Patnitop: a view towards the mountains
|State||Jammu and Kashmir|
|Elevation||2,024 m (6,640 ft)|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
Patnitop or Patni Top is a hilltop tourist location in Udhampur district in Jammu and Kashmir state of India on National Highway 1A 112 km (70 mi) from Jammu on the way from Udhampur to Srinagar. Situated on a plateau in the Shiwalik belt of the Himalayas, Patnitop sits at an altitude of 2,024 m (6,640 ft). The river Chenab flows in close proximity to this location.
The name 'Patnitop' is a distortion of the original name of the place, "Patan Da Talab" meaning "Pond of the Princess". In olden times a pond existed in the meadows and a certain princess often used to bathe there. Some part of the pond still exists near the local youth hostel. It may be the case that the British had difficulties recording the Indian name correctly in their revenue records. Hence, over the years the name has changed from "Patan Da Talab" to Patnitop.
Patnitop is located in the Lower Himalayan Range close to the Pir Panjal range, 47 km (29 mi) from Udhampur and 112 km (70 mi) from Jammu. This famous hill resort is perched on a beautiful plateau, at an altitude of 2024 m across which the Jammu-Srinagar Highway passes. The towns of Kud and Batote are nearby. Kud is a very small town where sweet shops make fresh Patissa (a sweet). It may be bought hot and melts in one's mouth. Batote is known as a place for quality rajma or the kidney bean.
Enveloped by thickly wooded Cedar/Deodar forests, Patnitop offers beautiful picnic spots, peaceful walks and breathtaking views of the mountainscape of the Chenab basin. In winter, the resort is generally covered with a thick mantle of snow thus providing opportunities for various snow games including skiing. It is the closest winter resort to Jammu and to Udhampur and is second to none in its natural charm, climate, pine forests and lush green cover. J&K Tourism as well as the army have some holiday homes here.
Trekking in Patnitop
- Billo ki powri - Billo ki powri is a staircase of 270 steps carved across a mountain face. These steps lie across a stone face between Kud and Patnitop. This is a moderate day trek that takes around 1 to 2 hours to complete. The climb starts just after Hotel Jai Skahan and ends at the Patnitop-Sanasar road, two kilometres from Patnitop.
- Patnitop to Sudh Mahadev - This 15 kilometre / 5–6 hours moderate day trek starts near Hotel Green Top, Patnitop and ends at the historical Shiv temple at Sudh Mahadev. This temple is believed to be 2800 years old. The trek winds its way across Shivgarh ridge and affords beautiful views over Chenani- Mantalai Valley.
- Trek over an un-named ridge - This 11 kilometre / 6 hours difficult day trek starts and ends at Patnitop. This trek leads you over an unnamed "dhar" (or ridge) near Shivgarh, and involves a difficult ascent and descent over an unmarked trail. Caution and experience is needed when attempting this trek.
Paragliding at Patnitop
One can enjoy the thrill of flying, at Patnitop. The paragliding joyrides rides are conducted at Dawariyai, 2 km (1 mi) landmark, on the Patnitop-Sanasar road. One can ask for paragliding at the Patnitop Development Authority (PDA) barrier.
The takeoff site is at Dawariyai, on the Patnitop-Sanasar road. The area often called as the Billo ki powri point. Approx 270 plus steps have been carved out along the rock face to make the steep slope negotiable. The stairs eventually leading to Dawariyai, the "gateway". The exact dating of the work is still debatable. Any tourist can experience paragliding accompanied by a pilot. The flight takes off from Patnitop and lands at Kud. The flight lasts for 7 to 15 minutes depending upon the wind conditions. One is retrieved by car to the takeoff area. The organizers also give a good quality video of the memorable flight.
Takeoff is from Natha Top and landing at Kud. The flight can be from 15 minutes to an hour depending on the wind conditions.
Sanasar lake, 20 km (12 mi) from Patnitop by road, offers paragliding, camping, trekking, abseiling, rock climbing and scenic nature walks.
Patnitop bypass road tunnel
Snowfall and avalanche in winter at Patnitop obstructs National Highway 1A a few times every winter and causes long queues of vehicles - sometimes for days at length. India's longest road tunnel, the 9.2 km (6 mi) long Chenani-Nashri Tunnel or Patnitop Tunnel is being constructed starting from about 2 km (1 mi) from Chenani town south of Patnitop to Nashri village north of Patnitop to reduce the distance from Jammu to Srinagar and reduce traffic jams on NH-1A that occur due to snowfall and avalanche in winter at Patnitop.
The Southern portal (end) of the tunnel is at coordinates 33.0463°N 75.2793°E and the Northern portal (end) of the tunnel is at coordinates 33.1285°N 75.2928°E. When the tunnel is completed, the highway will no longer pass through Patnitop. The tunnel will reduce the length of the highway by 31 km (19 mi) and the highway will bypass Patnitop. About 2 km (1 mi) of the tunnel had been excavated by April 2012 and about 50% of the length had been excavated by January 2013.
The hill resort is extensively being used by Civil engineering students of the valley for Survey camps. Each year, students from different engineering institutions of the valley visit this place to complete their 14 day training course.
- Silas, Sandeep (2005). "17. Patnitop". Discover India by Rail. Sterling Publishers. p. 47. ISBN 81-207-2939-0.