Tourist scams Gulmarg, Srinagar JK - eNidhi India Travel Blog

Tourist scams Gulmarg, Srinagar JK

Srinagar is a beautiful state blessed with unique landscape, snow and beauty but like most tourist destinations in India, tourism is the main source of income here and many have resorted to scamming visitors in one way or the other, in an attempt to make some extra money, leaving tourists in bad state end of their trip. Of course locals need to earn from money from tourists, but it is also important not to leave tourists with an impression that they were looted or ripped off. One bad experience of a tourist will discourage several from his/her friends/family/online followers to consider visiting J&K and the negative publicity will have long term negative impact affecting even genuine operators.

I'm listed some of the popular ways in which tourists are scammed in Jammu & Kashmir- from my personal experience and observations. Do your research, plan well and safeguard yourself.

Scam 01: Unnecessary Jacket & Boot Rental

Your driver will take you to a shop that rents jackets and boots, stating it is -20 degrees on top and your existing clothing is NOT enough. Extra jacket may not be needed depending on below factors

  • Temperature depends on season- if not peak winder (November to Feb), temperature might be manageable by normal jackets for most adults
  • Only if you are going up in Gondola Stage 1, stage 2 then temperature will be lot lower. At Gulmarg entrance it was very much manageable in March 1st week
  • Jacket rentals are available at Gulmarg as well. You can reach there, assess the situation and then decide if it is needed, instead of renting one at Tangmarg or elsewher.

Precautions to take: Check online for weather, consider the season, take input from your host/friends, your fitness, capacity of your existing jacket, how high you will be going and then take a decision if you need a jacket. If in doubt you can refuse initially and rent once you arrive in Gulmarg or other such destinations.

Tourist Scam 02: Taxi from Srinagar won't take you to final destination

Many destinations will need you to spend on additional taxi from a mid way point. The taxi you rented from Srinagar will not be allowed to reach till top citing various excuses. During peak winter when snow is a lot, this is probably required if your taxi doesn't have chain and 4x4 setup, often this is local unions trying to extract more money from tourists.

Precautions to take: Talk to taxi operator in Srinagar if he will go all the way or till certain point. Talk to a hotel owner in destination- say Gulmarg asking if roads are open or accessible only by 4x4/chained cars. If not accessible by normal cars you've to decide if paying extra 4000-5000 INR is worth or if you should go to some other destinations.

During peak winter this may be a genuine case but in summer normal vehicles can reach and it could be just a scam to extract more money from you.

 Scam 03: Sledge rental/ horse rental

Precautions to take: Do not commit to any schemes soon after arriving. Take some time, have some tea, explore your options, think in right mind and then decide.

Scam 04: Overpriced Shikara rentals

While Govt defined Shikara rental is about 770 INR per hour, you might be easily scammed to part with thousands of rupees. Operators will confuse you with number of points to visit and other things.

If you just want to try for a short distance you can spend less than 100 INR going from ghat to park

If you're under budget, say the operator you'll only pay Govt rate of 770 INR per hour and they should drop you back within that time

Scam 05: Bike rental

Bike rental agency will keep your original document as security and once you return they will highlight some existing damage as new and try to extract more money from you. 

Always make full video of the bike from all angles and all parts closely in broad daylight before taking rental. List all existing damages with photo and inform them.

Bike rental is also risky if you're solo and not in a group. You will not know how well the rental agency is maintaining its bikes. In case of accidents/break down you will not find any help easily in remote areas.

Scam 06: Unsolicited guides getting into your car

Beware of your taxi driver letting unknown men in once he reaches a destinations- These could be local guides trying to trick you into buying a specific service that you may not need. Stay alert if such a thing happens with you. Ask them to get off the car or tell the driver to take half the rent from them as the cab is now a shared taxi.


  1. Yes. Kashmir Tourism is full of scams. They try to loot tourists from all directions. Family tourists are most prone to scams. Dal Lake, Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Pehelgao everywhere taxi, horse ride scams where govt fixed rates have no value and they add so many other charges and confuse and even threaten tourists.

  2. Thank you good info,,,,


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