Gulmarg in Kashmir. Gulmarg tourism places to visit. Holiday Destination in India. The town is situated in the Pir Panjal Range in the western Himalayas.

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Gulmarg town is a hill station and a popular skiing destination by a notified area committee in the Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir India. Gulmarg is the heartland of winter sports in India and was rated as Asia’s seventh best ski destination. The town is accessible from Srinagar by road via Tangmarg. The road climbs uphill in the last 12 kilometres to Gulmarg passing through forests of pine and fir. Winter sports like skiing, tobogganing, snowboarding and heli-skiing take place on the slopes of Mount Apharwat reachable by a Gondola lift. An annual three-day Gulmarg Winter Festival is held in March. Budding artists in the fields of music, films and photography are given an opportunity to showcase their work during the festival.

Gulmarg in Kashmir

Gulmarg lies in a cup shaped valley in the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas, at an altitude of 8,694 feet, 56 km from Srinagar. The soil in Gulmarg comprises glacial deposits, lacustrine deposits and moraines of Pleistocene age covering shales, limestones, sandstones, schists and other varieties of rocks. The natural meadows of Gulmarg, which are covered with snow in winter, allow the growth of wild flowers such as daisies, forget-me-nots and butter cups during spring and summer. The meadows are interspersed by enclosed parks and small lakes, and surrounded by forests of green pine and fir. Skiing and other winter sports in Gulmarg are carried out on the slopes of Apharwat peak at a height of 13,999 feet. Many points on Apharwat peak and Khilanmarg offer a panoramic view of Nanga Parbat and Harmukh mountains.

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Originally named Gauri Marg (the fair one) by shepherds in honor of the Hindu goddess Parvati, the resort was renamed Gulmarg (meadow of flowers) by Sultan Yusuf Shah of the Chak Dynasty who frequented the place with his queen Habba khatoon in the 16th century. Wild flowers of 21 different varieties were collected by the Mughal emperor Jahangir for his gardens in Gulmarg. In the 19th century, British civil servants started using Gulmarg as a retreat to escape summers in North Indian plains. Hunting and golfing were their favorite pastime and three golf courses were established in Gulmarg including one exclusively for women. One of the golf courses survives and at an altitude of 8,690 feet is the world’s highest golf course. In 1927, British established a ski club in Gulmarg and two annual ski events were hosted one each during Christmas and Easter. Central Asian explorer Aurel Stein also visited Gulmarg during this period.

The Department of Tourism of the Government of India invited Rudy Matt, in 1960 to select a suitable location for such purpose. Matt zeroed in on Gulmarg as suitable location for development of a Winter sports destination in India. In 1968, Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering was established in Gulmarg to train ski instructors. Over the next decade Indian planners invested ₹30 million (US$470,000) to transform Gulmarg into a world class ski destination. Gulmarg became a center for skiers from Asian nations. In mid-1980s, Heli-skiing was introduced in Gulmarg in collaboration with the Swiss skier Sylvain Saudan of Himalayan Heli-Ski Club of France. Built by the French company Pomagalski, the Gulmarg Gondola is one of the highest in the world reaching 3,979 metres. The two-stage ropeway ferries about 600 people per hour to and from Gulmarg to a shoulder of nearby Mt. Apharwat Summit 13,780 feet. The first stage transfers from Gulmarg at 8,530 feet to Kongdoori at 3,080 m. The second stage which has 36 cabins and 18 towers, takes passengers to a height of 12,959 feet on the Afarwat Peak 13,780 feet. A chair lift system connects Kongdoori with Mary’s shoulder for taking skiers to higher altitude. The high inflow of tourists has had an effect on the fragile eco-system of Gulmarg and activists have demanded tightened regulation to save the environment of the area from over tourism.

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Due to its high elevation, Gulmarg has a humid continental climate where the wet winter season sees heavy snowfall, especially for its latitude. Summers are moderate in temperature and length, whereas shoulder seasons are relatively cool. Gulmarg has few permanent residents with most residents being tourists or those involved in the tourism industry. Gulmarg is also a destination for nomadic Gujjar and Bakarwal tribes which migrate to upper reaches of Himalayas during summers in search of pasture.