Saturday, May 14, 2016

Kashmir 9 days Trip - Enjoyment Report Day 5

Day 5

Gulmarg

We had to get up early as the plan was to leave early at the day break for Gulmarg. It was to avoid the bandh called for that day from impacting our programme. Leaving Srinagar at 0600 we rapidly progressed towards Gulmarg. At about 0745 we stopped at Raja Dhaba, a pure vegetarian place to eat with ample parking at a place called Mangalore Kunzer (yes you heard it right, Mangalore with no connection what so ever with Mangalore of Karnataka).

It is a very new establishment. This place has been just started by father and brother of our driver for the trip Mukhtiar Bhai. The owners and the staff were very proud of their qulity and after having a sumptuous breakfast of various kind of stuffed Paranthas we agreed that their pride was fully justified. The matter of Lunch also got settled and it was quickly decided that this is the place we are going to have lunch. Another important fact is, this place has clean toilets with ample water, a must for all travellers in general and for ladies in particular with both Indian and western type seats available. That alone could be a reason enough to stop here on your way to Gulmarg and  / or return trip too.

We reached Gulmarg after a stopover at Tangmarg to pick up Gum Boots and Coats for snow (to keep your own cloths dry when you sit, fall or play with snow, at a rent of Rs 250 per set) and a guide (provided by our hotelier cum travel manager) by about 1000.

About Gulmarg

Gulmarg, about 50+ Km west of Srinagar in Baramula district was originally Known as Gaurimarg in honour of Devi Parvati. This place got renamed by one of the Sultan as Gulmarg or Meadows of Gul (Flowers), may be because in summers there are many wild flowers that grow on the grassy slops of this place. While summers see the place mostly devoid of Snow except upper reaches of the Pir Panja range, the meadows come alive with golf enthusiasts. Tourists are any way there almost all through the year. Gulmarg by and far has best Ski slops in India and winter sees hordes of Skiers who descend on this place for skiing.

Gulmarg Gondola

Gulmarg has worlds highest Gondola (Cable Car) which operates in two stages. Stage one takes from 2600 m to 3000 m to Kongdoori while stage II takes us from Kongdoori to Apharwat Peak at 3900 m.

The stage I is the most popular destination among travellers and is very crowded as all the fun is mostly there, Skiing, Snow Scooters, etc are all there. Thus many travellers go only up to stage I and avoid going to stage II.

Going to stage II could be tough. some people, particularly elderly, may suffer due to un-acclimatised ascent to almost 4000 m from 2600 m but the beauty of sheer snow on that peak and nothing else but snow to play or capture it as part of your individual or group photo is a great fun. At 4000 m, not much of physical activity is recommended hence most people stay here for a maximum of 45 minutes. However, at the cost of paying Rs 900 extra to go to stage II, the place is worth it and it is a must visit place. We stuck to both stage plan and went to stage I and quickly from there to stage II

Our Rides

After getting down at the taxi stand (and like every place in Kashmir, your Srinagar taxi can go only upto taxi stand or hotel, thereafter if required one can hire a local taxi)  we walked to Gondola Ticket counter which is about only a kilometre or so. No need to take any Pony or local taxi unless elderly or people having problem walking are part of your group (Beware of Pony walha who will take you on a ride, real and virtual, all over Gulmarg).

On the way to Gondola station



Snow everywhere
Stage I

Our guide took tickets (Rs 1600 per person for both stages, Rs 700 for stage I). Soon we got into Gondola and our journey to stage I and II started.

Here are the Tickets

Stage I Boarding Point
Looking Down - At the start of the ride

Up and down trolleys crossing

Shepard's huts on the slop

One more view - Stage i 
Switching to Stage II


Stage II Trolley - Bigger & Better

Climbing High
Trolley crossing 

Just Snow
At Stage II - Various Views of Pure Virgin Snow





Stage II is Photographers Delight



Clear Blue Sky




Yeh, We did it


After a quick visit to Stage two (of about 40 min) we came down to stage I where some of us did skiing and balance made a snow man.
Snow Scooters Area

Skiing area

Trying my hand at Skiing after 10 years - Early clumsiness


Hello People - I am the Snowman
My Avtar from Another Angle
I love Snowman

Shadow Play by Clouds

Beauty at Stage i
 After spending over two hours at stage I we  came down ro start point. We started our return journey at about 1600, Reached  Raja Dhaba after returning gum boots and coats at Tangmarg at about 1700. had a heavy lunch and then set out from Srinagar reaching there by about 1930 hrs.

4 comments:

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  2. Wow, I relived my Gulmarg visit...

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  3. Could read this only today! This blog is going to b a grt help for the time when we will be able to plan a visit to Kashmir someday in future. Also, looking at these pics, I think u had better views as well as fun with snow than we had in Switzerland. India is our pride!

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