The roads from Jammu to Patnitop are pretty good as this is the same route to Srinagar- NH1 Highway. Close to 40 km of the stretch is a four way lane with work going on and in a few years the entire stretch could be a four way lane. The picturesque landscape, pine trees, beautiful roads and the river Chenab flowing next to the road makes the entire ride blissful.
Close to 8 km before Patnitop is Kud, a popular picnic spot. It is known for its beautiful flowers and locals throng this place during weekends. The most popular attraction in Kud are sweet shops as it is famous for the sweet "Patisa." It is supposed to be had hot and just melts in your mouth. This place is also famous for their ice cold fresh water springs that are said to have medicinal properties.
Patnitop offers a lot to the traveller - meadows, pine forests, snow clad mountain peaks, nature walks, and a host of adventure activities like trekking, camping, paragliding and also skiing during winter months. It also has a golf course.
The main highlight of Patnitop is Padora Chowk. The meadows surrounded by pine trees and cattle grazing is a captivating sight. Horse rides can be availed from here to various view points. Of course, one can enjoy the natural beauty by choosing to trek the path to the view points.
Avoiding the horse rides, I headed 8 km away from the meadows towards the village and it was peaceful, quiet and soothing. En route I saw a small home bang in the middle of forested area. This one home solely stood out amidst thick green vegetation. Moments like this make me realize and accept that the so called houses back in metros are way too hyped. The high rises with so called views that come with a hefty floor wise premium can never offer unending views such as this. It is a pathetic attempt to justify our empty lives. The home owners living in the valley in the middle of nowhere may certainly not be rich and comfortable as per our society standards but they certainly have so much that we city folks with corner cubicles and infinity pools can never have.
In and around Patnitop, there are various places that offer Paragliding and one such place is Dawariyai- takeoff point for Paraglding and the landing happens in Kud. During winter, skiing is another activity that can be indulged in. Since the slopes are not too steep they are perfect for beginners to try their hand at skiing.
Midway on the Jammu- Srinagar highway after Patnitop is the Baglihar dam.The sheer volume with which the water gushes out when the gates are open takes your breath away. A spectacular sight indeed right off the highway.
I checked into Hotel "Jai Shree" on Padora Enclave, a decent property but with laid back service standards. During the day, there was not a single soul to take orders at the restaurant. Rooms are stuffy but clean and have basic amenities. They provide WiFi and the hotel is very conveniently located.
With the situation in Kashmir unclear and fresh reports of violence, I rode into the troubled valley, destination Sonmarg via Srinagar.