Monikered “Meadow of Gold,” Sonmarg’s canopies of sycamore and silver birch, glacial lakes and bursts of alpine blooms only scratch the surface of its wealth. Real magic is encountered in its tiny hamlets. It is at Sarbal—the last village of Kashmir before the frozen Zoji La—that a photographer chanced upon old wooden houses dotting meadows, and in those houses, the warmth of families that opened their rooms and hearts to a stranger. In neighbouring villages, she snacked on Kashmiri bread over stories of annual migrations. Thick and fast, like the snow that’d cover her summer haunt come November, she fell in love with Sonmarg’s rural riches.