Gulmarg (translation: “Meadow of Flowers“) is a town, a hill station, a popular skiing destination and a notified area committee in Baramula district in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The town is within the Himalayas and is within miles of the Line of Control between India and Pakistan.
Originally named Gaurimarg or “the fair one” by shepherds in honour of the Hindu goddess Parvati, the resort was renamed Gulmarg or the “meadow of flowers” by Sultan Yusuf Shah of the Chak Dynasty who frequented the place with his mistress Habina Khatoun in the 16th century. Wild flowers of 21 different varieties were collected by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir for his gardens from here. In the 19th century, British Civil servants started using Gulmarg as a retreat to escape summers in North Indian plains. Hunting and golfing were their favourite pastimes and by 20th century three golf courses had been established in Gulmarg including one exclusively for women. One of the three golf courses established survives to the present day and at an altitude of 2,650 metres (8,690 ft) is the world’s highest golf course. In 1927, British established a ski club in Gulmarg and two annual ski events were hosted one each during Christmas and Easter. Central Asian explorer Aurel Stein also visited Gulmarg during this period.