Location: In Baramula district, 56 km southwest from the capital city of Srinagar.
Best Time to Visit: December to April
Welcome to the highest golf course in the world, located at an altitude of 2650 metres !! As the name suggests, Gulmarg offers you a wonderful sight of grassy slopes filled with flowers. The word “Gulmarg”, literally meaning “the meadow of flowers” in Hindi, was coined by Sultan Yusuf Shah in the 16th century. Colourful Bluebells, Daisies, Forget Me Not and Buttercups draw a number of tourists from the world around. Apart from being one of the most beautiful hill stations in India, Gulmarg has something special for adventure seekers. Winters are perfect for skiing and trekking.
Gulmarg is a town, a hill station, a popular skiing destination and a notified area committee in the Baramula district of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The town is situated in the Pirpanjal range in the western Himalayas.
Gulmarg lies in a cup shaped valley in the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas, at an altitude of 2,650 m (8,694 ft), 56 km from Srinagar.The soil in Gulmarg comprises glacial deposits, lacustrine deposits and moraines of Pleistocene age covering shales, limestones, sandstones, schists and other varieties of rocks. The natural meadows of Gulmarg, which are covered with snow in winter, allow the growth of wild flowers such as daisies, forget-me-nots and butter cups during spring and summer. The meadows are interspersed by enclosed parks and small lakes, and surrounded by forests of green pine and fir. Skiing and other winter sports in Gulmarg are carried out on the slopes of Apharwat peak at a height of 4,267 m (13,999 ft). Many points on Apharwat peak and Khilanmarg offer a panoramic view of Nanga Parbat and Harmukh mountains.
According to CNN, Gulmarg is the “heartland of winter sports in India” and was rated as Asia’s seventh best ski destination. The town is accessible from Srinagar by road via Tangmarg. The road climbs uphill in the last 12 kilometres to Gulmarg passing through forests of pine and fir. Winter sports like skiing, tobogganing, snowboarding and heli-skiing take place on the slopes of Mount Apharwat reachable by a Gondola lift.
What to See and Do
Maharani Temple (commonly known as Shiv Temple of Gulmarg) was built by a Hindu ruler Maharaja Hari Sisodia for his wife Maharani Mohini Bai Sisodia who ruled till 1915. This temple was considered as the stately possession of Dogra Kings. The temple is dedicated to Shiva and Parvati. This temple is situated on a slight hill top with greenery. This temple is visible from all corners of Gulmarg.
St Mary’s Church:
The Roman Catholic St Mary’s Church is located in the valley of Shepherds in Gulmarg. It was built in 1902, during the period of British rule, and was constructed in a British style. Made of grey brick with a green roof and decorated wooden interior walls, it has been described as a “Victorian architectural wonder”. In 1920 the church saw the wedding of the brother of Bruce Bairnsfather; Miss Eleanor Hardy Tipping married Capt. T. D. Bairnsfather, with newspapers describing the church as “very prettily decorated” and with the service conducted by Rev Canon Buckwell in the presence of both organ and a full choir.
St Mary’s was closed for years, but was renovated and reopened in 2003, holding its first Christmas service there for 14 years.The church belongs to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jammu–Srinagar.
Built by the French company Pomagalski, the Gulmarg Gondola is one of the highest in the world reaching 3,979 metres. The two-stage ropeway ferries about 600 people per hour to and from Gulmarg to a shoulder of nearby Mt. Apharwat Summit (4,200 m (13,780 ft)). The first stage transfers from Gulmarg at 2,600 m (8,530 ft) to Kongdoori at 3,080 m. The second stage which has 36 cabins and 18 towers, takes passengers to a height of 3,950 m (12,959 ft) on the Apharwat Peak (4,200 m (13,780 ft)). A chair lift system connects Kongdoori with Mary’s shoulder for taking skiers to higher altitude. The high inflow of tourists has had an effect on the fragile eco-system of Gulmarg and activists have demanded tightened regulation to save the environment of the area from over tourism.
Situated at an altitude of 2,650 m, it is the highest green golf course in the world. The historic Gulmarg Golf Club was started in 1911 by the British who used the place as a holiday resort. The origin of Gulmarg as the golfing centre of India goes back to the late 19th century when a 6-hole course was made in 1890-91 by Colonel Neville Chamberlain. The first Golf championship was played at Gulmarg in 1922. The Nedou’s Cup was introduced in 1929.
An annual three-day Gulmarg Winter Festival is held in March. Budding artists in the fields of music, films and photography are given an opportunity to showcase their work during the festival.
Gulmarg in Bollywood
Gulmarg has been the shooting location many Bollywood films like Bobby, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Highway, Phantom, Haider, etc. A scene in Bobby was shot in a hut in Gulmarg that later come to be known as ‘Bobby Hut’.
Where To Stay
Many hotels and Resorts are available in Gulmarg
How To Get Around
Gulmarg is easily accessible from Srinagar or Srinagar Airport (SXR), the capital of Kashmir, in under 2 hours by car or bus. Just 1 hour on the way is the town of Tangmarg, a key tourist attraction and also a main destination for skiers riding down from Gulmarg during the winter months. From Tangmarg, the Gulmarg plateau is just 30 minutes travel.