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When you talk about tourist attractions in the small town of Gulmarg, the word Gulmarg Gondola comes to mind the first. There are plenty of other places to see as well; but Gondola . .
Country: India
City: Srinagar
Duration: 5 Hour(s) - 0 Minute(s)
Tour Category: Rides
Package Itinerary

When you talk about tourist attractions in the small town of Gulmarg, the word “ Gulmarg Gondola “ comes to mind the first. There are plenty of other places to see as well; but Gondola is what really draws thousands of tourists here each year; both local and also from other parts of the country. So popular it is that during peak tourist season; you may have to get in line and wait for hours before you will be able to board a Gondola. As a matter of fact, not just Gulmarg but a Gondola ride is considered among prime attractions of a trip to all of Kashmir. Why? Because it is the world’s second highest Gondola ride.

For a brief introduction, Gulmarg Gondola is one of the world’s highest operating cable cars; ferrying tourists from Gulmarg town to the top of nearby Apharwat Peak. A joint venture between the J&K government and a French firm Poma, this two-stage ropeway is capable of ferrying about 600 people per hour. It is divided in two stages; or more popularly known as two Phases. What these phases are and how you can plan for this cable car ride is what I will explain in the article below; along with a few other tips based on my observations.

Gulmarg Gondola Details

There are two phases of Gulmarg Gondola. Gulmarg town is the starting point of the ride and the top of Apharwat peak is the end point. Kungdoor is the center point in between.

Boarding Point

And this is the spot where you jump on the Gondola. It is inside the building. The Gondola actually continues to remain in movement and never stop. So yes, you will actually have to get in while it remains in motion. It will not halt and wait for you get on board.

The ticket counter however is outside so make sure you buy the tickets first before getting inside the building.

Gulmarg Gondola Phase 1

So once you have the tickets in hand, you will board the Gondola for phase 1.

Once you get on board, it will take about 10-12 minutes at most and you will arrive at the Kungdoor station; the end point of Phase 1. .

The ride maybe short but the view is what makes it all worth it. . . There are a lot of small teas stalls, restaurants as well so you can step out, walk around, enjoy the vistas and have something to eat. There is also a small waterfall nearby at about 2 kilometers of a walk. If you want to, you can also walk to the waterfall but do note though that it is actually a very small one and nothing too great. The 2 kilometers of walk however is quite steep and will definitely take it out of you.

Gulmarg Gondola Phase 2

A lot of people and mostly families travel only till Phase 1 and go back from here. If you however want to go further then you board another Gondola to the top of nearby Apharwat peak. This is Phase 2. You will have to buy tickets for both Phase 1 and 2 from the booking counter at Gulmarg only so keep that in mind. There is no booking counter at Kungdoor.

For people going to Phase 2, do not step out at Kungdoor station. Get off the 1st Gondola and right next to it is the boarding point for 2nd one. Phase 2 as well is a 10 – 12 minutes ride and will bring you to the top of Apharwat peak. The vistas however will improve tremendously and you will really enjoy the natural beauty around. There are no eating points here. If you are a bit adventurous type, then you can trek to the nearby Alpather Lake; about 4-5 kilometers of walk away.

How to Plan Your Ride

A better way of doing the trip would be that you come straight to Phase 2 from Gulmarg first. Walk around and enjoy the beauty at top of the mountain. Trek to Alpather lake if you wish to. Then on your way back, get off at Phase 1 and step out. See the meadows here, eat around and then take the Phase 1 Gondola back to Gulmarg.

Good to know information is that the end of Phase 2 is not really the top of Apharwat peak. It actually is at Kongdoori Mountain, a shoulder of nearby Apharwat Peak. Top of Apharwat is again 5 kilometers of trekking towards Alpather Lake, to your right as you will notice in the first picture I posted on this page.. Standing up here, you can see the actual line of Control and Pakistan administered Kashmir.

Gulmarg Gondola Booking

There are two ways that you can buy tickets for Gondola ride. You can either get it in person upon arriving at the counter. Or you can buy it online from the official . Price is same .

Also, you will have to produce a valid photo ID so don’t forget to bring one. Without it, you will not get the tickets. Aadhar Card, driving license, voter’s ID or PAN Card, any government issued ID card will do.

Gulmarg Gondola Opening Time

During summer, Gondola ride for Phase 1 starts at 9 AM and at 10 AM for Phase 2. During winter season, the ride starts at 10 AM for Phase 1 and at 10:30 AM for Phase 2.

Gulmarg Gondola Closing Time

During summer, the ride is closed at 5 PM for Phase 1 and at 4 PM for Phase 2. During winter, this time is changed to 4 PM for Phase 1 and 3:30 PM for Phase 2.

Gulmarg Gondola Altitude

For phase 1, you will start from Gulmarg at an altitude of 2,650 meters and arrive at Kungdoor station, at a height of 3,100 meters. For Phase 2, you will then climb up to a height of 3,980 meters at the top of Kongdori mountain. From here, if you are up for it, you can then trek to the top of Apharwat peak at 4,200 meters

When to Hire a Guide

The only time when you can hire a guide is if you are there in peak tourist season. When it gets too crowded, they can then go stand in the queue on your behalf and arrange the ticket.

When is Gulmarg Gondola Closed?

The Gondola ride remains open throughout they year except for the times when the weather is a bit extreme; specially during winter and monsoon season. If it is snowing a bit too much; or raining with high winds then the ride is closed for safety reasons.

Alpather Lake

“Frozen Lake” is what the guides call it; even in the months of July and August. Fact is that this lake is frozen only in winter; not in summer. In order to get to the lake, after you arrive at the Phase 2 Gondola station, just start walking to your right and you will get there.

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