Gulmarg is known as the meadow of flowers and it surely lives up to its name. It is a year-round destination, which attracts visitors from across the country and also from across the globe. During the summers the place is flocked by the local visitors from Srinagar and also from different parts of the globe.
During the winters, it is mainly visited by those who are looking for some adventure and to add a touch of thrill to their holiday by skiing and snowboarding as Gulmarg is one of the premier locations for skiing in the country.
It was originally named Gaurimarg by the shepherd folk, which was later renamed as Gulmarg by Sultan Yusuf Shah sometime during the 16th century. The Sultan was taken aback at the sight which unfolded in front of his eyes which was filled with grassy slopes and a variety of flowers.
Gulmarg also happened to be the favourite destination of Emperor Jehangir who is said to have collected almost 21 different varieties of flowers from here. The journey to Gulmarg is as exciting as the place.
The roads which lead you to Gulmarg take you through some of the amazing scenic beauties in the form of rice fields and villages with mind-blowing landscapes. As the season changes, so does the colour of nature; it is green in spring, emerald in summer, shades of gold in autumn and white in winters.
We bring a list of ten places in Gulmarg which are worth a visit.
1. Strawberry Valley
A hidden treasure trove in Gulmarg is the valley filled with strawberry fields. It is a must-visit during the summer season, when fields are ready to be harvested. Tourists are allowed to take a stroll in the fields and also taste some farm fresh strawberries. It was a favourite destination of the old age film-makers and this place can be seen in many old Bollywood movies.
2. Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve
One of the most popular tourist places to visit, the reserve is home to numerous species of flora and fauna. To catch biodiversity in its richest form, head towards this beautiful location. The lush greenery adds on to give the sanctuary a scenic beauty.
The greenery contributes to the ample chances of sighting animals in their natural habitat. The endangered species of musk deer is a major draw here apart from the hangul, leopard, brown bear and red fox.
PC: Don Kelloway
3. Alpather Lake
The gorgeous water body is found at the base of the twin peaks of Apharwat which is tucked amongst rocky mountains and verdant meadows.
The beautiful topography along with beautiful landscapes contributes as a perfect location for photography enthusiasts and is a dream destination for nature lovers. Another major attraction here is the pony ride through the snow-clad roads.
4. Ningle Nallah
Ningle Nallah is a stream which flows down from the beautiful mountain ranges. To add on to the overall beauty, the stream finds its way through the grassy lands on its sides which puts this natural beauty into the list of must-visit places in the region.
5. Baba Reshi Shrine
The shrine was built in the year 1480, in the old Kashmiri style of architecture with lattice work on windows and pillars carved out of deodar which makes it a fine example of the architectural style and its craftsmanship.
It is dedicated to Baba Reshi, who happened to be a Muslim scholar and saint who had spent his days in the valley in meditation and prayers.
PC: Ankur P
6. Gulmarg Golf Course
The golf course is one of the largest and highest 18 hole golf courses in the country; the golf course is located in the lower ranges of Gulmarg and is well known for opening its doors to non-members and trying their hands at golf.
The golf course has been one of the major landmarks in Gulmarg since the 1920s; the golf course was redesigned into its present structure and was reopened in the year 2011.
7. St Mary's Church
The church was built in the early 20th century in Victorian-style of architecture, which gives it an appearance of a countryside chapel. The church is made of grey walls and has a steep roof with wooden carvings.
The church provides a rustic view of the large landscape .The wide spread of forests forms a perfect backdrop to click some beautiful pictures along with the ancient structure.
Khilanmarg is a meadow, filled with flowers during spring and is the destination for the winter sports in Gulmarg, which starts from skiing to skateboarding. The place is also known for its splendid view of the peaks of the Kashmir valley.
A short ascent of 600 m from Gulmarg to Khilanmarg during the start of spring, as the snow melts, offers you a breathtaking view of the mighty Himalayas.
PC: Ankur P
9. Maharani Temple
The temple was built in the year 1915 by Mohini Bai Sisodia who was the wife of the last Dogra king of Jammu and Kashmir Maharaja Hari Singh. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and his consort Parvathi.
A interesting fact is that the priest of this temple is not a Hindu but a Muslim. The temple served as a shooting spot for various movies in Bollywood.
PC: Divya Gupta
10. Apharwat Peak
At an altitude of 4200 m, the Apharwat Peak is one of the breathtaking places to visit here. The peak is located in the second phase of the Gondala cable car which begins from Gulmarg.
The summit is snow-clad throughout the year and snowy slopes are one of the best ones for snowboarding and skiing in the country.
PC: Muzaffar Bukhari