Sunday, January 19, 2014

Trip to Patnitop: Jammu& Kashmir, India

Patan Da Talab


Patnitop is a small hill station in Udhampur district in Jammu and Kashmir. It is 130km from Jammu and is on the NH 44 that connects Kashmir valley with the rest of India via Jammu. This highway is 663Km long and run from Jalandhar in Punjab to Uri in J& K which is 18km from the line of control. 

This highway is also recognized as most strategically important road and passes through some of the most difficult terrains and also shutdown frequently due to landslides or snowfall especially in winters. 

Sorry to distract, let us come back to "Patan Da Talab." Yes Patnitop was known as “Patan Da Talab” sometime back which means Pond (bathing place) of the princess but as British people   couldn’t record the correct name of this place and captured it as Patnitop in their records and this place become popular as patnitop over a period of time. 

4th Jan 2012

Katraha -->Patnitop -->Jammu

Why now?


The idea of writing this post comes to my mind because I am really missing winter this time and all the associated luxuries. This is the first time in my life that I have not witnessed winter as Presently, I am posted in Hyderabad.  

Our journey to patnitop was kicked off at 11 am from Kathara in a tempo traveller. We started quite late because we have returned from the Vaishnodevi, same day in the morning at around 5am. We took a sleep for 4 hours. We were close to group of 10 people. 

This was my 2nd trip to patnitop but in a way, it is first because my last trip was in summer of 2005 and Patnitop in summer is quite different from Patnitop of winter. This time, we were welcomed by thick blankets of snow all around in patnitop. 


This place is really a perfect place to appreciate the beauty of mother earth. It is a very small city with small population and there are not many hotels and resorts. That is why everything looks so natural here without human intervention. 

What you see in Patnitop all around is not hotels/resorts but dense cedar and Deodar forests and greenery all around and If you happen to visit this place, then this complete place gets covered with snow turning it into white forests. The vastness of the nature is enough to make you realize that you are not more than an iota of dust on the earth. Summer is a peak season in Patnitop.


We reached at 3pm in Patnitop and spent 4 hours playing in snow with snow. At around 5, we saw some sunlight and it is amazing view to enjoy the heat of sun when it is really required. But, sunlight was only for 5, 10 minutes and soon it become very dark and cold. We started for our next destination, Nathatop, which is 14km from patnitop but unfortunately, the route was closed due to heavy snowfall. We then spent some more time in Patnitop. 

At such natural places, one can find very good quotations painted at different places on road about nature and its importance and that is always inspiring. I have read lot of quotations but right now, I am able to recall only one “Pollution is a tax human is paying for misusing the nature.” This place was so beautiful that returning to Jammu was a painful process. But I must say that survivals at such places are really challenging and not everyone’ cup of tea. 

There is also very famous place called Sanasar Lake 20km from patnitop but we couldn’t visit it due to time constraints. 


We reached at Jammu at around 10 pm soaked in memories of Patnitop and started our search for hotels. Fortunately, we easily found one good budget hotel. This is the advantage of big group that you easily get good discounts. After that, we had our dinner and then simply retired in our rooms for rest contemplating about how the day went.

Next day, we planned for local sightseeing in Jammu. I was particularly excited about visiting the famous Raghunath temple which was once attacked by the terrorists. 

You can read here about another post which is part of same trip.

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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Trip to Mruguvani National park : Hyderabad

Recently, I visited Mruguvani National Park on my route back to Hyderabad from ChilkurBalajitemple. We have completed the Darshan and Parikrama at ChilkurBalaji temple by 7:30 and reached here at 8:15am after having our breakfast. 

We, me and my wife, had started really early from our Home at around 5:30 in Kondapur in Activa to Chilkur Balaji. I also came to know that Mruguvni national park also located there so, I thought to visit it also.

This board is at the entry of the park

Let me state some facts about myself before reviewing this place and upset your mood about visiting this place:

  • I am a nature lover, loves travelling and also kept the theme of the blog as Travelogues
  • Understands that travelers are generally not very demanding instead they are flexible
  • Not much is required by any destination to impress the traveler; travelers are impressed by the sheer simplicity and differences of any place

Having said all this, still I would not recommend this place to anyone unless you are a nature lover and serious Bird watcher of very topnotch quality. The point I am trying to make is that do not plan specifically for this park but you can always visit this while coming from ChilkurBalaji. I am sharing some pictures of this park which are really beautiful but can be deceptive also.

The first disappointment was that Park open at 9am which is very late by any measure for such parks.Not only this, as we entered the park, we came to know that most of the forest area is closed by the forest officials and the only area available to walk is even far far less than what is available in any city park in/outside your apartment. To give you an idea, its area is even smaller than public area of Botanical garden of the Hyderabad. 

One can enter in forest area through Safari bus which was not working from last 6 months which we came to know from some of the other enthusiasts roaming in the park. However, when I asked the management about Why Safari bus in not in operation, one old guy gives me different excuse. He told me that driver was on leave that day due to some personnel emergency. They can easily get away with such excuses when they know that same person will not come here again.

Beautiful painting at the entrance of the Museum
After roaming and enjoying the nature for half an hour, we went back to Museum but it was still closed. Watching us standing there, 1 person came and opened the lock. 

Right now, this place is serving the interests of few photographers and bloggers only who love outdoor activities and Bird watching. However, the huge potential of this park to attract the tourists can’t be ignored but this place is very badly managed. When we were leaving at 10 am, I saw some young couples entering in. I bet that this park is not even good for love making.

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Friday, January 17, 2014

Skywatch Friday - Munnar Tea Gardens, Kerala, India

This is my 3rd  entry in Skywatch Friday and I am really delighted to be the part of this as it

gives me the opportunity to see the beautiful skies across the World.

This picture is captured in Tea Gardens of Munnar, Kerala, India. If you wanted to see more pictures of Tea garden, you can click here.

To see the beautiful Skies around the world, visit Sky Watch Friday.

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Monday, January 13, 2014

A walk to remember - Post 1 in Munnar Tea Gardens, Kerala

11th April 2013

I have promised my wife last night that I will wake up before her unlike every day because I love long morning walks in the scenic places. And in spite of managing to sleep at 1, I woke up at 5 am. The weather was very cool. I went to wash room and begun reading one of the novels by Ruskin bond. Ruskin writes quite well about nature and that is why I love to read him at such places. I was reading 1 story about ghosts and also getting scared as the silence in such places are deafening. 

At 5:45 am, my wife also woke up. It was very dark outside. Finally, at 6 we went for a walk amidst the amazingly beautiful Tree plantation in Munnar. We breathed deeply to gift our lungs lot of fresh unpolluted air absent in cities. 

There were not many people and vehicles on the road and that provide us the opportunity to walk hand in hand without worrying about anything in life. Such simple pleasures of life amidst nature are actually the true gifts of life and should be appreciated and relished to the maximum. The beautiful nature trails surrounded with Tea Gardens on both the sides makes you realized that this place is tremendously gifted and bestowed with beauty and enormous number of panoramic views. It seemed as if God had created the beautiful green carpets and rolled them over the Munnar valley. 

"An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day." - -- Henry David Thoreau

After Sunrise

Believe me, this was the most beautiful part of our complete trip. Peaceful walk was the biggest advantage of booking our Hotel 10 km. before the Munnar. If we have booked the Hotel in Munnar, I am sure we would be devoid of this lifetime walk amidst the tree plantation. We did a lot of photography, laid down on highway and also saw the sun rising. 

At around 7 am, we saw lot of children going to school and asking for lifts from the tourists. Life at hill stations is no way easy. We came to know that children need to walk some 4,5 kms each way every day to go to school and perhaps that is the reason that people are healthier in hilly areas. 

Road is wet due to the heavy fog in the early morning
At around 7.30, we came back to our Hotel and got ready by 8 for the sight-seeing. I also told my cab driver that I want to come back to hotel 1 hour before it get dark in the evening to enjoy my evening walk and thankfully, we also enjoyed the evening walk but on a different trail. In the evening, we asked him to drop us 3, 4 km before the hotel and can park the car in hotel and if we were tired or anything, we would call him. 

There was 1 church very near to our resort Nest. While coming to hotel, we sat on its terrace for 30 minutes and it was really very pleasant experience and the pure vibrations we felt are perfect setting for introspecting. 

Captured from the terrace of Church
Also, on our way, we heard some voices of people but nothing was visible. There was 1 dense route going downwards from the road, we thought of traversing it. It was getting dark and we also confused whether to go down or not. We decided to go on this route for 5 minutes and then come back if we did not found anything substantial. After 10 minutes of walk, we uncovered 1 big field where local people were playing cricket.

Local People enjoying the Cricket
  It was a very beautiful field blessed with trees on all the sides.

The one thing about such places that always attracts me is that people here have lot of time unlike in cities and life here is not like rat race. Instead people are very friendly here. 

Lastly, I would like to add that Early Morning walks in the Munnar tea gardens is 1 such thing that I strongly recommended for everyone.

Check my another post in this series walk to remember here.

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