There is more to do in Gulmarg now. Due to unprecedented tourist arrivals in Gulmarg, easily going beyond it carrying capacity – the state Tourism Department and the army have worked together to open Botpathri (or Bota Pathri) in Nagin Valley for tourists.
Botpathri is 10 Kms from Gulmarg and only about 5 kms from the Line of Control.
Kashmir has seen a increasing flow of tourists or visitors – so much so that surely the Houseboats in Srinagar, or hotels and Pahalgam and Gulmarg are full to capacity. Its created congestion and traffic problems. Any more places opening up closer to these popular spots is a welcome development. Tourists can enjoy more, with more opportunities to hike and trek, or just spend a day. Hopefully the road to Botpathri can continue to be drivable and does not get too stuck in back and forth traffic.
Gulmarg is known for restrictions on cars driving in. Whether a tourist car can just drive away on Gulmarg-Botapathri road, or would need registration/permits, and subject to timings, remains to be seen.
Botpathri is located at an altitude of 9000 ft between Ferozpora and Nighli Nallahs. Botpathri is an erstwhile camping destination for trekkers and shepherds towards the Boniyar, Sultan Pathri and Choor Khud. Located in Nagin Valley- it was put out of bounds for trekkers, tourists and civilians in 1990 when militancy had erupted in the state. The exercise is sold as an instance of eco-tourism destination aimed to decongest Gulmarg.
“Journey to Nagin, located on the Gulmarg-Botapathri road, is an awesome experience as the mountainous road is completely shrouded in a cloud cover and visibility decreases to a few feet. The serenity of the place is evident as mountains change their colour with the intensity of sunlight.” The towering mountain peaks that surround Nagin to its south are the last patches of land before the Line of Control, located barely five kms away.
Though Army has co-operated well to open the valley, it has also warned that the decision may be changed in case the army feels security has been compromised by opening this place to tourists. The officials have expressed a need to maintain cleanliness in the area to save the “ecologically fragile” valley.
(with inputs and pictures from ANI, PTI and GK)
Credits – http://www.gomissingexpeditions.com/expedition/gomissing-skiing-trip-gulmarg/
Ever imagined a vast, gently sloping playground dotted with pine trees, rocks and colorful flowers. Add a water stream to it and cover it with a fresh, white blanket of snow – an aromatic canvas of white!
Is this your idea of a picture perfect destination? Does it seem right out of a child’s fairy tale book?
Well, places like these exist, and one such place is Gulmarg.
To this beauty, if you want to add a bit of zing, then spike it up with some adventure too. Because, if you happen to be in Gulmarg, then you definitely owe yourself a few lessons in skiing.
Here is why learning skiing in Gulmarg is a must do!
13 Reasons why you should learn Skiing in Gulmarg
- The perfect adrenalin rush: Standing on the top of a cliff on your skis, a field of white powdery snow ahead of you, a little movement as you start your descent, soft snowflakes on your face, the caress of icy cold winds through your hair, your heart beat racing as you gain speed down the incline and you make that little skiing jump on your first free run. If this is you, pack your bags and read the rest of the post later!
- Among the best in the world: As a skiing resort, Gulmarg is comparable to the best resorts in the world. According to CNN, Gulmarg was ranked in the top 5 in Asia (the other four resorts are – Yongpyong, Gangwon-do in South Korea, Niseko – Hokkaido in Japan, Appi Kogen Tohoku in Japan and Yabuli ski resort in China)
- Value for money: It is great value for money to learn Skiing/ski in Gulmarg as compared to any skiing resort in the world. For what you’ll pay for a single day for just Skiing in Europe, you’ll get skiing + stay + equipment + classes for a few days in Gulmarg
- The instructors: Are at par with any other skiing instructors in the world
- Quick learning: You will be able to take the first steps into a wonderful new sport in a short 4-5 day trip
- Photographers paradise: Gulmarg has the highest operating gondola in the world and the views from the Gulmarg Gondola are stunning. You ride above a snow covered pine forest. Along with your skiing lessons, you will have an opportunity to take some surreal pictures above a 14,000 ft high alpine meadow which overlooks Gulmarg
- Stay: While the outdoors are freezing cold, the hospitality is heartwarming. There are hotels and resorts to suit all budgets. Imagine being woken up gently every morning with a hot cup of Kashmiri tea (kahwa) and the fire crackling in the fireplace (or the heating making it nice and warm)
- Food: Is lip smacking delicious. Start your day with a breakfast which can be Indian, Kashmiri or Continental cuisines. For meals try the local Kashmiri non veg cuisine of Rogan Josh, Gustapa, Rishta, Yakhni etc. Once you’re done, wash it down with a piping hot cup of Kehwa (Kashmiri tea). For a true culinary experience, try the Wazwan which is a multi-course meal
- Getting to Gulmarg: From Delhi, it takes about 3.5 hours to get to Gulmarg. A short flight and drive gets you to the snow slopes
- Other sports: You can try/learn snowboarding and ice skating in Gulmarg
- Child’s wander: Snow is something that fascinates most of us. Snowball fights, making a snowman and the skiing is sure to bring out the child in you
- Hassle free: GoMissing organizes hassle free Skiing trips to Gulmarg for individuals, groups of friends and families which will help you enjoy the adventure conveniently. You only need to sign up, and we’ll take care of the rest!
- Making friends: Trips like these are done by like minded people. When you’re all freezing together on the slopes, or building a snowman, or having a snowball fight, or experiencing your first fall on the slopes and another member of the group helps you up, you build the camaraderie and long lasting friendship that only such kind of travel can offer. The laughs and drinks in front of a fireplace at the end of the day while you wait for some mouth watering food is priceless
For people who have never skied before, do something for the first time. Because when you’re 60 and your grandchild asks for a story, this will be infinitely more interesting than all the corporate boardroom battles, the 9 to 9 jobs and endless working hours on holidays.
GoMissing Expeditions Pvt. Ltd. runs fixed departures and customized trips for groups to Gulmarg. Do check out our 5 day fixed departures for beginners and intermediate skiiers.
Groups and advance skiiers, get in touch with us on email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at +91 – 82853 49989 for a memorable skiing trip.
Heli skiing is the ultimate freeriding and freeskiing experience. The ride up the mountain in a helicopter is a surreal experience in itself, and once you’ve finished taking photos of the spectacular views, the ski or snowboard down the mountain is even better!
By ABID KHAN (Greater Kashmir) Jan 20, 2012
Within one year after its revival, Heli-Skiing has made Kashmir as preferred destination for skiers across the world.
Launched last year at Gulmarg by the JK Government, Heli-Skiing run by local extreme skier and guide Billa Majeed Bakshi has become hit all over the world and has attracted some of the well known extreme skiers and personalities.
Around 700 skiers have registered with organisers of Heli-Skiing in Gulmarg this season and the number is growing.
Apart from making the virgin turfs of different sections of Gulmarg accessible, the skiers are also able to get access to those peaks and slopes which were out of bounds for the adventure sports lovers.
The Heli-Skiing in Gulmarg is being run by Billa through his company Himalaya Sports and he is quite a hit among the skiers across the world.
“This year we have already registered 700 clients more than double compared to a last year’s 323 which was inaugural year. All the clients are from West and none among them is local,” Billa, who is Company Director, said.
“I have six international guides and all of them are well known in adventure sports arena. One of the guides Woody has climbed Mount Everest eight times while other guide Mark has climbed the Everest five times. Others have also climbed the Everest two to three times and all of them have been guiding people to climb the world’s highest peak,” he added.
About the duration and area chosen for Heli-Skiing, he said, “Last year we did only two months of skiing. But this season we expect to do it for three months. Last year we had only one helicopter while this year we have managed to rope in two.”
“Most of the area that we covered last year was Pirpanjaal range and some little area on Poonch side. This year we want to explore 5000 metre peaks and that is an added attraction for the skiers,” Billa added.
Billa says that without the support of the Government it would not have been possible to start the ambitious project.
“It would not have been possible for me to start venture without full support from central and state Governments. Ministry of Defence, DGCA, Civil Aviation, Tourism and Gulmarg Development Authority (GDA) all cooperated and helped me in a big way,” he said.
Billa claimed that Heli-Ski was attracting lot of foreigners to Kashmir.
“Last year world’s best ski film crew Warren Miller from USA, Salomon ski France were our clients. This year lots of big riders are joining us and former International cricketer Jonty Rhodes is also joining us soon,” he claimed.
Pertinently it was Sylvain Sudan in late 70’s to start Heli-Skiing in the Valley and he is known as pioneer of extreme skiing. Known as a ‘skier of the impossible’, for his dare-devil skiing feats in Alps and other peaks in Europe and Asia, the 74-year old Swiss born French Heli-skier Saudan was considered to be instrumental in launching Heli-skiing in the Valley in late ‘70s.
He continued his date with Kashmir even during the years of conflict by bringing skiers.
However, Sudan stopped to come to Kashmir after his helicopter crashed in a mountain range on way to Sonamarg in 2007. The skiers in Heli-skiing dive from a helicopter on top of mountains. It is considered to be an extreme form of skiing offering the ultimate powder skiing experience.
Buoyed with success of Heli-Skiing and response it has got from all over world Tourism Department Kashmir is all set to widen its range to Pahalgam and Sonamarg.
“We started it last year in Gulmarg and it has become instant hit. We are soon going to launch Heli-Skiing in Pahalgam and Sonamarg. In Sonamarg it will be launched by Heli-Skiing pioneer Sylvain Sudan,” Director Tourism Farooq Shah, told Greater Kashmir.
“Kashmir is number one winter sports destination in India and we are doing everything to make it more attractive to skiers and Heli-Skiing is one among the many steps taken. Apart from number one destination in Country it is also most affordable one,” he added.
Indian Institute of Skiing & Mountaineering, Gulmarg with the help of J&K Tourism and HAWS (ARMY) celebrated world snow day in a big way at Gulmarg.
World snow day is celebrated all over the world to motivate personals from non snow areas to attract them to snow areas and promote winter sports. Col J S Dhillon, Principal IISM took a special initiative to celebrate this day in Gulmarg which he described the best ski and winter sports destination in South Asia.
The chief guest during celebrations was Farooq Ahmad Shah, Director Tourism, Kashmir. He said the aim of today’s celebrations is to bring awareness amongs masses about of the various facilities available to tourist in Kashmir, especially in Gulmarg during winters. All ski trainees of the Institute and army joined hands together to make a wonderful snow pavilion which depicted snow igloos, high mountains of Himalayas, symbols of various organizations which are associated with winter games including Winter Games Federation of India and India Olympic Association.
In addition to skiing and snowboarding many other fun activities were organized by IISM. Many stalls of souvenirs, handicrafts, snow equipment were made with the help of snow which looked very innovative and impressive. Winners of various events were given prizes by IISM and a dinner party was hosted on behalf of the Deptt.of Tourism.
60 local children under sports council of J&K (India) took part in the different events of skiing and model making. 70 students of IISM, Gulmarg also took active part in the festival. Festival was attended by more than 3000 persons who appreciated the efforts of Indian Institute of Skiing & Mountaineering and applauded the initiative of FIS to organize such events throughout the world especially in non skiing countries of South Asia.
Source: January 24, 2012 (Scoop News)