Have you seen those romantic songs that play in the middle of the movies with green meadows and vibrant flowers? That’s Gulmarg for you! No no, they’re not made-up sets.
The mountains of Apharwat Peak are covered in a thick blanket of snow during the winters. Making it a stark contrast to the emerald green fields thriving in the summers. Gulmarg really looks like every poets’ muse no matter what the season is.
Tempted enough to visit the place once in a lifetime? This Gulmarg travel guide has answers to all your questions!
Every word has a meaning. Gulmarg is no exception to the rule. It’s a combination of Persian words ‘Gul’ and ‘Marg,’ where ‘Gul’ means flowers and ‘Marg’ means meadows. This is why ‘Meadows of Flowers’ is synonymous with Gulmarg.
Godwin Austen, a British geologist and topographer, put Gulmarg on the world's travel radar. It was like a summer retreat for the Britishers because they were longing for something similar to Scotland’s picturesque valleys and escaping India’s scorching heat (something that is still a constant).
As the British visitors extended their stay in Gulmarg, a community began to take shape. Before you know it, it became a preferred health retreat for British residents, missionaries, and international travelers, all during the late 1800s. The inflow of tourists hasn’t ceased at all. If anything, it’s only been increasing.
In 2003, the Ministry of Tourism introduced the Gulmarg Snow Festival to boost tourism in the region. It was an instant hit and over the years, the festival has only grown in popularity. With activities like skiing, snowboarding, and getting to indulge in local Kashmiri food and traditions, what’s not to love?
All of these would be worth nothing if the locals are a bunch of snobs. That’s not the case when you’re in Jammu & Kashmir, and Gulmarg is no exception. Expect warm hospitality from the locals who will go above and beyond to ensure a memorable stay. We do recommend having a steaming cup of kahwa (the traditional tea of Kashmir) and have a chat with the locals. After all, that’s the best way to get acquainted with the culture!
Honestly, there’s no ideal time to visit any place. But, you should be prepared to deal with the weather conditions and the precautions that you’ll have to take. Gulmarg has its own peak season where the place is teeming with tourists. However, we’ve also listed every other seasons that you can visit.
The summer months of March to June are when thousands of tourists visit Gulmarg. The temperature changes between 13°C to 29°C. But being a hill station, it’s anything but hot (unless it’s you who’s visiting); the temperature ranges from a comfortable 13°C to 29°C. So, when packing, take this into consideration and carry something warm in case of the mercury drops.
With the sun not hiding behind the clouds, the landscape of Gulmarg is a sight to behold! Even the flowers have blossomed entirely and look like beautiful decoratives on the green grass. It’s one of those heavenly sights that’ll be etched in your brains forever.
You should note that during the peak season, the accommodation is a bit pricey because of the heavy influx of visitors.
‘Tis the season for the goosebumps and the shivers. Planning a trip to Gulmarg in October to March means being mentally prepared for the unbearable cold. The temperature drops to 11°C and goes down to -4°C. Yes! It goes in the negatives.
The perk of visiting Gulmarg in the winters? The snow, of course. All of the mountains, meadows, and treetops are covered in a sheath of snow. Plus, it’s an extravaganza for the thrill seekers. You can go skiing or snowboarding or even make your own snowman (don’t forget to give it a name)! Gulmarg looks like magic coming alive during these months.
However, beware of snowstorms. They’re nasty things that cause a roadblock. A lot of the roads and activities shut down during heavy snowfalls for the safety of the tourists. We don’t want a nice trip turning into something ghastly.
Pack your best woolen clothes and make sure all of your skin is under protection. You wouldn’t want the frostbite to get to you, would you?
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens – if these are a few of your favorite things, then you should definitely visit Gulmarg between July to September. The temperature fluctuates between 18°C to 35°C.
A great advantage of visiting Gulmarg during this time is the irresistible deals on accommodations. Not having a heavy flow of tourists, there are some unmissable offers that you can definitely make use of.
In these months, all the flowers and trees come alive. Having rains, planning outdoor activities might not be the most convenient, but you can visit the St. Mary’s Church, Maharaja Place, Ningle Nallah, Maharani Temple, and Ferozepur Nallah. And if gloomy weather and agreeable winds are your vibe, we don’t see a reason why you shouldn’t visit.
Gulmarg, being a hill station, all the clouds descend to the ground during monsoon. You feel the mist mystically enveloping your surroundings, giving it a magnificent touch.
Okay, now that you’ve made up your mind to travel to Gulmarg, how do you reach your destination?
Srinagar International Airport is the closest airport to Gulmarg. Once you’ve landed here, your final destination (no, not the disastrous movie) is 56 km away. You can either have a private rental car waiting for you outside the airport or you can hire a taxi that will drop you off at Gulmarg. Srinagar has all the major flights coming in daily, so you can book tickets for whatever flight is the most convenient for you.
For the authentic “choo choo” experience, you can book tickets to get down at Jammu Tawi Railway Station. It’s connected to all major cities in India. But once you get off the train, you’re in for a long drive because Gulmarg is a good 290 km away! You can either opt for a bus or a taxi from there. Alternatively, you can have your rental drive you.
The heart wants what it wants. And if yours want a road trip, then the National Highway 1-A connects Gulmarg to all the major cities. There are even private deluxe buses and state-owned buses that you can book if it’s a big group.
As much as we encourage walking to stay healthy and because it’s the best way to explore any place, you simply cannot walk everywhere. This is especially true with Gulmarg as it is rather spread out. For instance, all the hotels are quite far from the Gulmarg Gondola, so you’d want to save yourself time for better things and use public transport.
Taxis around the hamlet are actually quite reasonably priced for you to use. A little tip, though, make sure that you’re carrying exact change when traveling in public transport. In some places, you can even combine skiing and walking. But of course, that’s limited to only when the snow is present. If you don’t want the bother of hiring cabs throughout the day, you book a rental car.
Gulmarg has abundant accommodations for you to pick from. You want to choose a place that gives you your comfort zone and only adds to making your trip more enjoyable.
You want to book the Grand Mumtaz Resorts in Gulmarg for a memorable hotel experience. It overlooks the flower-adorned meadows and during winters, it transforms into snow paradise. You even get to enjoy all basic amenities such as free WiFi and parking, and they even let you book ski rentals. The rooms have a beautiful grandeur with interiors that make you feel like you’re in a 5-star hotel.
Cost For One Night: INR 10,500
To experience how the people in Gulmarg live and hear tales from people who’ve stayed there their entire lives, you can opt for a homestay. They’re relatively cheaper and you’ll feel right at home. It’s also a great way to enjoy the traditional delicacies without having to hunt for restaurants.
Kashmir Homestay is one such homestay with an amazing garden view. The rooms are very neat and have a pleasant homely touch to them. Couples visiting Gulmarg have particularly liked the stay. You’re also permitted to use the kitchen, so why not try your hand making some of the local dishes of Kashmir?
Rate For One Night: INR 5,000
Also Read: Best Ski Resorts In Gulmarg
Whatever your itinerary may be, we encourage you to include these three on your list. It’ll be absolutely worth it.
Did you know that Gulmarg’s Gondola is the second-highest cable car in the whole world? That’s definitely a flex that you want to tell people back home.
The cable car ride is divided into two parts; Phase 1 and Phase 2. For both rides, you have to book prior tickets because the slot availability is limited. Phase 1 starts from Gulmarg Resort and gets the passengers off at Kongdoori Station. It begins at 2,990 meters and rises 400 meters. Every hour, it transports 1500 people to a height of 3,100 meters, from which numerous easy ski routes are accessible.
Phase 2 proceeds from Kongdoori Mountain to Apharwat Peak. The cable car ascends its journey from 1,330 meters and reaches a height of almost 4,000 meters. In the second phase nearly 600 people travel per hour.
For Phase 1, the pricing is INR 700, and for Phase 2, it’s INR 900 per person.
A cafe opened recently in January 2023, the Glass Igloo Cafe is the kind of experience you have to have once in your life. As the name suggests, it’s entirely made out of ice; even the tables!
Located in Gulmarg, it’s the first igloo restaurant in all of India. Although it appears to be a regular mirror glass, the cafe is made of high-quality manufactured glass imported from Austria and can seat up to 8 people. The cafe serves delectable cuisines such as Indian, Continental, and Chinese. You'll find the best appetizers, snacks, and other delectable beverages. Must-try includes hot chocolate, qehwa, and sizzlers.
It opens at 11:00 am in the morning and closes at 9:30 pm. If you find yourself hungry and want to try something new, you should visit this cafe because why not?
Also Read: India’s First Igloo Restaurant
Lesser-known destinations always hold a lot more charm. The Strawberry Valley is not one of the most talked about places about Gulmarg, but you should definitely make it a part of your itinerary.
The scenery of emerald fields and blooming red strawberries is just like the Garden of Eden, or at least, a replica of it. Strawberry Valley is an amazing experience, covered in perfect elegance, with clear blue skies overhead and verdant green meads all along.
Summer is the busiest season of the year because the strawberries are ripe and ready to be picked. Tourists are permitted to walk through rows of crimsons and greens. Take a stroll around and marvel at nature's splendor, or you can bring a basket of food and enjoy a beautiful picnic with your loved ones.
We’re pretty sure all your friends and relatives hope that you come bearing gifts. And obviously, you don’t want to purchase something that’s easily available in your city. Just like every place has its own specialities, Gulmarg is known for the Pashmina shawls, walnut products, dry fruits, papier-mache souvenirs, silk carpets, and stone jewelry.
You can find these things at the popular markets such as Mr. Khan’s Tailor Shop, Ladakh Art Palace, Haji Akbar Cloth House, Faiz Shawls, The Main Market, Top Choice and Shahab Textiles.
Planning a trip is quite an excruciating task when you don’t know the basics. But now that we’ve cracked the Gulmarg travel guide for you, all you should be focusing on is optimizing your fun. Click a thousand photos from every place you visit and your hotel because all of them will be a memory you’d want to reminisce about once you’re home.
Is 2 Days Enough For Gulmarg?
Well, you’d need two nights along with the two days for Gulmarg. But ideally, two days are very much enough to enjoy Gulmarg. There are some activities like the Gondola ride and skiing you can pair together. The second day could be just to admire the valleys and the mountains.
Can We Go To Gulmarg By Train?
Although there’s no proper railway station in Gulmarg itself, you can get down at the nearest railway station which is Jammu Tawi railway station which connects to all major domestic routes.
Can We See Ice In Gulmarg?
Yes! If you visit between January and February, it’s peak snowfall season and all the mountains and meadows are enveloped in a white sheet of snow.
Why Is Gulmarg So Famous?
Gulmarg in Kashmir is a stunning mountain resort and India's most popular skiing destination. It's also famous for its Gondola rides and, of course, the breathtaking scenery.
Are Boots Necessary For Gulmarg?
Not throughout the year, no. But, if you’re visiting during the winter time – between October to March – you’re going need boots to keep your feet warm from the snow.
Are Cars Allowed In Gulmarg?
Gulmarg is accessible to all cars, whether private or taxis. However, in the winter, private vehicles are only permitted if they are equipped with snow chains; otherwise, they are not permitted.
Which Is The Hottest Month In Gulmarg?
July is the warmest month of the year in Gulmarg, with an average temperature of 20°C.