Gulmarg - The Meadow of Flowers    !

Gulmarg has been a resort for the kings like Yousuf Shah Chak and Jahangir who used to visit frequently. The old name of Gulmarg was "Gaurimarg", the name of Lord Shiva's wife. Yousuf Shah Chak changed its name to Gulmarg, meaning the place of roses. During the early part of the 20th century the famous Central Asian explorer Sir Marc Aurel Stein (1862-1943), made his home here in a tent between his expeditions. It was a favourite summer holiday destination for the British stationed in India.

The surrounding areas were politically restive during a period of relative peace and quiet. The town is nestled within the imposing Himalayan peaks, and lies within miles of the Line of Control. It receives heavy snowfall during the winter season and is a popular ski resort.

With the abatement of militancy in the area, Gulmarg has quickly become one of the state's most visited destinations. The slopes of the Afarwat Hills of the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalaya Chain boast one of the longest and highest ski slopes in Asia. The total distance covered by ski lifts is five kilometres and the resort peaks at an altitude of 3,950 m (12,959 ft), accessed by an aerial gondola (telecabine). The skiing project was inaugurated by the Chief Minister on 25 December 2004. The entire hill is guarded by the army at all times. The army, which is seen everywhere in the cities of Kashmir, is not in the town or the actual hilltop. Frisking is only done midway on the access road at 3 places: Tangmarg, near an army camp on the road from Tangmarg, and 5 km before entering Gulmarg. Gulmarg does not have any permanent residents. All living in Gulmarg are hotel employees and guests.

Gulmarg is easily accessible from Srinagar or Srinagar Airport (SXR), the capital of Kashmir, in under 2 hours by car or bus. Just 1 hour on the way is the town of Tangmarg, a key tourist attraction and also a main destination for skiers riding down from Gulmarg during the winter months. From Tangmarg, the Gulmarg plateau is just 30 minutes travel. Gulmarg has around 40 hotels ranging from extremely budget accommodation in private huts to hotels that are of a similar standard to a western Bed & Breakfast. When hotels say 5 star expect similar standards to the aforementioned bed and breakfast or motel. The peak season starts with the snowfall in December and lasts until March (April if it is a good season). The charges for one night stay during peak season in a hotel range typically between Rs1500 to Rs6500+, however there is also accommodation available for Rs500 which is only for the hardcore. The pre-season and post-season rates may have a discount but this is not standard.

However, organising all of this can be pretty tiring, so the cheapest and most convenient option is to go through a local tour company such as Trans India Holiday or Kashmir Tour and Travels or Jammu and Kashmir Tourism, which have connections and networks leading to the best prices and facilities available.

We organise everything from transport to accommodation and, for all winter sports enthusiasts, an essential backcountry guide to lead you in navigating the unique but extreme terrain.
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