GULMARG

GULMARG

Nestled among the Pir Panjal ranges of the mighty Himalayas is Gulmarg!! Literally meaning “Meadow of flowers”, Gulmarg with its legendary beauty and close proximity to Srinagar makes it one of the premier luxury resorts in India.

It is a sight to behold in the summers with its vast sloping greens, emblazoned with wildflowers like daisies, butter cups and forget me nots. Equally bewitching in the winters are its slopes covered with sheets of pristine white! Why, even the drive to Gulmarg is a sight to behold; it can be a translucent green in spring, a rich emerald green in the summers, shades of brilliant gold and copper in autumn when scarlet chillies festoon the windows of the countryside homes and bare treetops are covered in white in the winters.

Gulmarg figures in history, from ancient times. Let’s see how!!

In the 16th century it was controlled by the Chak Dynasty. Sultan Yousuf Shah Chak was an ardent nature lover. He is credited with having discovered this beautiful place. As per legends the shepherds there called it ‘Gaurimarg’ after Goddess Gauri. Yousuf Shah was enthralled by its beauty and renamed it as ‘Gulmarg’.

Later on, by the 18th century the Mughals had arrived. They were known as connoisseurs of fine living!! Each of them did their bit to add to the beauty of the place but it was Jehangir who did the most to further beautify Gulmarg by planting varieties of flowers.

Gulmarg came under the British rule in the 19th century. They used it as their summer resort. Hunting and golfing was introduced by them first. They made 3 golf courses. The first of the golf courses (6 holes) was built in 1891 by Col Neville Chamberlain. It was built at a height of 2650 meters and is the world’s highest golf course to date.

By 1927 it slowly became a skiing destination too, where 2 skiing events were held every year at Christmas and then Easter.

 

After Independence Government has invested a lot into making it an adventure sports destination. In 1948, a Ski School was set up by the Army. The 1960s saw Gulmarg developing as a tourist spot with a lot of development taking place. Winter sports started happening here as also other sports like tennis, skiing and polo was introduced too.

Early this century saw Gulmarg home to the highest and longest cable car ropeway of the continent! One gets a breath-taking panoramic view of Kashmir and Nanga Parbat atop the cable car.

The new gondolas designed by France, ascends from 2650 meters to 3890 meters giving visitors easy access to unparalleled views. A new ice-skating rink has been made which adds to the excitement. A recent attraction is the Kashmir biosphere reserve which offers wildlife tour packages.

White Christmas and snow festivals are held here every year.

With its exceptional beauty Gulmarg lists high on a tourists list!!!!

 

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