It was a beautiful ride and it seemed we were truly in God’s own land. The roads were good, the driving great and the views which transport you to a totally different world. As we inched closer to our destination next, the photographs we had seen earlier of this place seemed to pale in comparison to what was on actual view. The thoughts were interrupted by Shabir.
‘Sir it is better that you hire your jackets and shoes from here. You will get it much cheaper here compared to Gulmarg”. We got down from the car. There were two shops, one selling coffee & snacks and the other Jackets and shoes for hire on a day basis. Had our coffee, picked up our stuff and we were on our way again. We were about to reach Gulmarg.
Gulmarg is a hill station and a popular skiing destination in Baramulla district of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The town lies in a cup shaped valley in the Pir Panjal Range of western Himalayas. Originally called Gauri Marg meaning (the path of Devi Gauri), which was later on changed to Gulmarg (“meadow of flowers”) by Yusuf Shah of Chak Dynasty who frequented the place with his queen Habba khatoon in the 16th century. In the 19th century, British civil servants started using Gulmarg as a retreat to escape summers in North Indian plains. Hunting and golfing were their favorite pastime and three golf courses were established in Gulmarg including one exclusively for women. One of the golf courses survives and at an altitude of 2,650 metres (8,690 ft) is the world’s highest golf course. In 1927, British established a ski club in Gulmarg and two annual ski events were hosted one each during Christmas and Easter.
It was nearing evening when we reached our hotel. And suddenly it became cloudy and dark. Gulmarg was discovered by Micheal Adam Nedou as a holiday destination for the Europeans and Royalties in the early 1800’s. By the late 1800’s he had established Nedou’s Hotel which instantly become a popular destination for the British Aristocrats, Colonial Government officials & foreign travelers who would spend the entire summer in the hill station playing golf, fishing & trekking. As on today, the hotel continues to be run & operated by the Nedou family. Mr Omar Nedou the Great Grandson of Micheal Adam Nedou continues the 130 year old legacy of the Nedous hotels. In Gulmarg, it’s the place to be in.
It was a relaxing evening and we asked for dinner to be served in our room. It was such a pleasure talking to Manzoor Bhai who came to serve our food. He was close to seventy years of age and had joined the hotel when he was a young man. The history of Gulmarg, the hotel, the weather, the winter months and about him and his family was such an interesting learning, while he narrated it to us. The common man in Kashmir is so very nice and humble. It’s been a pleasure spending some time with them. By the way, the food was just awesome.
The complimentary breakfast is served in their restaurant or dining room as it is called. You could have your lunch or dinner too here. Then you have Gardenia, the sprawling lawns on 100 acres of land where you can see the most spectacular sunrises and sunsets, indulge in their Hi tea spread or cosy up with your favourite drink and book next to their evening bonfires all while enjoying uninterrupted views of Gulmarg. The evenings, if you wish, could be spent in the great ambience of Hunter’s bar which offers the best choice of wines, single malts and cocktails.
After breakfast it was time for the famous Gondola cable car ride to reach the top of the mountains. I had booked out tickets in advance online which saves you the trouble of standing in long queues. Our guide Nazir Bhai, again a great guy ensured that all went smooth and we were soon in our cable car and on our way to the top. There are two levels and during summers you need to go up to level two to experience snow. Come let’s go for the ride.
We enjoyed, enjoyed and enjoyed at the peak and then the clouds started roaring, it became very dark and the rains came down. Watching the rains and feeling the stormy breeze which almost blew us away was sheer fun. It was time to go down.
Next day was complete relaxation at the resort with our coffee, books and lazing around with some lovely lunch and dinner.
The next day was our return to Srinagar. But not before we have a great feel of this beautiful, out of the world destination. Come with us and let’s enjoy together 💃🏾🕺
Gulmarg. God’s beautiful creation. The weather, the meadows, the mountains 🏔️
Visit Kashmir. Come to Gulmarg. Feel on top of the world. Experience India Beautiful 🇮🇳