Slow Days in Sonmarg – Of Braving Storms, Glamping, and Village Walks

My Uber comes in 5 mins, and my meeting is in 20 mins, but I at least have to send three emails before I reach there. On my way, I also have to fetch coffee. Amidst all this, the song playing in my ears is too slow for my pace, so I shuffle to a faster beat. Every minute of my day is scheduled on the calendar. This is a typical day of my life in the city!

And suddenly, I find myself in the mountains, glamping amidst a storm with no signal to make calls, forget 4g. I somehow romanticized this idea of not doing anything, but it’s crazy when you are not used to it.
When you are in the mountains, nothing is in your hands. Nature controls you, and you go with the flow.

Sonmarg is one of the most beautiful and serene places in Kashmir. Every season presents a different experience and different landscape. While winters can be unpredictable and harsh, there is nothing better than experiencing a winter wonderland.
There is hardly any signal here, so stuff up with some books, board games, and download music.

We went glamping in Sonmarg, away from the crowded market center filled with many, many tourists, sad ponies, and tour operators selling glacier round trips.

Sonmarg last village

The Storm Prepared Us for the Slow Mountain Life:

The first night in the tent and the wind blew very strongly. They gave us a storm alert. The wind came from the direction of the snow peaks up north, so it was very cold. As the intensity of the wind increased, our tent protested the unrelieved wind, and the power went off. We remained inside the warm blankets and kept the window shade open. The stream in front of our glamping site was roaring.
I rushed out to check with the locals if we had to worry. Aamir said, “Arre ye toh kuch bi nahi hai. Ek-dedh ganta mein sab clear hojayega (This is nothing, and it will settle down in an hour or so)
Living in the mountains 7000 feet above sea level makes you accustomed to the uncertain weather.

Like Aamir said, the wind fell after an hour. The stars showed up, the power is back, we had makkhi rotis with some warm Kashmiri dum aloo and slept warm only to wake up to dark clouds and drizzle.
We had to cancel our plans to go to zero point via Jojila pass. We spent the day at our glamping site, reading books, writing, and helping with cooking.
When the clouds scurried away, we went pine cone picking and set up a lovely sunset picnic over kawah and spiced almonds.

The Last Village:

Our glamping site was near Kashmir’s last village Sarbal. I’d walk up to the village in the evenings. It’s a little hamlet tucked under the alpine forest on the top. Fresh Himalayan springs ran through the village, and snow-peaked mountains and glaciers surrounded it. The villagers are here only during the summer & monsoon months to cultivate potatoes and maize; come winter, they migrate to villages/towns in the lower altitude. They are a friendly and enthusiastic bunch, always up for a chat over a cup of nun chai.
People in the hills are always kinder than people from the plains. People in the plains do not have nature therapy, and life in the mountains is not as complicated as that of bustling cities.

A Telugu movie was going to be shot in this village. Kudos to the location scouting team for finding this cute little hamlet. The line production team was making preparations for the shoot. I was literally on the other side of the country, and meeting people who speak the same language and share the same appreciation for this far beauty is strange and nice at the same time.

Witnessed Snow Fall (My first):

We visited Sonmarg in May, and the weather throughout Kashmir was pretty warm, and we never excepted a snowfall. We made it to Zero point on the last day of Sonmarg, and suddenly snowfall started as we crossed Jojila pass. My mom got pretty excited like a toddler, playing around, and had so much fun throwing snowballs at me. It was the first time we both traveled together, and it was also the first time both of us witnessed snowfall. Something that we’ll cherish for a long, long time.

Sonmarg Essentials:

Reaching Sonmarg:

Sonmarg is about 80 km from Srinagar and takes about 3 hours by taxi. There are state-run buses that frequent Sonmarg every morning. It takes about 5 hours to reach Sonmarg.

Where to Stay:

Sonmarg has very limited numbers of places to stay. I stayed on a glamping site by the stream called Sheen woods. It’s pretty serene, comfortable large tents with attached washrooms and warm electric blankets—doubles from 7000 per night.
Villa Himalaya, is another favorite place of mine in Sonmarg. It’s situated away from the crowds, by a turquoise sindh river. I love their curated local experiences like village walks and forest walks—doubles from 6000 per night (varies as per season)

Connect with me on InstagramFacebook, to follow my adventures live!

Also read:

Unique Souvenirs to get back from Srinagar

When K’s Heart Broke, Found a Rebound and Then Disappointed – All on the Same Day @ Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

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