When travellers chalk out their Srinagar itineraries, they often skip a visit to the enchanting, quaint hill station of Patnitop located in the lower Himalayas in Jammu. Its close proximity to the Pir Panjal range and the fact that it is just an hour’s drive from the famous Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Temple in Katra, makes Patnitop popular among religious travellers who also frequent the 5,000-year old Sudh Mahadev Temple.
For those travellers who want to enjoy the beauty and abundance of the Jammu & Kashmir region but don’t want to get caught up and juggle the huge crowds and packed touristy attractions in popular destinations like Srinagar, Patnitop is a perfect destination worth exploring.
So, the next time you travel to Jammu & Kashmir, stop over at Patnitop for a couple of days to enjoy these five must-visit places:
1. Natha Top
This picturesque hill top can be visited both in summer and winter as it offers a range of activities to keep one pumped up and active. You can go paragliding and skiing or simply pack in a picnic that can be enjoyed in its lush meadows. Just two kms from Jammu and a short 14 km trek from Patnitop, Natha Top is pleasant throughout the year and offers unobstructed views of the Himalayas.
2. Aparna Ashram
For the fitness and wellness enthusiasts, Aparna Ashram is the place to be! This international yoga centre located in Mantalai, known for its breathtaking natural beauty, provides a tranquil setting to practice yoga and meditation. One can sign up for a host of yoga programmes, workshops and training sessions conducted by experienced instructors. Aparna Ashram also facilitates cultural exchange and understanding, welcoming visitors from different countries and backgrounds.
3. Billoo ki Powri
To visit this remarkable 270-step staircase chiseled painstakingly out of the mountain rock, your fitness levels needs to be A-game! This remarkable feature is located in the town of Dawariyai, just a short distance from Patnitop. Though the exact origins of Billoo’s Staircase remain shrouded in mystery, the common belief is that it was commissioned by a former king of Chenani, as a convenient shortcut to Batote town.
The remarkable craftsmanship and strategic location of this stairway make it a popular attraction in the area.
Situated at an altitude of 2,024 meters, Madhatop is a charming destination that is just a short 5-kilometer trek from Patnitop. Nestled amidst breathtaking natural landscapes, Madhatop is an ideal retreat for all kinds of travelers be it trekkers, honeymooners, winter sports enthusiasts and anyone else seeking a memorable escape.nWith its refreshing climate and majestic silver-steaked mountains, Madhatop offers a sanctuary-like ambience that is particularly enticing for honeymooners and adventure-seeking tourists. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or an adrenaline-fueled expedition, Madhatop welcomes you with open arms.
5. Skyview by Empyrean
This 22-acre property located in Sanget Valley-Patnitop, is an entire experience in itself! The beautiful mountain harbour is the ultimate destination that perfectly blends premium hospitality, adventure, nature and luxury! The Skyview Gondola (ropeway), one of the highest CEN-certified gondolas in Asia, covers 2.8 km in flat 10 minutes leaving you awed by the beautiful mountains, lush green valleys, bubbling streams and mirror lakes that glide by. The property also has a variety of adventure activities like trekking, mountain biking, archery, all-terrain vehicles and more, that will keep your adrenalin-rush pumping through the duration of your stay.
Make sure you stop over in Patnitop for your share of spiritual retreats, natural wonders and thrilling adventures the next time you plan your vacation to that side of the world!