to Sonamarg is through the Sindh Valley which presents yet
another spectacular facet of countryside in Kashmir.
Situated at an altitude of 2730 m, Sonamarg (‘The meadow
of gold’) has, as its backdrop, snowy mountains against
a cerulean sky. The
Sindh River that meanders through the valley abounds with
trout and mahaseer. Ponies can be hired for the trip up to
Thajiwas glacier, which is a major local attraction during
the summer months.
the base of a major trek that passes along several
mountain lakes –Vishansar, Kishansar, Gadsar, Satsar and
Gangabal. Sonamarg is also the take off station for the
drive to Ladakh across the Zojila, a major pass in the
Great Himalayan Range, through which the Srinagar-Leh Road
Meadow Of Gold
At a height of 2,740m, Sonamarg is the last major point in
the Kashmir valley before the Zoji La pass into Ladakh .
At the pass the green, lush Kashmiri landscape abruptly
switches to the barren, dry landscape of Ladakh. Sonamarg
is thus not only a good base for treks but also a jumping
off point for trips into Ladakh.
The name means 'Meadow of Gold' and although this could be
due to the profusion of flowers that carpet the meadow in
the spring it is also possible that the name derives from
Sonamarg's strategic trading position in the days when
this was a major route into central Asia. The Sindh River
meanders along here and abounds with Trout and Mahseer.
Importance Is Two Fold:
It is the starting point of a major trek passing several
mountain lakes - Vishansar, Kishansar, Gadsar, Satsar and
Gangabal. One trek leads all the way to the Amarnath cave
. The other reason for Sonamarg's importance lies in the
fact that it is the last halt on the Kashmir side for the
drive from Srinagar to Leh .
Walks From Sonamarg
One of the most popular short walks from Sonamarg and a
major attraction during the summer months is the 4-km
route to Thajiwas, a small valley at the foot of the
Sonamarg glacier. A path leads up to the Shakhdar hill,
overlooking the glacier from the northeast. It is
dangerous to climb the steep slope leading up to the
glacier. Ponies can be hired for the trip up to Thajiwas
glacier. Often in early summer one will meet groups of
Gujar passing through Sonamarg on their way to the alpine
meadows for the summer.
A mountain river meets the Indus at the Baltic colony,
Nilagrad, 6-km away from Sonamarg. The water of the river
is reddish in colour. The Baltic thinks the water has
curative power of many diseases. Inhabitants of the colony
visit this place every Sunday to bath in the river.
Bisansar Lake & Krishnasar Lake
There is a lake in every corner of the Himalayas and there
is one at Sonamarg also. The road proceeds from Sonamarg
to Bisansar Lake via Nichinai Pass. Crossing the river at
Nichinai Pass stands the Bisansar Lake at an altitude of
4, 084m, with its its lovely natural beauty. Beside the
lake is the Krishnasagar Lake at an altitude of 3,801m,
popular for Trout fishing.
This beautiful meadow is right at the foot of the Zoji La
pass and thus is the final place in Kashmir. The river
from the foot of the Amarnath glacier meets the Indus near
Baltal. It stands at a height of 2,743m and during the
Amarnath pilgrimage there are tents set up here. It is
possible to walk to the Amarnath cave, more usually
approached from Pahalgam, in one day. Check about
conditions before departing, though. The weather can be
treacherous and at other times melting snow and ice make
the route very dangerous. There's now a jeep road most of
the way to the cave. The turn off to Baltal is at 94-km on
the Leh road, and then it's 3-km or so downhill.
If one can take some time out, then take tour of Yushmarg
in daytime. Buses on conducted tours run to Yushmarg
thrice a week. 47-km southwest of Srinagar amidst pines
and firs lies the vale - Yushmarg (2,700m) at the slope of
the Pir Panjal ranges. Its is a beautiful pasture as well
as a nice picnic spot.
Air: Sonamarg is in Srinagar District on the Srinagar Leh
Highway, 81-km from Srinagar. The nearest airport is in
Badgam District, connecting the capital city with all the
major cities in India.
Rail: The nearest Railhead is at Jammu and from there
National Highway NH1A connects the Kashmir valley with
Road: Every sort of transport to suit every budget from
Buses to Taxis ply on National Highway NH1A. It takes
around 10 to 12 hours to cross this mountainous road,
which crosses some beautiful spots and the famous Jawahar
Tunnel linking Kashmir Valley with India. Bus service is
available from Srinagar and Anantnag, which leave at fixed
time from the Bus stands. Taxis and other sort of
transport can be hired from Srinagar at pre-fixed rates.
Assistance is available at Tourist Reception Centre,
has a number of Hotels and lodges of various types, which
are open only during summer months. JKTDC has a Dak
Bungalow and number of Huts, which are available on hire.
The tariffs depend on the type of accommodation to be
hired. Accommodation needs to be booked well in advance
from Srinagar. Tourists are advised to contact Manager
Tourist Reception centre Jammu/Srinagar for booking and