The world’s largest igloo cafe, located in Gulmarg, Kashmir, has finally opened its doors to visitors until mid-March, the end of winter. Part of the renowned ski resorts of Gulmarg, the cafe is the group’s second attempt in India, much larger than the one built last year.
Cafe management, Kolahoi Group, said the snow cafe concept was incredibly popular in Switzerland, Finland and Canada. Several of them even have facilities to stay.
“I thought Gulmarg saw a lot of snow so why not start this concept here,” said igloo designer Syed Wasim Shah. cited as told.
An igloo is a hut-like structure built with snow. The air pockets trapped inside the snow act as insulators to keep the igloo from becoming unbearably cold.
Shah had built a similar cafe – the largest in Asia and his first such attempt in India – last winter. It was 12.5 feet tall and 22 feet in diameter and had four tables that could accommodate up to 16 customers.
This year’s igloo measures 38 feet high and 44 feet in diameter and is large enough to accommodate approximately 40 guests at a time. “According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the tallest cafe so far is in Switzerland, and its height is 33.8 feet and its diameter is 42.4 feet. So it’s bigger than that” , Shah said.
Artwork includes a hand-engraved copper samovar to give the cafe a traditional Kashmiri touch. Sheepskins were placed on the tables and benches made of snow and ice to make the seats warm and comfortable. A guest can spend about an hour inside the igloo or until it gets cold.
Building this year’s igloo required 25 members working in shifts and took two months to complete.
The cafe has become a center of attraction for locals as well as tourists who throng to the resort.
(With contributions from Times of India and IANS)
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