Best Places to Visit in Gulmarg in 2023

Gulmarg needs no introduction when it comes to the discussion about the most attractive places in India. If you are traveling to Kashmir then Gulmarg has to be on top of your list. It’s one of the most exhilarating and eye-catching destinations in India. Needless to say that every year thousands of tourists from India visit this hill station in Kashmir. And, I will tell you the best places to visit in Gulmarg during your trip.

Gulmarg means “Meadow of Flowers”( ‘Gul’ means flower and ‘Marg’ means meadows). The beauty of Gulmarg is unparalleled. And also Gulmarg shows different shades in different seasons too. While the snow-covered meadows of Gulmarg would amaze you during winter, the valley full of colorful flowers across the green terrains during summer is a treat to the eyes.

Gulmarg is also known to be the most famous destination in India for enjoying winter sports. Every year during winter hundreds of skiers across the globe visit Gulmarg to enjoy skiing on the slopes of Gulmarg. Also, it is one of the most sought-after honeymoon destinations in India.      

In this article, I will talk about what places you should go during which season and how to plan your trip to Gulmarg. Also, I would share my experience of Gulmarg and what entertaining things you should do in Gulmarg.  

Top 10 Places to visit in Gulmarg in 2023

How to visit Gulmarg?

Gulmarg is located at a distance of 56 km from Srinagar. The best way to visit Gulmarg from Srinagar is by road. You will find cabs to Gulmarg from Srinagar that would cost you around 2000. It takes around 2 hours to reach Gulmarg. The road to Gulmarg goes through Tangmarg, where we stayed there during our trip to Gulmarg.

The roads are amazing in Kashmir to drive. Till Tangmarg the roads through Kashmir valley is flat and well maintained. From Tangmarg the road is inclined till Gulmarg. As the roads are wide and maintained properly you won’t feel sudden halts unless army convoys passing through the region. Due to being a sensitive area, you will find army trucks frequently.

Tip: If you are going to Gulmarg from Srinagar try to leave Srinagar as early as possible because the Srinagar highway can get crowded at the noon.

Best time to visit Gulmarg

As I have already said Gulmarg has different colors of nature up its sleeves. The summer shows the meadows full of colorful flowers and plants while during winter Gulmarg becomes a winter paradise covered in full of snow. We always get a FOMO, isn’t it?

Winter: Jan-Feb. Temperature falls below 0° C. You would get to see snowfall in winter. Gulmarg remains covered in thick layers of snow. Gulmarg offers various kinds of winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, and ATV rides. It feels like Santa would visit us in this beautiful place.

Gulmarg Winter
Gulmarg Winter

Summer: Apr-Jun. You can enjoy the summer in Gulmarg from April to June. The temperature remains comfortable and not as chilly as in winter. Though after sunset the temperature drops. Snow covers melt, and the meadows blossom with colorful flowers. You won’t believe your eyes if you don’t see them yourself.

Gulmarg in Summer
Gulmarg in Summer

Now the biggest question is, what is the best time to visit Gulmarg? See, honestly, there is no best time to visit Gulmarg. That’s completely your choice. I am from Kolkata, which is hot and humid. So, I love snow. That’s why I visited Gulmarg in early March. Though I could not see snowfall I get to enjoy a lot of snow. Also, I enjoyed a lot of winter sports in Gulmarg. Gondola rides in winter feel even more beautiful.

Though summer has its advantages. If you love camping and trekking then Summer can be the perfect time for you. You can visit the strawberry valley and Alpathar lake. Though summer is the peak tourist season in Kashmir. So, you will see a lot of crowds in Gulmarg.

My choice would be to visit Gulmarg in winter. First, I would like to do all the crazy winter activities, including Gondola rides in winter. Second, Only during this time, you will see the frozen Drung waterfall and frozen Alpathar lake.

Gulmarg Gondola

Gulmarg Gondola is Asia’s highest and largest cable car operational between Gulmarg to Apharwat peak. It is the most amazing experience you can have in Gulmarg. You should not miss out on this experience.

Gulmarg Gondola
Gulmarg Gondola to Apharwat Peak

Gulmarg gondola ride is divided into two phases- the first phase of the Gondola takes you from the Gulmarg resort to Kangdori and the second phase takes you to the Apharwat peak. Each phase would cost you 750 rupees( Total 1500 Rs/ person). You can get the tickets for both phases from the ticket counter at Gulmarg.

Many people only go up to Kangdori. Though I would recommend you to visit the Apharwat top which is mesmerizing and would give you a feels of the Swiss Alps. In winter the whole journey is a treat to the eyes. From inside the Gondola, everything below looks so small. You will see tall Pine trees standing tall covered in snow. During Skiing season, many professional skiers ski down the steep slope of the mountains.

Though you will find Sledge rides that would take you down to Gulmarg. But, please don’t take the Sledge rides as they are very uncomfortable and you would have to walk most of your way. And, you have already paid for the return ticket in Gondola.

If you have read my blog on Kashmir Travel Scams then you would know that you may have to stand in a long queue for Gondola and how travel guides scam you.   

Apharwat Peak

You can reach Apharwat peak by the second phase of the Gondola ride. Apharwat peak has a latitude of 14,400 ft. From Kangdori to Apharwat the Gondola ride is beyond explanation. The Ningle Nallah originates from the melted snow water of Apharwat peak and merges with the Jhelum river near Gulmarg.

Apharwat Peak, Gulmarg
Apharwat Peak, Gulmarg

The slope of Apharwat mountain offers one of the largest and steepest slopes in India. That’s why professional skiers come to Gulmarg. Though amateur skiers and tourists do not ski on that slope. Alongside a ropeway, a chair car system is also there which is used by professional skiers who use it for transportation. 

On the Apharwat peak, click the most amazing pictures. Have a cup of Kashmiri Kahwa and hot Maggi. Play with snow as much as you could. You may have some difficulty breathing due to the high altitude of Apharwat. So, be a little cautious while staying for a longer period. 

Skiing in Gulmarg

Gulmarg is one of the most famous destinations for skiing in India or even in the whole of Asia. Many skiing training institutes organize their camps in Gulmarg where every year hundreds of ski aspirants from different countries visit to learn skiing. Apharwat mountain has the most natural and largest slopes to practice skiing and snowboarding.

Amateur skiers can ski in the lower region of the Apharwat range. You would enjoy skiing and snowboarding with the help of the ski instructors. On the skiing slopes, I also took a funny Sledge ride. I had a fun time on the skiing slopes.

Alpather Lake

Alpather lake is a frozen lake in Gulmarg at an altitude of 4,390 meters located between the shoulders of the twin Apharwat peaks in the Apharwat mountain ranges. Alpather lake is famous for its picture-perfect location and turquoise color water which makes it a scene out of the painter’s dream.

As with most things in Gulmarg, this lake also has two different shades across seasons. During the major part of the year, the small serene lake remains frozen. During summer when the ice starts melting, the icy lake turns turquoise in color with a greenish surrounding.

Alpather lake trek is a good one-day trek in Gulmarg. Physically active people can do this 13 km long trek from Gulmarg. People who are not looking to trek this long distance can take a shortcut via Gulmarg Gondola. The second phase of the Gondola will take you to Apharwat peak, from where lake Alpather is located at a distance of 1.5 km.

It is difficult to do this trek in winter through thick layers of snow. Doing this trek in Summer is comparatively easier. More than the destination, the journey through the meadows blossomed with seasonal flowers is a memory to cherish forever.  

Drung Waterfall

This is one of the most unique places in Gulmarg. Let me tell you why is that. Drung is a small picturesque waterfall in between mountains located between Tangmarg and Gulmarg, is one of the rarest frozen waterfalls in the whole of India. 

Drung Waterfall, Frozen waterfall in Gulmarg
Drung Waterfall, Gulmarg

Many tourists visit this place during winter. If you are traveling to Gulmarg during Jan-Feb you must visit this place. The waterfall remains frozen till early March. Though this year as the temperature soared high the waterfall melted in early march.

The caves and the lake around the waterfall remain frozen which feels mesmerizing. You can get some amazing clicks with the mystical backdrop. ATVs also take you to Drung from Tangmarg.

Maharani Temple

Maharani temple, also known as Mohineshwar Shivalalaya is a small temple dedicated to Shiva and Parvati. This temple was built in the year 1915 by Mohini Bai Sisodia, wife of the former king of Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh. This temple is the symbol of the royalty of the kings of Dogra.

Maharani Temple, Gulmarg
Maharani Temple, Gulmarg

The temple was built in the center of Gulmarg in such a way that its red-colored roof is visible from every corner of Gulmarg. This temple also signifies the history of Kashmir where two religions existed simultaneously.  

Also, in this temple in Gulmarg, the famous ‘Jai Jai Shiv Sankar’ song was shot. No not the new one, the old one where Rajesh Khanna did shake a leg on the chartbuster track.

Gulmarg Golf Course

Gulmarg Golf Course is one of the major tourist attractions in Gulmarg. This is the second-highest green golf course in the world. Among the green meadows, this 18-hole golf ground spread across 6,863 m is the largest in India with one of the most picturesque backdrops.

This golf course was started as a 6-hole golfing ground in 1890 by British Colonel Neville Chamberlain, later it was re-modified in 1970. Throughout these years many prestigious golf tournaments like Nedou’s club, and Northern India Cup were organized here.

This golf course is also open to tourists as well. During winter the ground remains closed due to heavy snowfall. To enjoy the majestic views of the golf course you would have to visit between Apr-Nov.

Maharaja Palace

Maharaja Palace in Gulmarg is also another notable destination to visit in Gulmarg. This palace was built by Maharaja Hari Singh, the former king of Erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir. This palace was a summer holiday destination for the king. You might be disappointed if you expect this to be like other luxurious palaces in India. This place was restored in 2017 after being abandoned for years.

Maharaja Palace
Maharaja Palace, Gulmarg

This place is now converted into a heritage museum. You can see walnut wood carvings throughout the whole palace, old horse stables, and fireplaces of pre-independence times. This palace carries the symbol of the existence of Dogra royalty.

The entry fee to enter this palace is 30 Rs/ person.

Strawberry Valley

Strawberry valley is also another offbeat tourist destination in Gulmarg. You can visit this place during summer to enjoy the beauty of the valley in the middle of the meadows. A small natural river flows by it. You can reach this place by pony or ATV rides. Though be cautious as the pony owners are quite nagging.

This place is located at a distance of 3.7 km from Gulmarg Market road. It could be a little difficult to spot the exact location. If you are taking a guide in Gulmarg, they would guide you. The guide has a fixed rate of 800 Rs/ day, decided by the government.

Ningle Nallah

Ningle Nallah is a small river stream located at a distance of 10 km from Gulmarg in the Baramulla district. This picturesque river originates from the Apharwat peak and flows through Alpather lake. The melting ice of the lake and the Apharwat mountain ranges are the sources of water.

Through the meadows and rocky terrains of Gulmarg, the stream passes to eventually meet the Jhelum river, one of the largest rivers in Kashmir. People love to go camping and picnic around this place in summer.

Where to stay in Gulmarg?

Ideally, to explore and enjoy all the activities in Gulmarg you would need 2 days. There are a few high-class hotels in Gulmarg like The Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa, Shaw Inn by Stay Pattern, Hotel Pine Spring Gulmarg, Kolahoi Green Heights, etc. They are reasonably expensive.

Apart from them, there are a few upper-mid-budget hotels that you may try out if you are looking to spend a night in Gulmarg. As there is less number of hotels in Gulmarg, you will find it hard to get accommodations. I faced a similar incident in Gulmarg where our travel agent did not book our stay in time. And, in the end, they arranged a hotel for us in Tangmarg as in Gulmarg most of the hotels were full.

So, my recommendation would be not to stay in Gulmarg unless you want to, because there’s hardly anything to do at the night during winter. You can stay in either Tangmarg or Srinagar, from where you can reach Gulmarg within 2 hours. And if you want, you can explore things in Srinagar or Tangmarg in the evening.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *