Sonamarg (Meadow of gold) is a
trekker's heaven and has adventurous routes with beatiful
green water and frozen lakes around. The vale is believed to
be bestowed with mystical water which turns everything into
enternal riches. High altitude makes it cold even during
summers. It is advisable to always carry warm clothes and rain
The everlasting Thajiwas glacier, 3km from Sonamarg, provides
a chance to enjoy sledge ride on the snow even in mid Summer.
Ponies are available up to the glacier from Sonamarg. Superb
campsites in Thajiwas area makes ita a prime location for
school camps and trekkers during the Summer. Sind River is a
natural hatchery of Trout, where angling is great fun provied
the permission is obtained from the fisheries department.
Ascending river makes Sonamarg ideal for River Rafting, which
is done in full swing by youths, corporate executives and even
old members with their familes at different levels in the Sind
River Arrangements can be done through travel agents in
Srinagar or Sonamarg Development Authority. More adventure
sports like Paragliding is getting lots of takers during the
Summer. Assistance is available at the tourist office at
The rugged countryside market makes one feel the thrill of
adventure . Island retreat a park amidst river Sind enroute to
Sonamarg. is a real treat as a short stopover. The roaring
Sind created a constant cool breeze , it is hard to get off
from such heavenly environs.
Sonamarg road passed trhough the village of Ganderbal, which
also leads to manasbal lake. This lake serves as home to many
aquatic birds makig it a bird watchers paradise.
5 km from Ganderbal is the village of Tulmul where the shrine
of Khir Bhawani is situated. The sacred spring symbolizes
goddess Ragnya Devi. An annual festival, Jesth Ashtami is held
during May June, when according to beliefs, the goddess
changes the colour of the spring water. A trip to this temple
will be worthwhile.
Sonamarg - Gangabal Trek
The famous Gangabal trek starts from Sonamarg across the Sind
river with the steep Nichnai Pass at 4080 m. Rough trek of 15
km from Sonamarg will certainly make you stop at the first
visible compsite in the area. Passing via Vihansar Lake at
3680 m and further to Krishansar lake at 3819 m a marvelous
campsite urges you to stop overnight.
A 23 km trek to Gadsar lake, 3900 m , passes through steep
climbs followed by a rapid descent, whereafter the magical
gadsar lake appears, mostly full of broken glacier masses. A
trek of 17 km via Satsar lake, 3600 m passes through Gangabal
valley, where the view of Harmukh Peak is breathtaking. Few
kilometers walk will take you to gangabal Lake 3570 m at the
foot of Harmukh. A plain compsite amidst the valey is an
From Gangabal , a 17 km tough descend leads to Naranag,
where ruins of Buddhist temples, built by Jauka , son of
Ashoka and also by King Lalitadatya are still present. 5 km
fruther down is Wangat 2050 m, from where a metal road leads
back to Sonamarg via Kangan and to Srinagar.
Amarnathji Yatra : - Baltal Route
Baltal, 15 km from Sonamarg at an altitude of 2743 m , is
the base camp of Amarnathji yatra . The meandering trek of 14
k from Baltal leads to the Holy Cave . You can easily return
the same day by early evening to Baltal where ample tents are
available at affordable cost. Panies and Danies from Baltal
can also be hired at fixed government rates. Now operate
Helicopter Services for Yatris from Baltal and Srinagar during
the yatra period
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
HOW TO REACH THERE
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 India.
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, Srinagar.