Filed under Featured, Locations

Hill stations are among the places to go if people need to unwind, clear their thoughts and just commune with Mother Nature. They allow people to take in the fresh air, away from the bustle and pollution and waste of the city and urban life. Hill stations are a sanctuary and escape from the tiring modernities of life. Northern India is a part of the country that has plenty of hill stations, mainly because of its geographical location and its nice climate. More often than not, these stations have become local and international places of sanctuary and are becoming more popular every year.

Patnitop is one of the hill stations that belong in the Northern India territory, and it also happens to be one of the most popular and well-developed of the stations. Also known as Patni Top, it is found in the district of Udhampur, in Jammu and Kashmir. It is situated atop a charming plateau elevated at a height of 2,024 above mean sea level, across where the Jammu-Srinagar Highway passes. Patnitop is close to the Pir Ranjal, in the Lower Himalayan Range. From Udhampur, it is 35 kilometers away and some 112 kilometers from Jammu.

The name of the station is actually a distortion of the original name which was “Patan da Talab”. It is translated roughly as “Pond of the Princess”. This came about due to the fact that in olden times, there used to be a pond in the meadows of Patnitop where the king’s daughter would often take her bath. Now, part of that pond still exists near the youth hostel. It is said that when the British came and occupied India, they had a hard time recording an English spelling of the Indian name for their revenue records. Over the years, the name Patan Da Talab eventually changed to Patnitop.

The hill town offers beautiful scenic landscapes enveloped by lush, green forests. The place is perfect for families to hold their picnics, with beautiful spots found around the town. Sanasar in particular was chosen by the state tourism for major development, adding in spots specifically for picnics and expanding the 6-hole golf course to 9 holes. Backpackers and hikers can also enjoy pleasant walks in and around the station; Patnitop is actually a good starting place for many treks to the nearby mountains. A popular one among hikers and trekkers is a one-day walk to Shiva Garh, some 11 kilometers away from Patnitop, all at an altitude of about 3,500 meters. During the winters, the hill station is covered with a thick mantle of snow which makes it perfect for snow activities such as skiing. Paragliding is also a booming sport, with paragliding rides being offered at Dawariyai. The flight will take off at Patnitop and land at Kud, lasting about 7 to 15 minutes, depending on the wind conditions.

Getting to Patnitop can be done via land, with taxis and buses available at the cities of Jammu, Katra and Udhampur. It takes about 3 and a half hours if riding in a taxi while a bus trip takes about 5 hours. Accommodations include huts and tourist bungalows, all managed by the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department.


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