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
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 evening.
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.
In winter, 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 2,213m.
HOW TO GET THERE
Air: Gulmarg 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