Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful hill stations in India, it is truly blessed by Mother Nature! So breathtakingly beautiful that it has often been referred to as the “Pride” of Jammu and Kashmir. One of India’s must enchanting hill resorts, a hilly paradise known for its exquisite flowers, famous skiing grounds and perhaps one of the world’s highest golf course perched at an altitude of 2,650 m. Referred to as Gaurimarg by the shepherds, it was renamed in the 16th century to Gulmarg meaning “the meadow of flowers” by a Sultan called Yusuf Shah, who was completely captivated by its wild flowers and grassy slopes.

A journey here is an absolutely heavenly experience and making it magical are the attractions mentioned herein. Offering one of the most awe inspiring sceneries is the gorgeous Khilanmarg, a perfect picnic ground famous for its scenic views of surrounding dense green forests and charming secluded valleys.  The ideal location to enjoy the freshness of mountains, Khilanmarg is definitely one of the prime tourist spots offering some magnificent views and some wonderful trekking trails.

Enhancing the beauty of the place with scenic hilly snow capped terrains as its backdrop is the triangular shaped, Alpather Lake at the foot of the Apharwat peaks, which remains frozen until late June. A must for adventure lovers, this is the perfect location for some scenic trekking expeditions.

Covering an area of 180 sq km of land and attracting nature enthusiasts from all over is the Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve with its attractive wildlife tour packages. A safe haven for many an endangered and rare species of animals and birds, some found here include the Red Fox, Musk Deer, Brown Bear, Serow, Leopard, Hangul, Black Bear, etc

This Biosphere Reserve accounts for nearly 90 % of the flora of the region and is covered with lush green conifers. Some of the major species found in the region are Cedrus deodara, Aesculus indica,Abies pindrow, Pinus griffithii, etc. Apart from the Dicotyledonus herbs; the land is also covered with shrubs like Indigofera heterantha, Sorbaria tomentosa, Viburnum spp., etc.

From Blue Rock Pigeon to European hoopoe, Griffon vulture to the Snow Cock, if you’re a bird lover then March to May is the perfect time to visit this biosphere.

A sports lover’s paradise, Gulmarg, being one of the best ski resorts in India as it gets heavy snowfall especially during winter, is the perfect place to catch up on some skiing! With instructors to guide you and caps, mufflers and gloves and professional equipment imported from Australia and France that are offered here on hire, try your luck out on the wonderful ski slopes here varying between 8,700 and 10,500 feet with the highest ski runs in India.

The ski-lifts and chair-lifts providing basic utilitarian facilities with a simple link-up are meant only for beginners, while professionals who enjoy the exhilaration of height will have to make their own way up.

If golf is more your sport, there’s good news.  The 18-hole golf course here, offers temporary membership including one-day memberships and golf kits on hire for tourists. This golf course is a perfect place to unwind and catch up on your favorite sport whilst holidaying! Even for the amateur golfer, there are pros to instruct one in the game. Situated at a height of 2,650 meters above the sea level, not only is the golf grounds known for some magnificent views of the valley, but also for its clubhouse which is a historical building in its own right.

Another must try is the newly constructed Gondola lift here which offers a paranomic view of the snow clad mountains and pine-clad slopes of the region. Credited to be the longest and highest cable car project in Asia, try it for an unforgettable experience.

For adventurous tourists, there’s another way to enjoy the mountains! Try the popular heliskiing, where one can take a helicopter to the chosen peak from where one can choose one’s own descent route.

A trekking base to the Pir Panjal Range, Nanga Parbat and Khilanmarg, you don’t need to visit Gulmarg with trekking gear, the same can be hired from locals here. If you want to try travelling around town in a unique way, then hire a sledge, which is easily available during the off-season and is fun for kids.

Another must visit here, slightly lower than Gulmarg is the shrine of Baba Reshi (a Muslim mystic saint), who was a courtier of the Kashmir King Zain-ul-Abidin. His shrine is visited by thousands of devotees every year, regardless of religion or faith.

While the place is well linked to other destinations within India by its good roads, only 56 km away from here, Srinagar is the nearest airport with several airlines connecting it to other parts of the country, and the nearest railhead being in Jammu.

A destination known for its unparalleled beauty, lush green slopes, flowers that are seen here and nowhere else, this wonderland blessed by Mother Nature, the locale for several films, makes a soul stimulating destination and the holiday of a lifetime.

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