Aurelian beauty in the garland of India
In the lap of Jammu and Kashmir, lies a mystically endearing land of bliss and fantasy named Sonamarg. The mesmerisingly aesthetic spot offers a kaleidoscopic view of the heavenly Himalayas, flourishing floret, glittering glaciers, lull lakes and calming conifers together making this place a promised land of placidity. 'Sonamarg' literally means 'Meadow of Gold' however, even figuratively this place is no less, it is an Aurelian exquisiteness which makes this place a gratifying tourist attraction. This place is situated at an altitude of 2800 m and gets sprinkled over by pearly snow making the landscape angelical and relaxing. Once acted as a gateway of silk trade this place now is an arcadia of amusing adventures and pleasant panorama. Travellers garner in huge numbers in order to grab a gaze at the glaringly spectacular view. Sonamarg is approximately 80 Kms from the capital Srinagar and lies close to Zoji La, which is an ideal spot of trekking, amongst the exhilarating trekking adventures most famous are from Sonamarg to Thajiwas glacier and Pahalgam and another from Sonamarg to Amarnath. Abound by a mellifluous zephyr, fabulous blue-sky, undulating hills, sprouting alpine and with diverse gutsy adventurous activities one easily loses the track of time and in the meantime finds oneself utterly zestful and tweedling in fascination.
SONAMARG: ONCE A TRADE NOW A TRADITION
In the days of old, the city of Sonamarg functioned as the 'gateway of silk road' which banded together Kashmir with China and other Gulf countries through Gilgit. The word 'Sonamarg' is composed of two words 'Sona' and 'Marg' which when coupled fabricate a connotation which means ' Meadow of Gold'. After the independence Sonmarg became a part of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Sonamarg is a bonanza with a vivacious and prismatic culture which has huge quantities of bliss to offer to its visitors. The place is known for its elegantly intricate embroidery, one can catch a glimpse of such needlework in the attire of apparels worn by people. Tradition lies in the heart of the city of Sonamarg, the city catalogues various traditional dance and music festivals which attract a large number of tourists. The Snow festival and the Paradise festival are amongst the famous festivities where one can have a close look at the vibrant culture of the Sonamarg town. The major tourist attractions are, Amarnath located just 21.6 Kms above the city, the mesmerising beauty of the Himalayas, exotically romantic backdrops of Krishnasagar and Vishansar lakes and much more that might drive one away to the pure state of trance.
Top things do in Sonamarg
How to reach
Since Sonamarg is situated in the thick of Himalayas, the spot has no connectivity to railway stations or airports. The nearest airport is Sheikh Ul Alam International Airport (also called Srinagar International airport) is in the capital city of Jammu and Kashmir i.e. Srinagar and taxis or buses are readily available here in order to reach the destination of Sonamarg which is 70 Kms from the airport. The nearest railway station is at Udhampur which is 250 Kms away from the destination, the next station near to the hill station Sonamarg is the Jammu station which is around 300 Kms from the destination. Jammu station is very well connected with the rest of the stations in India. From the two stations i.e. Jammu or Udhampur, one can pull in a cab or a bus to Sonamarg.
How to Reach by Flight
Srinagar International airport is effectively connected to the various International airport in India and abroad. The airport is 70 Kms away from Sonamarg. Cabs and taxi services are readily available from the airport to Sonamarg.
How to Reach by Train
The nearest railway station is in Udhampur which is 250 Kms away from the destination, the next station near to the hill station Sonamarg is the Jammu station which is around 300 Kms from the destination. In order to cover the remaining distance one can grab a taxi or a cab.
How to Reach by Bus
Regular buses make tracks from the Jammu and Srinagar bus stands to Sonamarg which are at a distance of around 400 km and 80 km respectively.
How to Reach by Road
One can drive to Sonamarg while at the same time enjoy the scenic beauty of the enigmatic state of Jammu and Kashmir. The distance from major places is as follows:
Srinagar to Sonamarg: 54 Km
Jammu to Sonamarg: 331.6 Km
Delhi to Sonamarg: 902 Km
How to travel within
There are no local buses in Sonmarg. However, buses from other towns and cities frequently pass through Sonmarg, which can be used to reach from one part of the town to another.
FROM DELIGHTFUL DELICACIES TO EXQUISITE EMBROIDERY
The cuisine of Sonamarg typically consists of toothsome dishes such as Kashmiri pulao, Wazwan, dum aloo, Yakhni, Rogan Rosh etc. Other than these the place has outlets to grab North Indian, Chinese, seafood etc. One must not miss taking a bite of the mouth-watering Kashmiri cuisine. Other than cuisine this place is also famous for a myriad of trappings that are available in the local markets, one must not forget to fill their bags with the saffron, walnuts, crewel embroidered clothes and stone jewellery.
Sonamarg has a huge number of hotels and stays which have unmatched facilities set in the backdrop of enthralling view. The Tourist Reception Centre in Sonmarg has a J&K Bank ATM. However, it is prudent to carry sufficient cash to Sonamarg for transactions in the city. Cellular services like Aircel, Airtel, BSNL etc are available. Lately, Sonamarg has returned to being a safe tourist destination. However, one must be cautious of petty crimes like pickpocketing or bag snatching.
DAY 1: The first destination would be Gangabal. The Sonamarg-Gangabal trek is very popular amongst the travellers, with 15 km distance. It is a very demanding trek thus one must be equipped with appropriate trekking gears. It passes by the Vishansar Lake and the Krishnasar Lake. There is an adorable camping site close to these lakes. A night halt at the campsite is fun. One can also take a halt at the Krishnasagar lake famous for fishing. A charge of INR 200 is applicable for an hour of fishing.
DAY 2: The next day after grabbing breakfast and packing heavy lunch along with some munchies get an early start to the second day of the tour. Continuing on the Sonamarg-Gangabal trek, after completing the distance of about 23 km, tourists will arrive at the Gadsar lake. It is a beautiful lake with broken glaciers and enchanting landscape, even a single gaze has a lasting effect on its viewers. Another option is to take a shorter route for the trek is through Satsar lake. For those who choose not to take the trek, they can spend their day roaming around in the scenic city and grab a variety of gifts from the local markets.
DAY 3: If one reaches Gangabal, there are plentiful routes available at hand. However, if one wants to catch a glimpse of the ancient ruins of the Buddhist temple built by sons of Ashoka then one needs to descent to Narang. For the ones who are still in Sonamarg, they can head to Gulmarg. A number of activities such as skiing, golfing and trekking are awaiting the travellers in the Gulmarg. The most famous among these is having a ride on Gulmarg Gondola which is a ropeway that can carry 6 people at a time. From Gulmarg one reaches Kongdori and from Kongdori one can reach Apharwat peak. After that one can also reach Khilanmarg (famous for skiing) via Gulmarg ropeway. One can taste the thrill of winter activities by involving into activities such as skating, snow bobbing, tobogganing etc.