Patnitop is a beautiful hill station located in the Udhampur district of the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir. It rests at an altitude of 2024 metres on a plateau in the Shivalik belt of the Himalayas. The hill station is famous for its endless meadows, dense deodar and blue pine forests, rolling hills, freshwater springs and panoramic views of the mighty Himalayan peaks. Moreover, its tranquil vibes and the river Chenab flowing in proximity makes it even more compelling.
Its name is derived from ‘Patan Da Talab’ which means ‘the pond of the princess’. It is believed that the pond at the hill station was once used by a princess for her daily bath. The beauty of this mesmerising hill station has always bewitched me. Since Jammu is my hometown, Patnitop has always been a school and college picnic spot for us.
Best Time To Visit:
A lot of sites may tell you that Patnitop is a year-round destination which was true in the past when we didn’t have global warming issues. However, with the growing effects of global warming, our hill stations have been adversely affected. Now, the best time to visit Patnitop is from September to December (Summers) to enjoy greenery and lovely weather, and January & February (Winters) to enjoy snow and indulge in snow sports.
How To Reach:
A taxi can be hired from Jammu railway station or Jammu airport to reach Patnitop Hill Station. Alternatively, you can also board a local/video coach bus from Jammu bus stand and that would be a much cheaper option than taxi. The journey is for around 3.5 hours from the Jammu city.
What To Do:
Enjoy a refreshing walk among the tall deodar trees with eye soothing green spaces around. Take a pony ride on the hilly slopes of Patnitop Park. Sit, relax and enjoy the cool breezy weather. There’s a Children’s park as well with a lot of swings for your little travellers. If you are visiting the place in winters there are a lot of snow sports to indulge in including Skiing and trekking.
Where To Eat:
There are a lot of food joints at the entrance of the park. Don’t expect some big fancy restaurants here. They are just the local shops with great food. You will also find a lot of roadside food vendors who sell yummy delicacies. There are no food joints inside the park. Masala Maggi is something you must try here. Maggie has always been the favourite of hill stations in India and they all have their own way of preparing it. I’ve had some of the best Maggi recipes at Indian hill stations.
Where To Stay:
Spending a night at Patnitop is recommended to enjoy the chills of night, a lovely sunset and a mesmerising sunrise. The early morning breeze will also send you in a frenzy of joy. There are a couple of hotels around the park, however, staying in wooden huts within the park would be the best option. They can easily be booked online on JKTDC (Jammu & Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation) website.
What to Shop:
On the way to Patnitop, there is a place named Kud which is famous for the delicious Indian sweets ‘Patisa’ and ‘Chocolate Burfi’. These are the delicacies you can shop for. Buses take a small break here as people prefer buying these sweets from Kud.
If you are planning for a daytrip to Patnitop and you haven’t booked a stay, restrooms can be a big challenge, especially in offseason. They do have mobile restrooms for tourists outside the park, however, they aren’t maintained in offseason. A couple of other restrooms available are quite filthy. This challenge is not there in peak season though.
More Places Near Patnitop:
From Patnitop, there are a couple of more places that you would not regret visiting.
- Nathatop – Located at an altitude of 2711 metres, Nathatop is a short trek from Patnitop. This peaceful place is famous for its cool breeze and serene views of pristine nature.
- Naag Temple – A little trek from the Patnitop park will take you to the top of a hill surrounded by mountains on all the sides. This is where the 600 years old Naag Temple is located. This blessed place is famous for granting wishes as well as the tranquil vibes and hypnotic views.
- Sanasar Lake – Situated at a height of 2050 metres, Sanasar is a 20 kms drive from Patnitop. Owing to its dense forests and picturesque views, the place is a hub for aero-adventure sports including paragliding, hot-air ballooning, bungee jumping, sky diving etc. Apart from this, you can also indulge in land sports like car racing, cliff climbing, skating, skiing, mountain biking etc. The water sports you can indulge in are snorkelling and boating. Sanasar also houses a Tulip Garden which is at full bloom in April with more than 18000 flowers.
Overall, Patnitop is a great place to enjoy some quality time amid pristine nature. However, please make sure you consider the best time to visit before planning your trip.