Places of Interest in Gulmarg

Cable Car

Cable Car in Gulmarg In 1987, the Gulmarg Gondola Project (Phase-I and Phase-II) was taken up for execution by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir through Department of Tourism. And the French company Pomagalski handled the part of supply, erection, installation and commissioning. The trial runs, load test and other necessary electro mechanical tests were successfully conducted by Pomagalski of France in March, 2005. The project was launched by the Hon’ble Chief Minister, J&K in May 2005.

Gulmarg Golf Course

Gulmarg Golf Course with asymmetrical contours is counted amongst the largest 18-hole golf courses in the country. Situated on the lower ranges of Gulmarg, it has emerged as one of the most popular golfing destinations in India. A number of tourists flock this region to enjoy a game of golf and escape the summer heat. Golfing in the region began in the early 1920s, when British came here to spend their summers. Over the years, this golf course has witnessed a lot of changes, and the present structure has been designed by Ranjit Nanda, a well-known golf course designer. The golf course, measuring 7505 yards (par of 72), was inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah in the year 2011.

Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve

Spread over an area of 180 sq km, Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve is home to many common and rare species of fauna, flora and avifauna. Located at an altitude varying between 2400 and 4,300 metres above sea level, this reserve is among those regions where biodiversity is in its richest form. Nature has blessed this sanctuary with expansive patches of conifers and green herbs that give it a scenic appearance.

Here, you can catch sight of the endangered Musk Deer - the main attraction of the park. Also seen in this park are Hangul, Leopard, Brown Bear, Black Bear and Red Fox. A paradise for ornithologists, this area has a huge population of indigenous and migratory birds. Worth mentioning among them are Griffon Vulture, Blue Rock Pigeon Monal, Snow Cock, European Hoopoe, Koklas, Kashmir Roller and Jungle Crow. The best time to visit this place is from September to March (for mammal viewing) and March to May (for birdwatching).

Shrine of Baba Reshi in Gulmarg

Built in the 13th century, people from all walks of life visit the shrine to seek blessings. It is accessible by a motorable road from Gulmarg. Built in 1480, the shrine is dedicated to the Muslim scholar and saint, Baba Reshi who spent his days in meditation and prayer here. It’s also an architectural beauty. What makes an immediate impression is the old Kashmiri architecture of the shrine – lattice work windows, intricately carved deodar pillars and exquisite craftsmanship.

St. Mary’s Church in Gulmarg

Boasting of fine Victorian style of architecture, St. Mary's Church is one of the star attractions of Gulmarg. The verdant meadows, lofty alpine trees and towering mountains that are covered with thick snow during winters in the surroundings greatly enhance the beauty of this church. Some old hotels and huts can be seen in the vicinity.

Visiting this church, which was built more than 100 years ago, in the beginning of the 20th century, is like stepping back in time. More like a tiny countryside chapel in appearance, this church features grey stone walls and a steep green roof having wooden trimmings. The church has been renovated in 2003 and in the same year, after a period of 14 years, a Christmas mass was held.

Alpather Lake in Gulmarg

A picturesque water body at the foot of the twin Apharwat Peaks, Alpather Lake is a stunning natural attraction. Embraced by rocky mountains and endless meadows that are covered with wildflowers, this lake is doubtlessly, every nature photographer's delight. Owing to the breathtaking topography, the lakeside has become a favourite picnic spot for the locals as well as tourists. During winters, the lake remains frozen, and the surrounding fields get laden with snow. Approximately 13 km from Gulmarg, this enchanting location is truly a wonderful place to get lost in.

From Gulmarg, you can reach the lake on a horseback through a well-graded track. The horse ride through snowy trails is in itself alluring enough to make you come again and re-visit.

Strawberry Valley in Gulmarg

During summers, taste the freshest strawberry Gulmarg has to offer at Strawberry Valley. A walk to this unexplored part of Gulmarg is a delight in itself as you sample fresh strawberries. Don’t forget to pack some for later.

Apharwat Peak in Gulmarg

Apharwat Peak is one of the beautiful summits, situated at a height of nearly 4200 m above the sea level. It receives heavy snowfall and remains covered with snow for most parts of the year. The snow-covered slopes are ideal for indulging in skiing. The Line of Control (LOC) is barely a few kilometres away from here. Lying in the second phase of the cable car ride from Gulmarg, reaching this spot is highly dependent on the weather condition.

Parihaspora Buddhist Site

Parihaspora is a Buddhist Site, which is situated about 24 kms from Srinagar, towards the right direction of the Srinagar to Baramulla road, on an area popularly referred to as Karewa. This region was once ruled by the Dogra Kings who had named it as ‘Pargana’ or ‘Paraspur’ during their era and what we see today are just the remnants of a bygone past that once thrived with the wealth of religious and heritage attributes.

The enchanting ruins of the Parihaspora Buddhist Site are seen spread over three Karewa lands which were collectively referred to as the Kane Shahr, which translates to the ‘Main Stone Structure’. These Karewa lands were developed by the famous King Lalit Aditya, who reigned over this region between 695 AD and 731 AD that later became the capital town of Kashmir and soon it was inhabited and thriving with his people.

Parihaspora, presently known as Kane Shahr or the City of Stones, reveals the ancient historic ruins witnessed at four distinct places referred to as the Dewar Yekhmanpur, Budh Karewa, Govardhan Karewa or Wudur, and Teirgam Karewa. The Archeologists working on these ruins have also observed that these Karewa lands do carry a few religious structures and palaces that once were an integral segment of this city.

During the period when this City of Stones, Parihaspora, was flourishing as a civilized city, the River Jhelum, known then as the Vitasta River and River Sindh would converge at the Naid Khai area flowing further beyond to Nigli Nallah where they would meet to flow down into the Wular Lake, known as the largest lake in Asia.

Parihaspora lies within the limits of this ancient Karewa lands, holding a series of prominent structures, which were erected by King Lalit Aditya, during his reign. This Ruler was highly revered for his artistic skills and known to have a unique sense for art and craft as one will notice with the distinct edifice of the Martand Sun Temple, also established by him.

Govardhan, Mahavrah, Mukta Keshav, Parhas Keshav, and Raj Vihar are a few of the cities established by King Lalit Aditya and are known for their architectural excellence and stunning relics. The King wanted to ensure that he’d left his mark quite prominently in the map of history by constructing a massive Fort made of iron brick within this ancient city, but unfortunately, what we see today are only a miniscule percent of this Fort while even its ruins seems to have faded with time.

Within the Parihaspora City, Chuknan, a Turkish Minister of King Lalit Aditya had also constructed a Buddhist Stupa, a stunning relic that exists even today. Looking at the devastation of this monumental and glorious city is daunting enough. Had this city in ruins survived the test of times, we would have has been able to enjoy it its magnificent edifices and learnt more about the living conditions of a mystic ancient era.

Parihaspora witnessed several wars and battles that were fought between the Kings and this City saw its final destruction by to Sultan Sikandar, who had ruled over this land between 1379 AD and 1413 AD. Up till the era of Sangram Raj, which was between 1003 AD and 1028 AD, the various structures of buildings, Palaces, Temples, and inhabitant settlements were largely in existence and almost thriving as usual.

According to a number of historians, it is said that when the Kushan dynasty was prevalent between 79 BC and 15 BC, the Royal Budh Vihar venue was established at the very site where Parihaspora is located and the 3rd Budh Conference of Kashmir was believed to have been organised here, during the year 79 BC. This fact is evident in the inscriptions embedded on certain stones that were discovered by the Archeological Department of India.

We can reason out that the name of the city, referred to today as the ‘Parihaspora Buddhist Site’, came about as a reference to the establishment of Budh Vihar, a highly revered ancient religious site, which happened to have existed within Parihaspora – the ancient city of stones, a must visit for all history enthusiasts and tourists alike.