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- Snow Skiing in Gulmarg
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Snow Skiing in Gulmarg
Gulmarg is the top skiing spot not only in the extreme northern state of Jammu & Kashmir but also in the country. It is considered as the 7th best place in the Asian continent for the purpose of skiing. The beauty of the skiing spots in Gulmarg brings it the nickname, “Heartland of winter sports in India”. Gulmarg is located strategically in such a position where it receives a large amount of snowfall during most parts of the year. This is one of the few regions that receives abundant amount of snowfall during the peak seasons. The best way to reach the staggering heights of the snow- capped peaks of Gulmarg is through the Golconda, the tallest cable car in the world. This is the major highlight of Gulmarg. Many people from all over the world come to Gulmarg to enjoy the experience of the cable car ride on the Golconda. This cable car was installed in Gulmarg during 2005 and ever since, has been the only way of transport to get to the peaks that are located at a height of around 4000m above sea level. There are lots of ridges, tunnels and trees along the snow-skiing routes of Gulmarg which present a host of challenges to the tourists coming here in large numbers. The skiing slopes here are best suited for professional skiers and people who have medium level of experience in snow-skiing.
How to reach Gulmarg
By Air: Srinagar airport, which is located at a distance of 56 km away, is the nearest to reach Gulmarg. This is well-connected to famous airports like Delhi, Amritsar, Mumbai etc. There are many pre-paid cabs available from the airport to reach Gulmarg. A one-way trip costs about 1500INR. If you are travelling on a budget, you can take share taxis from the airport to Gulmarg.
By Train: Jammu railway station, located at a distance of 290km, is the nearest railway station to reach Gulmarg. This railway station is one of the most important railway junctions in North India and it is well-connected with almost all the railway stations like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Thiruvananthapuram and the like by many express and superfast trains.
By Road: Gulmarg, located at just about 57km from the capital city of Srinagar, can be easily reached within two hours of driving from Srinagar, if the climate is good and if the roads are in proper condition. However, taking private vehicles to drive down to Gulmarg is usually not advised because of the challenging bends and turns on the road. Government and private sector buses are available in plenty to reach Gulmarg through road. There are various types of buses (luxury, normal, premium, deluxe etc.) to Gulmarg from areas like Sonepat, Pahalgam and all other areas.
Skiing charges in Gulmarg
You can get cheap but quality snow-skiing equipment and accessories from government outlets in Gulmarg for as low as 300INR per day. These are not recommended though, because they are not durable. You can get your skiing gear and equipment anywhere between the range of 600 and 1000INR per person for about 2 hours from most of the private skiing resorts set up at Gulmarg. Also, at Gulmarg, you will have to pay for the Golconda Rides. If you want to take a pass for a whole day it comes up to 400INR for unlimited rides. If you are paying separately, you will have to pay 400INR for the first stage and 600INR for the second stage. All the prices mentioned above pertain to a single person. Paying for the Golconda rides is worth every dime, because the cable car touches some of the tallest peaks like Mount Aparhwat, which is located at a height of 4124m above sea level.
Top service providers of snow-skiing in Gulmarg
The best and affordable service provider of snow-skiing in Gulmarg is the Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering. During December to March, the institute provides various skiing tours and training courses in Gulmarg to promote the growth of this adventure sports among youngsters, ever since its inception during 1969. Every year, they conduct a 14 day skiing course on snow-skiing for kids and adults for a fee of 6000INR and 12000INR respectively. They provide all facilities required for snow skiing for the tourists. Since they are the one of the best in the state of Jammu & Kashmir, you need to book your course with them well in advance so that you don’t feel disappointed later on.
Best season to visit
The period between December and March is the best to visit Gulmarg if you want to do snow-skiing. However the best quality of powder snow is available from the first week of January to the last week of February. This is for about 8 weeks and if you come during this time, you are sure to get an incredible experience of snow-skiing at Gulmarg.
Gulmarg is best explored on foot. It is a small area and you can cover most of the areas on foot. The other most common forms of transport are sledges. These are driven by the locals of Gulmarg and a drive around the town costs just about 50INR during the lean season.
If you want to be pampered and experience the best hospitality, you can try out “The Khyber Himalyan Resort & Spa”. This is the only five-star hotel in the area and this is one of the best in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in terms of interiors, ambience, luxury, service and food. The Vintage Gulmarg is a 4-star hotel that provides its guests a wonderful experience of hospitality. If you are travelling on a limited budget, want to stay in a good place and eat great food, Hotel Pine Spring and Hotel Zahgeer Continental are great options.