Patnitop or Patni Top is a hilltop tourist location at about 112 kms from Jammu in Udhampur district, it lies on Jammu-Srinagar national Highway. Situated on a plateau in the Shiwalik belt of the Himalayas, enveloped by thickly wooded forests, Patnitop is at an altitude of 2,024 m (6,640 ft). The river Chenab flows in close proximity to this location. It offers beautiful picnic spots, peaceful walks and breathtaking views of the valley of the Chenab basin and the Pir Panjal range.
The name 'Patnitop' is a distortion of the original name of the place, "Patan Da Talab" meaning "Pond of the Princess". In olden times a pond existed in the meadows and a certain princess often used to bathe there. Some part of the pond still exists near the local youth hostel.
Relatively unknown, compared to the other tourist spots in the state Patnitop is no less beautiful or serene. The meadow is surrounded by dense woods and lush greenery of Pines. Tracks lead to pockets where time stands still and calm prevails. In winter, the resort is generally covered with a thick mantle of snow thus providing opportunities for various snow games including skiing. It is the best developed tourist spot of Jammu and is second to none in its natural charm, climate, pine forests and lush green cover. There are several picnic spots in Patnitop, as pine forests on all sides surround it. This area is perfect for nature walks. Tours and travel to Patnitop usually involves a lot of picnicking.
There are three fresh water springs at Patnitop and it is believed that the waters here are medicinal. There are facilities for those interested in pony rides and camping activities.
Patnitop is an ideal region that serves as a base for tourist who trek to the nearby mountains.
Other Places to visit near Patnitop:
Sudh Mahadev Temple: The Sudh Mahadev Temple is said to be 2800 years old with a strong mythological connection. The temple houses a natural black marble `lingam`. Devak stream flows nearby where people can take a bath before entering the temple, it is believed that bath in it relieves a devotee of all sins. Mysteriously the Devak stream disappears a few kilometers downstream. The Sudh Mahadeva Temple was built 2800 years ago on the spot where the Siva devotee was accidentally killed by lord Shiva's trishul, while he was trying to protect his consort, Parvati. Lord Shiva realized his mistake and wanted to bring the devotee, Sudheet back to life but he preferred dying at the feet of the Lord. To commemorate the place, a broken trident or trishul can be seen at the temple. Hundreds of Lord Shiva devotees come to the temple to seek the divine blessings of Lord Shiva. The festivities on Shivaratri are worth attending, It is one of the sacred Hindu pilgrimages.
Gauri Kund is at a very short distance from Sudh Mahadev. It is basically a spring. Legend has it that Goddess Parvati used to bath here daily before paying obeisance to Sudmahadev. This spring gets its name from Parvati.
Mantalai is a place that is few kilometers further from Sudh Mahadev, Mantalai is a picturesque place. It is surrounded by a dense cover of green deodar forests. Legend says that the marriage of Lord Shiva with the Goddess Parvati took place here.
The Naag (cobra) temple : The ancient Naag Temple said to have been built 600 years ago and still commands a huge interest in both devotees and tourists. On Naga Panchmi festival, devotees from far and wide come here to seek the blessings of the Snake God. The isolated scenic beauty is breathtakingly panoramic as the whole valley can be seen below while rolling green hills surround the temple.
Activities to do at Patnitop:
Trekking: The complete tourist circuit covers Jammu-Katra-Vaishno Deviji, Kud-Sanasar, Patnitop-Gourikund, Sudmahadev, Mantali, extending upto Latti-Dhuna. Patnitop is ideal place for trekking in this region. In Summer all trekking routes are open while some are open in winter too.
Some of the routes are:
Billo ki powri - Billo ki powri is a staircase of 270 steps carved across a mountain face. These steps lie across a stone face between Kud and Patnitop. This is a moderate day trek that takes around 1 to 2 hours to complete. The climb starts just after Hotel Jai Skahan and ends at the Patnitop-Sanasar road, two kilometres from Patnitop.
Patnitop to Sudh Mahadev - This 15 kilometre / 5–6 hours moderate day trek, starts near Hotel Green Top Patnitop and ends at the historical Shiv temple at Sudh Mahadev. This temple is believed to be 2800 years old. The trek winds its way across Shivgarh ridge and affords beautiful views over Chenani- Mantalai Valley.
Trek to Shiv Garh:- This 11 kilometre / 6 hours difficult day trek starts and ends at Patnitop. This trek leads you over an unnamed "dhar" (or ridge) near Shivgarh, and involves a difficult ascent and descent over an unmarked trail.
Madhatop trek: A 5 Km trek from Patnitop along the Sanasar Road will bring you to Madhatop. Its salubrious climes and snow capped mountains makes it a haven for adventure tourists
Skiing courses are conducted at Patnitop in the months of January and Feburary. During winter mionths there are introductory courses for tourists / beginners at gentle gradient slopes of Patnitop. At Madhatop (5/6 Kms from Patni top on Sanasar Road) excellent possibilities for all kind of skiing exist.
Sledging: Locally also provide wooden sledges for riding.
There are quite a few hotels and tourist huts managed by the state government that provide amenities to visiting tourists.
How to ReachRoad: It lieas at a distance of 112 kms from Jammu, buses and taxis are available from Jammu/Katra/Udhampur. By a taxi it takes about 3 and a half hours to reach Patnitop and bus takes about 5 hours.