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Gulmarg and environs
This is one of the most interesting, charming and easily accessible places near Srinagar. The word Gulmarg means “meadow of flowers” ‘and this is an apt description. In 1908,Sir Francis Younghusband predicted ‘what will be one days know as the playground of India” and his prediction has become true, for this area of Kashmir has become world famous both for winter sports and for summer walking. It also has the highest gold course in the world.
The main charm and glory of Gulmarg, though, is its scenery and the view of great peak, Nanga Parbat,8000 m above sea level. The meadow itself is saucer shaped over which traversed the gold course maple and chestnuts, among which have been built vantage points and picnic sport where walker can sit an gaze with wonder at might Naga parbat and the whole range of Himalayas. Gulmarg is an excellent winter sport centre and fine base from which to go trekking. It is 56 Km from Srinagar accessible by road
Gulmarg Golf Course
The 18 hole golf course here has recently been re-laid to international standards. It is described in broachers as the highest green gold course in the world’s pay there is certainly a stimulating experience and the views are magnificent. Golfing equipment is available but one can bring his/her own.
Snow Skiing and Snow boarding
At 2653 me3ter above sea level, Gulmarg is the only ski resort in the Himalayas. The ski season operated from 115 December thought to 15 April there are many opportunities for cross-country skiing and ski mountaineering. Trained instructors are on hand and the short ski coursed can be arranged, usually three week duration on all inclusion basis.
Visit to Gulmarg without a Gondola ride is just incomplete. It takes you to the views of breathtaking beauty of Gulmarg Valley. It is built in two stages; the first one is used mostly by the tourists and the second one by the Skiers. The ride to stage one costs Rs.500 ) and the second Rs.500 per ride to & fro. The Gondola has automatic door closing, opening system.
Gulmarg boasts Asia's highest and longest cable car project, the Gulmarg Gondola. The two-stage ropeway ferries about 600 people per hour to and from Kongdoori Mountain, a shoulder of nearby Afarwat Peak (4,200 m (13,780 ft i. The first stage transfers from the Gulmarg resort at 2,600 m (8,530 ft) to Kongdoori Station in the bowl-shaped Kongdori valley. The second stage of the ropeway, which has 36 cabins and 18 towers, takes skiers to a height of 3,747 m (12,293 ft) on Kongdoori Mountain, a shoulder of nearby Afarwat Peak (4,200 m (13,780 ft)).
I shall strongly recommend all my friends to get at least one Pony ride as there are 20000 Ponies and Horses in Gulmarg, whose livelihood is directly dependent on tourists. These days the road goes up to all the hotels and up to the Gondola Station. Most of the vehicles are directly going up to Gondola station, the last point human can go by road. This the main reason of resentment among the pony owners, who are out of business, which they are operating since, ages. Since then, the taxi owners have come to an agreement that they will allow only those vehicles to enter Gulmarg, whose passengers are going to stay at night at any of the Gulmarg hotel
Generally people are stopped at the entry point by the Pony owners association as they want to know if you are spending a night at Gulmarg. In case you are stopping overnight at Gulmarg only then you will be allowed to go into to Gulmarg in your vehicle otherwise you will be asked to take pony as your further mode of transportations. in order to avoid the annoyance by pony walls ,it is recommended to negotiate the price as per tourism rates displayed on the board at tourist reception center. But if you are staying overnight at Gulmarg ,just show the hotel vouchers to the pony association people to get through without any hustle.
St Mary's Church
The 110-year-old St Mary’s Church in Gulmarg was built during the British colonial rule and given a new look in 2003 with a renovated façade and the first Christmas mass was held in 14 years.
The Shiva temple was actually the royal temple of Dogra kings ofJammu and Kashmir. Also known as “Rani Temple” or “Maharani Temple”, this is situated on a small hillock in the centre of Gulmarg. The unique thing about this royal temple is the fact that it can be seen from all the corners of Gulmarg. The Maharani temple also known as Mohineshwar Shivalalaya was built by Mohini Bai Sisodhia, the wife of the erstwhile ruler of Kashmir Maharaja Hari Singh (the last king of Kashmir) in 1915. Mohini Bai Sisodhia was the daughter of Maharaja Mohandev of Dharampur. When the last Dogra king was spending his time in Gulmarg in his royal palace, a couple of kilometers from the temple, his queen used to come here to worship Lord Shiva. Infact, she stayed here for months and worshiped Lord Shiva in this temple. The temple remains open everyday from 6am to 9pm. Aarti is performed twice a day for devotees.