(Last Updated on : 10/12/2008)
Gulmarg is a town and a notified area committee in Baramula district in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Gulmarg`s legendary beauty, prime location and proximity to Srinagar naturally make it one of the premier hill resorts in the country. It is one of the ultimate adventure zones of the Kashmir valley.
The journey to Gulmarg is half the enchantment of reaching there-- roads bordered by rigid avenues of poplar give over to flat expanses of rice fields interspersed with quaint villages. Depending on the season, nature`s colours could be translucent green of spring, summer`s rich emerald, or autumn`s golden hues, when scarlet chillies festoon windows of village homes. After Tangmarg, the climb to Gulmarg begins through fir-covered hillsides.
At one point, known simply as View Point, travellers generally stop their vehicles for few minutes to look out to a spectacle of snow-covered mountains, almost within touching distance.
Gulmarg was a favourite haunt of Emperor Jehangir who once collected 21 different varieties of flowers from here. Today Gulmarg is not merely a mountain resort of exceptional beauty- it also has the highest green golf course in the world, at an altitude of 2,650 m, and is the country`s premier ski resort in the winter.
Origin of the Name of Gulmarg
Originally called `Gaurimarg` by shepherds, its present name was given in the 16th century by Sultan Yusuf Shah, who was inspired by the sight of its grassy slopes emblazoned with wild flowers. Gulmarg means "Meadows of Flowers".
History of Gulmarg
British discovered the hill resort of Gulmarg in 1927 during their colonial rule in India. Gulmarg is a hill station in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The town had witnessed militancy in the 1990s, but after a ceasefire between India and Pakistan in 2003, the town is now peaceful.
Geography of Gulmarg
It is a large meadow located at 34.05° N 74.38° E. It is about 3-sq-kms in area and has has an average elevation of 2690 metres (8825 feet). It lies 56-km south west of Srinagar.
Climate of Gulmarg
The climatic conditions are pleasant throughout the year. In summers one has to wear light woolen clothing but in summers heavy woolen clothing is required. The best season to visit the city is April-June.
Economy of Gulmarg
Economy of the state is generally poor. The main source of earning is tourism. There is a need to explore the opportunities in Gulmarg in such a way that it can provide employment not only for the skiers but also for the entire State. The economy otherwise was very poor, now due to tourism and selling of natural gifts like saffron, apples walnuts, and many more, an attempt has been made to move a step forward.
Government and Politics of Gulmarg
The state government of Jammu and Kashmir handles the affairs of Gulmarg.
Transport of Gulmarg
Gulmarg is in Baramula District and is 56-kms from Srinagar and Sonamar is 81-km from Srinagar. The nearest Airport is situated in Badgam District, which is well connected with all the major cities of India.
The nearest railhead is at Jammu.
Road: All sorts of transport are available to Gulmarg from Srinagar bus stand at Batmallo and from private transport operators. Bus services to Sonamarg are available from Srinagar and Anantnag.
Culture of Gulmarg
Gulmarg, Kashmir, India. The name evokes an image of a mythical place: at the end of the road, the head of the valley, and the top of the mountain. An ancient culture still resides on both sides of an imaginary line where two countries have battled over this land; for over 150 years this line, this vale, this identity has been disputed in one of the Earth`s most beautiful arenas.
At a distance of 48 km, Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve lies to the southwest of Srinagar. A number of rare and exotic species like the musk deer have found their home in this Biosphere reserve. A rich and varied flora and fauna are the main attractions of the GulMarg Biosphere Reserve of Kashmir. Dominating in the rich green cover of the area are the conifers, accounting for over ninety percent of the vegetation. Aesculus indica, Pinus griffithii, Cedrus deodara, Abies pindrow, etc consist of the major species. Embracing the ground of the Kashmir, India Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve is a shrub, consisting of Sorbaria tomentosa, Viburnum spp., Indigofera heterantha, etc., along with the Dicotyledonus herbs. Otherwise rest of the culture is same as Kashmiris and Dogris.
Sports of Gulmarg
Gulmarg, being full with natural endowments, scenic splendor, places of tourist interest round the year, snow claded mountain peaks and challenging tracks; allure the tourists, adventurers and trekkers not only from India but also from abroad. Winter sports in Gulmarg attract sports persons from all over the world.
In winter, Gulmarg acquires a new persona - that of the country`s premier skiing resorts. Skiing, to many who watch it on TV, seems like a very elitist sport, requiring a high level of training and expensive equipment. They are surprised, when they visit Gulmarg for a day`s expedition to see the snow, that others with the same level of physical fitness and training are skiing down slopes.
Gulmarg makes an excellent base for trekking in the northern Pir Panjal Range. Nanga Parbat can be seen to the north from several viewpoints, including Khilanmarg, west and over 1,500 feet up the forested hillside from Gulmarg. From a distance, the Pir Panjal appears somewhat rounded, but when you are actually walking up its slopes, you will find that its smoother peaks rise above evergreen clad slopes that seem quite equal in steepness to those of the main Himalayas.
Golf Courses in Gulmarg:
Situated at an altitude of 2,650 m, Gulmarg has got the highest green golf course in the world. The layout of the course is quiet striking and the layout is similar to a normal golf course with land slopes and inclines along the complete area of the course, which has a par of 72. The British who used Gulmarg as a holiday resort, and opened it for golf lovers in the year 1904 started the golf club. At present the Jammu & Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation manages the club.