Sonamarg is a popular hill station in the Ganderbal district of Jammu and Kashmir. Located at an altitude of 2800 meters above the sea level, its name translates to “Meadow of Gold” and is known for its scenic beauty. Sonamarg also holds a valuable historical significance as it used to be the gateway, connecting Kashmir with various Gulf nations, on the ancient Silk Route.
Home to some renowned peaks and glaciers of the Kashmir National Park, one can spot the Sirbal Peak, Kolahoi Peak, Amarnath Peak, and Machoi Peak alongside the Machoi Glacier from here. Sonamarg also acts as the base camp for many treks like Kashmir Great Lakes Trek, Durinar Lake Trek, Thajiwas Glacier Trek, and Kishansar Lake Trek.
This article aims to guide all the trekkers out there about the various options available to travel to Sonamarg. The most common way to reach Sonamarg is through Srinagar. Srinagar is the closest city and is also well connected to other cities by all means of transportation.
Reaching Srinagar -
Sheikh Ul Alam Airport is located about 11 km from the main city of Srinagar. There are regular flights from major cities like Delhi, Chandigarh, Bangalore, and Mumbai. You can always opt for this option if you are coming from far-off places. A flight ticket from Delhi will cost around Rs. 2500 - 3500 if booked at least one month early and around Rs. 4250 - 4500 for the same month.
Sometimes, flights to Srinagar can be quite expensive. If you are on a budget, you can consider flying to New Delhi and traveling to Srinagar by bus or train. This option is cheaper but demands more time for travel.
Jammu Tawi (268km away) and Udhampur (200km away) railway station are the closest to Srinagar and are well-connected through most of the major cities. You can book tickets for as low as Rs. 300 and the journey take around 10.5 - 12 hours (depending on the Train) from New Delhi Railway Station.
To get to Srinagar, there are various options available from both the stations -
1. From Jammu Tawi, there are shared cabs and direct buses to Srinagar. While you can find a shared cab depot outside the railway station, the bus stop is located about 5.7 km away. It takes around 7 hours by cab and 9 hours by bus to reach Srinagar.
2. From Udhampur, you can follow the same route mentioned above although the distance to the bus stop is longer and is likely to cost you extra. Alternatively, you can first travel to Banihal by Bus or a shared cab (5 hours) and then go to Srinagar by a local train that runs almost every single hour (the last being 7 PM) and gets you to your location in 2 hours. The journey by the local train from Banihal takes you through some beautiful countryside vistas of Kashmir!
Note: Curfews in the region can sometimes delay road journeys from Jammu to Srinagar. If you are opting to travel by train, we recommend making this trip a day early to account for any delays.
Srinagar, being a famous destination for tourists all over the country, is well connected through roads. The journey from Delhi to Srinagar is almost 834km which takes around 18 hours or even more if you happen to encounter traffic at certain destinations. You can drive on your own, hire a taxi or even opt for a tourist bus.
That said, traveling by road can be a really long and tiresome journey and is not recommended unless you are looking to explore other places along the way.
Srinagar to Sonamarg -
Once you reach Srinagar, you can continue your journey to Sonamarg through various means
Shared Cab/ Taxi -
You can hire a private taxi to Sonamarg right outside the Srinagar airport. The journey takes around 3 hours and costs Rs. 2400.
Another option can be to avail shared taxis from Soura, which is just 10km from the TRC stand in Srinagar. You can get there by auto that charges around Rs. 200. From Soura, you can avail yourself of a shared taxi to Kangan that costs around Rs. 80 and take 1 - 1.5 hours depending on the traffic. From Kangan, you will have to take another shared taxi that will get you to your final location - Sonamarg in another 1 - 1.5 hours and will charge you around Rs. 80.
Overall, it takes 3 - 3.5 hours and costs around Rs. 360 for the complete journey from Srinagar to Sonamarg.
To travel by bus, you will first need to approach the TRC bus stand counter one day before the journey. They have daily buses going from Srinagar to Leh at 8 a.m. Sonamarg is on the way and the ticket costs around Rs. 240. However, it usually takes a long time (at least 5 hours) to reach there as they are mail buses.
There is also a JKSRTC bus network with direct buses to Sonamarg. However, these are not very frequent, so, it’s better to first contact the JKSRTC to get all the required details.
By Bikat Adventures Transport -
If you have opted for transport by Bikat Adventures, please ensure you board your cab from Dal Gate No.1(Srinagar) at 12 PM on the assigned date. Alternatively, the vehicle can also pick you from any point that falls on the route to Sonamarg upon prior notice.
The cost of the cab is usually split amongst trekkers and you can find it listed under the Add-ons section on the Itinerary page for the KGL trek on our website.
We hope this article is helpful in planning your trip to Sonamarg. If you have any questions, do leave them in the comments section below.