A huge cup-shaped meadow, lush and green, with slopes where the silence is broken only by the tinkle of cow-bells, Gulmarg looks like a fantasy set in a film, and not surprisingly, has been the venue of several films. All around are snow capped mountains, and on a clear day you can see all the way to Nanga Parbat in one direction and Srinagar in another. The valley of Gulmarg, a large meadow about 3-sq-kms in area, stands at 2,730 metres, 56-km south west of Srinagar. The name Gulmarg means "Meadow of Flowers" and in spring season it is just that.
Gulmarg is the ultimate beginner's skiing resort. In winter, Gulmarg acquires a new persona. Skiing, to many who watch it on TV, seems like a very elitist sport, requiring a high level of training and expensive equipment. They are surprised, when they visit Gulmarg for a day's expedition to "see the snow", that others with the same level of physical fitness and training are skiing down slopes.
Gulmarg also has one of the world's highest green golf courses, as well as a club house which is a historical building in its own right. For the would-be golfer, there are golf sets on hire, pros to instruct one in the game, and temporary memberships, including one-day memberships.
From Gulmarg, a pony track leads upwards to Khalinmarg, Kongdori and Seven Springs, a couple of hours by pony, longer on foot. From here, across the Apharwat - the peak which looms up from this point - is Alpather Lake, a picturesque alpine lake, frozen till late June. For horse riding aficionados, Alpather lake makes an exciting day's excursion, starting early morning and returning late evening. Slightly lower than Gulmarg is the shrine of Baba Reshi, a Muslim mystic saint, whose shrine is visited by people of all faiths.
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