Wandd - Winter in Kashmir
Winter in Kashmir is a five months season
but the real winter is experienced in the forty days of
Chilai kalan, starting from December 21 to January 31.
It all gets covered with the colour of winter, the colour of dusk. Shades of grey start to dominate. Temperature starts dipping, air breeze gets cooler, people add more layers to raise their body temperatures.
Snow blanketed mountains, plains and white outlined trees especially Chinars may sound good to ears and the snow covered landscape is a visual treat as well. Bare, snow-covered landscapes being watched from beside the warmth of a fire is a joy that cannot be described to anyone who has not experienced it.
Skiing in the Himalayas is one of the major attractions for adventure loving tourists and Kashmir is an ideal place for this sport. Gulmarg, the best skiing base in the Himalayas provides an excellent platform for this adventure.
Skiing in Gulmarg is a sport for every one.
We have slopes for young children and beginners (known
as baby slopes near the club house and for intermediates
we have slope 85 , highlands, church slopes and for
experts we have Affarvat and Kangdoori slopes.
Gulmarg enjoys the position of being one of the highest lift-served ski resorts in the world. This is due to setting-up of a Gandola Cable Car Lift from Gulmarg to Apharwat top. At present, only the first part of the Gandola, from Gulmarg to Kongdori is operational, giving a downhill ski run of about 3 kms. Besides, three ski lifts and one chair lift also serves the resort, which are ideal for beginners and intermediate-level skiing, respectively.
Gulmarg village is offering a wide variety of accommodation, to fit every budget: from top quality Indian style huts and hotels, to basic and simpler accommodation.
Gulmarg will not offer you rich nightlife and fancy restaurants like western ski resorts. It will however give you advantages these resorts can not: virgin snow for every day and every run, short lift lines, empty ski runs, a high percentage of sunny days, rich wild life and unforgettable Kashmiri hospitality.
Around the middle of December, before the Christmas, the skiing season in Gulmarg usually commences, which continues till the middle of April. In January-February, 1998 the first National Winter Games of India were held at Gulmarg, for which the facilities of the skiing resorts were highly improved and upgraded. The resort had two Kasse Bohrer snow beating machines used for preparing skiing slopes, and five snowmobiles, which are used for going up the mountain. Good quality equipment, including skis, boots, sticks, gloves and goggles can be hire on the spot from the Government-run ski shop. There are also experienced instructors available for supervising the visitors. Gulmarg is ideally acceptable for learning skiing, as it is probably the cheapest ski resort in the world.
In the recent past, a famous French skier Sylvain
Saudan, had started Heli-skiing in the Himalayas for
the European skiers. This arrangement has been
suspended for the time being.
The most enthusiastic aspect of a winter stopover at Gulmarg is the friendly atmosphere.