Activities & Tourist Attractions in Sonamarg
Places to Visit Sonamarg or Nearby
Baltal, on the shores of the Sindh River, is located around 15 km away from the north of Sonamarg. This small valley serves as a camping ground for the Amarnath pilgrims. It rests at the foot of Zoji-La Pass on the banks of the river Sindh. Moreover, for the convenience of the pilgrims, base camps are set up in is this ground and this little valley is only a day’s journey away from and provides a shorter high-altitude alternate route to the sacred cave of Amarnath.
Through a meandering trek of 14 km from Baltal, one can reach the Holy Cave and during the Amarnath pilgrimage, tents are also set up here. One can hire taxi or take a bus from Sonmarg for Baltal and it will take approximately 1 hour.
Tourists can directly reach Baltal from Pahalgam as well which is just 24 km away and takes approximately 45 mins on bis. For those tourists wanting to indulge in trekking to Baltal from Pahalgam will take around 5 hours.
Baltal is known for its scenic views. The tents available here are affordable and tourists need to either trek to hire ponies to reach the cave. Tourists can also take helicopter services from Baltal that will drop the yatris till Panjtarni which is 5 km from the cave in just 7 minutes. The journey further to the cave needs to be covered on foot or ponies. From Baltal to the holy cave and back, ponies will cost around Rs 1,700. The 14 km long steep trek will take almost 4 hours for the tourists to reach the cave. Large number of free langars are also available in Baltal for the pilgrims and many small tea shops will also be available enroute.
A paradise on Earth, the name “Sonamarg” itself signifies its beauty: The Golden Meadow. Set in a backdrop of snow capped mountains and bright flowers, this place is sure to get your energy flowing.
Sonamarg, 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 Sonamarg 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. However, there is need for some stricter regulation to save the environment of the area from over tourism. Litters such as plastic bottles, etc., are strewn all over along the track.
It offers many adventurous routes with amazing green water & frozen lakes around and Thajiwas glacier is a one such major tourist attraction in the region. Located 7 km from Sonamarg, it is an ideal spot for enjoying a sledge ride on the snow even in mid-summer. The nearby area is perfect camping site too.
The Gangabal Lake, also known by the name of Haramukh Ganga is a lake situated at the foothills of Haramukh Mountain in Ganderbal district of Kashmir valley. This alpine high altitude lake lies at an elevation of 3570 meters, is home to many types of fishes including rainbow and brown trout. The lake can be reach via Ganderbal and Naranag and then, need to cover 15 km trek route via Vishansar and Krishnasar Lake. The Gangabal Lake can also be accessed through a trek from Bandipore via Arin. The best season to visit the lake is from the month of July to September.
The twin lakes of Gangabal and Nandakol look stunning when viewed from Zach pass on the hills opposite side. It is definitely worth the effort, try and hike up as high as possible, higher you go, better is the view!
If there are shepherds around with their flock, the lake is great for fishing but one needs a permit from Srinagar.
On a clear day, the view of Nandakol lake at the base of Harmukh peak towering to a height of over 5000m is fantastic. You can make this a trip on horse/pony from Narnag.
Major Tourist Activity:
Trekking and fishing.
How to Reach?
The Gangabal lake is approached from Srinagar 45 kilometres by road via Ganderbal up to Naranag and then a trek of 15 kilometres upslopes leads to the lake, which can be covered by a horse ride or by foot. The shepherds and gujjars can be seen during the trek with their flocks of sheep and goats. Another trek (25 kilometres long) leads to the lake site from Sonamarg via the Vishansar Lake crossing the Nichnai pass ( 4100 meteres). It can also be accessed through a trek from Bandipore via Arin.
Gangabal Lake Trek
The trek to the lake Gangabal takes place in an alpine environment, (cut crossing) with meadows, (cut from) and huts of Gujjars – Himalayan nomads – with their herds crossing through two passes (cut steeps of) over 4,000 m to get to the lake Gangabal, the sacred Hindu lake and place of pilgrimage.
The Vishansar Lake is an alpine high altitude oligotrophic lake situated in the vicinity of Sonamarg at an elevation of 3710 meters. It has a maximum length of 1 kilometer and maximum width of 0.6 kilometers.
Vishansar in hindi means the lake of Vishnu is home to many types of fishes among of which is the brown trout. It freezes during winter. During the summer season, the lake is surrounded by green lush meadows where local shepherds graze their flocks of sheep and goat. The Lake with its scenic beauty, snow covered mountains and their gorges filled with small glaciers and the meadows around, with alpine flowers is an attraction for the trekkers in the Kashmir Valley. It is fed by the Krishansar Lake and glaciers. The Vishansar Lake is the source of Neelum River which flows northwards up to Badoab and then westwards through Gurais along the Line of Control. The Gadsar Lake lies some 9 km in west crossing Gadsar Pass.
The Vishansar Lake is situated 115 km. northeast from Srinagar and 35 km from Shitkadi Sonamarg. It can be accessed from Srinagar or Srinagar Airport, 80 km by road NH 1D up to village Shitkadi from which ponies can be hired to cover an alpine trek of 35 km which takes a complete day of trekking and one has to cross the Nichnai Pass of 4100 meters above sea level. The best time to visit the lake is in the month of June to September.
Fed by Krishansar Lake and glaciers, the lake is the main source of Neelum River. During winter, the lake freezes while in summer, the lush green meadow surrounding the lake gives truly an amazing sight.
A high altitude lake, it can be reached through trekking or pony ride. The lake is also accessible from Nichinai Pass, which is another high elevation well-known tourist spot.
Situated at a height of 3801 m above sea level, Krishnasar Lake is one of the most mesmerizing lakes in the chain of many Himalayan lakes. You will see travelers from all over the state coming here and enjoying themselves. Most of them will be engaged in Trout fishing which has made this lake a famous excursion spot.
Fishing in Kishansar Lake:
Similar to most lakes, rivers and streams of Kashmir, Kishansar is an angler’s paradise. Here, trout fishing in cheaper than most parts of the world. The Department of Fisheries in Kashmir that controls angling in the valley is said to ensure no depletion of stock by indiscriminate fishing, and hence, sets the best angling experiences in ideal conditions in all the fishing sites of the state.
Fishing at a high altitude lake like Kishansar, (approx 14,000 feet above sea level) that needs you to trek, is one of the most adventurous experiences one can take from the valley Cradled by snow clad mountains, the surface of the Kishansar Lake is frozen during the winter, and the fish hence, keep close to the bottom. The lake also allows the use of spoons and spinners.
Gadsar Lake is located 5,000 m above sea level, in the Himalayan Ranges. It is considered as one of the highest altitude lakes in the Kashmir region. This lake is famous as trekking base, which can be reached through the alpine trek. Brown-trout fishing is a popular activity among the tourists visiting this lake.
Known as the ‘valley of flowers’, the Gadsar Lake is located at a distance of 28 km from Sonamarg. Sonamarg, which literally means the ‘meadow of gold’ give the Lake a beautiful picturesque backdrop of the Himalayas. The Lake stretches up to 0.85 kilometres with a width of 0.76 km and is well known for trout fishing.
Amongst one of the highest altitude lakes of the region, the Gadsar Lake in literal transition in Kashmiri stands for the ‘the lake of fishes’. Gadsar Lake is surrounded by alpine flowers and remains frozen during the months of November and April. However, on other times, this lake is a must-visit for anglers and fishing enthusiasts for the famous brown colored game and food fishes, mainly trout.
Located in Sonamarg in the Kashmir valley, the hub is the gateway to Ladakh and situated just before the Zojii La pass.
Gadsar Lake is famous as trekking base that is reached through the alpine trek.
Vaishnosar Lake and Krishansar Lake are the nearby tourist attractions.
This is a smaller lake which comes before Gangabal. It is situated at the foothills of Harmukh. A beautiful lake with crystal clear water, the water from Gangabal flows into this lake and the waters of the two lakes together form the crank naaz stream. The Nundkol Lake lies at the foothills of Mount Haramukh (5,142m (16,870 ft)). The Gangabal Lake which is bigger and at higher elevation lies 1.5 km to the north of the lake. Surrounded by the lush green meadows, the banks of the Nundkol Lake serve as the camping site during the summers. Naranag is the nearest settlement and serves as the base camp for trekking to the lake.
The Nundkol Lake is fed by Gangabal Lake and the melting glaciers of the Mount Haramukh. It gives rise to Wangath Nallah, the major right tributory of the Sind River.
During the winter, the Lake freezes and is covered by heavy snow. In the summers, the basin of the lake is surrounded by a sheet of alpine flowers. The geum, blue poppy, potentilla and gentian are relatively common. Hedysarum flowers are found in late spring throughout the area around the lake.
The Nundkol Lake is stocked with trout among of which is the brown trout. The fishing is permitted to the licensed anglers. This Lake is accessible only during the summer; during the winter, the treks are closed because of the heavy snowfall. It can be reached from Srinagar, via a 65 km motorable road which leads through Ganderbal and Wayil to the Naranag trekking camp. The alpine meadows of Trunakhul and Badpathri lies at the halfway point of this two-day trek to the lake. An alternate trek starts from Chattergul village, 10 km to the west of Naranag which leads through the meadows of Mahlish. The lake can also be accessed through Bandipora and the five-day trekking starting point is Arin. Tourists prefer Naranag trek and return via Gadsar Lake, Vishansar Lake and Sonamarg to cover most alpine lakes of the area.
Naranag (or Nara Nag) is a tourist village of Ganderbal district, Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is located around 8 km from Kangan, 6 km upstream from the Nallah Sindh. Noted for its scenic meadows, lakes and mountains, it is a base camp for trekking to the Mount Haramukh 16,870 ft (5,142 metres) and Gangabal Lake. The village lies at the left bank of the Wangath river, which is a tributary of the Nallah Sindh.
The Naranag valley is noted for its scenic meadows. The village is a base camp for trekkers to the Mount Haramukh, the Gangabal Lake and Satsar (the seven lakes). It is also a base for the trekkers to Gadsar Lake, the Vishansar Lake and the Krishansar Lake, though it takes 5 to 7 days of trekking.
There are also many other peaks and alpine meadows around the Naranag Valley. In the winters, Naranag receives heavy snowfall, during which skiing is practiced.
The Naranag temple is the main attraction for the tourists. It is one of the important archaeological sites of the country. The site consists of a cluster of temples facing each other at a distance of about 200 meters. Historians say that the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva by the 8th century ruler Lalithdatiya muktadiya. It is believed that the king Awantivarman paid a visit and donated a pedestal for bathing at Bhutsher. Its architecture reveals the art art of the 8th century. The government has only constructed walls to protect it from encroachments and nothing else has been done. It is now left in ruins of which only faint traces have survived. This temple has the typical Aryan structure as was present in Aryan Kashmir.
Kana Sar is a mountain in Kashmir (Jammu and Kashmir), India with the region font code of Asia/Pacific. It is located at an elevation of 4,346 meters above sea level.
Best Place for Sightseeing
Lol Gul Lake
Is a a break in a mountain range or other high obstruction, used for transportation from one side to the other in the country of India. Its center lies at a latitude of 34.4416700 and longitude of 74.8833300 and it has an elevation of 4062 meters above sea level.
Best Place for Sightseeing
Harmukh (also known as Mount Haramukh or Harmukh mountain) is a mountain with a peak elevation of 5,142 metres (16,870 ft), in Ganderbal district of Jammu and Kashmir. Harmukh is part of the Himalaya Range, and is located between Nallah Sindh in the south and Kishanganga Neelum River in the north, rising above Gangabal Lake in the vicinity of Kashmir valley. It is mostly climbed from the northwestern side of Arin Bandipore.
The closest tourism destination to Haramukh is Daachigam. Other close by tourism destinations include Sonamarg, Srinagar and Pahalgam. The nearest major railway station to Haramukh is Jammu (JAT) which is at a distance of 5.2 kilometres. The nearest airport is at Srinagar which is at a distance of 44 kilometres. Lying at an elevation of 11945 m, it is one of the highest cities in India.
According to Hindu mythology, Harmukh is the abode of Lord Shiva. According to the legend of “Hurmukhuk Gosoni”. Once a hermit tried to reach the summit of Harmukh to see Lord Shiva face to face. For twelve long years he tried to scale the summit, but failed until one day he saw a Gujar descending the summit. When the Gujar approached him, the hermit enquired as to what he had seen there. The Gujar said he had been searching for a stray goat, and that while searching he saw a couple milking a cow and drinking the milk from a human skull. The couple had offered him some milk, which he refused to drink; when they departed they rubbed a little of the milk on his forehead. When the Gujar indicated the spot where the milk was rubbed, the hermit was extremely joyful and rushed to lick his forehead. It is said that the hermit attained Nirvana and disappeared from the place, to the complete surprise of the Gujar.
The most enchanting high altitude trek in entire Kashmir valley is the one leading to the famous Lake of Gangabal situated at the foot of Mount Haramukh. This Lake is approachable either from Sonamarg involving a 3 to 4 day trek or directly through Chatargul along Bramahsar or via Naranag up the steep slope of Buth-Sher which takes a day or two. The trek from Sonamarg across Nichnai pass is out of this world. There are more than a dozen Lakes on this trek. Kishensar, Vishensar, Yemsar, Gadsar, Satsar, and finally the Gangabal and Nundkol Lakes. After crossing Nichnai pass, one can either go through the valleys or cross some more passes to go along the Lakes directly. Each Lake has its own peculiarity and the bigger ones, Kishensar, Vishensar, Gangabal, and Nundkol are stocked with trout fish. There are excellent camping sites all along the trek. The mountainsides are full of varied flora. Some places one finds mind boggling variety of plants and flowers especially while climbing the pass near Gadsar to reach Satsar.
Best Place for Sightseeing
Best Place for Sightseeing
Best Place for Sightseeing