Gulmarg in Winter: A Snowy Paradise
Gulmarg, a small town nestled in the heart of Jammu and Kashmir, transforms into a winter wonderland from November to February. The town is renowned for its abundant snowfall, turning it into a real-life fairy tale setting. The temperature often fluctuates between -4°C and 11°C, with nights being particularly chilly.
The journey to Gulmarg in winter can be broken down into three parts. The first part is reaching Srinagar. Srinagar to Tangmarg will be the second part and Tangmarg to Gulmarg will be the final lap of the journey. You can either travel by your own vehicle, rented taxi or public transport. However, the steep incline from Tangmarg can become tricky to cross and requires excellent driving skills, especially during the snow season.
Things to Do
Gulmarg is not just about skiing. There’s much more to this snowy town than the slopes. Here are some things you can do:
- Heli Skiing
- Snow Skating, or Sleighing
If you want to stay away from adventure sports, there are fun, low-key activities for you to do as well. There is an ice-skating rink in the heart of town, near the cable-car station. Rent equipment and find instructors to help you glide about. Alternately, get pulled around on sledges almost anywhere in the town—just call out to one, negotiate a rate and hop on. Pony rides are limited in winter, especially in case of heavy snowfall, but ask around and you are bound to find someone willing to hire one out. Snowshoes are available at most rental shops and are ideal for exploring the neighbouring forest areas
- Snow Bikes
- ATV Bikes
- Snow Cycles
- Ice Hockey
- Visit Drang Waterfall
Around 18km from Gulmarg, Tanmarg has enough to merit a quick detour. The village is home to the famous 15th-century shrine of Baba Reshi, a Muslim scholar who meditated in the area. Its latticework windows and carved deodar pillars make it a charming architectural throwback. A bustling market area around the shrine also serves as a draw, with everything from street food and exquisite pottery on offer. It is also a popular picnic spot among the locals. Another must-visit site here are the Durum Falls, perfect for photo opportunities, especially when the cascading water freezes over in winter. Make sure you hire a guide to show you around.
Whether you are a first-timer or a seasoned skier, Gulmarg has something for everyone. The official ski season is from December to April. There is an adequate beginners’ area, options for off-piste, heli-skiing (from 15,000ft) and cross-country skiing.
Ride the Gondola
The gondola has two phases; the first one takes you to the Kongdoor Station, which is filled with tour operators, restaurants, sunbathing chairs and tourists. The second phase takes you to Aparwath Station (at a height of over 13,000ft and open only if the weather permits), which has sparse crowds, a tranquil environment and stupendous views of the snow-coated Himalayas.
Where to Stay
There are plenty of hotels in Gulmarg that remain open during winter. They offer cozy rooms and warm hospitality that make your stay comfortable and memorable.
Gulmarg in winter is truly an experience in itself. . So if you’re planning a trip this winter, Gulmarg should definitely be on your list!
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