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Gulmarg India

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

We have just arrived home from a couple of weeks snowboarding in the beautiful Kashmir region of Gulmarg, India.

 

The snow was AMAZING and the people really friendly.

 

I am just putting a warning out for the company Kashmir heliskiing, as we were booked to heliboard with them. We paid upfront and were not able to do it, as the helicopter did not arrive in time.

We were promised a full refund, but upon our return to Australia the company refused to answer emails and calls which ive found quite dishonest.

 

If you are thinking of going there is a wonderful group called Bills Trips who run different activities around the mountain and are great guys:)
 

All in all a wonderful experiance.

post #2 of 5

I was in Gulmarg the end of Jan/beginning Feb --it was amazing. On our way home, the second day of the curfew, a South African was shoved into our cab. He had come for a week of heli-skiing only to find that Kashmir Heliski hadn't received the necessary approvals to fly. Granted this was at the time of the heightened tensions with Pakistan, but you'd think that a heli company would at least let you know the scoop before boarding an international flight.i think it's just the way business is done in India. 

 

In my experience, don't expect to ever get a refund for anything paid in advance. A word of warning to anyone travelling to India.

 

byw, it is an amazing place.

 

mike

post #3 of 5

Yeah, don't ever pay in advance.  I do a fair amount of business in India.  I find that their interpretation of the contract changes the minute you hand them the money.

 

Truly an amazing place.

post #4 of 5

Habacomike

 

What is this thing about Curfew? How many days. How did it affect your skiing.

 

marty

post #5 of 5

It didn't affect skiing.  The last day of our trip we were supposed to spend in Srinigar.  The Indian government decided to execute, in top secret, a Kashmiri who was accused and convicted of plotting the terrorist attacks on Parliament in 2001.  The Kashmiris dispute whether he was involved at all or was a convenient suspect.  Let me say that there are highly educated intellectuals loyal to remaining part of India who believe there are human rights abuses in Kashmir.  There are 700,000 Indian troops in Kashmir, and Gulmarg is the site of the Indian High Altitude Warfare Center.  When the Indian government decided to execute the man, they imposed a valley-wide curfew on Kashmir.  Folk who tried to get to the airport that day were turned around by mobs protesting the execution.  As a result, we weren't able to go to Srinigar and spend the evening on the houseboats on Dal Lake.  We instead left for the airport at 4 AM the next day on the theory that protestors have to sleep sometime.  We arrived at the airport at 5 am; the problem was that the airport gate doesn't open until 7 and the terminal doesn't open until 8:30 or so.  So, the gentleman from South Africa was stuck in our taxi by a taxi driver who wanted to leave.  Given it was quite cold, we took him in our cab willingly.  He had tried to go to the airport the day before and had been turned around by mobs who were enforcing a general strike.

 

All of this is a bit melodramatic.  Yes, it is true that the US State Department still recommends that US citizens do not travel to Kashmir.  European governments removed such a recommendation a few years ago, and no foreign tourists have been killed in Kashmir in more than a decade.  Still, Gulmarg is 6 miles from Pakistan and not that far from the Swat Valley.  It is an adventure in more ways than skiing!

 

Soon, I will complete a trip report.

 

Mike

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