The picturesque hill town of Gulmarg in Jammu and Kashmir has got a new ski lift, which could help increase tourist footfalls in the valley.
This is the first ski lift that has been constructed in the heart of Gulmarg.
Its prime attraction is that adventure enthusiasts can use the lift both uphill and downhill.
According to historians, the ancient name of Gulmarg was 'Gaurimarg', the name of Lord Shiva's wife.
Later, King Yousuf Shah Chak changed its name to Gulmarg, which implied 'the place of roses'.
The hill resort of Gulmarg has been summer retreat for the kings, including Yousuf Shah Chak and Mughal Emperor Jahangir.
The motive to make the ski lift a popular attraction is to help those interested in such sports to pursue their passion.
“This is the demand of the day; it is renowned all over the world. People want to come here from far and wide and people had participated in large numbers in our ex-programme. There was a demand to resume the programme again. Keeping in view the demand, we have an extension of the programme, so I believe this is a very good step,” Tourism Minister Ghulam Ahmad Mir said.
At this time of the year, Gulmarg is blanketed with snow, which attracts skiers from all over the world.
“This is a very good spot. Initially, there were only two slopes and we would get bored. But, there is a new slope now and we are having fun. This is a good technique,” said Zainab, a tourist.
Another popular tourist destination, Baba Reshi Shrine, which is named after the renowned Muslim scholar and saint Baba Reshi, is situated at a distance of five kilometres from Gulmarg.
The gondola ride, which covers an aerial distance of five kilometres, connecting Gulmarg with Kangdoor in the first phase, and with Apharwat, in the second phase is popular among tourists.
Gulmarg has been attracting more skiers from the West since the resort's cable car was extended in 2005, usually those of a more adventurous breed as the resort is in a militarised zone close to the disputed border with Pakistan.