Vintage Kashmir

Srinagar-Sonamarg Road, 100 years ago

The road from Srinagar to Sonamarg is perhaps the most picturesque and busiest ever of Kashmir in the summers. It is this road which takes out onward to Ladakh. However, this picture from a time when wheeled traffic to Ladakh was beyond anyone’s imagination.

Sonmarg, as we know today, gives rise to ‘The Three Sisters’ glaciers of Kashmir . In its vicinity lies the great Himalayan glaciers of Kashmir Valley namely Kolhoi Glacier and Machoi Glacier with some peaks of above 5000 meters: Sirbal Peak, Kolhoi Peak, Amarnath Peak and Machoi Peak. Sonmarg an alpine valley is situated at the bank of Nallah Sindh, 87 km north-east from Srinagar, it is a popular tourist destination, nestled within the imposing Himalayan peaks. It lies at an altitude of 2800 metres above sea level. The drive to Sonmarg passes Nallah Sindh, the largest tributary of the Jehlum River in the valley of Kashmir. It is upwards of sixty miles long valley and deep rock-girt gorge to open grassy meadow land and village-dotted slopes.

Demographics
Sonmarg has no permanent settlement and is inaccessible during winter due to heavy snowfall and avalanches. At the 2011 India census, Sonmarg had a population of 392, excluding tourists and those working in the tourism industry. Males constitute 51% and females constitute 49%. These are the permanent residents of Sonmarg though seasonally.

History
Sonmarg had historical significance and was a gateway on ancient Silk Road along with Gilgit connecting Kashmir with China and other Gulf countries. The Zojila pass lies 15 kilometers east and is one of the highest passes for road transport. It still is a base camp for Ladakh on NH 1D, and is strategically important for Indian army who holds control over this part of Kashmir.

 

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