Sonamarg is a small hill town located around 80 km from Srinagar. The place gets its name from the picturesque view of golden sunset reflecting on the meadows like a perfect 'Meadow of Gold'. The meadows looked golden and vibrant in the fading sunlight. Nallah Sindh, a major tributary of Jhelum River runs right through the town.
Sonamarg is also a stopover town for people travelling between Leh and Srinagar. There are many hotels along the highway. Surprisingly, the government run guest house was more expensive than privately run hotels. Room tariff for government guest house starts from Rs. 1,500. The rooms are well maintained with spacious compound overlooking the main bazaar and the mountains, making it a nice place for a stay.
A lot of hotels have come up because of the busy tourists season in June and July. The room tariff hikes up by 40-50% during the Amarnath Yatra to fetch maximum money from pilgrims and tourists. A normal Rs. 500 room is then offered for Rs. 2,000. Apparently, the hike doesn’t affect their business as much as it does to the tourists.
Sonamarg is well connected to Srinagar and other cities and have taxis and buses going to Srinagar every few minutes. Sonamarg has many options for food. It also has ATM facilities.
Sonamarg was also a gateway of ancient Silk Road that linked Kashmir to China and other Gulf nations. It has managed to always stay in the spotlight, in spite of its small size.
The popular Amarnath Yatra begins a few kilometers from Sonamarg town. During peak season that starts in the last week of June, the town is flooded with outsiders. Its residents do good business through their hotels or by supplying ponies for the trek.
North of Sonamarg, along the Sonamarg-Leh highway, the road ascends steeply and it is one of the most difficult roads towards Leh. In winter, the mountain is covered with snow and the road to Leh remain closed till late spring.
Sonamarg is a picturesque place. The gentle valley of grass with horses grazing and galloping up and down the slopes, along with the compelling sight of snow-peaked Thajiwas Mountain, made a perfect picture.