Offering adventure and nature lovers an ideal place Gulmarg is one holiday destination that remains etched in the memory for a very long time. Reckoned to be the best skiing destination in India, Gulmarg is an important part of Jammu and Kashmir Tourism and trust us it is not just any hill station in India. The beautiful town renders opportunity to reconnect with nature, find peace of mind and see a new face of Indian culture. It is indeed a destination for all as it offers something for everyone. If you are planning a trip to Kashmir and Gulmarg is in your itinerary, then this list here can help you pick the best things to do in Gulmarg.
Now, skiing is one thing that you must try when you come to Gulmarg. Known for its excellent gradients, Gulmarg is the best place to ski in India. For beginners, there are three baby slopes available with expert ski instructors (you can hire ski instructors for a day, a week and even for a month). For veteran skiers the slopes of the Aparwath Peak are ideal, with the smooth and steep gradients making it a perfect place for powder skiing in India. Apart from skiing, you can try snowboarding and sledging as well.
In Gulmarg taking a Gondola ride is a must. Reckoned to be world’s second highest cable car project, Gulmarg Gondola is two-tiered ride. In the first phase, the visitors are taken to Kongdori, which is situated at a height of 2600m; and in the second phase, the visitors are taken to an elevation of 3747m at Aparwath Peak. The view from Gulmarg Gondola is truly commendable as on a clear sky day one can even witness the magnificent Nanga Parbat as well.
If you are visiting Gulmarg in summer time it is ideal to try your hands at golfing. Gulmarg is reckoned to have world’s second highest golf course, which is situated at an altitude of 2650m. It is an 18-hole golf course and is spread over an area of 7505yards. The golf course also has a 3-hole learning academy, where the novice can learn some tricks and tips. It is a lovely place as it is adorned with different varieties of flowers and is surrounded by lofty mountains. Amidst such picturesque surroundings, playing golf is indeed a perfect choice!
The shrine of Baba Reshi is 500 years old and holds an important position as a religious place in Gulmarg. Dedicated to Baba Payamuddin (a Muslim scholar and the disciple of Baba Zainuddin Reshi), Baba Reshi shrine is a must visit for those who are childless (As it is believed that childless spouses pray here and their wishes get fulfilled). Not only this shrine is important as a religious place but has a very appealing architecture. The influence of Mughal and Persian architecture can be seen and the beautifully-crafted wooden artworks inside the shrine are the main attractions for the history buffs. The massive hall that can accommodate 1000 people at a time is also no less an attraction here.
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 church is only accessible by trekking, so one also has the option of experiencing a little adventure on the way.
Alpather Lake is one exciting place for a day trip from Gulmarg. Situated at the feet of the twin Aparwath Peaks, the lake is around 13kms from Gulmarg. Aparwath Lake is one of the most scenic places you could be and it remains frozen till mid May and even in the month of June one can see several ice chunks floating on the water. It is a great idea for a day excursion as one can then either have a good trekking experience or can enjoy thrilling pony ride.
Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve is a great place to witness the rich flora and fauna of the region. Situated around 48kms from Srinagar, Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve is placed at an altitude of 2400m above sea level. The reserve is a safe shelter for many wildlife animals like Himalayan Musk Deer, Red Fox, Brown and Black Bear. It wouldn’t be incorrect if we call Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve a bird watchers’ paradise as it is the second home for many migratory birds. 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.
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. This stream runs through picturesque villages like Wagoora and Kalantara. Trekking is the best way to reach Ningli Nallah but it is recommended that you start early in the morning. It is ideal to camp beside the stream (you should carry your camping gear from Gulmarg itself); however, you can explore the area in the day time and then can easily return to Gulmarg.
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Maharani Temple is perched atop a hillock in Gulmarg. It is reckoned to have been built by Queen Mohini Bai Sisodhia, the wife of the erstwhile ruler of Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh and thus is named as Maharani Temple or Rani Temple. This red-rooftop temple along with being a sacred place is also a popular tourist attraction in Gulmarg and has been featured in Bollywood flick named Aap Ki Kasam.
Since you are in one of the best places in Kashmir, you must try two important features of Kashmiri cuisine namely the Wazwan and the Kahwa. Wazwan is a special platter in which 32 dishes are served. Gushtaba and Rogan Josh are the specialty of this already delectable platter. Kahwa is the traditional tea in Kashmir and it goes with everything you eat as it helps digestion of the food. The tea is prepared by boiling green tea leaves with saffron strands, cinnamon bark, cardamom pods and occasionally Kashmiri roses to add special aroma. The tea is then served with sugar or honey and crushed nuts, usually almonds or walnuts.
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. Also, trout fishing is permissible here, which definitely makes it an ideal picnic spot. Enjoy a good outing with friends and family here and if you have visiting here especially in winter, then you can also enjoy skiing on the mountain slopes near it.
Khilanmarg is the most popular sightseeing place near Gulmarg. It is situated at a short distance of 4kms from Gulmarg and is a beautiful little valley. Tranquil and serene, Khilanmarg is adorned by varieties of flowers in summer time. One can easily trek to Khilanmarg and enjoy the views of Nanga Parbat and the twin peaks Nun and Kun.