|On our way to Sonamarg along Indus River|
My school buddy was a bit shaken after the Pahalgam escapade, my feeling was more of empathy towards the residents of the 3 places we visited. The primary means of income for them is tourism. Without it, how much does the state earn from export business of shawls, carpets, wool etc? The children are always subjected to seeing security personnel patrolling the streets, the by-lanes, shopping centres. One thing is for sure- this will remain an international issue as long as human civilization will thrive in this world. Anyway, too much of philosophy.
We had a short break at a place named Ganderbal, a small municipality approx 65 km before Sonamarg on the Srinagar- Leh national highway.
|Leaving Ganderbal behind|
One can fill up their supplies as the population density along with various options slowly decrease as one starts ascending the Himalayas. The air quality became purer and fresher, the wind became cooler and the roads were perfect for the adventurous road trip, except at a few places where BRO were carrying out their road construction duties.
|Welcome message at entry gate of Sonamarg|
We finally reached Sonamarg approximately 2 hours later (from Ganderbal) and the view just took our breathe away- literally...!!! Sonamarg is probably the most beautiful place on Earth to lay my eyes on - anybody with an imminent warning of wearing spectacles can stay here and heal their eyes just by looking at the greenery all around. One will get all sort of greenery at Sonamarg. We were put up at a hotel names Sonamarg Glacier, right in front of the mighty Thajiwas Glacier route.
|Our lodging place at Sonamarg|
1. Please don't take the 1st room adjoining the reception (probably room number 001 or something like that) as one will face immense space crunch. There is just enough space in front of the bed for only 1 person to move about conveniently.
2. Please try to book the rooms facing the lawn or Thajiwas Glacier as they give a stupendous view.
3. Please don't- DON'T-ever have non-vegetarian meals here if visiting and staying here during Amarnath Yatra season. Have vegetarian meals or rather have enough stock from Ganderbal to keep you going till Kargil (don't worry, your stock, if fruits, won't rot as the weather is fairly supportive)
As soon as we got the keys of our rooms, we dumped our luggage and was ready to explore Sonamarg. The locals don't allow your vehicle (the one in which you have traveled to Sonamarg) to take you to Thajiwas Glacier. They have their own jeeps to take you there- they charge approx. INR 500-700 for the to and fro journey till Thajiwas Park.
|My dream home|
|On our way to Thajiwas Glacier on horseback|
As my readers can see, there is not much of a "glacier" but only green meadows with sheep roaming around in the foreground. Well, we went there in the month of July but still the temperature was below 10 deg C, so one can imagine how cold it was. There one has the option of sledging on ice, which we didn't do as the price quoted by them was absurd and exorbitant for 10 minutes of sledging. So we made our way back to the Thajiwas Park from where we started our horse ride.
|Apparently this place was the artificial Indo-Pak border in the Salman Khan blockbuster "Bajrangi Bhaijaan"|
So as you can see from the caption of the picture below, I could relate to the artificial Indo-Pak border from the blockbuster movie Bajrangi Bhaijaan. The beautiful green meadows which were apparently shown to be from our neighboring country was actually in Sonamarg.
|Different shades of green|
On our return from Thajiwas Park to our hotel, we made in-numerous stops to make a futile attempt to capture the exquisiteness of the place in our cameras. So whatever pictures my readers are viewing on this post, the actual place is 1000 times more stunning and breathtaking than these images.
|Enjoying the greenery|
|Light and shadow play|