Gulmarg is a city in Kashmir and is noted for having one of the world’s highest gondolas (cable car).
You can reach Gulmarg by car or bus from Srinagar (capital of Jammu and Kashmir) in 1.5 hours. In summer the SRTC daily sightseeing coaches are available in the morning at Tourist Reception Center (₹351). Local buses are available only up to the Tangmarg market from where the mini coaches can be hired up to Gulmarg. Taxis can be hired from any taxi stand at fixed one way or return journey charges. During winter, a Jeep-type vehicle (Scorpio, Qualis or Sumo) is recommended as the regular snowfall and below zero temperatures make the Tangmarg-Gulmarg road portion highly slippery with narrow passage. A travel agent’s assistance can be useful.
A number of informal checkpoints exist along the road to Gulmarg, which appear to be staffed by armed volunteers. Tipping may be necessary to pass any given checkpoint.
Getting around Gulmarg is done mostly by foot. There is one road that does a loop around the whole area. Walking around it would take about an hour. You can even sightsee around Gulmarg in sledges driven by locals which cost around ₹200 in off season.
The main attraction is the gondola. Finished in 2004, it runs up to 3,995 meters. A sight-seeing trip to the top of the gondola will cost you ₹740 for Stage One (Gulmarg to Kungdoor) and ₹950 for Stage Two (Kungdoor to Apparwath) for a return trip; singles (for skiers, for example) are half the price, with a day pass available for ₹1,200. You can decide whether you wish to go to Stage Two when you have reached Stage One. Stage Two is at a much higher elevation, right on the hill top, and is clearly visible from the Gulmarg taxi stand. The hills visible from the top are said to be LOC and Pakistan-administered Kashmir (specifically Nanga Parbat and (supposedly) the very tip of K2).
Major tourist attractions are:
- 1 Alpather Lake.
- Baba Reshi Shrine.
- 1 Cable Car to Kongdori. Highest and longest cable car in Asia.
- 1 Gulmarg Golf Course.
- Maharani Temple.
- Shiva Temple. A temple that was previously a royal temple for Dogras
- St. Mary’s Church.
Take care if you are considering hiring a guide – they tend to work on a commission basis. Their initial price might be attractive, but your guide may be reluctant to take you to places which don’t pay commission and you’ll be paying inflated prices for the duration of your trip.