This was our third and last day in Kashmir valley. Last two days were as tiring as it can be as we all had become muse of ice clad mountains. But when at the end of the day, you hit back the bed, you actually realise the pain of being in a climate which is too extreme for you. Sometimes it will be bones and most of the times it would be muscular pain that will haunt you post your Kashmir trip.
For us, Sonamarg was extra inclusion as our tour guide mislead us and didn’t informed the driver about the itinerary. Despite of the written statement, our driver refused to ply us to the place or asked us to pay extra. Since we didn’t want to miss on one of the largest glacier of the world, we didn’t mind giving him additional bucks for invaluable experience.
We decided to start for Sonamarg early morning 6’o clock. This would serve two purpose- we wanted to relish the rising sun behind some of the giant mountains on earth and we had to come back to the city on time so that we can enjoy local Srinagar sightseeing.
So after all much-to-do planning and excitement, we started at 7’0 clock (Its true, we Indians can never be punctual). We experienced Srinagar mornings for the very first time which were so quiet, calm and serene. The city seems to be very lazy as you cant even find a single human on even the main streets of the town at even 7 o’ clock. But things weren’t as they seems to be. Since the temperature is too low for human existence, the common household choirs starts when the sun goes up and weather becomes less harsh.
Sonamarg isn’t too far from the city, just 56 km and is the last stop in Kashmir valley on route to Ladakh. We knew that Sonamarg was beautiful but we never imagined even the picturesque landscape enroute would also be so enthralling. Each of the scene, each of the mountain that we pass through was so-so beautiful that you can’t keep your hands off camera. The narrow roads and mini shanties on those hills will make you think that how beautiful it would be to live here, the life away from the hustles and bustles and close to ice.
You would be forced to think which is more beautiful- the one you left behind or the one which you are about to witness. Because each of the scene makes you feel high to the limits, at Sonamarg you need to push your limits in order to realise how much awesomeness you can imbibe at once.
We took almost two hours to reach the place where we have to leave the car and get o n to the pony. Cars with chained tyres are also available here which you can hire and would charge you Rs 1,000-1,500, depending on the season you are visiting. We decided to take a moment off in a restaurant which was also a hotel. As we got down of our cab, its’ hard to believe but its true that the winds outside were so chilling and fast that you can get swayed. The temperature at that moment was -3 degree celcius, coldest what I had experienced till now.
We weren’t able to stand by that cool breeze that was more like a tornado. Hence as fast as we could we ran into the hotel. We took a deep warm breathe and had tea, not the Kabba but the typical Delhi-type of tea. The hotel was too close to the mountains that we were exploring while driving.
So close that we realised that all those dotted greens weren’t trees but were army posts as well, where armed forces were well hidden and was keeping watch on all kinds of unnatural activities. There was a river as well, flowing just close to the mountain which was surprisingly not frozen because of the temperature.
Because of such freezing cold we couldn’t clicked our pictures but were satisfied that this time we had captured the most beautiful scene we can ever see. Close your eyes, just imagine a mountain covered with snow, with dotted green patches at distance and sun rising from its back. If this is the most beautiful scene you can ever imagine, I can make you sure Sonamarg was 100 times better than this.
As the locals informed us that the way up to glacier was closed due to snowfall, going on that route would have been life-risking challenge as pony can slip and even cars can skid. While we insisted that can we go up walking but that trekking would be anywhere close to 12km as they said. Hence, we did not forced ourselves to get into the love of the ice-clad mountains and came back from the point where we had tea.
People say that glacier is apple of everyone’s eye. This even includes Bollywood directors who come here to get inspired and shoot the snowy mountain trail. Here is one of the songs picturised in the valley of Sonamarg!
Although, we were high but left dry just because of the weather. Thankfully, it didn’t rain and no there was just enough security, not that one that left you irritated.
While coming back we stopped for munching some food. The entire road trip to Sonamarg took almost four hours which includes traveling to and fro and halt of half an hour at the hotel where we had tea.
Initially, we were sad that we couldn’t experience the real Sonamarg but if we would have we could have freezed because the temperature was only decreasing. By the time we left, it was close to -6 degree Celsius. This gave us the feeling that February is definitely not the time to visit Sonamarg at least. And if you are, make sure you are dressed up well.