Traveling from Srinagar to Sonmarg, Kashmir || Spectacular views of the Sind River and Snow-covered Himalayan Mountains

When it comes to the route, very few routes would beat the spectacular beauty of the drive from Srinagar to Sonmarg. For one, you follow the Sind River all through. So you have a mountain river flowing alongside all through.

When it comes to the route, very few routes would beat the spectacular beauty of the drive from Srinagar to Sonmarg. For one, you follow the Sind River all through. So you have a mountain river flowing alongside all through.  

You follow its meandering route all through and then there are snow-clad mountains providing a nice backdrop. As you draw closer to Sonmarg, you start seeing frozen ice (not sure if they are glaciers) on the side of the road, melting slow into the mountain river below.

You follow its meandering route all through and then there are snow-clad mountains providing a nice backdrop. As you draw closer to Sonmarg, you start seeing frozen ice (not sure if they are glaciers) on the side of the road, melting slow into the mountain river below. 


There are two routes from Srinagar to Sonmarg - one goes directly via NH1 and the other follows the Bandipur-Srinagar route for some distance before joining NH1 again. We took the direct route. The drive was a sheer 2.5 hour-long bliss.

There are two routes from Srinagar to Sonmarg - one goes directly via NH1 and the other follows the Bandipur-Srinagar route for some distance before joining NH1 again. We took the direct route. The drive was a sheer 2.5 hour-long bliss. 


During your drive, not only do you see tall cedar trees, you also see mountain climbers climbing up a rather steep face of sheer rock. You see brick building jutting against a cobalt blue sky. You see lush green pastures and you see phiren-clad Kashmiri's going about their lives.

During your drive, not only do you see tall cedar trees, you also see mountain climbers climbing up a rather steep face of sheer rock. You see brick building jutting against a cobalt blue sky. You see lush green pastures and you see phiren-clad Kashmiri's going about their lives. 


At times, if you are there at the right time, you may spot distant waterfalls. The place is almost heartbreakingly beautiful. One thing that we missed here though were the colorful birds that one spots easily in Himachal Pradesh. Mostly it was crows, sparrows, mynahs, pigeons, and bulbuls that were visible. These are all beautiful birds, but Himachal has a much wider variety of birds.

At times, if you are there at the right time, you may spot distant waterfalls. The place is almost heartbreakingly beautiful. One thing that we missed here though were the colorful birds that one spots easily in Himachal Pradesh. Mostly it was crows, sparrows, mynahs, pigeons, and bulbuls that were visible. These are all beautiful birds, but Himachal has a much wider variety of birds. 


What I loved about the terrain that we travelled through is that though we are high up in the mountains, it is a valley and the drive is never such that it will cause mountain-sickness. It is like driving through plains, just that you are surrounded by snow-clad mountains and tall pine, cedar, and fir trees.

What I loved about the terrain that we travelled through is that though we are high up in the mountains, it is a valley and the drive is never such that it will cause mountain-sickness. It is like driving through plains, just that you are surrounded by snow-clad mountains and tall pine, cedar, and fir trees. 


Our driver was a talkative person and we were glad for that because he kept sharing information about the places we were passing through and sharing about the local issues. However, he was the one who got us into a deal with the ponywallah in Pahalgam and this time we were clear that we will not get caught in that trap. We had decided that we will not hire ponies in Sonmarg.

Our driver was a talkative person and we were glad for that because he kept sharing information about the places we were passing through and sharing about the local issues. However, he was the one who got us into a deal with the ponywallah in Pahalgam and this time we were clear that we will not get caught in that trap. We had decided that we will not hire ponies in Sonmarg. 


But more about that later. There is one observation about the hillstations in India. Especially when I visited Scottish Highlands in UK, this contrast hit me hard. In Scotland, the placement, paints, designs of houses, restaurants etc is all done keeping in mind the aesthetics of a place.

But more about that later. There is one observation about the hillstations in India. Especially when I visited Scottish Highlands in UK, this contrast hit me hard. In Scotland, the placement, paints, designs of houses, restaurants etc is all done keeping in mind the aesthetics of a place.  


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However, in India, that is hardly ever the case. All kinds of building, whether they help enhance the landscape or not, keep cropping up here and there. And as a result, almost all beautiful places in India, at some point turn into a concrete jungle. We do not pay attention to the material we use, whether it goes well with the terrain and the climate of a place or not.

However, in India, that is hardly ever the case. All kinds of building, whether they help enhance the landscape or not, keep cropping up here and there. And as a result, almost all beautiful places in India, at some point turn into a concrete jungle. We do not pay attention to the material we use, whether it goes well with the terrain and the climate of a place or not. 


I guess, one can afford to think about aesthetics when you are already meeting all your needs. Beauty and sophistication is a luxury that not many in our country can afford.

I guess, one can afford to think about aesthetics when you are already meeting all your needs. Beauty and sophistication is a luxury that not many in our country can afford.


In Kashmir though we could see that concrete is still not so popular. It was good to see houses and offices built of wood, bricks, and stone. This material goes much better with the terrain and the backdrop.

In Kashmir though we could see that concrete is still not so popular. It was good to see houses and offices built of wood, bricks, and stone. This material goes much better with the terrain and the backdrop. 


The best part of this trip was that we took it easy. We were not in a hurry to get anywhere. It gave us time to observe our surroundings and take plenty of pictures. However we also feel that with a bit more research, we could have covered more ground and seen a lot more places en route these tourist spots.

The best part of this trip was that we took it easy. We were not in a hurry to get anywhere. It gave us time to observe our surroundings and take plenty of pictures. However we also feel that with a bit more research, we could have covered more ground and seen a lot more places en route these tourist spots.  

Overall it was a nice drive to and from Sonmarg. We enjoyed it as much as our short stay in Sonmarg. There will be a separate post about that.

Overall it was a nice drive to and from Sonmarg. We enjoyed it as much as our short stay in Sonmarg. There will be a separate post about that. 

When you look at the spectacular landscapes of Kashmir and the beauty of the valley, you kind of forget that this region is still undergoing turmoil. But as a tourist, it is still advisable to stay vigilant and make sure that you stick to areas that are safe for tourists. I wish it wasn't like that, but it is the reality and there is no escaping it.

When you look at the spectacular landscapes of Kashmir and the beauty of the valley, you kind of forget that this region is still undergoing turmoil. But as a tourist, it is still advisable to stay vigilant and make sure that you stick to areas that are safe for tourists. I wish it wasn't like that, but it is the reality and there is no escaping it.  

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