Sonamarg: Land of Golden Mountain
Updated: Mar 4, 2022
Irresistible hidden beauty spreading warmth through sunshine
Another jewel that must be covered when in Kashmir is the land of golden mountain aka Sonamarg. Its name is derived from the first sunlight that turns the mountain golden hence the whole valley is called Sonamarg. Sonamarg is around two to two and a half-hour drive from Srinagar depending on what time you leave. As again we request you to leave around 7:30 – 8:00 in the morning to enjoy locations with a thinner crowd (something we learned is a good thing during Covid-19)
There is a saying that it's not the destination but the journey, which is better, however, in this case, Sonamarg proves this statement wrong. Sonamarg valley is now attracting more and more crowds as the last scenes of “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” were shot here (some of the scenes were shot in Pahalgam as well).
Sonamarg, situated in the northeast of Srinagar also acts as a gateway to paradise lands of Ladakh. Sonamarg has multiple hotels located on the bank of the Sind river and very few public food eateries. When you reach Sonamarg it will not feel like a destination as it’s a moving road and you are sitting on one corner and thinking is this it? Have we reached? But then if you observe closely you see ponies, snow bikes, and then everything starts making sense. Struggles here are the same as in Gulmarg. (attach a photo here)
Things to cover
Few tourist points have been identified and marked for everyone’s convenience. Locals call them base 1 is “Suicide point and “Sonamarg base” then at the second level is “Thajivas glacier” then little ahead is water stream and we heard about the cave as well but our guide said that was closed ( not sure whether it was true or not). When you are in these locations you get ample time to spend with snow-laden land, mesmerizing mountains and fun activities like skiing, sled rides, here sled slopes are bigger than Gulmarg, so do have fun sled rides as seen in western movies, cartoons, it makes more sense here. (attach a photo here)
You can reach these points either by trekking or ponies. Pony rise will cost you around 1000-1500 INR (heavy bargain required)
Keep things in mind:
One very important fact is, at the tourist locations on the top, there is no public convenience available, so it is better to have tummy and bladder check done at the parking spot.
Unlike Gulmarg, all the hotels, restaurants get closed if there has been snowfall or prediction of heavy snowfall in the next few days, so booking your stay in Sonamarg can be risky. It is better to book your accommodation for Sonamarg (if you are planning to stay) only when you are in Kashmir.
We found Country Inn by Radisson only hotel open in Sonamarg valley for the time we were there and it was also closing operations as heavy snowfall was predicted the day after.
Sonamarg is also starting point for many Kashmir treks like Kashmir great lakes, Vishansar trek among others. Good luck to you all trekking lovers, hope you find an amazing adventure on your visits.
That’s all folks for Sonamarg. Time to move to next destination. You can read about the rest of the locations from the following links: