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Sonamarg, The meadow of gold

Sonamarg is a tranquil place set in a valley amongst glaciers and placid lakes. The flower-laden meadows, panoramic view of the lofty snow-covered Himalayan peaks and a number of trekking and hiking trails have made Sonamarg a popular tourist destination.

Sonmarg gives rise to The Three Sisters (Kashmir). In its vicinity lies the great Himalayan glaciers of Kashmir Valley namely Kolhoi Glacier and Machoi Glacier with some peaks of above 5,000 m: Sirbal Peak, Kolhoi Peak, Amarnath Peak and Machoi Peak. Sonmarg is situated in a valley at the bank of Nallah Sindh, 87 km north-east from Srinagar. It is a popular tourist destination, nestled within the imposing Himalayan peaks. It lies at an altitude of 2800 m above sea level. The drive to Sonmarg passes Nallah Sindh, a major tributary of the Jehlum River in the Kashmir valley. It is upwards of sixty miles long valley and deep rock-grit gorge to open grassy meadow land and village-dotted slopes.

Sonmarg, which means 'meadow of gold' has, as its backdrop, snowy mountains against a cerulean sky. The Sindh meanders along here and abounds with trout and mahseer, snow trout can be caught in the main river. In late April when Sonmarg is open for road transport, the visitors can have access to snow which is furnished all over like a white carpet. Ponies can be hired for the trip up to Thajiwas glacier a major attraction during the summer months.
The climate of Sonmarg is very bracing; but the rainfall is frequent though not heavy, except for two or three days at a time in July and August with fine spell in between. From Sonmarg, trekking routes lead to the Himalayan lakes of Vishansar Lake, Krishansar Lake, Gangabal Lake and Gadsar Lake, stocked with Snowtrout and Brown trout and Satsar, glacier-fed and surrounded by banks of alpine flowers.

A close by excursion is to Baltal, 15 km east of Sonmarg. This little valley lies at the foot of the Zojila, only a day's journey away from the sacred cave of Amarnath is a base camp for Amarnath yatra. Trekkers can also reach the starkly splendid roof-top of the world Leh, by crossing over the Zoji La pass.
At Sonmarg the Jammu and Kashmir tourism department is organising river rafting tournaments yearly, which has recently seen the participation of teams abroad. A large number of Hindi movies have been filmed in Sonmarg.