Wow! Had quite an engaging day unlike y'day. Enjoyed a lovely morning weather on way to Gulmarg with cool, pleasant breeze gently massaging every single pore of my body n soul. Ah, sitting beside a driver was never so carefree n relaxing!! Gulmarg treated us with downpour while on way to the Gondola from taxi stand. This is something deliberately done to favour the pony-wallahs as the long 1.5-2.0 km stretch can actually be demotivating for someone not used to casual, brisk walking even as motorable roads are available!! Then i had to negotiate my way thru the unrelenting touts who make it a point to prove that for riding "Pushpak Vimaan" all such efforts n pain are worth. Gondola itself was truly awesome as it takes u to an elevation of 3,950 mtrs. Getting out of our Gondola itself was an enthralling experience. In the company of some state sponsored VIP's you also feel privileged. I made up for the missing 50 mtrs (from the psychologically ego boosting 4k mark) by climbing to the snow point which shouldn't be anything less than 250 mtrs above from where Gondola leaves us. It was a surreal experience to feel the real "snow" in hands & get myself clicked in 4 different poses on a ski at a measly 50 bucks. Coffee n maggi at that remote place were always meant to be worth every cent spent. It's a real pity i couldn't climb up to the ULTIMATE heights as we had to go down within 3 hrs!! On our way back to the taxi stand we hired ponnies & saw the lush 21 holes Gulmarg golf course, probably the most decorated one in the country.
Tips: 1. Always carry one umbrella each for all the group members. 2. Don't get frustrated with the forgettable Gondola booking experience. The management is hands-in-glove with the unscruplous touts but keep your spirits high for what's in store ahead. 3. On reaching stage 1, don't just stop there. It would be a good idea to immediately proceed to the stage 2 which is worth all the time u can spend (or are allowed to spend).