FAQ - Health & Safety
Is the water safe to drink in Gulmarg?
Gulmarg is one of the safer places in India to drink tap water. Gulmarg has its own upgraded water filtration system, and water comes straight from the Himalayan Mountains. I have been drinking water every winter in Gulmarg. However, there is no guarantee that you won't get "Delhi Belly" so drinking bottled water (which is readily available) is an extra precaution you may want to take.
Is the food safe to eat in Gulmarg?
Most travelers do not have a problem with the food in Gulmarg. However, some travelers do experience digestive issues, which is not uncommon in a foreign country.
Is it safe in Kashmir? What about Gulmarg?
For many years, there were political disputes between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir province. However, tensions have subsided over the past decade. There is still a strong military presence in Kashmir, but they are there to ensure your safety. Gulmarg (which is located in the Kashmir state of India) is a remote mountain village which is isolated from political unrest, and tourists should feel safe in Gulmarg.
Do I need any type of vaccinations to travel to India and, specifically, Kashmir?
You should consult with your doctor regarding any necessary vaccinations well in advance of your trip. Some injections may not be mandatory but could include Hepatitis A and B, Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Cholera. Your doctor should have a full list of necessary vaccinations. You can also check on your government website or the CDC website (Centers for Disease Control) before travelling to India.
I heard that most of Gulmarg's terrain is not controlled? How can I ensure my safety while skiing in Gulmarg?
What happens if I get injured while skiing on the mountain? How do I get down the mountain from an area that is not patrolled? If I do have to get evacuated from the mountain, does my travel insurance cover the cost of evacuation?
First of all, you should ski Gulmarg knowing that all evacuation and rescue should come from your ski party. If you are skiing with a certified Ski Guide, most carry radios & first-aid equipment and can help evacuate you from the mountain. In the case of an emergency, if you have enough people in the group, send one member to get help. It is not the responsibility of Gulmarg Snow Safety Team to rescue Out of Bounds, but if they feel it is safe for them, they will help. You can get help at the bottom and top of all Lifts and at the Ski Patrol Hut to the North of Mid Station (last building to the north). Make sure your travel insurance policy covers off-piste skiing, "search and rescue," and helicopter evacuation in the event of an emergency.
You should also register with the Heliski Company. They will verify your coverage. It will make things go faster if helicopter evacuation is needed.
Should I be concerned about avalanches?
Avalanches are a threat in any mountain environment. Gulmarg has some steep slopes and receives a large amount of annual snowfall -- making avalanche a possibility. Gulmarg Snow Safety posts a daily advisory on avalanche danger and provides courses on mountain safety and avalanche education. Skiing with a certified Ski Guide is recommended, and following the tips on our Safety page will ensure your safety.
I heard that Gulmarg has a higher altitude than most ski resorts. What can I do to prevent altitude sickness?
That is correct. The summit of Gulmarg Gondola sits at 3,980 meters and Mt. Apharwat summit at 4,124 meters. However, you are sleeping at an elevation of 2,660 meters, so severe altitude sickness is not a major issue. Avoid alcohol at the beginning of your stay and drink plenty of water. Ski at lower elevations during the first few days of your trip. After a few days, you will begin to adjust to the altitude. If severe headaches, nausea, loss of appetite, and breathlessness persist, it is wise to move the affected person to a lower altitude as soon as possible. If that doesn't help, you should seek medical help.
Are there medical facilities in Gulmarg? Where is the nearest hospital?
There are very little medical facilities in Gulmarg, and you cannot rely on them. Gulmarg's hospital has a small pharmacy that can sell you medicine if needed. There is a hospital in Srinagar (which is 52 kilometers from Gulmarg), but it is not up to Western standards. You should take caution when skiing in Gulmarg as you don't want to get injured. See our Safety page for more info on how to ski safely.
Should I get travel insurance?
Yes, travel insurance is mandatory for your trip to Gulmarg. There has been political unrest in Kashmir (which has subsided over the past decade), and Gulmarg Ski Resort is basically a backcountry ski resort that is not controlled. For these reasons, travel insurance is mandatory. See our Travel Insurance for more info.
Is it forbidden to take pictures of the military?
Over the past few years, the military did not like people taking pictures at the airport, mainly the Kashmiri Airports and on the plane. It seems it has changed a little as I was able to take pictures the last time I flew to Srinagar. I would not advise you to take pictures around the airport in Srinagar. Once you are in Gulmarg, the military does not mind if you take pictures with them.