Known as the 'Meadow of Gold', Sonmarg is set amidst a valley of flowers and lakes. The word "Sona" literally means "Gold" in Hindi, and this golden beauty covered with white snow is most attractive in the spring. The exotic flora of the region is nurtured by the Sindh river. Sonmarg is the gateway to Ladakh.
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!
The Kheer Bhawani Temple, situated in the middle of a natural spring, is often visited by tourists out of curiosity. Devotees offer milk and kheer to the resident deity. Popular with all tourists, it is especially revered by the Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley. The architecture of the temple is simple yet beautifully created using smooth grey stones. Rumour has it that the waters turn black as a warning for any looming calamity.
Sonmarg with its primitive and idyllic feel offers respite from city life. You can go soul searching to Gadsar Lake, which at 16,400 feet lies frozen throughout the year. Surrounded by snow covered mountains and shrouded in alpine flowers, from Gadsar Lake you can enjoy panoramic views of the frozen Satsar and Baltan Lakes.
Khilanmarg is situated at a distance of 4 km from the Gulmarg bus stop. Tourists can easily reach this place by walking across the meadows of the valley. Surrounded by mountains on all sides, the valley is scattered with wild flowers in the spring season. Tourists can enjoy the panoramic views of the Nanga Parbat, the Himalayas, and the twin peaks of Nun and Kun.
Nilagrad near Sonmarg is where a mountain river, red in colour, meets the mighty Indus River. The Baltic community that stays here believes that the waters have curative powers. Over the weekend, people swarm the banks of the river for a dip in the healing waters. With picturesque meadows around, it’s also an ideal picnic spot.