Chilling in Sonamarg, Ganderbal District, Kashmir || Truly a gateway to heaven, specially for people who love different shades of nature

Sonmarg, also known as Sonamarg or Sonamarag, is a hill station located in the the Ganderbal District of Jammu and Kashmir. Literally, its name means "Golden Meadow". Sonmarg is at a distance of 62 kilometers from Gandebal town and 80 Kilometers from Srinagar.


Sonmarg, also known as Sonamarg or Sonamarag, is a hill station located in the the Ganderbal District of Jammu and Kashmir. Literally, its name means "Golden Meadow". Sonmarg is at a distance of 62 kilometers from Gandebal town and 80 Kilometers from Srinagar. 

Sonamarg is located at an altitude of about 2,730 meters / 8,960ft and is the place that gives rise to three of the major rivers - Sind, Lidder, and Neelum - that are tributaries to the river Jhelum that flows on into Pakistan.

Sonamarg is located at an altitude of about 2,730 meters / 8,960ft and is the place that gives rise to three of the major rivers - Sind, Lidder, and Neelum - that are tributaries to the river Jhelum that flows on into Pakistan. 


Sonamarg is close to some of the regions tallest peaks, such as Machoi Peak, Machoi Glacier, Sirbal Peak, Kolahoi Peak, and Amarnath Peak. You get some really awe-inspiring glimpses of snow-covered peaks when you are driving towards Sonamarg as well. It is ethereal, almost unreal.

Sonamarg is close to some of the regions tallest peaks, such as Machoi Peak, Machoi Glacier, Sirbal Peak, Kolahoi Peak, and Amarnath Peak. You get some really awe-inspiring glimpses of snow-covered peaks when you are driving towards Sonamarg as well. It is ethereal, almost unreal. 


While there are major rivers in the area, it is the smaller streams that run through the grasslands that add to the real beauty of the place. It may appear silent at first, but if you stick around for long enough, you will find wagtails hopping around. The entire landscape will come alive in a few moments.

While there are major rivers in the area, it is the smaller streams that run through the grasslands that add to the real beauty of the place. It may appear silent at first, but if you stick around for long enough, you will find wagtails hopping around. The entire landscape will come alive in a few moments.
 

Alpine meadows, tall cedar, pine, and fir trees, and water bodies replete with fish of several kinds place Sonamarg firmly on the tourist map of Jammu and Kashmir. If you go there with free mind and do not compel yourself to do all the touristy things, this is a perfect destination for you.

Alpine meadows, tall cedar, pine, and fir trees, and water bodies replete with fish of several kinds place Sonamarg firmly on the tourist map of Jammu and Kashmir. If you go there with free mind and do not compel yourself to do all the touristy things, this is a perfect destination for you. 


Apart from tourism, Sonamag also has historical significance. It was the gateway to Silk Route and connected Jammu and Kashmir with Tibet. Sonamarg is currently an important point for the Indian Army, especially after the Kargil war of 1999.

Apart from tourism, Sonamag also has historical significance. It was the gateway to Silk Route and connected Jammu and Kashmir with Tibet. Sonamarg is currently an important point for the Indian Army, especially after the Kargil war of 1999. 


When we got here, we were both not doing so well, and we had recently been through the pony ordeal at Pahalgam, so we were sure that we did not want to repeat it here. However, this looked like a good place to take a walk. So we explored Sonmarg as much as we could on foot.

When we got here, we were both not doing so well, and we had recently been through the pony ordeal at Pahalgam, so we were sure that we did not want to repeat it here. However, this looked like a good place to take a walk. So we explored Sonmarg as much as we could on foot. 


So we walked along the road for about a kilometer, found an entrance to the meadow on the right, and then started trekking a little. It was fun and easy. We parked ourselves along a tiny stream that was flowing merrily through the valley and decided to observe the world a little.

So we walked along the road for about a kilometer, found an entrance to the meadow on the right, and then started trekking a little. It was fun and easy. We parked ourselves along a tiny stream that was flowing merrily through the valley and decided to observe the world a little. 


It was a silent valley, with only a few people visible in the distance. There was a small group of tourists playing around in a tiny patch of snow and a few construction workers. However, this was because we had walked some distance from the tourist hotspot where pony wallahs do not let you walk in peace.

It was a silent valley, with only a few people visible in the distance. There was a small group of tourists playing around in a tiny patch of snow and a few construction workers. However, this was because we had walked some distance from the tourist hotspot where pony wallahs do not let you walk in peace.  


There were some shepherd houses nearby, made of stone and tin roof. These were seemingly deserted. May be the shepherds head to higher altitudes in Summer. The houses however formed a very picturesque scene against he snow covered mountains and the lush green trees.

There were some shepherd houses nearby, made of stone and tin roof. These were seemingly deserted. May be the shepherds head to higher altitudes in Summer. The houses however formed a very picturesque scene against he snow covered mountains and the lush green trees.  


I only wish that we were well enough to explore the hills nearby but I realized that we were getting tired with only a little bit of walking so hiking was out of question. In fact we wish we were in better health in the entire Kashmir trip. It would have been an entirely different experience.

I only wish that we were well enough to explore the hills nearby but I realized that we were getting tired with only a little bit of walking so hiking was out of question. In fact we wish we were in better health in the entire Kashmir trip. It would have been an entirely different experience. 


Also, while we were walking around, we came across a small hotel. And within a few minutes a couple of tourist buses from UP came and parked there. Hundreds of people tumbled out of these buses and within seconds, this turned into a bustling center.

Also, while we were walking around, we came across a small hotel. And within a few minutes a couple of tourist buses from UP came and parked there. Hundreds of people tumbled out of these buses and within seconds, this turned into a bustling center. 


The green meadow is very pleasant to walk around on. It is everything that you could imagine. You would have probably seen movie songs shot in such settings. It was every bit as romantic.

The green meadow is very pleasant to walk around on. It is everything that you could imagine. You would have probably seen movie songs shot in such settings. It was every bit as romantic. 

Even though we couldn't, few of the places that you can visit from Sonmarg are: Zojila, Thajiwas Glacier, Gangabal Lake, Gadsar, Vishansar, Baltal Valley, Satsar. People also head towards Amarnath Cave from here.

Even though we couldn't, few of the places that you can visit from Sonmarg are: Zojila, Thajiwas Glacier, Gangabal Lake, Gadsar, Vishansar, Baltal Valley, Satsar. People also head towards Amarnath Cave from here. 

Zoji la is a high mountain pass in the Kargil district of Ladakh. Many people refer to it as Zojila Pass, which is a misnomer because the work "la" itself means Pass in Tibetan. Zojila earlier remained closed for a few months because of bad weather. Now an all-weather tunnel has ben constructed to prevent that.

Zoji la is a high mountain pass in the Kargil district of Ladakh. Many people refer to it as Zojila Pass, which is a misnomer because the work "la" itself means Pass in Tibetan. Zojila earlier remained closed for a few months because of bad weather. Now an all-weather tunnel has ben constructed to prevent that. 

On the foot of Zojila lies the beautiful Baltal valley. This is a popular camping ground for pilgrims travelling to Amarnath. The beautiful Sindh River meanders right through this valley and one can look at distant snow-covered mountains.

On the foot of Zojila lies the beautiful Baltal valley. This is a popular camping ground for pilgrims travelling to Amarnath. The beautiful Sindh River meanders right through this valley and one can look at distant snow-covered mountains. 

Thajiwas Glacier is a glacier located at about 3km from Sonamarg. One can either trek to this glacier or hire a pony. For those who brave it, the sight of scenic, alpine meadows and a frozen lake surrounded by tall cedar, pine, and fir trees welcomes you.

Thajiwas Glacier is a glacier located at about 3km from Sonamarg. One can either trek to this glacier or hire a pony. For those who brave it, the sight of scenic, alpine meadows and a frozen lake surrounded by tall cedar, pine, and fir trees welcomes you. 

Gangabal lake (also known as Harmukh Gangabal Lake) is a pilgrimage for Kashmiri Hindus. Earlier Kashmiri Hindus used to immerse the ashes of their loved ones in this lake. The lake is at about 25Kilometres from Sonamarg via three passes and Vishansar lake.

Gangabal lake (also known as Harmukh Gangabal Lake) is a pilgrimage for Kashmiri Hindus. Earlier Kashmiri Hindus used to immerse the ashes of their loved ones in this lake. The lake is at about 25Kilometres from Sonamarg via three passes and Vishansar lake. 

Gadsar is Kashmir's valley of flowers and it takes a lot of courage and fitness to get there, like it is in the case of most valleys of flowers. The lake after which the valley is named is situated beyond the toughest and the most monstrous pass - the Gadsar pass. Satsar is a group of seven lakes spread over 4 kilometers, they can be covered on a trek that also goes past the Gadsar.

Gadsar is Kashmir's valley of flowers and it takes a lot of courage and fitness to get there, like it is in the case of most valleys of flowers. The lake after which the valley is named is situated beyond the toughest and the most monstrous pass - the Gadsar pass. Satsar is a group of seven lakes spread over 4 kilometers, they can be covered on a trek that also goes past the Gadsar.
 
Unfortunately we couldn't experience any of these places. However, if we get a chance to visit Sonamarg again in better health, we will plan at least one good trek. Hopefully we will get back in shape by then. With the current stamina and state of health, it would be a miracle if I last a 100 steps.

Unfortunately we couldn't experience any of these places. However, if we get a chance to visit Sonamarg again in better health, we will plan at least one good trek. Hopefully we will get back in shape by then. With the current stamina and state of health, it would be a miracle if I last a 100 steps. 

We had been informed by several people that out of pahalgam and Sonamarg, it is okay even if you do just one. But I think both the places have their own charm. You just need to plan way, way better than we did.

We had been informed by several people that out of pahalgam and Sonamarg, it is okay even if you do just one. But I think both the places have their own charm. You just need to plan way, way better than we did. 

Sonamarg promised to be as beautiful as all the articles on the Internet made it out to be. We never got past the first mountain, but if we had, we do not know what pretty sights would have awaited us. Guess we will need to find out on our next visit.

Sonamarg promised to be as beautiful as all the articles on the Internet made it out to be. We never got past the first mountain, but if we had, we do not know what pretty sights would have awaited us. Guess we will need to find out on our next visit. 

Sonamarg promised to be as beautiful as all the articles on the Internet made it out to be. We never got past the first mountain, but if we had, we do not know what pretty sights would have awaited us. Guess we will need to find out on our next visit.

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