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  1. #1
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    TR: GULMARG '08/09 - COMMUTING TO GULMARG

    COMMUTING TO GULMARG

    Leaving Gulmarg was proving difficult as conditions were getting better through March, but by the 15th hardly anyone was left in town. Punished by nine straight days of riding I moved downhill to Srinagar with an eye on the forecast. As long as freezing levels remained low enough it was pretty certain that 18 inches of snow would be falling at G4 on Affarwat by the weekend. With spring bursting out in the rice paddies and mustard fields of the valley Srinagar was more appealing, more interesting, its conveniences were a welcome change, and the living was less expensive. At the best of times Gulmarg could be boring apres ski, but in mid-March it was a ghost town; the hustle and bustle of the city would be a sharp contrast to the everyday sameness of an empty resort village.

    Rain at Dal Lake means snow uphill. Instead of being slopeside as I have been for 75 days, there is now a pretty good distance and several transfers between me and Gulmarg, plus the matter of locating my stored equipment in Tangmarg and re-mounting bindings to a snowboard before I can make any turns. Internet shows the 21st of March as the first day clear after the storm, but I've been burned too many times by the J&KCCC, so my plan is to roll for Gulmarg on the 22cd, leaving them a day to muck it up at the gondola. (Thanks to informed guesswork - the gondola remained closed on the 21st all day).




    Getting off to an early start is key to making quick transfers at the depots in Srinagar and Tangmarg. The plan is to reach the gondola by 10:00 AM, and there's no reason to expect it open any earlier. Morning at Dal Lake is when the wholesale vegetable traders meet to exchange goods and money, so we swing by the wet market leaving the lakeside neighborhood for a city taxi stand.




    First a visit to the tea stall to fill the thermos.




    Buy some Kashmiri bread to fill the pit - "Only two piece, sir?"




    Happy vendors supply a peel and eat breakfast.




    A rickshaw will get you anywhere, but in this case, to the transportation depot west of town - Batmaloo, also the site of a large produce market, one of the most ancient in central Asia.




    There's little point arriving before 8:00 AM on Sunday; far worse though, is not being in the first vehicle leaving for Tangmarg, then you have time to kill. These are share taxis - Sumo jeeps whose drivers expect to seat no less than 8 passengers, though 10 is the target. Buses are also available for the trip between Srinagar/Batmaloo and Tangmarg, but the savings in cost is little, the time lost to stops is tremendous.




    Batmaloo is enormous so make sure your rickshaw driver knows which area has your vehicles to your destination. Find a Sumo to Tangmarg at this corner by the Lala Restaurant.




    Mind you, it doesn't take long for Batmaloo to wake up, and when it does it howls. Not a pretty place either, but not the swamp it was in December.




    Commuters. One to work, the other to "work".




    The famous Chinnar trees that line the roads in Kashmir.




    Sorry mate, no time for the hubbly-bubbly but enjoy!




    From Tangmarg there are only two passengers in the one Sumo going to Gulmarg, but a bus is leaving directly, so I opt in. In late March the roads are fully clear, traffic is less, so the bus takes not much more time time than a Sumo. In winter taking the bus would be a suicide-mission for time-travel: you'd end up pushing the thing and arrive in Gulmarg after two hours. Army officer here is checking to make sure no one is packin' snowlerblades.




    The big B on the short bus.




    I'm looking at a long walk from the bus depot in Gulmarg to the gondola when Billa Bakshi arrives with a friend and offers me a ride to the hill on his Enfield 350. Tim gets there by foot I guess, but at what other "ski resort" on earth do 75% of its customers on a given day arrive by motorcycle?




    Hot lap in the Gondola Bowl, 22 March.



    Other TR's from Gulmarg, in case you missed:

    TR: GULMARG '08/09 - THE GULMARG GONDOLA
    TR: GULMARG '08/09 - TERRAIN, PT. ONE
    TR: GULMARG '08/09 - TERRAIN, PT. TWO
    TR: GULMARG '08/09 - SHARKS FIN
    TR: GULMARG '08/09 - COMMUTING TO GULMARG
    TR: GULMARG '08/09 - 23 MARCH: 1 GONDOLA, 1 DAY, 2 RIDERS
    TR: GULMARG '08/09 - KASHMIR HUMOR
    GULMARG '08/09 - 6meter crown
    Last edited by boltonoutlaw; 04-07-2009 at 12:51 AM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by boltonoutlaw View Post
    COMMUTING TO GULMARG
    I'm looking at a long walk from the bus depot in Gulmarg to the gondola when Billa Bakshi arrives with a friend and offers me a ride to the hill on his Enfield 350. Tim gets there by foot I guess, but at what other "ski resort" on earth do 75% of its customers on a given day arrive by motorcycle?


    I'm pretty sure I've never before seen someone riding a motorcycle while wearing an Avalung. Safety first!
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  3. #3
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    Boulton,your gulmarg TRs have been a frigging nice reads! Thanks for taking your time and posting them!

    The floggings will continue until morale improves.

  4. #4
    doughboyshredder Guest
    this picture makes me very happy:


  5. #5
    Join Date
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    billa rocks! what a super cool dude. not to mention about the only kashmiri dude in gulmarg i trusted enough to ski with while there. good memories right there in that smile!

  6. #6
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    interesting.

  7. #7
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    this is good beta.

    q:/ english fairly common or does more than a smattering of the local help things? given the number of possible dialects, i'm not even sure what the predominant language is .. ?

  8. #8
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    the best info in this thread is about finding the correct sumo in Srinagar. You cant see it in the shot of Batmaloo, but sumos, rickshaws, and buses go on for 300yrds. and if you started on the other side and had to walk, chances are you would get run over by the psychotic drivers.

    As a side note, that is the depot that was a target of a few bombs last winter.

    Quote Originally Posted by khyber.pass View Post
    this is good beta.

    q:/ english fairly common or does more than a smattering of the local help things? given the number of possible dialects, i'm not even sure what the predominant language is .. ?
    english is fine, i have no idea what the name of the local dialect is but i know its not hindi or arabic.

    the only thing i remember: buud buud snih(sp?)= good good snow

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mc_roon View Post
    As a side note, that is the depot that was a target of a few bombs last winter.

    the only thing i remember: buud buud snih(sp?)= good good snow
    snow = sheen in Urdu.
    The grenade attack at Batmaloo was 24 July 2008. Link: GRENADE KILLS 9 AT SRINAGAR BUS DEPOT

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