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KASHMIR – Gulmarg

Gulmarg's legendary beauty, prime location and proximity to Srinagar naturally make it one of Asia's premier hill resorts. Originally called 'Gaurimarg' by shepherds, Gulmarg was discovered in the 16th century by Sultan Yusuf Shah, who was inspired by the sight of its grassy slopes emblazoned with wild flowers. It was also a favourite resort of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir. Today, Gulmarg is not merely a mountain resort of exceptional beauty but also the country's premier ski resort in winter when it is covered in snow and takes on the appearance of a picture postcard. Skiing & Winter Sports Gulmarg was first established as a ski resort by the British who had set up the Ski Club of India here in 1927. Skiing at Gulmarg had become very popular during the pre-independence years. The resort used to host two major skiing events, one each during Christmas and Easter. In 1938-39, about 500 skiers are said to have participated in Christmas and Easter ski races. Gulmarg's atmosphere was identified with European ski resorts of the 1940's and 50's - the 'Alps of good old days'. The skiing season usually commences just before Christmas (mid December) and continues till early April. During 1998, Gulmarg hosted the first National Winter Games of India, for which the facilities were enormously improved and upgraded. Modern equipment like Kasse Bohrer Snow Beating Machines (for preparing skiing slopes) and snowmobiles were imported, as also the first phase of the Gulmarg Gondola Cable Car was commissioned. The resort facilities were further improved and upgraded for the 4th National Winter Games, which were also held here during 2003-2004.

Skiing in Kashmir

Skiing is one of the prime attractions in Kashmir and is apt for adventure seekers looking for a day of fun and exciting amidst the valleys of Kashmir. Skiing in the Himalayas is definitely a must-do as it allows you to catch a glimpse of the mighty mountains quite up-close.
Gulmarg, Kashmir is considered as the best ski resort in the Himalayas. This Ski Resort was founded in 1927 by the British and its establishment is credited to two British Army Officers named Major Hadow and Major Metcarp who had once setup a Ski Club of India at Gulmarg during the British Raj in India.
Skiing in the snow-clad mountains of Gulmarg was quite popular during the pre-independence era especially during the events hosted in Christmas and Easter Day. There is a mention that over 500 Skiers participated in the Christmas and Easter ski race events which was organised in 1938-39.
Gulmarg is accredited as the highest cable car enabled ski resorts in the world mainly due to a Gondola Cable Car Lift that was setup here. The second section of this cable car takes you up to a height of about 4,000 meters above the snow level from where you can enjoy a 5-km downhill ski run. To avail the Gondola Cable car facility, Skiers can purchase a Daily, Weekly, or Seasonal pass from the Ski Resort Center. Apart from the second section, there are 3 ski lifts to serve the purpose for beginners and intermediate-level skiers, respectively.
You can enjoy Skiing in Gulmarg before Christmas which happens around mid-December and continues up till mid-April. In fact the first ever National Winter Games of India was held in this Gulmarg Ski Resort between January and February way back in 1998.
For skiers visiting Gulmarg, accommodation is available at the J&K TDC Huts situated in Patnitop, Sanasar and Kud apart from the several private hotels available for booking at Patnitop and Kud. Just ensure that you book your rooms well in advance as the accommodation facilities at these places tend to get reserved quite rapidly.

Golfing in Kashmir

Kashmir offers a unique opportunity to play golf in invigorating surroundings, where the wind whispers through enormous trees of chinar and stately pine. In the verdant golf courses at Srinagar and Gulmarg, you will be able to play for longer hours than you can in the plains because of the lower temperatures – Srinagar’s highest temperature seldom goes above 35°C. Srinagar offers an exclusive opportunity for golf enthusiasts to play almost through the entire year. During the summers, while the plains are boiling, Srinagar's temperate climate allows the golfer to play longer hours without getting tired. During winters, the courses in Srinagar are closed, only when snowbound. The course at Gulmarg is like nothing you’ve ever seen or imagined before. Situated at an altitude of 2,650 m, it is the highest green golf course anywhere in the world. The layout of the course too is strikingly different from most golf courses – the land slopes and inclines along the complete area of the course, which has a par of 72. The historic Gulmarg Golf Club was started in 1911 by the British who used the place as a holiday resort. The origin of Gulmarg as the Golfing Mecca of India goes back to the late 19th century when a 6-hole course was made in 1890-91 by Colonel Neville Chamberlain - the greens were known as browns in those days. The first Golf championship was played at Gulmarg in 1922. The Nedou's Cup was introduced in 1929. In 1930, ‘The World’ beat Scotland.
The course remains covered under snow from December to April. One can hire Golf Sets and balls from pros who are registered with the Tourism Department. The Golf Course is under major renovation these days, with many greens and tees being relocated. It is expected that the course shall be ready to welcome Golfers by the middle of next year. The Kashmir Golf Club has all the luxuries fitted that make playing golf a memorable experience. It is spread over 52 sprawling acres of lush land adjoining the Maulana Azad Road, the City’s main avenue. With well laid out bunkers and hazards, interspersed between chinars & pine, this professional 18-hole course and has been the venue of many tournaments. The course has common fairways and a par of 70.
Associated with history of Kashmir Golf Club is its famous pro man of many golfing facets, the 98-year old Ghulam Mohammad. In 1930, he was the first golfing professional in India. He has trained hundreds of aspiring golfers during his long career as a golfing pro. According to Ghulam Mohammad, "golf is like an addiction. You can’t have enough of it."
Spanning an expense of 300 acres near the famous Cheshma Shahi, The Royal Spring Golf Course was designed and laid out by the World renowned Golf architect, Robert Trent Jones Jr. II, who has designed about 500 courses all over the World, including in Bangkok and China. The Golf course picturesque located over looking the famous Dal Lake, is set in a natural environment created against the dramatic backdrop of Zabarwan hills. The setting is a combination of aesthetic delight and golfing pleasure and is a truly transcending experience for the Golfer and nature lover alike. The 18 holes, 6445 mtrs. Course at a par of 72 offer a challenge to all levels of players, and is now widely acknowledged as the best Golf Course in India.
The fairways are turfed with coolweather grass of different Shades. Rye, Kentucky blue and tall frescoes have been bordering trees lend a touch of colour throughout the golfing season. Apart from permanent members, many golf lovers pay Green Fee on a daily basis; presently these rates are Rs. 300/- for 18 holes and Rs 200/- for 9 holes. You can also hire Golf Carts, services of caddies, or even opt to stay inside the Golf Course in exotic hutments.


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