In order to reach Gulmar, you must first arrive at Srinagar by plane. Please visit the transportation section of my VT Srinagar page for more information on this aspect.
Once you are at Srinagar, it takes about 2 hours drive (via 4 wheel drive vehicle) to reach Gulmarg (Gulmarg is located west of Srinagar). During the drive, you will pass by many beautiful farmland, villages etc and you will also see many military trucks and soldiers along the way. On a clear day, you can see the surrounding snow-capped Himalayan mountains. The journey is mostly on flat land until you reach the foothills of the Afarwat Mountains. From here onwards, it is about 30 minutes uphill before you finally reach the alpine village of Gulmarg.
If you want to visit Gulmarg and other parts of Kashmir, it is best that you arrange with a tour agency as it difficult to get around on your own. During our trip, we made arrangements with Shalimar Travels. They are good, reliable and our guide Mr Majid is knowledgable. If you are interested, you can contact them at:
10 Polo View, Residency Road
Mr Majid's contact number on his namecard is 09419403093. He can communicate in English and told me he checks his email (see above) often.
The fastest way up the Afarwat Mountains from Gulmarg is by the cable cars (also called the gondola). The cable car station is conveniently located in a central location at Gulmarg (anyway, the town is rather small) and the operation starts at 9am daily.
The fare per round trip up to the middle section of the mountain called Kongdoor (about 3000 metres above sea level) is 200 rupees per person. The cable cars are frequent and the journey up to the middle section takes about 8 minutes (about 2.5 km distance), with very beautiful sceneries along the way.
The cable car also goes up to the top section of the mountain (about 4000 metres above sea level), but you need to sign a consent form first because of going up a high altitude within a short time can be dangerous to some people because of altitude sickness.
Gulmarg is about 50 Km or 25 miles from Srinagar the capital city of the state. It takes about 90 minutes to reach by a hired cab.. Taxi unions at Srinagar charges Rs 1,200 for return trip.. Even if you are staying back and do not want to return the same day they would charge you about Rs 1,100-1,200(for a Sumo or Qualis).. But maybe you can negotiate for something less. Luxury cabs -- READ SUVs such as Bolero etc would cost more
Road is pretty average..infact in most parts its bad.. On the way you would find lotsa people selling cherries and strawberries.. I am sure they would be cheaper compared to the city.. Though i didnt buy.. so not too sure..
The road passes through lil villages and all along the route(like the rest of Kashmir) you would find a machine gun totting army man every 100-500 meters idling away their time waiting for a terrorist to pounce upon..
Gulmarg is a small place and the main part can be easily walked through.. It is just about 12-15 km for one round trip of the immediate meadow of Gulmarg(I think it is called inner circle)
Though pony operators would hound you all around.. they are more aggressive close to the entry point.. where all the day tourists get down..
If you have your own car then you can travel within Gulmarg .. but not all the places.. and I guess taxis are not allowed to operate within for environment/pollution reasons(THANK GOD.. WHO NEEDS THEM ANYWAY)