Beyond Snow: 10 Things To Do In Gulmarg For A Memorable Experience

Gulmarg is much more than snow, and we are here to tell you all the things beyond snow you can do in Gulmarg for a memorable experience in kashmir
Perhaps one of the most well-placed churches in the country, St. Mary’s is set right in the middle of Gulmarg’s meadows
Perhaps one of the most well-placed churches in the country, St. Mary’s is set right in the middle of Gulmarg’s meadowsShutterstock

Gulmarg, a Kashmiri hamlet snuggled in the warm embrace of the rugged Himalayas, is a famous tourist destination. Whether it's the splendour of the Western Himalayas or the variety of fun-filled activities for tourists, this is one destination in Kashmir that you should visit on your next holiday. 

Despite its relatively small area, this quaint paradise holds its own against larger tourist hotspots, offering an array of experiences and sights. This small slice of heaven, nestled in the renowned Baramulla neighbourhood, is a must-see for everyone who appreciates natural beauty at its finest.

Enjoy The Gulmarg Gondola 

The Gulmarg Gondola  operates at an altitude of over 4,000 meters, providing an exhilarating experience
The Gulmarg Gondola operates at an altitude of over 4,000 meters, providing an exhilarating experienceShutterstock

The Gulmarg Gondola is one of the highest-operating cable cars in the world and the largest in Asia. It operates at an altitude of over 4,000 meters, providing an exhilarating experience. The cable cars transport thousands of visitors every year from the Gulmarg Gondola Boarding Point to Phase 1 in Kongdori and Apharwat Peak in Phase 2. 

While it's especially popular in the winter months among skiers and snowboarders, the Gondola is a major attraction throughout the year.

In summer, it's a great way to see the lush greenery of the region and enjoy cooler temperatures at higher altitudes. You will be amazed by the sights you will see once you hop on a cable car. But we won’t spoil the surprise. Let the mystery entice you to book a holiday package soon. Tickets can be purchased on-site, and it's advisable to check the operational times and weather conditions before planning a trip, as operations can be affected by weather.

Timings and Tickets

The operational hours are from 10:00 AM to 05:00 PM. Ticket prices for Gulmarg Gondola Phase I (Gulmarg-Kongdoori), Phase II (Kongdoori-Apharwat), and Phase II Chairlift (Kongdoori-Mary’s Shoulder) are INR 740, INR 950, and INR 300 plus convenience fees per adult, respectively.

Hike To The Apharwat Peak 

The journey to Apharwat Peak is an adventure in itself, and trust us, you will love every minute of it. After getting off at the Gulmarg Gondola Phase 2 station, you can walk down to the Apharwat Lake, which is less than 2 km away. This hiking experience is not for the faint-hearted, as the path to the lake is quite steep. 

Located at an altitude of about 4,200 metres (13,780 feet) above sea level, Apharwat Peak is renowned for its breathtaking beauty and panoramic views. The hike to Apharwat Peak offers stunning views of the Pir Panjal range and the verdant valleys below. On a clear day, hikers can even see Nanga Parbat, the world's ninth-highest mountain, in the distance.

The road to Apharwat passes through the last few villages of the country before the LOC starts. So, be sure to stay on your track, literally. Once you reach Apharwat Lake, your admiration for Mother Nature will surely increase.

Adventure-seekers, dreamers, and everyone in between should have this place in their Gulmarg attractions itinerary without a doubt. It's important for hikers to acclimatise properly to avoid altitude sickness. Spending a day or two in Gulmarg before attempting the hike is advisable.

Savour Local Delicacies In Gulmarg Market 

Kashmir is a food paradise for people who love subtle flavours, rich curries, and, of course, mutton. It is almost impossible to visit any part of this state without trying out some authentic Kashmiri Wazwan, the traditional multi-course meal, which includes dishes like Rogan Josh, Rista, Gustaba, and more. Kashmiri tea, particularly "Kahwa," a traditional green tea prepared with saffron, spices, and almonds, is a staple in the market.

You might also come across "Noon Chai" or "Sheer Chai," a pink salted tea unique to the region. Depending on the season, you can enjoy fresh fruits like cherries, apples, and apricots, which are abundant in the region.

When in Gulmarg, do what the locals do and eat at the popular restaurants, the Alpine Lounge, Nedous Dining Room, Bakshi Restaurant, and Highland Park Restaurant. Needless to say, this is one of those activities to do in Gulmarg.

Visit Religious Places 

Gulmarg, predominantly known for its stunning natural beauty and winter sports, also houses several religious sites that reflect the diverse cultural and religious heritage of the region. Among the many things to see in Gulmarg, some religious spots will make your trip complete. It truly shows the respect we, as a community, have for the higher power in the world. Here are some places of pilgrimage you can visit in Gulmarg.

St.Mary’s Church

Since Gulmarg was a hill station built by the British, their cultural and religious influences can still be seen in the architecture of some of the buildings. Located near the golf course, this church is over a century old.   Perhaps one of the most well-placed churches in the country, St. Mary’s is set right in the middle of Gulmarg’s meadows. You can pay your respects and also admire its Victorian architecture on your visit.

Timings and ticket: You can visit between 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. There is no entry fee for the church.

Ziyarat Baba Reshi

Ziyarat Baba Reshi is the tomb of Baba Payamuddin, a Muslim scholar and saint, and dates back to the 13th century
Ziyarat Baba Reshi is the tomb of Baba Payamuddin, a Muslim scholar and saint, and dates back to the 13th centuryShutterstock

This is one of the most visited Gulmarg attractions in recent times. While slightly outside Gulmarg near Apharwat Lake, Baba Reshi Shrine is an important religious site for both Muslims and Hindus. It is the tomb of Baba Payamuddin, a Muslim scholar and saint, and dates back to the 13th century. The shrine is an excellent example of Kashmiri wooden architecture, and many people believe that this shrine grants the wishes of true devotees, who always come back to express their gratitude with offerings. 

Have Fun With Golfing 

Gulmarg is home to one of the highest golf courses in the world, making it a unique destination for golf enthusiasts. At an altitude of about 2,650 metres (8,694 feet) above sea level, playing here offers a distinct challenge due to the thinner air at high altitude, but the breathtaking views of snow-capped peaks and lush green landscapes make up for the challenge. 

The natural beauty of Gulmarg adds a unique charm to the golfing experience. While winters here see travellers coming to ski and snowboard, the summers welcome seasoned golfers from around the country.

This is a place where experienced golfers and beginners are equally welcome, and the Gulmarg Golf Club still has a colonial gentleman vibe. This 18-hole course is filled with the rarest wildflowers, which you can enjoy while playing golf.

Timings: 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m

Enjoy A Picnic At The Children’s Park 

The Children’s Park in Gulmarg is open to the public every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. It has a variety of activities for children and adults alike. This park covers an acre of green land with multiple swings, pony rides, and other activities. You can have a lovely picnic with your family or friends at the Children’s Park during the day. With happy kids in the meadows and a fresh breeze around you, what more can you ask for?

Be Amazed By The Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve 

One of the most impressive things to see in Gulmarg is the place where endangered plants, animals, and birds live, the Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve. Spanning an area of approximately 180 square kilometres, it's known for its diverse range of flora and fauna, as well as its stunning natural beauty. 

This wildlife sanctuary is home to some of the rarest creatures like Hangul, Musk Deer, Serow, Brown Bear, Leopard, etc. It's also a haven for birdwatchers, with species like the Griffon vulture, blue rock pigeon, snow cock, and Kashmir roller. 

The region boasts a rich variety of flora, with forests of conifers, alpine flowers, and medicinal plants. The reserve's vegetation changes dramatically with altitude, from temperate forests in the lower regions to alpine pastures at higher elevations. The best time to visit the Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve is between September-March and March-May.

Timings: 10 am to 4 pm

Discover The Kanchenjunga Museum 

The building housed a military school in the 90s, but now it is a museum that showcases Indian warfare equipment. It was set up to commemorate the first summit of the Indian Army to Kanchenjunga in 1997. If you are interested in the army, you should definitely visit this museum in Gulmarg.  

The museum has some excellent displays of modern warfare, mountaineering equipment and gear used in the mountains by the Indian Army. Ropes and grappling tools used by soldiers have been preserved here, giving civilians a glimpse into the skills and challenges in army life. You will see many tourists and aspiring army men walking around this museum almost all day.

Admire the Historic Maharaja Palace 

The Maharaja Palace in Gulmarg is a notable historical building with significant heritage and cultural value. It was once the royal residence of the Maharajas of Jammu and Kashmir and stands as a testament to the region's rich history. The building incorporates elements of traditional Kashmiri architecture, characterised by intricate woodwork and elegant designs, as well as influences from British colonial architecture, reflecting the period's aesthetic.

Sadly, the royal residence of King Ranbir Singh of Kashmir is not well preserved; however, it is worth a visit on your trip, especially since the guard outside the gate has several spooky stories to narrate. This is one of those things to see in Gulmarg when you have some free time and would like to hear stories from the guard sitting near the front gate.

Visit The Maharani Temple

Also known as Mohineshwar Shivalaya, the Maharani Temple is perched on a hilltop in the centre of Gulmarg. Dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, this Hindu temple is unique as it is one of the few temples in Kashmir that is accessible during the winter. The temple was built by the wife of Maharaja Hari Singh, the last ruling Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, in the early 20th century.

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