Sonamarg holds historical significance for being the gateway of the Silk Road connecting Kashmir and China in the past. The Valley knows when to be called a Winter Wonderland and the Meadow of Gold. During summer, Sonamarg’s slopes, sprawled with yellow crocus flowers, drape the region in golden garb. And in winter, fir trees and frozen lakes surrounding the Meadow present a breathtaking sight. The entire landscape blanketed in snow and ice makes it an ideal destination to try snowy adventures.
Besides, the Meadow of Gold dons many hats: from the ancient route for overland trades to the modern-day base camp for Ladakh. The high mountain pass – Zoji-la Pass – connects the Valley to Ladakh. The Valley’s location is also strategically important because it offers a bird’s eye view from its towering peaks. With so much of its golden appeal, vacationers can enjoy a plethora of adventure activities to do in Sonamarg. Let’s get to know these popular spots in Sonamarg.
1. Snowsight at Zero Point
Situated on the Drass side near the Zoji-la Pass, Zero Point lies 24 km from Sonamarg. It is infamous as one of the most dangerous passes in the world. Witness a mountainous view and deep Valley astride with River Sindh flowing by as you pass the route. The name Zero Point comes from the temperature constantly being close to zero degrees at that location. Because of the continuous below-freezing temperatures, the site offers snow-filled activities such as snow biking, sledging and more. You can also enjoy the scenic beauty as you sip a cup of tea or coffee at a nearby shop.
2. Hike to the Thajiwas Glacier
Hire a pony, ride a cab but make sure to hike the Thajiwas Glacier for its alpine lakes and glacier rivers. Not far from Sonamarg, the 3-km trek to the glacier can be scaled by adventure enthusiasts. Upon arriving here, you will be in awe of the natural beauty enveloping this place. The glacier is a top tourist place in Sonamarg for hiking, trekking, camping related adventure activities. Besides, the region is a haven for numerous waterfalls. Due to Thajiwas Glacier, the area is covered in snow around the year. And a treat to the senses, especially in the summer season.
3. Visit Baltal-Thajiwas Wildlife Sanctuary
Established in 1990, the sanctuary is famous for housing the rare Kashmir Musk Deer. Located at a distance of 17 km from Sonamarg, the Wildlife Sanctuary is rich in flora & fauna. It has plants with medicinal properties. The area spread across 219.19 Km2 houses the endangered and a few rare species. Among the significant faunal species are Musk Deer, Black Bear, Snow Leopard and Asiatic Ibex. The place is a perfect retreat for nature lovers, bird-watchers and those who love exploring biodiversity.
4. Arrive at Kashmir Great Lakes Trek
Sonamarg offers the trekking expedition of a lifetime with its Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. This week-long trek will take you through rough terrain, alpine passes, conifer trees, and gushing streams before you arrive at crystal-clear lakes. Trekking the famous Seven Alpine Lakes is an absolute must. It is equally rewarding if trekking is your thing. Here you can trout in the Vishansar and Gangabal Lakes. Pitch your tent beside Satsar and Gadsar Lakes and even trek the glacier twin lakes, Tarsar & Marsar.
5. Enjoy Night Camping and Stargazing
Nothing comes closer to the joy of camping outdoors and waiting for the sun to dusk and the stars to come out. It is a dream come true for stargazers who can fill their hearts with millions of stars studded in the sky. And when it is Sonamarg, nothing beats this magical experience, for it is a trekker or campers hub and an astronomers’ paradise. And so, indubitably, camping under the stars in Sonamarg is a fulfilling experience – one that you would never want to come back from. The ideal time to enjoy the starry sky is from May to October.
6. Experience the Rush of White-Water Rafting
The ultimate adventure begins in the Golden Valley with its river rafting experience. Enjoy a stunning vista as you navigate the rapids ranging from Grade II to IV. Witness the spectacular gorges and abundant floral life. The activity is perfect for those who want to combine pristine nature with an experience of the ultimate adventure. Both beginners and experts can try the stretch starting from Baltal and ending at Shuktari Bridge in Sonamarg.
A travel lover and moody chef, Surbhi loves to read & write and doodle in her free time. For her, being able to write is a blessing, and to keep at it—a work-in-progress. When not working, you can find her swimming her worries away, dancing to the beats, or filling up her bucket list to tick them off.