Finally, I visited ‘paradise on earth’ – Kashmir. It is really one of the most beautiful places in the world. If you like snow, try to plan your trip in the winter which starts from December and lasts until March. If you want to witness a more colorful Kashmir then visit during the months of June and July. You will be able to see all the colorful flowers. We travelled in the month of October when the landscapes were all green. Here, we closely take a look at the Gulmarg leg of the journey.
Gulmarg is one of the best places for nature lovers and adventure junkies. It is located 54km away from Srinagar. It is one of the most popular destinations for skiing. As for its beauty, you really have to witness it for yourself to get the real picture. But yes, I must say that every corner of Gulmarg is photogenic.
How to Reach Gulmarg?
We have hired a car from Srinagar which cost Rs 2000 for. It was an awesome drive to Gulmarg. Before you reach Gulmarg, there is a small town called Tanmarg which is one spot where you would love to take pictures as it has a striking green cover.
Gulmarg is well known for its Gondola rides and we were very excited to try it. We have parked our car and walked to the Gondola station. There are many ‘pony owners’ near the car park who will try to convince you to hire a pony to the Gondola station. But if you love to walk, we suggest the walk which is inexpensive and an experience in itself.
There are two levels of Gondola ride. For the first level, you have to pay Rs 700 and Rs 900 for the second level (as of October 2017, per person). There are so many local guides who will help you get tickets and more. Hiring a local guide is a good idea for tourists. We hired one for Rs 500 after a bargain and the guide helped us a lot.
The 1st level of the ride was supposed to start around 10.45 am but due to some technical problems, it took a long time. We waited for about 1 hour but there was no news of the gondola. Our guide suggested that we can take a pony up to 1st level which will cost about the same. We agreed. I was a little worried at first but after some time I felt adjusted.
The local guide was a good person. He came along, spoke about the place and took many photos of us. We finally reached the first level and took a Gondola to the second level. It was amazing. It took around ten minutes to reach the second level. It was very cold on Affarwat peak. It is located 17,500 ft heights from ground level. Even though there was no snow, it was around 1-2 degree Celsius. In order to avoid catching a cold, you can sip on hot coffee at the peak. After spending 20 minutes at the peak, we came down to level 1 where our ponies were waiting for us.
Food At Gulmarg
When it was around 1.45pm, we felt quite hungry. We had only had some packet of Britannia cake and a little ‘bhujia’ as breakfast. There are many vegetarian restaurants at level 1 but they were costly. We paid Rs 70 for a plate of Maggie. This is why it is a good idea to carry food with you.
If you do not want to spend too much of money in Gulmarg, do not stay at hotels in Gulmarg. It has great hotels but they are costlier as compared to the hotels of Srinagar. If you can finish sightseeing during the day, we suggest you come back to Srinagar to stay for the night.
By Rimjhim Borthakur
Photo: Trans India Travels