Outdoor Activities in Gulmarg
If you feel like taking a day off from skiing to enjoy other Gulmarg activities, there are a lot of fun outdoor activities around Gulmarg Ski Resort like cross country skiing, ice skating, sledding, etc. If you need a rest from sporting activities, a scenic ride on the Gulmarg Gondola is a nice way to spend an afternoon or a visit to nearby temples and religious buildings.
Other Sports You Can Do in Gulmarg
Cross Country Skiing
It is possible to rent cross country skis from the Government Rental Center. It is very inexpensive. There is one machine-groomed ski track on the Golf course. Do not expect a nice, western-style cross country playground, but it is possible to rent skis and boots and go for a bit of fun in the snow…
The first year that I went to Gulmarg, I saw lots of locals digging in the snow. It was the biggest man-made hole in the snow that I have ever seen. They were digging to reach a frozen pond so they could host the India Winter Games and have an ice hockey match. It was hilarious.
Nowadays, there is a nice, covered ice rink where they hold the matches for the annual Winter Games and where everyone can go to skate.
Skates are available to hire from the Government Rental Center.
Walking and Snowshoeing
Snowshoes are available from most ski rental shops in Gulmarg. There are not too many pairs of decent snowshoes, but they are available.
The forest surrounding Gulmarg is mystical and beautiful. It is a great activity to do on a day off or on your first day to acclimatize and get the legs working.
The road around Gulmarg's plateau is a great walk with or without snowshoes.
Lots of local people come up from surrounding villages to pull tourists on their hand-crafted sleds.
Indian, Kashmiri, and Chinese tourists seem to love it.
You can hire a personal sled guide who will pull you everywhere. It looks like a lot of fun to ride down the small hills on the Golf course or the hill leading to Hotel Alpine Ridge, Hotel Heevan Retreat, and Hotel Grand Mumtaz.
Visiting Temples and Religious Buildings
Scattered around Gulmarg's plateau are a few religious buildings.
The Church is on a small hill in the middle of the Golf course and looks very nice.
There is also a Hindu temple on the Golf course, but it is very close to "downtown." Take the path going down from Bakshi restaurant. It is a very nice place to have a great view of Mt. Apharwat.
The mosque in Gulmarg is pretty basic but worth a visit.
There is a very nice mosque to visit in Babarishi. Babarishi is a nice little village about 500m lower in altitude compared to Gulmarg. It is situated to the north of Gulmarg.
You can take a taxi or walk down the pony track all the way to Babarishi… It is a very nice day hike. Plan about 4 hours round-trip and give yourself time to visit the mosque and enjoy a Chai Tea.
Even if you are not skiing, you can take a ride on the Gulmarg Gondola. You can go up to the mid station, go to a tea house, and enjoy a warm drink and a Cheese Parata.
You could also go all the way to the top. The view is amazing on a nice, clear day.
Some very big summits are just across the valley. The Nanga Parbat is right there… the 9th highest mountain in the world (8,126 meters / 26,660 feet).