At an altitude of 2,130m and about 95-km from Srinagar, Pahalgam is probably the most popular hill resort in the Kashmir valley. Since it is rather lower than Gulmarg the nighttime temperatures do not drop so low and it has the further advantage of the beautiful Lidder River running right through the town. Pahalgam is situated at the junction of the Aru and Sheshnag Rivers and surrounded by soaring, fir-covered mountains with bare, snow-capped peaks rising behind them. At the confluence of the streams flowing from the river Lidder and Sheshnag Lake, Pahalgam was once a humble shepherd's village with breathtaking views. A number of hotels and lodges cater to all preferences and budgets, from luxurious to unpretentious trekkers' lodges, including JKTDC's delightfully romantic, fully furnished huts, partially concealed by giant pine trees.
Adventure Sports in Gulmarg
Gulmarg is the main skiing resort for the adventure lovers. The skis, sticks, snow boots, woollen socks, mufflers, windproof jackets, goggles, caps and various other equipments and the Ski instructors are easily available in Gulmarg. Even the amateurs can enjoy the skiing with the ski lifts and chair lifts. The best season for skiing is from November to February. The slopes in Gulmarg varies between 8,700 and 10,500 feet and are the highest skis in India. There is also a green 18-hole golf course in Gulmarg which is also the world's highest golf course. One can also hire the golf sets from Gulmarg. The Golf Club offers short-term memberships to the players. Gulmarg also offers some excellent opportunities for long walks. Walking along Gulmarg’s circular path you only have to look down to have a
Complete view of the valley including Srinagar. A fine view can also be had of Nanga Parbat, the naked mountain which is over 26,000 feet and dominates the entire region. For a fun-filled ride of a most unusual kind, Gulmarg's newly constructed gondola lift through pine-clad slopes is an experience of a lifetime. This gondola will take you up above 15,000 feet and is one of the highest in the world. Here, you can touch the skies and merge with the clouds.
How to reach here
The nearest airport is located in Srinagar about 57 km from Gulmarg. Regular flights connect Srinagar with the other major cities in India.
The nearest railway station is located in Jammu.
Gulmarg is well connected by road with Srinagar, Pahalgam, Sonamarg, Jammu and various other cities of Jammu and Kashmir.
Apharwat Peak, 13500 feet high, is a famous tourist destination located at thirteen km away from Gulmarg. This snow covered mountain lies close to the Line of Control (LOC) with Pakistan. Apharwat slopes are the longest and the highest ski slopes of Asia and is a destination of ski enthusiasts from all over the world.
To transport the visitors to the top there is a cable car service called Gondola which operates in two levels. First level takes one from Gulmarg to Kongdoor for INR 100/- and second level from Kongdoor to Apharwat for INR 250/- , all being one-way charges. A full day pass costs INR 1000/-. The Gondola with 36 six seat cabins lifts through 1330 m height and covers nearly 5 km distance to level two at 3980 m on Apharwat Peak. A thirty-minute walk will take one to the actual peak.
Skiing on the snow slopes is possible in north-west and southeast directions. For the less adventurous ones slopes from level one are gentler. There is facility for horse riding around Lake Alpather.
As the place is covered in snow even in summer visitors are advised to carry adequate winter protections, even though some items can be hired locally.
About 35 kilometres away from Srinagar, is the Gulmarg hill resort, which is a part of the Pir Panjals Himalayan range. Heavy snowfall in this region has made it a favourite ski area for foreign as well as inland residents.
Anyone coming here is spellbound at the spectacular view of the snow peaks. The skiing area consists of the gondola terrain, lower tree skiing areas and the poma terrain in the town. A good option is to go and ski in the old fir and pine trees that take you into the valley. It is also possible to do heli-ski type runs from great heights off a gondola. Apart from skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing, snow scooters and snow bobbing are popular activities seen here.
Imambara Goom, Alpather Lake, St Mary's Church, Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve, Baba Reshi Shrine, golf course, Apharwat Peak are other interesting sites in this region.
Though Gulmarg is equally attractive both in summer as well as in winter, skiing is always more fun in winters. Tourists who plan to stay in the ski area can get many comfortable hotels and guest houses here. Otherwise, there are lots of tour operators arranging day trips from Srinagar to Gulmarg.
Golf Course in Gulmarg, situated at a height of 2,650 mabove sea level, is the highest green golf course in the world. This 18-hole golf course is completely managed by the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation. Temporary membership, even for one day, is available at the club for the golfers.
Gulmarg golf course, counted among the most beautiful golf courses in India, is composed of both slopes and inclines. This golf club was started by the British who used Gulmarg as a holiday resort. In 1904, this golf course was opened to the golf lovers. In 1922, first Golf Championship was organised at this golf course.
Khilanmarg is situated at a distance of 4 km from the Gulmarg bus stop. Tourists can easily reach this place by walking across the meadows of the valley. Surrounded by mountains on all sides, the valley is scattered with wild flowers in the spring season. Tourists can enjoy the panoramic views of the Nanga Parbat, the Himalayas, and the twin peaks of Nun and Kun. Several scenic tourist spots are located in proximity to Khilanmarg.
Experience the thrill and the excitement of riding the highest cable car in the world and enjoy the stunning vistas of the Kashmir landscapes. The Gondola operates in two phases, PHASE 1 and PHASE 2.
Each Gondola is a small yellow colored cabin with space for 6 adults. The cabins are slung on high tensile strength cables which move continuously. The Gondolas have two stops, where they slow down to enable Embarking and Disembarking of Tourists.
Board the Gondola at the cable station at that will take you up to at an altitude of 3099.6 meters - it's practically a vertical, upright ride and lasts for about 10 minutes. During the ride itself, you will go through tall fir trees, which then open out to grassy slopes below dotted with wildflowers or snow, if it’s winter. Again, depending on the season, you either step out on lush, green grass or knee-high snow. From, the snow peaks seem close enough to touch.
Kongdoori is a bowl shaped area between Gulmarg and the summit on the Afarwat mountain range in J&K, India. It offers some stunning options for skiers and boarders alike. Kongdori is also a stop or a station during the Gulmarg Gondola Cable Car journey. The popular cable car's first stage was a transfer to the Kongdori Valley station (10,500 ft); the optional second stage takes visitors to the Afarwat Mountain top (13,500 ft). There are glorious views of the rolling meadows at the foot of the Afarwat Mountains, in the Pir Panjal ranges surrounding Gulmarg. During winter, this is where skiers arrive to glide down powdery snow. The “heartland of winter sports in India”, as quoted by CNN, is a gathering ground for all things extreme sports and outdoors related. In the winter, the diverse and extreme terrain combines with torrential snowfall to create a snow destination that is among the best in the world.
Aparwath is in high altitude than Kungdoor and more scenic, ascending steeply to the rocky mountain peak. The Gondola occasionally travels above the clouds. Snow in Aparwath is very soft and crystal clear and treat for eyes. From Gulmarg to Kungdoor it will take 10 mins and from Koongdoor to Aparwath 12 mins. This is most adventurous journey and life time experience.
Patients of Heart Disease, Respiratory in-sufficiency and children below 5 are not allowed. Also the weather can be chilling at any time of the year so Tourists are advised to carry along warm clothings.