Situated on the Shivalik belt of the Himalayas at an altitude of 2,024 metres, the half flat and half hilly region of Patnitop in Jammu is an all-season destination.
Upon entering the Patnitop hilltop in Udhampur district of Jammu and Kashmir in India, chilling wind and a line of Chinar trees welcomed us, a sudden relief from the hot and humid lower neighbouring districts.
“Originally, Patnitop was known as ‘Patan Da Talab’ (Pond of the Princess); according to ancient tales, a princess used to bathe in a lake of the meadows,” informed our guide and driver Paramjeet Singh.
Varieties of multi-coloured flowerbeds and trees including the rare species of Chinar (natively called boonyi) are spread throughout the meadows – cutting or plucking of which is punishable.
With the River Chenab flowing in the proximity, the weather in the region changes with the blink of an eye. “It is so mesmerising to see the climate change in front of your eyes every 15-30 minutes – from chilly and foggy to rainy and then again sunny, in no time,” said Shaziya Rahman, Assistant Director Tourism, Chenab region, Jammu.
The Patnitop Development Authority, tourism department and forest department, are collectively taking efforts to maintain the natural environment of the region and are working towards developing eco-friendly infrastructure with eco-wooden cottages without using any concrete structures.
Besides nature admirers, the destination has a lot in store for adventure lovers as well with its zip line around pine trees, ATV rides, mountain biking, trekking options and zorbing, amongst other activities. “We are further planning to introduce gondola rides and a road ropeway in the region,” added Rahman.
Ras Al Khaimah