Sonmarg (translation: “Meadow of Gold”) is a hill station in Ganderbal district in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir about 80 km north-east of Srinagar.
Given its high altitude and mountainous terrain, Sonmarg is a locality that experiences the regionally rare humid continental climate with significant rainfall. The average temperature in Sonmarg is 6.5 °C, and nearly 932 mm of precipitation falls annually (not counting the heavy snowfall that occasionally falls on the valley floor during winter).
Sonmarg is easily accessible from Srinagar or Srinagar Airport (SXR), the capital of Kashmir, in under 3 hours by car or by bus on NH 1D 87 kilometers which leads along Nallah Sindh a key tourist attraction. Sonmarg is inaccessible during winter due to heavy snowfall and avalanches, NH 1D is closed in December every year, the local traffic is permitted only up to Gagangear village, which is the last permanent settlement of this area. Only the Choppers of Indian armylands at Sonmarg during winter carrying essentials for the army camp, and the army personnels are the only people who stay at Sonmarg during these harsh weather conditions. After Kargil war these high altitude meadows have seen heavy deployment of Indian army. The government has given a green signal to dig a 6.5 km long road tunnel, Z-Morh Tunnel, at Gagangear and 14.2 km long tunnel at Zoji La, which will not only keep Sonmarg open round the year but also the road to Dras, Kargil and Leh in Ladakh. This project is still on paper and the construction has not started.
Main attraction of this place is Thajiwas Glacier. Be very careful from the pony and car touts. This will always misguide you and ask handsome amount to access them. Your normal car will not have access to reach Thajiwas Glacier. You must need to hire either pony or four-wheel drive SUV to reach there. It is just about 5 minute drive by car. They may be ask you about Rs.900 for pony per person or Rs.5,000 per vehicle. Always negotiate with them. You can easily negotiate them for Rs.700 for three places (Thijiwas Glacier, Fish Pond & Sarbal Park). In Thajiwas, you will get the snow but tout will misguide you for not having over there. At last if you want to enjoy snow in Thajiwas Glacier, hire a SUV vehicle for Rs.2,000, I’m sure you will see it (snow) over there.
You can hire sledge-cart for Rs.100 to 200 and gum boots for Rs.50 to 100 in May (which is peak time for them).