The drive 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. Thajwas Glacier as seen
from SonamargThe 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..
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.
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
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.
Prime Attractions of Sonmarg
Thajiwas glacier at an altitude of 9,186 feet is a striking silvery scene set against emerald meadows and a clear blue sky. In summers, you can take a half-day hike to numerous waterfalls around this glacier. The road will be long and the journey hard but the captivating views make it worthwhile. On the way, have a friendly match with the local Gujjar kids who are almost always ready for a friendly snowball fight!.