Nestled in the majestic Himalayan range, Gulmarg attracts many to its beautiful landscapes, lush greenery, serene surroundings, flowering gardens, and the pleasant climate during the summers, which turn into a white blanket of snow in the winter months.
While there is so much to do in Gulmarg, it can get a little difficult to plan out a day-to-day itinerary if you have never been to Gulmarg before. Let me help you chalk out an ideal 3-day itinerary in Gulmarg, which can help you plan your travel and maximize your time during your stay here.
Day 1 At Gulmarg
You have just reached Gulmarg and are in awe with its beauty and splendor. It is time to start exploring this exquisiteness.
The first stop undoubtedly should be to the Gulmarg cable station. Purchase the tickets and board the gondola to take you to the Kongdori stop, which is at an altitude of 8530 feet.
It is an upright ride that takes around 10 minutes. During the ride, you get to see the grassy slopes and the tall fir trees, which are dotted with many wildflowers in the summer months.
The same ride gives you a lovely glimpse of snow-covered fir trees and white everywhere in the winter months.
When you get down at the Kongdori station, if it is not cloudy or hazy, then you will get a clear view of the Nanga Parbat that looms at a distance.
You will also be able to see the Line of Control clearly from here. Just ask a local to point it out to you. The peaks of K2 can also easily be seen on a clear day.
Spend some time at Phase 1, where you can savor some local delicacies at the eateries. These are not proper restaurants but dhabas that serve local food, Maggi, and tea. Do not miss out on trying the hot khawa, especially during the winter months.
Once you have soaked in the beauty of Phase 1 of the gondola ride, it is time to go to Phase 2. If you can, and the weather permits, then trust me, this is a place that you should not skip.
Phase 2 of the gondola may be closed because of the weather conditions. However, if allowed, then buy your tickets to Phase 2 from the Phase 1 counter and set sail to see one of the best sights of your lifetime.
The ride takes you through Khilanmarg, a beautiful meadow adorned with many colorful flowers. The views are majestic, and the picturesque surrounding and the lush hilly terrain is a sight to behold.
The place transports you to a different world. You reach Apharwat Peak, which is Phase 2 of the gondola ride, and from here, you can enjoy the beautiful views of Alpathar Lake.
The panoramic views from the Apharwat Peak are spectacular and offer a different sight in the summer and the winter months.
At the height of 12000 feet, the Alpather Peak is a place where you can spend some time. The winter months are cold, so you may have to return fast; however, if you are in Gulmarg during the summers, then spend some time here and also explore Alpather Lake.
The alpine lake stays frozen till June. You can easily reach the lake either by walk or on a pony. Even after the lake melts, you can see it flecked with some ice piece floating on it. The alluring backdrop of the snow-capped peaks makes the place an ideal spot to picnic.
After having explored this beautiful place, it is time to take the gondola ride back down to your hotel.
If you still feel like exploring some more the head to the Gulmarg market. You may choose to walk down from your hotel to the market or take an ATV.
It is a small market where you can spend your time is buying souvenirs to carry back home and savor the local cuisine.
Reach your hotel, have your dinner and take a good rest to be all fresh and energized for your Day 2 in Gulmarg.
Take note that Gulmarg is all shut by 5.30 pm to 6 pm in the winter months, so plan your day accordingly.
Day 2 At Gulmarg
Your second day in Gulmarg should be set aside for some adventure activities. In the winter months, go ahead and try out skiing or snowboarding on the beautiful slopes that Gulmarg has to offer.
Under the guidance of an expert ski instructor and depending on your level, you can ski down the Khilanmarg, Apharwat, or the Kongdori peaks. The Khilanmarg slope is at the height of 2000 feet and can be reached by the cable car.
This is also the site for the winter ski runs in this hill station. Whoosh down the natural run that starts with wide and open slopes and twists down, finally landing at the door of your hotel.
The slopes are perfect for beginners and intermediaries. Once you are comfortable doing the Khilanmarg slope, head to Kongdori, which is the first phase of the gondola. This is a 3km ski run. The Apharwat peak also offers a vertical run of 1 km.
If these sound too adventurous, then there are also basic slopes where you can get trained in skiing and ice skating. For those who are already comfortable with skiing, plan your trip in February.
Gulmarg hosts a snow festival in the first week of February. It is a 2-day festival where there are night skiing, snowboarding, snow cycling, ice skiing and an international food festival held.
If it is the summer months, then Gulmarg also offers the best landscapes to go trekking. The town is an excellent trekking base, and you can enjoy the clear, sunny, and blue skies when you choose to trek on any of the trails.
From Gulmarg, you can choose to trek to Khilanmarg 5kms, Ningle Nallah 10km, and Alpather Lake 8km. The trek goes through lush and green forests crisscrossing through streams and rivers.
Come prepared with your trekking gears because even though these are available on rent, there may be a supply shortage because of high demand in the summer months.
Not in the mood to do anything adventurous? Then why not go golfing. Gulmarg has one of the world’s best-golfing grounds.
The trainers can help you learn this sport. Golfing is a popular activity in Gulmarg, ideal for beginners as well as the pro-golfers.
The golf course is the highest in the world with inclined and land slopes. The 18-hole golf course has a striking layout.
After a few hours of playing golf, you may want to spend your day exploring Tangmarg.
Tangmarg is a beautiful hill town near Gulmarg and makes a perfect place for a day outing. Visit the Hokersar Wetland Reserve, where you can see many migratory birds.
The Magray Garden Cherry View Point in Druroo is just 2 km from Tangmarg. The place is famous because of its strawberry, cherry, walnut, and apple farms.
The unspoiled beauty is home to the Shrine of Hazrat Baba Payaamud-Din Reshi and the Ningli Nallah picnic spot. The Drung Valley picnic spot is an amazing spot near Tangmarg to soak in the beauty of nature.
Depending on what interests you, choose your activity for Day 2. Head back to the hotel, relish on the free khawas served to you, have a hot meal, and rest for the day.
Day 3 At Gulmarg
We have kept Day 3 to let you explore the important sites of Gulmarg. Start by exploring the Maharani Temple, which is an iconic destination in Gulmarg.
You can see this hotel as soon as you enter Gulmarg as it is built on the top of a hillock in the middle of the town.
The temple is the last of the Dogra kingdom remnants. You can visit this temple and attend the aarti, which is done by Ghulam Mohammad Shiekh, who is a priest here and have the prasad.
Your next stop should be the St. Marys Church. The church transports you to the olden times with its old-fashioned huts and alpine trees.
It depicts the British architectural style and exhibits the looks of a small chapel typically found in any European countryside.
Next, visit the Baba Reshi Shrine, which is another religious site. The site can be easily assessed on a sledge. This sacred mosque reflects Mughal and Persian architecture. You can easily spot the mosque from a distance with its tall spires.
Stop for lunch at one of the popular restaurants in Gulmarg, and then head to the Kanchenjunga Museum. Wonder at the modern and old warfare on display here and the gears and equipment used by the Indian army.
The museum was built to commemorate the summit of the Indian army to the Kanchenjunga. The place also lets you learn about other expeditions like the 2001 Everest expedition.
You have covered all that Gulmarg has to offer. Every season in Gulmarg offers a different hue; thus, a single visit may never suffice.
It is now time to bid bye to this town, taking back home loads of memories.
Here I have covered a detailed itinerary of what you can do when in Gulmarg. Feel free to customize it based on your interests. However, the thing to keep in mind is to not rush when exploring Gulmarg.
Gulmarg is a symbol of beauty, so go slow and take in the breathtaking views and experiences that this place has to offer.
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