Friday, September 11, 2020



In 1928, Maharaja Hari Singh established the 'Tourist Department' in the state of J&K by abolishing the old establishment known as the Visitor's Bureau. The newly created department focused on the development of Gulmarg as a prime destination. Gulmarg had attracted the attention of the British population of North India during the rule of Maharaja Partap Singh. A polo ground was created in Gulmarg. A ski club was started in Gulmarg. A golf field was also developed. Huts with 2,3and 4 bedrooms were also built. Since Britishers would flock to Gulmarg with their families, Nedou's hotel created a dancing hall and a recreational club. In 1939, one could obtain a hut at an annual lease for five hundred rupees.

        ( Mahatta photo shop Gulmarg)
The Maharaja also brought piped water to Gulmarg from nearby springs. The Maharaja wanted to bring water from Ningli stream which happens to be about 10 Km away from Gulmarg but it was not feasible. Originating from Apharawat glacier (13990 feet altitude) and Alpather lake, it moves down to join Jhelum near Sopore.
Almost all the shops in Gulmarg belonged to Kashmiris. Pandits sold medicines, toiletries and wine while Muslim shopkeepers sold jewellery, leather goods, provisions, shoes, handicrafts, etc. Some Bandookhaars (gunsmith ) from Rainawari had their shops in Gulmarg. To this day there is a locality in Rainawari called Bandookhaar Mohalla.
A pair of good quality leather shoe was available for 3 rupees. Many Britishers would order shoes in Gulmarg. You had to give measurement and then a try to get your new shoe made in about 4 days. The shoes were made from leather imported from outside the state
A photoshop was also opened by W Lambert ( A Britisher who had his main business in present-day Lambert lane in Srinagar) at Gulmarg.W. Lambert also opened a Chemist shop at Gulmarg.
The Rani Temple in Gulmarg was built by Maharaja Hari Singh’s wife Rani Mohini Bai. She was from Dharmpur’s Sisodia clan of Rajputs. Maharaja Hari Singh had married three times before he finally married Tara Devi from Katoch Rajput family of Kangra who bore him a son. All the three wives died issueless ( Rani from Sisodia clan of Dharmpur died during pregnancy in 1915 AD ). A Kashmiri Pandit Jia Lal from Sathu Barbarshah, Srinagar used to be the caretaker of this temple. His Lal was well known to my maternal grandfather. 
The St.Mary's church in Gulmarg was built in 1902..
( Avtar Mota)

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CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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