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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

What is the history of Gulmarg?

Kshitiz Ahuja DEC 10 2012
0 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

From being the resort town of Kings to being the favourite summer holiday destination of the British to being a popular resort town of the masses and ski bums today, Gulmarg has always been one of Kashmir's favorite destinations and for good reason. The best way to reach this hill station town is to take the New Delhi to Srinagar flights and then further take a cab from the airport towards your destination which will take you about an hour.

  • The Meadow of Flowers

According to a more commonly accepted story, Gulmarg was initially called "Gaurimarg", after Lord Shiva's wife's name, which was changed to its current name by King Yousuf Shah Chak, meaning the meadow of flowers. If you visit it in spring and summers, it is just that.You will find yourself standing in the middle of a rolling meadow dotted with countless flowers, like a page out of a child's drawing book, attempting to create a picture of a garden. It is said that Emperor Jahangir once collected 21 different species of flowers here. 2730 meters above sea level, Gulmarg is itself nestled high in the Himalayan mountains protected by tall pines and snow clad peaks.

  • Political unrest and path to recovery

During the 1990s uprising in Jammu and Kashmir, the surrounding areas were politically restive. Tourism was particularly affected in Gulmarg, especially given the fact that the Line of Control is merely 20 km from here. Today some 2000 tourists visit during the winter season, this is up from 250 five years back and nearly zero in the years following the Kargil conflict in 1999. One reason Gulmarg has been left out of fighting, unlike Siachen, is possibly because the village has no permanent residents. Yes, you heard us correctly. Since 1990s, due to a curfew imposed by the Indian Army, except for hotel employees and guests, everyone else is required to leave the village by sunset.

  • Ski resort to the World

The conflict all but wiped out tourism at the hill station, but in beginning 2003, Gulmarg tourism made it back to the mainstream radar following skiing articles in international outdoor and skiing publications. You will be hard pressed to not find a mention of Gulmarg when it comes to skiing.

When you come out here, you will come across a number of different vibrant festivals, skiing and other competitions being held by the government in their initiative to ensure that the Gulmarg remains just what its name suggests, "a meadow of flowers".

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