Gulmarg is located 52 km from Srinagar. It is located at 34°03'N 74°23'E? / ?34.05°N 74.38°E? / 34.05; 74.38. It has an average elevation of 2,690 m (8,825 ft).
At the 2001 India census, Gulmarg had a population of 664, though many people are required to leave by nightfall. Only tourists and those working in the tourism industry may stay overnight. Males constitute 99% of the population and females 1%. Gulmarg has an average literacy rate of 96%, higher than the Indian national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 97%, and female literacy is 22%. In Gulmarg, 0% of the population is under 6 years of age.
Gulmarg has been a resort for the kings like Yousuf Shah Chak and Jahangir who used to visit frequently.
The old name of Gulmarg was "Gaurimarg", the name of Lord Shiva's wife. Yousuf Shah Chak changed its name to Gulmarg, meaning the place of roses. During the early part of the 20th century the famous Central Asian explorer Sir Marc Aurel Stein (1862 – 1943), made his home here in a tent between his expeditions. It was a favourite summer holiday destination for the British stationed in India.
The surrounding areas were politically restive during the 1990s uprising in Kashmir, but since a ceasefire between India and Pakistan in 2003, the town has enjoyed a period of relative peace and quiet. The town is nestled within the imposing Himalayan peaks, and lies within miles of the Line of Control.
It receives heavy snowfall during the winter season and is a popular ski resort..
With the abatement of militancy in the area, Gulmarg has quickly become one of the state's most visited destinations. The slopes of the Afarwat Hills of the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalaya Chain boast one of the longest and highest ski slopes in Asia. The total distance covered by ski lifts is five kilometres and the resort peaks at an altitude of 3,747 m (12,293 ft), accessed by an aerial gondola (telecabine). The skiing project was inaugurated by the Chief Minister on 25 December, 2004.
Gulmarg does not have any permanent residents. All living in Gulmarg are hotel employees and guests. Gulmarg can be accessed from Srinagar (the capital of Kashmir) in about 1 hour by car or bus. The buses will reach Tangmarg in about 45 minutes. From Tangmarg, for the 20 km hill road, jeeps can be hired for reaching Gulmarg hilltop in about 20 minutes. Searches and identity checks will take place about 5km before Gulmarg. There is a strict time limit in travelling between Tangmarg and Gulmarg. The last jeep down from Gulmarg is available at sunset.
Gulmarg has around 40 hotels of all grades. The peak season starts with the snow fall in December and lasts until April. The charges for one night stay in off season range between Rs500 - Rs4000+.
The off-season rates usually have a discount of about 60%.
Gulmarg Gondola - The New Cable Car of Gulmarg
Gulmarg boasts Asia's highest and longest cable car project, the Gulmarg Gondola. The two-stage ropeway ferries about 600 people per hour to and from Kongdoori Mountain, a shoulder of nearby Afarwat Peak (4,200 m (13,780 ft)). The ropeway project is a joint venture of the Jammu and Kashmir government and French firm Pomagalski. The first stage transfers from the Gulmarg resort at 2,600 m (8,530 ft) to Kongdoori Station in the bowl-shaped Kongdori valley. The second stage of the ropeway, which has 36 cabins and 18 towers, takes skiers to a height of 3,747 m (12,293 ft) on Kongdoori Mountain, a shoulder of nearby Afarwat Peak (4,200 m (13,780 ft)).
The second stage was completed in a record time of about two years at a cost of Rs 11 crore and opened on May 28, 2005. The French company had also built the first phase of the gondola project, connecting Gulmarg to Kongdoori, in 1998.
Skiing is normally offered from mid-December to mid-May. The JKSCCC also proposes to construct chair lifts which will connect Kongdoori with Merry Shoulder peak for beginners and intermediate skiers. Gulmarg is being mooted as a possible host for the 2010 Commonwealth Winter Games. There are a few places of religious importance near the resort within a 5 to 20 km radius like Baba Reshi, Haji Murad at Kreeri etc.