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Gulmarg

Gulmarg is a hill resort of repute, not only for its beauty and prime location but also as being the highest natural golf course of the world, situated at an altitude of 2890 m. Hub of activity from mid-December to March, Gulmarg is an enviable winter sports resort with all the equipment and training facilities available for skiing, tobo-ganning, ski-bobbing and paragliding along with a T-bar lift, a chair lift and three modern ski-lifts.

 

53 km from Srinagar, Gulmarg is known as the meadow of flowers and was once a favorite haunt of Emperor Jehangir who collected 21 different varieties of wild flowers from here. It is the best Ski resort in the country and maintains the high-quality service. It also holds a position as one of the highest lift served Ski resorts in the world. It is the first place to offer heli-skiing in Asia, where a helicopter takes one to the chosen peak from where one can choose one's own descent route. Sledges and snow cycles are also popular here during winters and trekking opportunities here are numerous.

 

 
The 18-hole Gulmarg Golf Club is in existence for 100 years and was established by Sir Neville Chamberlain. The Clubhouse, with its sloping roof, has a rare character. Golfing holidays here during summers are popular in this lush green bowl covered with a variety of alpine flowers with snow fed streams and rivulets passing through it. Apharwat Lake is frozen until mid-June and even after that, one can see ice floating in the river. For the more adventurous trekkers, climbing straight up the boulder-strewn slope of the ridge and escending on the other side to the path is a thrilling exercise. For those who love horse riding, Alpather Lake makes an exciting excursion for a day, starting early morning and returning late evening.

 

Pahalgam

Famous for scenic beauty, the jewel of the Liddar valley, Pahalgam is situated in the western part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Set at 2130 m above sea level, surrounded by the great Himalayas, it is positioned on the banks of the Liddar River. The alpine weather conditions create pleasant and mild weather conditions in summers from April to June, while winters from November to February are cold and experience heavy snowfall. The rainy seasons of July and August see a huge entourage of pilgrims who come here to visit the holy cave of Amarnath, the abode of Lord Shiva, as Pahalgam is the starting point of the famous Amarnath Yatra.

 

 
The mention of Pahalgam is found in the regions ruled by the Mughals in the medieval period. Local Hindu kings later ruled over it as a part of the Kingdom of Kashmir until this princely state annexed into India, after independence. The natural beauty of Pahalgam and the luxuriant Liddar valley attracts the tourists. There are number of picnic spots on the shores of River Liddar, flowing near Pahalgam. Pahalgam is also a part of Asia's only saffron growing area; the saffron plants are in full bloom in November. Pahalgam offers quite a few hiking and trekking trails, which one can explore riding on horseback. The snow capped peaks in the backdrop and lush green pine forests soothe the eyes of the travelers. The Liddar River is popular among travelers interested in angling and trout fishing. Virgin pine forests, clear mountain streams, and meadows of wildflowers mark Pahalgam as part of the paradisiacal beauty of Kashmir.

 

Sonamarg - Sonamarg  means a meadow of gold. A tranquil valley set amongst glaciers and placid lakes, it has flower-laden meadows, panoramic views of the snow-covered Himalayan peaks and a number of trekking and hiking trails. Situated in the western part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, it is set an altitude of 2740 m above sea level and is surrounded by the Himalayas. 80 km Srinagar, Sonamarg has alpine weather conditions with mild and pleasant summers from April to June and chilly winters from November to February accompanied by heavy snowfall. Surrounded by some of the highest mountain ranges of the world, the sparkling snowcapped mountains reflect the golden rays of the sun to give Sonamarg its name. One can see magnificent views of snow-clad ranges and attractive meadows enroute while going to Sonamarg from Srinagar. Wonders of the nature abound in Sonamarg in its quiet meadows and flower-carpeted fields.

 

 
Hiking and trekking Sonamarg and the areas attract the adventure-seeking tourists. A spur of the Thajiwas Range covered with pine, fir, and birch trees divides the Sonamarg valley and has a number of camping sites nearby. On the other side of the spur, are a number of waterfalls and the captivating Thajiwas glacier. There are trekking routes from Sonamarg to the Himalayan lakes of Vishansar at an altitude of 4080 m above sea level, Krishansar at an altitude of 3810 m above sea level and Gangabal at an altitude of 3658 m above sea level. The trek to Gadsar Lake with its abundant snow trout and the frozen Satsar Lakesurrounded by alpine flowers and trees, trekking to Baltal, which 15 km from Sonamarg is a delight. Situated at the foot of the Zojila pss, it the gateway to the land of Ladakh.

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