Wednesday, November 06, 2013

India: Pony ride to the Himalayan glaciers of Kashmir Valley in Sonamarg

Sonamarg: Himalayan glaciers of Kashmir Valley
A popular day-trip from Srinagar is a visit to the Himalayan glaciers of Kashmir Valley in Sonamarg. For our last full day in Kashmir, we drove to Sonamarg to enjoy the cold weather and majestic views of the glaciers.

Sonamarg: Himalayan glaciers of Kashmir Valley
Sonamarg: Himalayan glaciers of Kashmir Valley
Along the way, we passed through small towns, busy markets and beautiful valleys and mountain scenery. We were lucky to drop by a souvenir store along the way where I bought colorful lacquer-painted trinket boxes with intricate designs, a popular Kashmiri craft. They came in various shapes such as regular boxes and animals including ducks, roosters and turtles.

Sonamarg: Himalayan glaciers of Kashmir Valley
We were on the road for three hours. I dozed off for most of the trip. Arriving at Sonamarg, you immediately notice the pleasant weather and fresh air!

A herd of sheep and goats welcomed us, making its way up the hills for greener pasture. As we observed and explored the vicinity, our coordinator arranged for our pony ride and guides. You can actually walk if you want to. It's about 7 kilometers from the main road to the jump-off point for the glaciers.

Sonamarg: Himalayan glaciers of Kashmir Valley
Sonamarg: Pony ride to Himalayan glaciers of Kashmir Valley
Many of us could say that among the activities we did in Kashmir, this was probably the best! It was a slow-paced ride that gave us fantastic views of Kashmir Valley. The pony ride takes 45 minutes per way.

Sonamarg: Himalayan glaciers of Kashmir Valley
Sonamarg: Pony ride to Himalayan glaciers of Kashmir Valley
At the end of the ride is a small camp where makeshift stalls selling snacks and drinks have been set-up. If you don't mind the garbage left by some visitors in the camp (not that much but still noticeable), the scenery was magnificent and perfect for a cup of coffee or a hot bowl of instant noodles which you can buy at the stalls.

Sonamarg: Pony ride to Himalayan glaciers of Kashmir Valley
About an hour after we arrived, we had to make our way back since it was way past lunch time! Everyone was hungry and we had to return to the main road and drive to the center of town where a sumptuous (but very late) lunch was waiting for us at a local inn.

We rushed back to Srinagar as soon as lunch was done since we wanted to visit the local market before flying back to Delhi the next day.

Sonamarg: Pony ride to Himalayan glaciers of Kashmir Valley
Jet Airways flies daily to Srinagar!
Jet Airways has twice daily flights from Delhi (DEL) to Srinagar (SXR). Jet Airways also connects to Delhi from Manila via Bangkok, Singapore or Hong Kong at least twice daily!
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