Lovers of snow and snow sports, it’s that time of the year again. Well, actually it’s gonna be that time of the year soon, and we would like you to be prepared for mounds of fun when you want to witness snowfall in Gulmarg.
If you are wondering when is the best time to visit Gulmarg to see snow, then January to March is when Gulmarg valley is draped in swathes of pristine white, an inviting, intriguing, and enchanting sight to behold.
Special jeeps with chained wheels are the only means to reach Gulmarg at this time of the year. Make sure you are carrying heavy woolens, and leather boots to combat the low temperatures during snow season in Gulmarg. On the other hand, you could travel light and hire the stuff from shops in Gulmarg itself.
Take a look at what Gulmarg has in store for you:
1. Enjoy a Gondola ride for the perfect views!
The gondola ride in Gulmarg is split into two parts, and requires separate tickets. Both parts are a must-do, although sometimes the second stage is shut down due to heavy snowfall. As soon as you get on the ride, towering pines, gigantic firs and snow-adorned peaks seemingly reach out to you. When you reach mid-way, visit one of the many tea houses; warm up for the next leg of your ride with a hot beverage and a paneer parantha.
2. Walk on a frozen lake at Alpather Lake!
Alpather Lake, during summers, is a picturesque picnic spot with a backdrop of endless meadows and rocky peaks. But come winters, and the lake freezes over completely, thanks to the snow in Gulmarg. You can walk across the shiny as a mirror and hard as steel surface with ease. Or if feeling particularly adventurous then carry along your skates and shimmy across the lake. Whatever you do, don’t forget to take your camera along for photo ops like never before!
3. Snow Festival: Enjoy ice sculptures, sports, and snow!
What could be better than snow till as far as the eyes can see? A Snow Festival, during snowfall in Gulmarg that’s what! Gulmarg celebrates its very own and very special Snow Festival in January or February every year. There are several skiing events and competitions organized during the festival, along with live music, delicious food, and much more. So, pack your bags, put on your party hats, and enjoy snowfall time in Gulmarg.
4. Sledge down slopes at top speed!
If skiing seems like too much work, why not go sledding? Hand-crafted sleds made by locals are on offer for you to ride around in, one of the best things to do during snowfall in Gulmarg. Porters pull on the sleds taking you along a special sledding track. Be prepared for a thrilling ride down one of the less steep icy slopes. Want to know the best part? You won’t have to walk back up the slopes; the porters will pull you up!
5. Experience snowfall in the highest golfing grounds of the world!
From December to March, the Gulmarg Golf Club is buried under heaps of fresh snow, making it a wonderland for snow sports and related activities. The Golf Club turns into a ski destination during winters, and is a popular place for tourists and locals alike. The natural dips and valleys of the golf club are perfect to use as ski slopes by beginners and intermediates.
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6. Slip, slide and glide down the icy slopes!
No “things to do in Gulmarg” list is complete without a mention of skiing. Perfect for beginners as well as expert skiers, some of these Gulmarg slopes have ski lifts to take you to the top. Instructors are also available to guide you. With ski trails ranging from a mere 300 m to 3 km, beginners and intermediate skiers are sure to have a ball here. For the more expert skiers, off trail heli-skiing can be a good option. Accessible only by helicopters, be prepared for untouched powder snow and altitude drops of more than 900 m.
7. Take pleasure in walking and snowshoeing on several inches of packed snow!
Snowshoes are perfect for walking on several inches of snow, since they distribute your weight equally. They are available for hire at most of the ski rental shops of Gulmarg, but to find a decent pair you will have to browse through several shops. Walk the mystical woodlands surrounding Gulmarg, or try trekking up one of the smaller snow clad peaks to get acclimatized with all that is beautiful in the world of snow!
8. Trek up the icy slopes for mesmerizing views!
In winters, many a trekking tracks close down to an abundance of snow, but places like Tangmarg are open, and they are thrilling, especially when there is snow in Gulmarg. Admittedly, it is 18 km from Gulmarg, but there is a picturesque metal road of 13 km, after which the 5 km trek starts. Get dropped off here, but make sure you are accompanied by a guide and porter. Woolens, boots, and waterproof bags are available here for hire, so you can travel light.
9. Indulge your gastronomic desires in Gulmarg!
Snow season in Gulmarg calls for some warm stews and gravies, and that’s exactly what Kashmiri cuisine is all about. Try some Kashmiri Wazwan at the Main Market, with a multitude of lamb dishes, such as Yakhni, Seekh Kebab and Rogan Josh. Or try the dum aloo, and trust us, you have never anything as tasty as the original version of this world famous Kashmiri dish. And a cup of Kashmiri Kahwa will wash it all down perfectly, prepared by boiling green tea leaves with cinnamon, saffron, cardamom and rose petals. Snow season in Gulmarg is perfect for these hearty meals, throughout the day.
10. Luxuriate in a cottage with a breathtaking view
After you spend a long day frolicking around in the snow, the best thing to do is to curl up on a cozy corner of your cottage bed, with the thermostat up high, and a cup of coffee or fragrant kahwa nestled between your palms. Turn on the television, read a book, or go over the experiences of the day with your travel companions. Whatever else you do, staying indoors while it is snowing outside and the snowflakes slide down your window is probably one of the best things to do, when it is snowfall time in Gulmarg.
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