My first date with snow at Patnitop

Posted: January 7, 2017 in Travel

Our tour included two main destinations, Vaishno Devi and Patnitop. We were close to group of 5 people, reaching Jammu by train in the morning. First we went to Vaishno Devi via Katra. We returned from Vaishno Devi in the next day morning at 8am. After our darshan of Vaishno Devi and Bhaironath we were very tired and even we were not in a position to talk to each other. So we decided to take rest. We took a sleep for 4 hours then we have left for the Patnitop in the afternoon. A trip to a hill station was all that was needed when one wanted a bit of respite from the hasty rush hour and a memorable winter vacation.


Patnitop Located 120 km from katra on the Jammu – Srinagar Highway (NH1A)and from there Srinagar is about 200 km. Patnitop (2024m) is an important tourist destination and since it is located on the Jammu side of Jammu & Kashmir state it is free of militant activities and can serve as a perfectly safe tourist destination.

Main attraction of patnitop is the top garden, a vast expanse of mountain slopes and tall trees. When snow fall starts in peak winter, the slopes turn in to skiing fields. In December it was fun walking for hours in pure air (although it was a little windy) and natural surroundings.


Our journey to Patnitop kicked off from Katra at 3pm afternoon through Tavera. We started quite late because we have returned from the Vaishno Devi, same day in the morning. When we left Katra town and came to the highway, by that time we were knowing many things about Katra and Vaishno Devi but we were unknown to Patnitop and Kashmir rout, so we started inquiring about it from our driver and our driver started explaining us nicely. Since we were on the Shrinagar highway, two types of vehicles we saw on that road, tourist vehicles and army’s big vans and truck.


As we entered the Kashmir the real scenic view started. Now the famous chinar and pine tree could be seen. Our driver was telling us about each and every tree and places.When it was nearly 25 km,we could guess that now we are closer to Patnitop. Now the dense forest of pine and river Chenab could be seen. It was exactly what I had read in the books or seen in the movies. We could not control our self and call the driver stopped the car and we started to take photographs.


After a short drink break at Kud, we reached Patnitop in about 3 hours. It was already dark and started our search for hotels. Fortunately, we easily found one good budget hotel. This is the advantage of big group that you easily get good discounts. We checked in “Rose valley” hotels, as hotel staff told to us that they are famous for their expensive TV screens 😆 here we met Sanjay- The Service Boy of hotels. After more than 40 hours of train & road journey we reached Patnitop but sadly there was no snow and we were trying to enjoy in hotel room with…but we were lucky to be in Patnitop a day before it received its first snowfall of the season.Early next morning when we woke up all the areas are covered by snowfall and believe me seeing snowfall for the first time is such a fantastic feeling :o. The view from hotel window was definitely an energy booster that gives you the feeling of absolute serenity or the feeling of ‘so much yet nothing’ that you get as you begin to discover this town.


We all set out to explore Patnitop…surrounding hills were covered with a fresh layer of snow. One such hill was Nathatop our first destination, which not only provide fresh snow but also panoramic view of the snow clad peak of the Himalays. Nathatop, located 14 km from Patnitop, is a hub of adventure activities like paragliding, skiing, sledging and pony rides.


At Nathatop, We were out in the snow enjoying a snow ball fight :cool:. But it was bad news for adventure sports, the snow was not enough to start sledging. The sledges are nothing but indigenous version of the Calcutta hand pulled rickshaw, where you are pulled along the snow in a wheel less wooden carriage by a fellow human being. The only activity was skiing so we decided to enjoy the skiing. We spend about three hour on Nathatop enjoying the snow as well as the views and last but not least a refreshing cup of hot tea. This entire stretch of the road was covered with snow and made driving extremely difficult.


This place is really a perfect place to appreciate the beauty of mother earth. It is a very small city with small population and there are not many hotels and resorts. That is why everything looks so natural here without human intervention. At such natural places, one can find very good quotations painted at different places on road about nature and its importance and that is always inspiring. This place was so beautiful that returning to Jammu was a painful process. But I must say that survivals at such places are really challenging and not everyone’ cup of tea.

There is also very famous place called Sanasar Lake 20km from Patnitop but we couldn’t visit it due to time constraints.


We saw some most famous gardens of Patnitop. Wow! What a nice garden and picnic spot it was, full of flowers and tall straight pine trees. As we entered the gate of the garden we saw stalls of Kashmiri suits, shawls and stoles in the garden and all of us went near the stall and quickly purchased some shawls and we moved around enjoying random sceneries and the apple garden (with no apple at our time of visit!) then we left for the “Naag Temple”, a local temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It was a very famous temple, I think all the visitors of Patnitop goes to visit that temple. Here again you have many Handicraft stalls that requested to see “Bulbul Ka Baccha”. Why should we leave those stalls untouched, so we have visited those stalls and saw famous “Bulbul Ka Baccha” 😳 Now we were getting late for Katra because we had our train for Delhi from there at 7pm. We with our packets and smiling faces got into our cars. Now we told the driver to take us to some nice place for lunch because we were hungry and after that we will go straight to the station.


Finally, all good things have to end 😦 (that too end quickly!!)  We reached at Katra at around 5pm soaked in memories of Patnitop and started shopping at then moved to railway station to board our train for Delhi and from there, back to day to day life.


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