Gulmarg, situated at an altitude of 2730 m in the Baramulla district of Jammu & Kashmir, was discovered by the British in the year 1927. The literal meaning of Gulmarg is 'meadow of flowers'. Gulmarg was originally known as Gaurimarg after Goddess Gauri, wife of the Hindu god of destruction, Shiva. Its present name was given to it by King Yousuf Shah Chak, the last indigenous king of Kashmir, who was mesmerized by the beauty of the place, its grass slopes, and its peaceful environment.
Tourist places In and Around Gulmarg
Tourists must visit the Ningle Nallah, a stream originating from the melting snow of the Apharwat peak. The stream flows down the mountain and meets the River Jhelum near Sopore. Tourists can cross the stream ending in Khilanmarg over a bridge, which is another popular tourist spot. The ‘Outer Circle Walk’ of Kashmir Valley comes highly recommended to tourists. During the walk, visitors can enjoy the natural beauty of the place and the magnificent view of the fourth highest peak in the world, the Nanga Parbat, standing tall at 8500 m.
The pleasant climate, magnificent landscapes, gardens of blooming flowers, dense pine forests, and beautiful lakes of Gulmarg attract tourists from all over the world. The tranquillity of the atmosphere and the lush green backdrop makes this place an ideal picnic and camping spot. Ningle Nallah, Verinag, and Ferozepore Nallah are some of the popular streams in the region.
The pristine and clear waters of the Verinag is said to be blessed with medicinal properties, owing to which many tourists visit the stream. Also popular among visitors is the Biosphere Reserve of Gulmarg.Drung, a tourist spot at Gulmarg which was recently discovered, is perfect for one-day picnics. Visitors can not only enjoy the scenic beauty of the place but also indulge in activities like trout fishing.
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Lien Marg is another noted destination at Gulmarg known for its natural beauty. Pine forests and wild flowers cover this region making it ideal for camping and sightseeing. Visitors can also visit the popular Alpather Lake, situated at a distance of 13 km from Gulmarg. The prominent feature of this lake is that it stays frozen throughout the year till mid June and during summer flows down the valley, taking with it floating pieces of ice. The snow covered mountains of the place make for a splendid backdrop.
The Gondola Ride
The Gondola Ride, which is actually a cable car system, is another attraction of Gulmarg. Tourists can choose from two 5 km rides, one from Gulmarg to Kongdoor and the other from Kongdoor to Apharwat. The aerial view of the Himalayan peaks, and the Gondola Village from the Gondola Lift, is breathtaking. The gondola station of Kongdoor is situated at a height of 3099 m while that of Apharwat is at 3979 m. The Gondola Ride is one of the most preferred modes of sightseeing.
Some other tourist spots
Some of the other recommended tourist spots in Gulmarg include the Baba Reshi Shrine, Fishing Pond, Banibal Nag, Koutar Nag, and Sonamarg. These places are considered ideal for one-day picnics and camping. Sonamarg, also known as 'The Meadow of Gold', is a base for people who wish to see the Amarnath Cave, another popular pilgrimage spot. Apart from this, Ladakh and Zojila can also be accessed from the Srinagar-Leh Road Pass.
Visitors can plan a trip to Gulmarg in any season but the best time to visit this place is between the months of March and October.
Gulmarg can easily be accessed via airways, railways, or roadways