Walking around the Famed Meadows of Sonamarg & Thajiwas Glacier

The heart was finally calm after the locals had given fate a twist by deciding to make me stay in their home. I was in Sitkari village (pronounced Sitkadi) and an entire gamut of emotions was going through my head. Kids were running around causing much needed happiness while my brain was still in shock after the many rides in the scare of travel during curfew time in Kashmir.

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A bird’e eye view of Sonamarg as I climbed up to the first mountain. Don’t really have words to explain the calm I felt at that moment.

The ladies of the house had given me cup-fuls of chai and I had drank them with morsels of chapatis. Sindh river flowed past the houses of the village, it was a pristine atmosphere. Men went out to pray in the nearby mosque and the sound of azaan reverberated in the Kashmir valley. Sitkari is only 3-4 kms away from the resorts of Sonamarg but felt like a world apart.

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On the other side of the previous view; the little cottages near the stream would make for a great place to stay in Sonamarg!

I didn’t really have any plan for the day or the next two weeks (before my return ticket) and was shown a green mountain near the road to start my uphill walk towards the famed meadows of Sonamarg. A horse grazed in a circular shaped meadow that was flanked by towering trees.

Read : Leh-Ladakh : Amalgamation of Cultures

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The locals called it Sonamarg Club; would you believe this is a JKTDC TRC dormitory accommodation on the way to Thajiwas Glacier?

As soon as I was on top of that particular mountain, I came upon a sight of the full splendour of Sonamarg, endless green vistas with horses grazing nonchalantly. It seemed as if I was watching a wallpaper, it was almost picture perfect with an occasional sumo breaking the timelessness of the landscape. The weather was sunny with a cool breeze blowing and I was glad to have carried the jacket with me.

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An endless collection of picture perfect landscapes… They don’t call Kashmir paradise for nothing.

The far away mountain peaks seemed to be playing hide and seek but clouds were dominating the proceedings. A white structure in the meadows seemed very appealing and I later learnt that it was the TRC dormitory owned by JKTDC. I instantly wondered how amazing it would feel to actually stay in that place which looked like a dream come true!

Read : A Roadtrip Without a Plan: Destination No. 1 Khajjiar

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As the clouds began to make their presence felt resulting in a lovely cool breeze.

I was enjoying my walk when 2 horses began to follow me through the birch forest. It was a moment of bother but I changed my path and they went on their merry way too. I came upon a cute little hut that provided a vantage viewing point of Thajiwas Glacier (3000m) and surrounds. It must have been made by JKTDC and was a lovely wooden structure complimenting the natural scenery around it.

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Road from Sonamarg to Thajiwas glacier as seen from the fantastic hut-like viewpoint.

Thereafter I started descending towards the main road to Thajiwas Glacier that came from Sonamarg and within no time received a ride from a guy who was going on a two wheeler. He was quite surprised to see a tourist during the troubled times of the curfew. Two unruly kids started running behind our motorcycle and asked us to stop; they were adamant that I take a pony ride towards the Bajrangi Bhaijaan glacier! (I didn’t know the famous Bollywood movie starring Salman Khan was shot near Thajiwas Glacier.)

Also check : Romancing the monsoon in Corbett

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A view so green, you wonder if it was true or a dream….

It was quite surprising that the kids wouldn’t let go inspite of the local guy telling them to buzz off, we were finally at the last point of the road. More kids clamoured to get hold of me, although I clearly told them I had been to Thajiwas Glacier earlier and wasn’t keen on going especially due to the inclement weather. I crossed the bridge with water from the snow melt of the glacier thundering below. A mosque was visible under the trees in gorgeous meadows.

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The horses all gathered to race for a bit with the alien structure of a sumo but quickly resumed their grazing.

As I walked ahead, a few houses of the tribal Gujjars were visible. Colourful headscarves worn by women provided a pretty backdrop while men and kids played cricket. A few streams flowed nearby. It was easy to forget all about life that happened less than six hours away. The curfew seemed like a figment of my imagination. I got an invitation to have tea with the Gujjars after the end of the cricket match.

Read : A long weekend in Mussoorie – Explorations & Walks

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Clicked at the bridge – A left turn would take me to the Thajiwas Glacier and on the right were Gujjar settlements.

The glacier was beckoning to me. I paid heed to the winds and started walking towards it. The horsemen and pony guys were back again. Before I could get a chance to say no, it started raining. All of us ran to the shelter of the dhabas after crossing the narrow bridge. The rain came pouring down and created thundering music on the flimsy tarpaulin, which promptly gave way after holding out for some time.

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Look at the rustic beauty of this cricket match in progress… curfew, what curfew?

I was lucky to get a ride in the rain till Sonamarg with a local Kashmiri family and as the weather cleared, the views got incredibly beautiful! The proverbial icing on the cake was provided when the dhaba I was eating food at, made a fresh cup of Kehwa (Qahwa) for me (not a pre-mix powder). I have ever since been searching for hand made Kehwa powder.

That day it wasn’t just a walk to the ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan Thajiwas Glacier’; those 2-3 hours reassured me and prepared me for an epic trip. I was to later pay my obeisance to the gods at Amarnath Yatra and had a fantastic Kashmir Great Lakes Trek after that.

Read : An expert guide to Shimla

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Just when I thought the views couldn’t get any better, this sight from a dhaba in Sonamarg!!!

Could you relate to my experience? Have something to share from your own? I would love to know. Thanks.

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16 Comments Add yours

  1. Lovely pictures and write-up!! Kashmir’s beauty in incomparable….

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    1. I agree with that! Many thanks for the appreciation 🙂

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  2. How lovely is this. Really loved all the pictures, especially with the kid playing cricket. How you talk about Kashmir is exactly translated in this post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay! So glad you liked it Akanksha. It was an absolute pleasure to meet you 🙂

      Like

    1. Thanks for sharing 🙂 Glad you like it.

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  3. arv! says:

    Those are beautiful pictures. I haven’t seen these beautiful meadows in Sonmarg because I visited during the end of winters. But I have beautiful pictures of Sonmarg all covered in snow. The sonmarg JKTDC huts are all covered in snow except for their green roof!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow!! It must be so pretty in a white setting. Would love to see them. I am so so keen on seeing Kashmir during the autumn and winter season 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. arv! says:

        Will share those pictures then. There’s so much to write about Jaipur that other places just take a back seat. Indeed the place was just awesome. Maybe you can judge which looks better? Green Sonmarg or white?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, sure! Hehe. Will be fun to see that.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Niranjan says:

    Such surreal frames!

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    1. Yay! So glad you liked them, Niranjan. I just saw the Chapora sunset and said wow 😀

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