The Himalayan Region is a dream come true for every winter sports lover who is seeking unspoiled wilderness and long virgin runs. 3 meager skiing areas with the benefit of a ski lift are: Solang Valley (Himachal Pradesh), Oali (Uttar Pradesh), Gulmarg(Kashmir). Gulmarg (the meadow of flowers) is the biggest ski resort in the Himalayan region and is an attraction for winter game extremists. In summer, it hosts the highest natural golf courses in the world and its beautiful scenery of snow peaks, endless green fields covered with carpets of flowers attract couples seeking the ideal romantic holiday. The British discovered Gulmarg as a tourist destination in the 19th century. Prior to that, Mughal emperors vacationed in the Gulmarg area. Gulmarg village is located on a ring shaped mountain range surrounding the valley of Kashmir, at the altitude of 2600 m (8,350 ft). The Gondola’s 1st phase climbs from the village to the top of the Alpine tree line at an altitude of 3040 m (9,937 ft). Second phase gondola continues on from mid station all the way up to Apharwat Mountain, at an elevation of 3960 m (12,992 ft). The peak altitude is 4220 m (13,845 ft ) . The complete gondola provides a ski area of approximately 5 sq km (that’s inbound and back country terrain), with the runs of up to 7Km all powder. Sounds ridiculously sweet?Well…it is!
The skiing season in Gulmarg starts in mid December ending in mid April. There are a few trails being groomed on Gulmarg’s slopes. Mild grooming provides endless runs of virgin snow.
The area holds a rich cover of vegetation, the dominant forest consisting of conifers, which account for over 90%. The principal species are Cedrus Deodara, Pinus Griffithii, Abies Pindrow, Aesculus Indica. The major shrubs are Indigofera Heterantha, Sorbaria Tomentosa. The ground cover of Gulmarg is also very rich and Dicotyledonus herbs dominate the area, comprising of Rumex Patientia. The natural terrain of Gulmarg is covered throughout the summer with natural grass and endless carpets of flowers . This is the reason the Mogul kings named it Gulmarg (meadow of flowers).
Nature has gifted this Biosphere Reserve with multiple species of rare, endangered and protected animals. The main species that can be seen in Gulmarg are Red Monkey, Musk Deer, Brown Bear, Black Bear, Red Fox and Snow Leopard.
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