Saturday, August 22, 2015

To Sonmarg, along the river Sindh

Sonmarg is a popular destination for any tourist visiting Kashmir.  Sonmarg is at a distance of 95 Kilometers (about 60 miles) from Srinagar and can be reached by road in a pleasant journey of three hours.  Journey is pleasant though it is through winding and hilly road due to the beautiful scenery all along the way.  The journey from Srinagar to Sonmarg for most part is along the river Sind or Sindh.  The road winds along the banks of this river and the sight of the river valley on the one side and the Himalayan peaks on the other is indeed breath taking.  A view of the winding roads and the river waters can be seen in the picture given below.

The river Sind or Sindh mentioned here is different from the Sindhu or Indus, which is reckoned among one of the seven sacred rivers that we invoke each day during our prayers. This river Sind or Sindh takes its birth in the Machoi Glacier in the east of Amaranath caves and flows for a distance of 108 Kilometers (about 68 miles) before joining the river Jhelum or Vitasta. It merges with Jhelum at Shadipora, 17 Kilometers north-west of Srinagar. As against this, river Sindhu or Indus originates in Manasasarovar in Ladakh and flows through Ladakh, Gilgit, and Baltistan and reaches the Arabian sea near the city of Karachi.  Sindhu or Indus flows for a length of 3180 Kilometers (about 1980 miles).  The only relation between the two rivers is that Sind merges with Jhelum and Jhelum is a tributary of Chenab, just like Ravi, Beas and Sutlej.  Chenab is itself a major tributary of Indus or Sindhu. 

The river Sindh provides a wonderful setting to the sight seeing trip.  The road is just by the side of the river in some places and tempts the tourists to get down and play in its chill waters. River rafting and fishing are popular pastime on the river Sindh. Permits are required for fishing in the river and can be obtained by applying to the Fisheries department. The river flows through Panjtarni, which is a camping site for Amaranath yatra. This is said to be the only river in Kashmir on which hydro-electric power plants are functional.  

Sonmarg is on the Srinagar-Ladakh highway and means "Meadow of Gold". It is a trekking heaven and enthusiast trekkers find many camping sites around this place. Warm and rainproof clothing is required for trekking and sightseeing and available for hire. Tourists are taken in Jeeps further up in the "Harmukh" range of Himalayas to see the Thajiwas glaciers. Tourists can go further to Manasbal lake on ponies and onwards to Amaranath cave. Baltal is 12 kilometers from Sonmarg and Amaranath cave can be reached in two days from there. Tourists have different activities on the snow clad areas of Sonmarg like in Gulmarg, except that there is no Gondola ride.  Other attractions like sledge rides and skiing are available. 

Sonmarg trip is indeed one of the highlights of a Kashmir trip, just like Pahalgam, Gulmarg and Chandanwari.  If the weather cooperates and you have a sunny day without rains, you are indeed blessed by mother nature.  The white snow clad peaks, green trees, blue waters of the river and the various colors of the flowers take us to a different world of colors altogether. 


  1. Why go in search of the Swiss Alps when we have such beautiful locales in our own backyard ? Kashmir is indeed the crown that India wears literally and figuratively! Thanks for taking us on a tour of the beautiful Sonmarg and educating us on the course and names of the river Sind, the Indus and its tributaries.

  2. real pleasure to read the write up on Sonmarg & river Indus .I am enjoying the place sitting here!