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What to do in Gulmarg this winter

Ride in a gondola

At first the intimidating crowds can scare you away, but brave the traffic and make it to the top – it will be the best decision you make. The gondola has two phases; the first takes you to Kongdoor station, which is packed with tour operators, restaurants, sunbeds and tourists. The second phase, however, takes you to Aparwath Station (at a height of over 13,000 feet and only open if weather permits), which has a sparse crowd, tranquil environment, and stunning views of the snow-capped Himalayas. . Website

Explore the town of Gulmarg

If you thought Gulmarg was all about skiing, you are going to be surprised. Put on your snowshoes and explore this magnificent Himalayan city. Gain insight into architectural history with a visit to Victorian-style St Mary’s Church, set in rugged countryside. It is also home to the world’s tallest 18-hole golf course, which turns into a beautiful snow-capped meadow in winter and is a sight to behold. Around Gulmarg there are many beautiful places, such as Ningle Nallah and Ferozepur Nallah, famous streams for trout fishing. Although they can be partially or totally frozen in winter, they are still worth a visit. The Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve surrounding the hilly town is popular for viewing wildlife such as musk deer, red fox, and endangered griffon vultures. Ask your hotel to arrange a guide.

Go hiking

Most people plan their Valley of Flowers trekking during the summer months. However, winter also offers unique and exciting opportunities for adventure junkies. A challenging 3 km hike from Aparwath Station will take you to beautiful Alpather Lake, which is completely frozen over in winter. Cross the lake or simply admire the mountains reflected in its reflective surface. There are possibilities for guided hikes in Tanmarg (18 km) and smaller hikes in the Gulmarg Valley area. Website

Go skating or sledding

If you want to stay away from adventure sports, there are some fun, low-key things to do as well. There is an ice rink in the heart of town, near the gondola station. Rent equipment and find instructors to help you slide. You can also travel on sleds almost anywhere in the city. Call one, negotiate a rate, and get on board. Pony rides are limited in winter, especially with heavy snowfall, but ask around and you’re bound to find someone willing to hire one. Snowshoes are available at most rental shops and are ideal for exploring nearby forest areas.

Tourists enjoying the beauty of Durum Falls in Tanmarg. Photo: Himanshu Lakhwani