“Every other beauty simply vanishes or feels less when you once see how beautiful kashmir is”
We started our 2020 travel trips with our dream destination Kashmir, and without any doubt, gulmarg was on our priority list. Finally on17th Feb, the day arrived and the journey started. Here we come gulmarg!!!!!
Journey from Srinagar to gulmarg – On the second day of our stay in Srinagar in February 2020, we set out early in the morning for Gulmarg, eagerly excited to be amazed by the mesmerizing beauty of the nature. We had hired a private vehicle with the help of our hotelier and we started off with our journey. On the way we could see snow fallen on the roadsides. We had heavy breakfast and “Kashmiri Kahwa ” at a small hotel before reaching tangmarg, entry point of gulmarg for all the vehicles. The hotelier was so friendly and supportive that we decided to stop again during our return journey.It took almost 2 hrs for us to reach tangmarg.
After reaching tangmarg, we had to switch vehicles as per the guidelines. As the uphill road is covered in snow in winter making it difficult to drive, paid taxis or private vehicles like tata safari are tied by chains. While in summer there is no snow on the way from Tangmarg to gulmarg. If you are a snow lover, then December to February is the best time to visit the snow valley… We had been provided with a fantastic guide Mr. Ahmed by our hotelier who accompanied us for the whole day in Gulmarg. Before we started our journey to Gulmarg, he helped us in renting woolen gears as in extra waterproof long jackets, water proof hand gloves, gum boots,goggles( must in snow ) from the nearby shops at very reasonable price and in comfortable sizes. Without any hassles or trouble from the localites, our journey started towards gulmarg, thanks to our guide. No words are enough to describe the beauty of the topsy curvy road. The road was covered with snow on both the sides and a small layer covered the road too.The snow covered alpine trees all over looked so beautiful. And with every turn the view kept on changing and the driver’s skills saved us from skipping our heartbeat. The breeze was chilling and sent shivers through us inspite of the woollens. After almost 25 minutes of drive through thick snow and nothing else, we made it to gulmarg.
On reaching– OMG!!!!! What a scenic beauty!!!! This was our first reaction as we stepped out of our vehicle. As instructed by our guide on the way, we spoke to the localities and with a little bargain rented for four mendriven sledges for a to and fro tour of gulmarg. As per our guide in winter season the snow is very thick and it is difficult for amateurs like us to travel on foot whole day and admire it’s beauty with no hassles. And we were happy we abided by his guidance based on his vast experience in gulmarg. First of all we removed tickets for gondola ride,the second highest cabin ride in the world, and the whole process took just fifteen minutes and we were sitting in a complete glass cabin, and our gondola ride started.The cabin does not stop to get in and we have to sit in it as it is moving. Though not at all difficult as it seems to be. Slowly it took us to the Kongdoori point and on the way we enjoyed the view of the snow valley interspersed with alpine trees and snow covered hut settlements of the shepherds community staying only in summers. It was a lifetime experience for all of us. Our guide clicked our pics in the gondola cabin as he explained the precautions to be taken while playing in the snow…
Checking out gulmarg – In whichever direction we looked, we could see only white powder (snow) and huge snow clad mountains. As per accurate forecast by the weather bureau, the sun was shining bright on the snow clad mountains but failed to have an impact on the freezing temperature. We tried our hands at skiing, snow mobile ride,etc. Though difficult to learn in the first stint, it was all fun. My kid was successful in building a weirdo snowman but enough to fill his heart with pleasure. Still, we had ample of time to click pics at all the spots. And tried posing like our filmstars but failed terribly. Goggles proved to be useful as snow shined a lot and the goggles protected our eyes from it. Its true, we cant look at the snow with bare eyes for a longtime. We were little tired and to satiate our hunger pangs visited the moon star restaurant, its rooftop completely covered with snow, and devoured the cheese maggi and a specialty pulav which was really yumm….The hot food and kashmiri kahwa recharged our freezing batteries and after spending most of time playing in the snow we took the gondola ride to return back. Travelling to second phase was not possible due to sudden changes in the weather leading to dangerous high speed winds blowing at the highest altitude and the announcement was done to clear the first phase too. We missed that opportunity and kept it for our second trip.
After reaching down, we headed to the famous spots of skiing sports club, matarani mandir,famous film spots, golf course hidden below snow blanket etc. As the snow blanket was very thick, we roamed about in the men driven sledges. Though it may sound cruel, but this is the only source of income for the localites and we could help them in some way and our energy could not match theirs in case of snowy regions. We were considerate enough to walk as much as possible and pay them extra worth for their efforts. Their kind, helping nature and the most courteous way of communication proved that humanity is still intact in these remote areas as they are too far from commercialization and our superficial world. Meeting them was a learning lesson for all of us. It was 5 p.m already. We had enjoyed our first snow experience in our incredible India itself with complete satisfaction. Had no intentions to leave the place so soon but the day had come to an end and as i had a five yr old kid, we opted to get back to tangmarg.
Return Journey – After reaching tangmarg, our private vehicle was waiting, we returned our protective gears and took our belongings from their custody, paid off the dues to the shopkeepers as well as our guide and started for the return journey. As decided earlier, we stopped at the previous hotel and had crispy bhajiyas, hot coffee, tea,etc. The hotel staff was so considerate that they strived for proper arrangements of chairs for my child who was fast asleep. They brought a blanket to protect him from cold, ignited a bukhari(a spaceheater ) besides us and looked after my kid in case he falls off without any of us requesting for the same. Hats off to their sense of hospitality. They always extend a helping hand to one and all. We had the same experience enroute all the places we visited. All the kashmiris make us believe that good people still exist on earth. After some exclusive shopping at the local shops for collecting some souvenirs for our beloved ones, we ended our Gulmarg day trip. Still, memories crisp and fresh in our heart.
“Kashmir is the delicate reminder of the fact that poetry does not always need pages and words. When pages are torn and ink is faded, the living poetry can be felt through heartbeats and emotions”
Hey, travellers, for the complete guide on gulmarg and essential tips do visit my blog on the below link : https://indiansujata.travel.blog/2020/07/10/gulmarg-trip-2020-complete-travel-info-with-travel-tips/