Sonmarg

Sonmarg which literally means ‘Meadow of Gold’ is a hill station in Jammu and Kashmir. It is known for its rivers, glaciers and meadows. On the 75 km drive from Srinagar to Sonmarg one can see beautiful snow covered Himalayan peaks like Kolhoi peak, Amarnath peak and Sirbal peak. Satsar Lake as the name suggests is a confluence of 7 interconnected lakes. Gadsar Lake is another treasure in this valley. Also known as the ‘Lake of flowers’ it has the endangered species of brown trout fishes along with a host of other aquatic animals. Krishnasagar, Vishansar and Gangabal Lakes are few other must visit places for those who enjoy fishing, rafting and photography.

The Nilagrad river flows amidst lush alpine meadows and pine trees, making it a perfect picnicking spot. Its reddish waters are believed to have medicinal properties. A few kilometers ahead of Sonmarg is the thrilling high mountain pass Zoji La, which connects Srinagar and Leh. At the foot of Zoji La is the Baltal valley which is the starting point for Amarnath Yatra. The valley is also known for its scenic views. The Thajiwas glacier is a mesmerising frozen waterbody located in the backdrop of imposing Himalayan peaks and horses grazing in the greenery. It is a true delight for trekkers and campers.

 

  • Monuments:

 

Kheer Bhawani Temple: This simple temple built of smooth grey stones sits beautifully  in the middle of a spring. Devotees offer milk and kheer to the deity. It is highly revered by the Kashmiri Pandits in the valley. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Sonmarg.

 

  • Natural Places:

 

The beauty of Gadsar lake can’t possibly be put in words. The floating glaciers, surrounding meadows, stunning flower beds, and the snow capped mountains will make you fall in love with the place. It is also the home to endangered trout fish. Spotting them can make your day. Gangabal Lake is another stunning lake in the region. One must visit the Krishnasagar Lake and enjoy trout fishing. Vishansar Lake or the lake of Vishnu is one of the famous oligotrophic lakes (lakes that are highly rich in oxygen), and visiting it should be in your list. Baltal Valley is another picturesque beauty, it is set along the banks of River Sindhi, and is often treated as the base for those who want to embark on the journey to Amarnath. One must visit the highly perched Zoji-La Pass to enjoy the natural beauty. Also known as “meadow of Jesus” Yusmarg, with its green landscape offers a perfect opportunity to sit back and relax. Nilagar River is one of the most important tourist locations in Sonmarg. One cannot miss the opportunity to wash themselves with the healing water of the river. The mountains, meadows and the Pine trees around will leave you simply spellbound.

 

  • Food:

 

At Sonmarg one should definitely try Kashmiri dishes like Rogan Josh, Dum Aalu, Yakhni; and local dishes like Syoon Olav, Marcha-vangan Korma, Muj Gaad, Modur Pulav and Kanti.  Some of the popular restaurants are; Tourist Cafeteria, Narendra Dhaba, Paradise Food Court and Shahijahan Restaurant.

 

  • Activities:

 

Thajiwas Glaciers is one of the most popular locations in Sonmarg and it is a hub for various adventure activities like camping, hiking and trekking. At Krishnasagar Lake one can enjoy trout fishing and angling. One can also enjoy trekking around Gangabal Lake. 

 

  • Shopping:

 

One must visit Srinagar for shopping as Sonmarg does not have any proper marketplace. However, there are some street outlets from where one can buy embroidered clothes, stone jewellery, walnuts and other dry fruits.