twin 7,100-metre peaks of Nun and Kun to the
Beyond Khilanmarg, 13-km from Gulmarg at the foot of the twin 4, 511
metre Apharwat peaks, this lake is frozen until mid-June and even
later in the year one can see lumps of ice floating in its cold
waters. The walk from Gulmarg follows a well-graded Pony track over
the 3, 810 metre Apharwat ridge, separating it from Khilanmarg, and
then up the valley to the lake at 3,843 metres. The more adventurous
trekkers can climb straight up the boulder-strewn slope of the ridge
and descend the other side to the path. For horse riding aficionados,
Alpather Lake makes an exciting day's excursion, starting early
morning and returning late evening.
The Ningli Nallah:
Flowing from the melting snow and ice on Apharwat and the Alpather
Lake, this pretty mountain stream is 8-km from Gulmarg. The stream
continues down into the valley below and joins the Jhelum River near
Sopur. This long, grassy valley is a popular picnic spot and the
walking path carries on, crossing the Ningli (also spelt as Ningle)
Nallah by a bridge and continues on to the Khilenmarg, another grassy
meadow and a good spot for camping. In early summer one will probably
share the campsites with Gujars moving their herds up to the high
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; it's about five km down the valley from Gulmarg but
quite close to Tangmarg. The river can be reached by walking 3-km down
the path from the gap near Tangmarg and then heading south through the
forest, down a slope towards the stream.
here there is a bridge which leas to the small waters meet picnic spot
on the right bank. Looking south from Tangmarg the river can be traced
up to its source close to the rugged peak known as Ferozpore or
Shinmahinyu. On the right bank the stream branches, the left path
leading to Tosa Maidan, while the right bends away towards the
Gogaldara road at a second bridge, about 32-km upstream, and then
leads away to the Ferozpore pass, Poonch and Kantar Nag.
One can continue on from here to Tosa Maidan, a three day, 50-km walk
to one of Kashmir's most beautiful Marg's, crossing the Basmai Gali
pass at about 4,000 metres. The track here is very close to the
ceasefire line with Pakistan and on the right one will pass the
Jamainwali Gali, the pass at 4,000 metres is one of the easiest and
safest routes into the Punjab.
Shrine Of Baba Reshi / Ziarat Of Baba Reshi :
This Muslim shrine is on the slopes below Gulmarg and can be reached
from either Gulmarg or Tangmarg. The Ziarat, or tomb, is of a
well-known Muslim saint who died here in 1480. Before renouncing
worldly ways he was a courtier of the Kashmir King Zain-ul-Abidin.
Every year thousands of devotees visit this shrine regardless of the
faith they believe in.
winter, Gulmarg acquires a new persona - that of the country's premier
skiing resorts. Skiing, to many who watch it on TV, seems like a very
elitist sport, requiring a high level of training and expensive
equipment. They are surprised, when they visit Gulmarg for a day's
expedition to "see the snow", that others with the same level of
physical fitness and training are skiing down slopes. Gulmarg is the
ultimate beginner's skiing resort. One doesn't requite a heavy woolen
wardrobe - slacks or a Salwar Kameez will do fine. In Gulmarg one will
also be able to drift to one of the many Ski shops and hire skis,
sticks and goggles. Just find yourself a ski instructor and set off
down a slope.
Neither does one need to exert oneself climbing up slopes. The
gentlest slope of 200m is linked with a ski lift, which helps one to
go up. When one graduates to intermediate level - which will happen
after the first few days of practice, there are other slopes, longer
and steeper, which are connected by chair lift. The longest ski run in
Gulmarg is provided by the Gondola cable car, which allows a ski run
A circular road, 11-km in length, runs right round Gulmarg through
pleasant pine forests with excellent views over the Kashmir valley.
Nanga Parbat is clearly visible 137-km to the north, Haramukh 60-km to
the east while to the south one can see the Ferozpore and Sunset Peaks
and the Apharwat Ridge. Nanga Parbat, the 'lord of the mountains', is
the fourth highest peak on earth at 8,500 metres.
HOW TO GET
Gulmarg is in Baramula District and is 56-kms from Srinagar District .
The nearest Airport from here is situated in Badgam District, which is
well connected with all the major cities of the country.
Rail: The nearest railhead is at Jammu.
Road: The journey from Srinagar to Gulmarg takes approximately
2 hours in bus and may take short time by chartered conveyance. The
road to Gulmarg is very beautiful and is lined with poplar trees all
through. All sorts of transport are available to Gulmarg from Srinagar
bus stand at Batmallo and from private transport operators.
WHERE TO STAY
numerous hotels of various standards available for accommodation
purpose in Gulmarg, some of them being luxury, several being
comfortable in addition to JKTDC's winterized, fully furnished huts,
which are great value for money. Assistance for booking accommodation
can be had from the booking manager at Tourist reception centre in