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iXiGOers Apr 18 2013

Suggest a 3 day tour itinerary for Sonamarg.

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Literally a “meadow of gold”, just 42 km from Pahalgam, you will gasp in wonderment at the golden light that glints from the snow-capped peaks when lazy sun rays fall on them. A popular trekking destination, it is also known as the gateway to Ladakh, being very close to the Zoji-La Pass. The town is home to several beautiful lakes like Gangabal, Vishansar, Gadsar, Satsar and Kishansar, which are ideal to explore and maybe even picnic around.


Sonamarg is easily accessible from Srinagar. If you are planning a trip to Sonamarg, we have a suitable itinerary just for you.

Day 1

Sonamarg is primarily a trekking destination. The first day after freshening up, you can head towards Gangabal. The Sonamarg-Gangabal trek is the most popular trek. This 15 km trek is quite rough and one should have the proper trekking gears to plan this trek. It passes by the Vishansar Lake and the Krishnasar Lake. There is a beautiful campsite close to this lake. A night halt at the campsite is usually the norm.


An alternate option will be to remain at the Krishnasar Lake and enjoy the magnificent views around. This place is especially known for trout fish conservation. A charge of INR 200 is applicable for an hour of fishing. There are more chances of you getting good catches during the winter season.


Day 2


The next day have your breakfast, pack a heavy lunch along with some munchies and get an early start to the day. Continuing on the Sonamarg-Gangabal trek, after covering a distance of around 23 km, you will reach the Gadsar Lake. This trek consists of some steep climbs and rapid descents. Though parts of the trek is quite torturous, a single glimpse of the lake makes it worth the pain. The lake is full of broken glaciers, and has a stark beauty that burns a permanent image in your memory.

Another option is to take a shorter trek (17 km) via the Satsar Lake. This trek passes through the Gangabal valley and a few kilometers ahead lies the Gangabal Lake located at the base of the Harmukh peak. You will get awesome views of this peak during your trek. Right in the valley lies a plain campsite. You can spend the rest of your day here.

For those who chose not to proceed all the way to Gangabal, you can choose to spend the second day just roaming around Sonamarg, checking out the main bazaar (which also sells Kashmiri handicrafts at cheap rates), talking to the locals and exploring the landscape. You can plan an excursion to Baltal, that lies 15 km north of Sonamarg. It is a small picturesque little valley nestled at the foot of the Zojila mountain. It is usually a camping spot for pilgrims on their way to Amarnath.

Day 3


If you are at Gangabal, there are many trekking routes available for you. However, there is a 17 km tough descent to Naranag, reaching which you will find ancient ruins of Buddhist temples built by the son of Ashoka.


For those who are still in Sonamarg, you can plan a visit to Gulmarg for your third day. There are a number of activities like skiing, golfing and trekking. However, the most popular tourist activity is taking a ride on the Gulmarg Gondola. The Gondola is a two-phase ropeway that can carry as many as 600 people per hour (single Gondola can carry 6 people at a time). From Gulmarg resort you board the Gondola to the bowl shaped Kongdoori valley, this constitutes Phase 1. From the Kongdori to Apharwat peak constitutes of Phase 2. It takes around 9 minutes for the Phase I ride and 12 minutes for the Phase II ride. It is recommended that you try the phase II ride, to get the best experience, as the phase II ride will take you through some heavenly vistas, which make you realise why there are so many odes and compositions dedicated to the beauty of Kashmir.


Khilanmarg, about 600 m above Gulmarg, is the site for Gulmarg’s winter ski runs. It can be reached via the Gondola ropeway from Gulmarg. From here, you will find yourself whooshing through long, sweeping natural runs of 3 miles, beginning with wide-open slopes, then twisting and curving, whistling past the evergreens, cutting through the snow leaving a shower of snow dust in your wake. However, if the ride's not thrilling enough or too short, then you could walk further up from Khilanmarg, which will ultimately provide you with more challenging routes, with soaring, plunging runs from nearly 14,000 feet. You have a choice of other activities too like skating, snow bobbing, tobogganing or just soaking in the sunshine while enjoying the alpine scenery.


Hope this itinerary helps you get the best out of your Sonamarg trip. Do get back to us with your feedback.
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