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Kashmir

GULMARG

     At an altitude of 2,730 metres above sea level, it is a fantasy surrounded by snow-capped mountains. A two-hour pony ride takes one to Khilanmarg, Kongdori and Seven Springs. Later comes Alpather lake, a picturesque Alpine lake, frozen till late June. It is an exciting day's excursion. The world's highest green golf courses are also situated in Gulmarg. One can go in for a temporary membership at the golf course. In winter, Gulmarg is the finest skiing resort.

 
A ski resort in Gulmarg
No extraordinary skill or physical fitness and training is required to ski in the slopes. It is a good place for the beginners as well. No expensive equipments are required either. One can hire here snowboots, mufflers, woollen socks, wind-proof jackets and caps, ski sticks and goggles. One can always seek the help of an instructor.

PAHALGAM

     At an altitude of 2130 metres above sea level, it is at the confluence of streams from Lidder river and Sheshnag lake.

Lidder river: A deep and exotic presentation of the nature
Around Pahalgam there are many interesting places. Pony is better to travel. 16 km from Pahalgam is Chandanwari, the starting point for the Amarnath Yatra, during July-August. Amarnath Cave is the abode of Lord Shiva. Motoring is possible up to Chandanwari. From here the track is steep. On foot or by pony again 11 km is Sheshnag lake. Again 13 km is the last stop, Panchtarni. Amarnath cave is 6 km away. During Sawan month an ice stalagmite forms a natural Shiv ling which waxes and wanes with the phases of the moon. The Government makes all arrangenments for the pilgrims. Every pilgrim, pony owner, dandiwala is registered.

SONAMARG

     At an altitude of 3,000 metres above sea level, it is ``A meadow of Gold'', where Sindh meanders through. Pony can take you to Thajiwas glacier, a summer attraction.

Sonamarg, mountains in the morning

How to reach: There are direct flights to Srinagar from Delhi via Jammu. Road links Srinagar with Jammu. The nearest railhead for Srinagar is also Jammu. For Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Sonamarg you have to travel from Srinagar by road only. You have to return to Srinagar from one resort to go to other. That is, there are no interconnecting routes for the three resorts. Gulmarg is 87 km from Srinagar, Pahalgam is 96 km and Sonamarg 87 km.

Climate: The temperature in June-August summer is 25 deg to 35 deg C. It plummets to 7 deg C in spring ( March-May) and autumn (Oct - Nov). In winter (Dec-Feb) temperature drops to minus 10 deg C. Heavy woollens are required in winter and light ones at other times, though one can move without woollens in summer in Srinagar. Winter is peak season only for Gulmarg. In all the four resorts there is snowfall in winter and rainfall in spring.

Shopping: Pure woollen shawls are a good buy. A pure Pashmina shawl costs thousands of rupees.

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