Kashmir is a beauty. It truly is a paradise on Earth. But where you stay and the places you visit will make your trip even more memorable. We had been to Kashmir earlier this year and while at Gulmarg we stayed at the famous Highlands Park. In fact, this was one place that my sister was very insistent on and I am glad she stuck to it.
Gulmarg is a popular skiing town in Kashmir and it is located at an altitude of 2,650 meters. Gulmarg is easily accessible via road all year-long and it takes about 3 hours from Srinagar. Gulmarg has a handful of hotels but the one that has the most gorgeous view and rustic charm is definitely Highlands Park.
Highlands Park has the view of one of the world-famous 18 hole Golf Course on one side which also serves as a skiing spot during winters and snow-capped mountains on the other. In spring and summer, you would be surrounded by greenery everywhere you see and in winter you would be feasted to a winter wonderland.
What I really liked about Highlands Park is the design of the place. It is filled with 8 separate cottages that house 35 rooms. Each cottage has 2 designated caretakers who take care of all your needs – from up keeping the room to bringing in room service.
The cottages are designed with a mix of both traditional and modern hues. Each room is equipped with a traditional room heater called Bukhari which is wood fired. The caretakers will help in loading the Bhukari. It is designed with 2 openings – one for loading in the firewood and the 2nd for controlling the amount of oxygen you let in. By adjusting the opening in the front you would allow more oxygen in thereby resulting in faster burning helping the room warm up faster.
There is also a tiny jug top is filled with water and helps with humidity. For additional warmth in winters, the beds also have heated comforters.
The hotel also has a separate lounge and restaurant, which has a breathtaking view of the golf course and the mountain ranges. The food here is a delicacy. Whether you want to indulge in traditional Kashmiri dishes or feast yourself to an English breakfast – they have something to sweeten your palette.
There are tons of activities to do in Gulmarg from skiing (in winters) to going on Gondola ride that takes you to up a height of 13,000 feet or just getting lost in nature. But one of the best things to see is to look up at the night sky. With less air and light pollution it is one of the best places to view the starry sky. If you are lucky and the sky is clear you can see millions of stars in the galaxy.
Time to get lost in nature!