Patnitop, Nathatop, Sanasar, and Kud. Do you know about these places? Have you heard about them? If not, let me take you on a virtual trip to these four scenic places in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. All these photogenic and picturesque places are easily accessible from Jammu city. So if you are flying from Delhi or any other city, your first destination has to be Jammu. A two hours road trip takes you further to Patnitop. In my view, these places can easily be covered on any of the long weekends. Now that I have discovered it myself, I have been suggesting it to others as well. It qualifies as a lovely weekend getaway to beat the stress of mundane weekdays. After my recent trip to Skyview Patnitop, a lot of my friends were not only curious about the gondola ride but they also wanted to know more about Patnitop, adventure tourism, and things to do in and around the Skyview by Empyrean. Some of the most common questions were, “Is it worth visiting Patnitop?” “Does it really have so much to do?” Well, I am aware that Patnitop in Jammu and Kashmir has mostly been a quiet hill station, only known for its beautiful meadows and panoramic views, but now, one must not underestimate its natural prowess. And it is evolving for the better. Initially, Patnitop was looked upon as a one-nighter kind of place and it never ruled the popularity charts, but now with the cable ride and adventure activities just at the base of it, you will not only be surprised but you will have things to do and look forward to. Also, if you are into hiking, you will have lots to discover in and around.
In this blog, I will not only share my experience with Patnitop but also with Nathatop, Sanasar, and Kud. They are all closely placed and each one of them promises endless views of serene meadows, picturesque valleys, and the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas. Plenty of photo points, picnicking locations, camping, and trekking are some of the perks that come along with these places.
And when you are in India, you are always on a rollercoaster ride. All our states have lots to offer and when it comes to the food, culture, and people, the state of Jammu and Kashmir is pretty interesting. During this trip, I also learned about the nomadic tribes of Jammu and Kashmir, the Bakarwals. They are closely associated with the shepherd community as they rear sheep and goats. The Bakarwals prefer to remain nomadic for most of their lives and keep migrating to alpine pastures with their flocks of livestock in the summers. In winter, they shift to a different location. I visited Patnitop in May and I saw them moving to higher altitudes with their families. Some were setting up their camps in Sanasar.
Do you that “Patan Da Talab” or “Pond of the Princess” was popularly distorted to Patnitop? The locals tell tales of a beautiful pond that existed amidst the meadows and it was often visited by the Princess for bathing. Gone are those days but even today, Patnitop beams in the light of its endless vistas of nature. It is an all-weather place to indulge in the beauty of nature. Every day, I felt blessed to wake up to beautiful skies and gorgeous greenery around me. I was there during May and the weather was lovely. I stayed in Sanget valley and Patnitop was just a gondola ride away. One can see and experience heavy snow in Patnitop during winters.
The moment you say Patnitop, people must mention Naag Mandir, Kud, Billo Ki Powri, Nathatop, Sansar Lake, and Madhatop. The fun begins at Sanget valley and goes on as you explore the surroundings. Skyview by Empyrean has turned the place all the more exciting and enticing. While the gondola ride is a treat for thrill seekers, there is more for nature lovers. Patnitop is a quiet and scenic hill station, with lovely weather. Be it a family holiday, weekend getaway, or just a staycation, the views around will cheer you up every day. There isn’t much to do but if you are a nature person, you will be spoiled for sure. Walk around the old temples, market, and the cute cafes of Patnitop.
Located at an altitude of 2711 meters, it is one of the most accessible places where you can enjoy the snow during the winters. It is hardly 15 kilometers from Patnitop and offers surreal views. The lush greenery and the mountains on all sides get to the heart and eyes. It has a unique landscape in every season. When Nathatop gets snow, closer to winter, the hill station becomes the hub of snow sports. During the other months, it becomes green and picturesque. It promises great weather, a panoramic view of the higher ranges, and meditative vibes all around the year. During winters, don’t miss paragliding, skiing, sledging, and pony rides at Nathatop. The winter pictures are absolutely different from what you get to see in summers or other seasons.
As the name suggests, Nathatop is a top, a certain point that has access to bountiful vistas. You must not treat it as something else and have wrong expectations from it. But if you are looking for that intangible feeling of joy where you have access to phenomenal views of natural beauty, this is the place. Nathatop also promises majestic views of the Lower Shivalik range and Brammah Massif of the Kishtwar range. On the clearer days, one also gets to see some of the other mountains as well, like Flat top (height 6103 meters), Brammah I (height 6416 meters), Brammah II (height 6485 meters), and Arjuna (height 6230 meters). If you are the adventurous kind, you might want to trek to Nathatop, a 14-km trek (one-way) that offers great views en route.
If you love skiing, you must visit this place in winters.
Two villages make up Sanasar and the lake is the point of attraction. This lake is extremely popular in this region and is located 10 kilometers ahead of Nathatop. The ride is pretty and scenic, as the area is covered with mountain tops, high cliffs, forest covers, green meadows, and huge trees.
During peak winters, this part becomes inaccessible due to heavy snow but whenever you have a chance, don’t miss it for the green meadows, valleys, and ridges. At an altitude of 2050 meters, this place gets its name from the twin lakes and villages – the Sana and the Sar. In the past, it has been known for its old Kashmiri Temples and today, it is widely popular for adventure activities. The lake is man-made but the most beautiful thing about this place is that it is surrounded by picturesque meadows and valleys. The settings are very soothing. And with time, a lot of leisure activities have evolved around the lake. Pony ride to the fruits orchards, Shikara ride in the lake, ziplining, camping, bonfire, trekking, sports, and winter games are some of the popular activities among the locals who visit this place. It is also a good place to enjoy short hikes and get lost amidst the coniferous trees that are densely populated in these valleys. Nature lovers are sure to fall for this place. I definitely wanted to spend more time here. You must plan a picnic here if you can.
If you are in and around Patnitop, you must not miss the opportunity to visit Kud. It is a small town in the Udhampur district and distinctly famous for its Patissa. Even while I am writing about it here, I can’t stop missing the hot, fresh, mouth-melting patisa. Go for a ride around this town and don’t forget to buy some Patissa and other sweets from the 97 years old shop- Prem Sweets. Kud also has a very peaceful and ‘closer to nature’ kind of vibe. It is known for its camping and hiking options in and around. Kud has been an important stop-over on the Jammu-Srinagar Highway. If you are staying in Kud, you must visit Kud Park. Due to the new tunnel, a good amount of traffic has been diverted, and now, not every vehicle passes through Kud. Initially, everyone headed towards Srinagar from Jammu went via Kud.
Kud will attract tourists who look for offbeat locations, to stay in the lap of nature. Kud is that little town that doesn’t qualify as a hot spot on travallers radar but it is a quaint, laidback town which is perfect to treat the senses with views of nature and delicious Patissa.
How to reach?
Jammu Airport (IXJ) is the nearest airport from Udhampur where Patnitop is situated. From Jammu airport, it is hardly two hours journey via car. All other places are accessible from Patnitop via car.
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