Cast in the true glory of Kashmir, Sonamarg is one of its jewels. The breathtaking views of Sonamarg are formed by the lush green blankets of grass spread at the feet of high, snow-clad mountains, horses grazing upon them by the rivulets streaming in from the heights. An important station on Srinagar-Leh journey, Sonamarg is close to Baltal, the base from where begins the Amarnath Yatra. This small town has a mini market and a few, permanently built hotels. This famous tourist destination near Srinagar, 87 kilometers away, is situated on an altitude of 3000 meters.
As you leave Srinagar, you pass through several beautiful regions on your way to Sonamarg. But it is Sonamarg that makes you gawp at its views in amazement. This small settlement is surrounded by spectacular mountains of Sindh Valley. These massive structures are clad by snow throughout the year, around their tops in summer and to their feet in winters. This region in the vicinity of Zozilla Pass, first of the high passes en route Ladakh, shows signs of changing geographical features. Though you mostly see lush green patches here, you can also see barren mountains and the zoes grazing upon them, which define the typical Ladakh.
Sonamarg is a famous destination for trekking. Adventure lovers embark on journeys afoot to various places in Kashmir as well as some remote lakes in Himachal. The Gadsar Lake in the nearby region is also a place of interest for trekkers, where snow-trout can be found. For the more common lot of tourists, Thajiwas Glacier is a major attraction. This place of scenic beauty can be reached on ponies, which can be hired from the town.
The small civic of Sonamarg is today mostly crowded by the military officials, who have large camps nearby. The soldiers of Indian army are more commonly seen around than the locals. Upon striking a conversation, they can provide nice insights about the region during all seasons and its geographical features. The small market near the bus stop has restaurants, grocery shops and stalls of the vendors selling woolen as well as other clothing articles.
The small town of Sonamarg often fails to provide sufficient lodging for the tourists, especially during the peak summer season and when Amarnath Yatra is on. But this deficiency is fulfilled to a great extent by the private camping sites. Here you can find luxurious tents having bulbs, laptop and cell phone charging points and attached bathrooms with hot water taps. A stay in one of these can serve the purpose of adventure as well as accommodation. During a stay such as this, when you wake up in the morning, you can step outside your tent to find yourself right in the middle of the picturesque Sonamarg witnessing a glorious sunrise.
Even though Sonamarg is mostly visited by the travelers on Amarnath Yatra or Srinagar-Leh trip, it is highly recommended for those who would return to Srinagar after spending a night and a day.