Located 84 kilometers from the state capital Srinagar and situated at an altitude of 9567 feet, Sonamarg lies in the valley carved by the river Sindh, surrounded by towering snow-capped mountains. Sonamarg literally means the “Meadow Of Gold”. With the Thajiwas Glacier and the upper reaches of the Sonamarg valley covered with snow practically all through the year, skiers can thrill themselves for a longer period in this region. This place has a certain “raw” unspoiled beauty about it as the mountains look tall and haughty and the vista whichever way looked at consists of meadows, imposing mountains and streams. Sonamarg is the gateway to Ladakh ,so if a trip is planned to that region by road, you would be enthralled by its’ charms.
Historically, Kashmir became known worldwide when Cashmere wool was exported to other regions and nations. The artisans are well adept at knitting and making Pashmina shawls, a skill that was introduced by a sufi saint from Persia through the silk trade route. Rugs, silk carpets, kurtas, pottery and saffron too, is grown in Kashmir and exports are encouraged. Products such as fruits, vegetables as organic foods, handicrafts in papier mache and oak wood, silver work, woollen, silk and cotton `firans’, wood used to make high-quality cricket bats, popularly known as Kashmir Willow, woven silk fabric, bed and table linen in Kashmiri embroidery, are bought generously and originate a handsome amount of revenue for the State.
Agricultural exports from Jammu and Kashmir include apples, barley, cherries, corn, millet, oranges, rice, peaches, pears, saffron, sorghum, vegetables, and wheat, while manufactured exports include handicrafts, rugs, and shawls.
Rich and redolent with the flavour of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and saffron, Kashmiri food is suitable for all palates. Predominantly non-vegetarian, “Wazwaan” as it is called is the royal cuisine of Kashmir. It’s a preparation of a number of spicy meat dishes served with traditional rice by professional chefs called “Wazas”. It also has some interesting vegetarian options like dum-aloo and ‘chaman’ (cooked cheese). Among the popular non-vegetarian delicacies are curd (yogurt) based Gushtaba, chilli-flavoured Rishta and Roganjosh. , hakh (a spinach-like leaf) and danival korma. Another popular local delicacy called Seekh-tuji consists of marinated meat pieces which are freshly barbecued and eaten with chutney. There are a number of restaurants and cafes in Srinagar and most of the good ones are located in Lal Chowk or on Boulevard Road, along the banks of the Dal Lake serving Kashmiri, Indian, Mughlai and ‘Indianized’ Chinese dishes, along with the famous, popular and unique `kahva’ or kashmiri chai. Some pure vegetarian restaurants are also located along the Boulevard Road, amongst which the ‘Krishna Dhaba’ is the most popular for its Rajma-and-Kheer. Gulmarg and Pahalgam are parallel in being completely equipped to meet the culinary desires!
Kahwah is a traditional green tea recipe from Kashmir made from green tea leaves with saffron strands, cinnamon bark and cardamom pods.Some varieties are made as a herbal infusion only, without the green tea leaves. Generally, it is served with sugar or honey, and crushed nuts, usually almonds or walnuts. There is another form of tea that is quite famous amongst the locals, and is called ‘Namkeen Chai’ or ‘Nun Chai’. It is pink in color and is also called Pink Tea, made from black tea, cardamom, various spices, salt and bicarbonate of soda. Also people like nune toath and dum toath which are very famous among sufis. Nunetoath is nunechai without milk and Dumtoath is a strong form of Kahwa.