Monthly Archives: June 2007

St. Mary Church Gulmarg

St. Mary Church Gulmarg

St.Mary church was built during british rule.  The 110-year-old St. Mary’s Church in Gulmarg was given a new look in 2003 with a renovated façade and the first Christmas mass was held in 14 years.

The 18th hole of Gulmarg Golf Club, a par five, is a downhill travel from St. Mary’s Church to the club house, a drop of 300 feet.

A Muslim priest in Kashmir’s Hindu temple

The age-old harmony between Hindus and Muslims in Kashmir is still alive and demonstrated by people like Ghulam Mohammad Shiekh, who has been performing the duties of a priest in a famous Shiva temple for the last 17 years.

IN THIS MILITANCY stricken valley, where some ‘outsiders’ are leaving no stone unturned to widen the divide between Muslims and Hindus, a Muslim has been looking after a Shiva temple for the last 17 years. By uttering verses from the Quran and shlokas from the Gita with same fluency and devotion everyday, he presents a unique example of secularism and communal harmony in


Ghulam Mohammad Shiekh is the priest of the 92-year old Shiva temple at Gulmarg. The temple houses a Shiv Lingam and idol of Goddess Parvati. Everyday Shiekh performs all the rituals of a pujari including performing aarti and distributing prasad among devotees, who throng this ancient temple in big numbers, especially in summers when the place comes alive.

For him there is no difference between ‘Allah’ and ‘Bhagwan’. Being a Muslim he never forgets to perform namaz daily.

How a Muslim became the ‘pujari’ of a temple?

Shiekh’s father Gulam Rasool Shiekh was the Chowkidar of the temple and he rendered his services for about 40 years. Due to militancy when Kashmiri Pandits fled

Kashmir, the temple was left abandoned; Shiekh started performing the duties of a pujari. From that point of time he has been looking after all the affairs related to the famous temple.

Shiekh had to pay the price for becoming the priest of temple. It was not an easy task for him. He was targeted by terrorists many a times in past, who threatened him to leave the job of priest. He was once kidnapped by the ultras, but it was his sheer good luck that he was released later on by them.


Credits for the story: VIVEK SURI

Shiva temple in Gulmarg

The Shiva temple was actually the royal temple of Dogra kings of
Jammu and Kashmir.   Also known as “Rani Temple” or “Maharani Temple”, this is situated on a small hillock in the centre of Gulmarg. The unique thing about this royal temple is the fact that it can be seen from all the corners of Gulmarg. The Maharani temple also known as Mohineshwar Shivalalaya was built by Mohini Bai Sisodhia, the wife of the erstwhile ruler of Kashmir Maharaja Hari Singh (the last king of
Kashmir) in 1915. Mohini Bai Sisodhia was the daughter of Maharaja Mohandev of Dharampur. When the last Dogra king was spending his time in Gulmarg in his royal palace, a couple of kilometers from the temple, his queen used to come here to worship Lord Shiva. Infact, she stayed here for months and worshiped Lord Shiva in this temple.

The temple remains open everyday from 6am to 9pm. Aarti is performed twice a day for devotees.

The Dagger Division, headquartered at Baramulla renovated the temple in 1998. Now this is being managed by the Jammu and Kashmir Dharmarth Trust headed by Dr Karan Singh, son of Maharaja Hari Singh.

Scorching sun in plains rains money for Gulmarg Cable Car

Srinagar, June 11 – The scorching sun in the Indian plains has come handy for the World’s highest Cable Car project at Gulmarg in Kashmir. In just one week, it recorded a turn over of around Rs.7 million.

With mercury soaring in entire north India, thousands of tourists are visiting the Kashmir Valley to escape sweltering conditions even though summer capital Srinagar also witnessed hottest day of the season at 34.4 degrees Celsius Sunday. However, as tourists keep thronging the resort, Gulmarg kept tempers cool with the maximum temperature of just 23 degrees.

‘Besides the bewitching beauty and cool temperatures of Gulmarg, the five kilometre long gondola ride on Gulmarg-Afarwat hills is chief attraction,’ said Farooq Ahmad Shah, Kashmir’s director for tourism.

‘The (Gulmarg) gondola made a revenue of Rs.60 million last year and we have set a target of Rs.100 million this year,’ Shah said.

‘We charge Rs.700 for the entire to and fro ride from Gulmarg to Afarwat Hills and for children below 10 years, the rates are half.’

Gulmarg Gondola is the World’s highest Cable Car at 13,400 feet above the sea level.

‘We are also planning the World’s highest restaurant at Afarwat Hills at 14,000 feet where we have the World’s highest ski point,’ the tourist official said.

Besides the high profile Cable car project, local traders – including the pony-owners who take the tourists on joy rides through the meadows in Gulmarg – are also doing brisk business these days.

‘The place is wonderful and the people here are very courteous. It is a dream vacation for me and my family,’ said Sanjay Kholsa, 46, who has come here with his wife and two kids from Mumbai.

Golf course in Gulmarg

In summer, play on the world’s highest golf course. The 18-hole, par 72 Gulmarg golf course is quite hilly. The golf club itself was built in 1904, by British residents feeling lost without the bare necessities. It also offers table tennis and billiards, should you feel the need for knocking other little balls about. For green fees and rental rates, talk to someone at the J&K TDC (Tel: [91-1954] 254-507, 254-424;, which manages the place.