a fantasy set in a film and not surprisingly have been the
venue of several films. 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 seven springs.
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 southeast.
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
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 meadows.
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.
Near 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
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
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
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 of
HOW TO GET
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