Breathtaking views of Himalayas from the plane’s window, endless snow capped mountains and to think Himalayas are the youngest mountains in the world and are still growing approximately 2mm every year. Kashmir is undoubtedly the most beautiful place in India! It is sparsely populated and each house is like colorful matchboxes with pointed tops!
Our Kashmiri driver, drove us through the roads with the most captivating mountain range for the view. It was a white winterland. He told us, each season brings different colors to Kashmir. If you visit in August you get to see dry fruits (Kaju/Cashew, Badam/Almond, Akhrot/Walnut) on trees. If you are in the mood for Apples, Strawberries on trees or want to treat your eyes to Saffron fields then September is the month for you. Hence, the best time to visit Kashmir is just about any time.
As the wheels roll and sceneries fly by, there are views of dry vegetation (crops dried because of harsh winters) which are otherwise Apple trees. Vegetable is made from these kind of Apples because they are sour.
Out of curiosity I asked our driver whether he wanted to be a part of India or Pakistan. He said it is one or the same thing for him and he was the citizen of Aman. He wanted peace.
TRAVEL TIPS FOR GULMARG
- Travelling to Gulmarg from Srinagar/ Transportation from Gulmarg to Srinagar/ Time taken from Srinagar to Gulmarg/ Reaching Gulmarg
Hire a taxi from inside the airport itself. There’s a government authorized pre paid taxi service. The charges are Rs.1600 for the cab from Srinagar to Tangmarg. Then from Tangmarg you have to change the taxi to Gulmarg, which will cost you Rs. 500.
Total taxi fare from Srinagar to Gulmarg is Rs. 2100.
Total time taken from Srinagar to Gulmarg is around 2 hours.
You can also take the same taxi up till Gulmarg by paying an extra Rs. 500 to the driver . But it’s not advisable in winters, as most of the Srinagar taxis don’t have chains on their wheels that are a must for snow terrains that wait en route to Gulmarg.
Tangmarg is a blink and miss kind of bend in the road. You can rent clothes and change your taxi here.
- Renting clothes in Kashmir/ Winter clothing on rent in Kashmir
If you travel to Kashmir during winters then it is best to rent the clothes which include Boots, Jackets and Gloves. Especially the shoes, without which you just can’t walk slippery snow filled roads. The jackets come in use on days when it snows. It is advisable to check the weather reports well in advance before you make your travel plans to Kashmir.
Rent charges maximum of Rs.400 per day (from sunrise to sunrise).
The roads on the way to Gulmarg are single laned but you can keep your fear of heights aside. We reached Gulmarg through the most beautiful road with snow on each side.
Gulmarg has no local population. It only has hotels. You will find Indian soldiers here at almost every corner.
Peace, is the color of the mountains here, You can spot a lot of stars and planets in the night, you can also camp under the stars if the sky is clear.
- How to keep yourself warm in biting cold weather/ Insulation during winters / Clothing for chilly winters
- Keep your head covered, that’s where you lose maximum heat from
- Keep your ears covered
- Gloves on
- Layers, layers and more layers of clothing, prefer wool for ideal insulation
Know that your body is programmed to keep your vital organs warm first and that is the reason why your hands and feet get cold even when the rest of your body is relatively warmer. Hence, it is very important that you don’t leave them open to the weather.
Insulation works in keeping the warmth intact and doesn’t actually provide additional heat, so you should do a bit of warm up before you leave for chilly outdoors.
- Best eating out options in Gulmarg/ What to eat in Gulmarg/ Best things to eat in Gulmarg
Ghushtaba and Rogan Josh are a speciality to eat in Gulmarg along with Kashmiri Kahwa and drink the local water at Gulmarg for sweetness and purity you have never tasted before.
The best places to eat in Gulmarg, Kashmir:
Best budget eating option in Gulmarg: If you are on a budget, then Bakshi Restaurant is the best option to eat in Gulmarg.
When we went to Bakshi restaurant for a local dinner. Unfortunately we were not treated to Ghushtaba or the Rogan Josh, they said we would have to go to Srinagar for that. We ordered Chicken Curry and Chicken Pullao instead. Here you don’t order what you want, here you order from what all they have to offer. They don’t have all the items mentioned on their menu. They have simple things here. The table next to ours chilled their Kingfisher by putting it deep in ice outside. There is no refrigerator here. There are many foreigners in Gulmarg for skiing and had been there for over a month, ever since the skiing season started. Kinley bottles were placed on their table and they said “We want Gulmarg water” I overheard, because the tables were very close to each other. It’s a restaurant here. But what we would usually call as a Dhaba.
Best luxury dining option in Gulmarg: If you are in a mood to splurge then Cloves at Khyber should be your choice. Please click here for more.
Once you decide for a quick evening within the hotel and don’t feel like stepping out then try the Chicken Kanti at Khyber with a bread of your choice. Unfortunately, they too didn’t serve the Ghushtaba
- Best places to stay in Gulmarg/ Hotels to stay in Gulmarg.
- The Khyber Spa and Resort has the most amazing spa in collaboration with L’Occitane in laps of Himalayas. It is the best destination spa in India. Please check it out by clicking here.
- The Vintage is also a nice option, please click here for bookings.
- Tickets to Gulmarg for the Holi Long weekend
With Holi long weekend right around the corner, one must plan to travel to Gulmarg. Best airfares for Srinagar can be found here.
- Best things to do in Gulmarg/ Best places to visit in Gulmarg/ Top things to do in Gulmarg during winters
Hire a local guide who will take you everywhere around Gulmarg. Tell the guide all that you want to do and rest will be arranged by him. The guide charge around Rs. 600 per day.
- Gondola Ride to the top of Mountain Apharwat in Gulmarg
Gulmarg Phase 2 which is 13500 ft above sea level, offers clear views of Nanga Parvat . The air however is thin here. An army base camp is also set here.
To book your gondola ride in Gulmarg online, please click here.There is also a ski lift/ chair lift available. Gulmarg Gondola is one of the highest and largest ropeways in Asia and covers the aerial distance of 5kms.
Skiing rates on Gulmarg Phase 1 are Rs. 1200 for unlimited time. It is for tourists who have no past experience in skiing and think of it as a tourist attraction.
Some of the best paranthas can be had at the dhabas located on Gulmarg Phase 1.
- Best place for Skiing in Gulmarg
Gulmarg is the one of the best skiing destinations in the world! Perfect for skiing and snowboarding. If you are a novice you can come here for a course to the Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering which was set up by the Government of India in 1969 to introduce adventure sports. Please click here for bookings and reservations.
- Best place for Heli skiing in Gulmarg
The best kind of guided back country skiing and snowboarding experience is a must for people who are seasoned in skiing. Check this link for more information on heli skiing in Gulmarg.
Heli hiking can also be opted for in summers to explore the Pir Panjal range around Gulmarg.
Avoid sledging for your back’s sake and the ones who pull you. But if you decide to go ahead with it then the rates are around Rs.250-Rs.300 per hour. If you think soft heartedly considering it’s the only mode of livelihood they have then maybe you may allow light weight children.
Everything in the end turned out to be more expensive because we were not bargaining thinking this is their only mode of livelihood. After everything, our guide told us it’s not called Kashmir, it’s called ‘Cash-More’.
Faffing after being back from the amazing white winterland,