Gulmarg : Adventure Enthusiasts Haven, Skier’s paradise -
Gulmarg : Adventure Enthusiasts Haven, Skier’s paradise
Posted 01 Dec 2016 05:09 PM

Gulmarg is one of the most beautiful hill stations in Srinagar and is located at a distance of 56 kilometers from city of Srinagar. The name Gulmarg is derived from the word "Gul", which means “flowers” and therefore, the word “Gulmarg” stands for "a ground of flowers". The name is apt for this hill station as a tour along this terrain will take one through a vast range of flowers, each well-placed at suitable distances. Gulmarg is a town, a hill station, a popular skiing destination in Baramula district in J&K. The town is situated in the Pirpanjal range in the western Himalayas. Originally named Gaurimarg ("the fair one") by shepherds in honor of the Hindu goddess Parvati.

Tourism in Gulmarg :
Gulmarg is the "heartland of winter sports in India" and was rated as Asia's seventh best ski destination.
Places to visit are:

1. Apharwat Peak : Apharwat Peak has one of the most attractive locales in Gulmarg and is popular with the ski-loving population, ultimately providing an enthralling experience to every skier. This peak is situated near the Alpathar Lake and provides a magnificent view during summers and winters. Those who aren't well-versed or fascinated with skiing can take a quick sleigh travel to the very tip of the Apharwat peak. During summers, the Apharwat peak is entirely different from what it looks like in winters. The lush green surroundings and the well-bred horse paddocks make for an exciting combination. This Apharwat peak provides an excellent stage for learning the sport of skiing or for polishing one's skills. These snow enclosed peaks are considerably popular with all kinds of ski aficionados and offer supreme challenges for the even the best skiers around. This peak is totally encapsulated by enchanting snowy peaks and a serene lake, with a calm surface that reflects the glory of the peaks and the adjoining greenery in all its grandeur.
Travelers must visit the Ningle Nallah, a glowing mountain stream that originates from the extreme point of the Apharwat peak. This stream runs down the peak and unites with the Jhelum River near Spore. Tourists can cross the river through a viaduct which ends in Khilanmarg. This is also a well-known tourist spot. The ‘Outer Circle Walk’ of the Valley appeals to the senses of the traveler. While walking, visitors can dive into the magnificence and grandeur of the peaks along with the splendid view provided by the fourth uppermost mountain on earth: the Nanga Parbat, appropriately placed at a height of 8500 m.
The pleasant climate, glorious landscapes, vast areas of blooming flowers, lush green pine forests and the striking lakes of Gulmarg attract travelers from all walks of life. Skiing, Heli-skiing and Trekking comprise the list of most preferred tourist sports. Heli-skiing is a sport that involves dropping one from the helicopter to the preferred peak of choice from where one can choose his personal way of descent. Moreover, the Apharwat peak doubles up as a trekking center for those who would love their treks to the Nanga Parbat, Pir Panjal Range and Khilanmarg. The Apharwat peak is a haven for beauty and provides one of the best-in-class nature tour packages around. Also, the Alpathar Lake is a gorgeous lake at the pedestal of Apharwat peaks. Its waters remain iced till the month of June.

2. Baba Reshi Shrine : Baba Reshi Shrine lies in natural Himalayan beauty about 5 km on the outskirts of Gulmarg. Part of Baramulla district, this shrine is at a height of about 2133 m above sea level. It’s the holy shrine of Baba Payamuddin popularly known as Baba Reshi.
This 500-year-old shrine was constructed with the architectural style of that time and it was dominated by Persian and Mughal influences. Inside the tomb are beautifully-crafted wooden artworks reminiscent of the bygone era. The tomb can accommodate more than a 1000 devotees at any given time. Surrounded by lush green lawns, this shrine attracts hordes of visitors both for its religious and historic significance. It is also believed that childless couples are blessed with one after praying here. It is a must visit on the itinerary of every visitor to Gulmarg.
The shrine can be reached by using one of the many local means of transport such as horses, sledges or field chutes. Visiting hours for the shrine are between 9 am and 5 pm daily.

3. Ferozepur Nallah : This scenic stream named Ferozepur Nallah is placed between the Nurpur and Chinamarg pass which is just 5 km from Gulmarg. It is possible to reach till Ferozepur Nallah from Tanmarg or from the circular walk. This place is apt for anyone willing to go out picnicking with their loved ones.

4. Khilanmarg : Khilanmarg, Jammu & Kashmir, India is a small valley 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.

5. Lien Marg : Marg is situated at a distance of 10 km from Gulmarg. It is famous for its natural beauty. At a height of 8700 ft above sea level, the place is surrounded by dense pine forests. The grass covered landscape makes Lien Marg suitable for camping and sports. The site is considered to be the ideal winter resort for winter sports enthusiasts. In order to reach this place, visitors have to walk across the bridge over the Ningle Nallah. Ponies which can be hired at the site are also a quick and convenient means of travel there.

6. Maharani Temple : This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Idols of both gods have been preserved here. This temple attracts a lot of visitors to its tranquil location despite being in the middle of the city. This temple is situated on a slight hill top with greenery sliding down from all four sides of its steep slopes. The temple construction is a shikharor peak style with a pointed end at the top, which shows that even then, Jammu’s architecture had a south Indian influence.Maharani Temple was built by a Hindu ruler Maharaja Hari Sisodia for his wife Maharani Mohini Bai Sisodia who ruled till 1915. Interestingly, in this temple was considered as the stately possession of Dogra Kings.

7. Botpathri : It is 10 Kms from Gulmarg and only about 5 kms from the Line of Control. Botpathri is located at an altitude of 9000 ft between Ferozpora and Nighli Nallahs. Botpathri is an erstwhile camping destination for trekkers and shepherds towards the Boniyar, Sultan Pathri and Choor Khud. Located in Nagin Valley- it was put out of bounds for trekkers, tourists and civilians in 1990 when militancy had erupted in the state.

8. St.Mary church : It was built during british rule. The 110-year-old St. Mary’s Church in Gulmarg was given a new look in 2003 with a renovated façade and the first Christmas mass was held in 14 years.The 18th hole of Gulmarg Golf Club, a par five, is a downhill travel from St. Mary’s Church to the club house, a drop of 300 feet.

St Mary’s church is a Roman catholic church. Constructed in early 20th century, the church is a beautiful example of the Victorian architecture and seems more of a small-countryside chapel with Gray stone walls and a green tiled roof with wooden decoration.

9. Strawberry Valley : The valley makes you taste those fresh strawberries during summers. That is not enough! Walk down the valley to get through the unexplored part of Gulmarg. The place is famous for its Bollywood connection as many important sequences of movies have been shot here.

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