White magic of snowscapes
Situated amidst picturesque surroundings, Patnitop lies at an altitude of 2,024 mtrs above sea level in the lower Himalayan ranges. It is situated on National Highway 1A, between Udhampur and Srinagar, at a distance of 35 km from Udhampur and 112 km from Jammu and about 695 km from Delhi.
Patnitop counts amongst the best developed tourist spots in India. The natural beauty, dense pine forests and lush green landscape of this hill resort makes it a popular tourist destination.
Patnitop also treasures three freshwater springs, with ice-cold water that is said to have medicinal properties. Origin of the name Patnitop is a distortion of the original name of Patan Da Talab meaning ‘pond of the princess.’ In olden times a pond existed in the meadows and the royal princess often used to have her bath there.
Patnitop is full of deodar, which is among the world’s four varieties of ‘trucedars.’ Patnitop’s long natural walking trails, dense woods of pine and deodars, views of the Chenab Basin and thick snow sheets in winter attract tourists.
This hill station is mainly famous for its many adventure sports. In winter, the resort is generally covered with a thick mantle of snow thus providing opportunities for various snow games including skiing.
You can also enjoy the thrill of flying at Patnitop. Here, any tourist can experience paragliding, because a trained pilot accompanies the first-timers. The flight takes off from Patnitop and lands at Kud. It lasts between seven to 15 minutes, depending on the wind conditions. One is taken by car to the take off area. The organisers also give a good quality video of your memorable flight.
About 17 km from Patnitop lies Sanasar. It’s famous for its mesmerising meadows, pine forests and views of snow peaks. But the star attraction of Sanasar is its isolation as most tourists don’t visit here, giving you the opportunity to enjoy the pristine beauty of Sanasar all on your own.
Patnitop has numerous single huts and tourist bungalows apart from budget hotels. These huts and bungalows are maintained by J&KTDC and have good facilities. The other good hotels in the town are Vardaan Resort and Asia —the Oasis Resort.
Being a small place, you don’t get a lot of options to eat, but whatever there are, are delicious and sumptuous. Some of the restaurants worth mentioning would be the quaint bistros and the Vaishno dhabas.
Ideal time to visit Patnitop would be winters. It’s chilly, but this is the time to see meadows and snow-covered peaks at their best. Go there with your loved ones and come back with beautiful memories.
The writer is an avid traveller