Gulmarg Travel Blog› entry 30 of 41 › view all entries
Chris and I found our way back to the village and a bus into Tangmarg. We hired small pack-horses, with a guide, and began a steep climb following a road for a ways, then onto a rocky trail which soon turned to snow. After an hour, through pine timbers, we reached a high valley and the town of Gulmarg. A room at the City View Hotel cost 20 Rupees, plus another five for firewood.
Gulmarg's claim to fame was being the world's highest green golf course which layed under three feet of snow. But an annual Ski Festival was taking place. On-lookers sipped hot chai as wealthy Indians, in white bunny suits, raced across the finish-line. A military band, bedecked in plaid maroon uniforms, played bagpipes, brass, and drums. I tried to barter for the shiny regiment medallion pinned to the tuba player's sash, but was told, "Only for band.
Atop the hill, near the starting line, Chris and I met one of the event coordinators and he asked why we weren't participating. We regretted not hearing about the festival earlier. At the plush nearby Pine View Hotel, we savored a pot of hot tea and, while our wet feet warmed, scanned Time magazine and the English-printed newspaper The Hindustan Times. The Prime Minister of India was predicting a Pakistani invasion of the region within the year, explaining a build-up of troops which we had noticed. Indira Ghandi also predicted the escalation of terrorism by the Kashmir Liberation Army. We were disheartened that such a wonderful world was being afflicted by politics.