Category Archives: Places to visit

Places to visit in Gulmarg

Now visit Botpathri in Nagin Valley

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)

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.