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An undiscovered haven in Jammu
Trekking to Dodi Tal @ 10,850 feet!
We continue our reader-driven getaway series.
Swetha Iyer suggests a trip to Sanasar in Jammu and Kashmir if you are looking for a quiet holiday.
When it is not casual travel, but a real vacation that you are looking for, try Sanasar, located just about 17 km away from the famous hill resort of Patnitop.
My husband and I decided to visit Sanasar in Jammu on the advice of a friend.
Jammu might evoke images of gun-toting policemen, riots amidst snow-topped mountains, but no place is more peaceful than Sanasar. Tall trees, cool breeze, scenic pastures stretching to the horizon -- it is heaven unexplored!
Sanasar is all about stretches of green meadows under clear blue skies, huge conifers and pines, sparkling brooks, locals grazing their cattle and horses... It is completely enchanting. So if you are looking for a quiet holiday, head to Sanasar.
This place also provides opportunities for paragliding and the area is being developed as a world class golf course.
How to get there
Sanasar is 119 km from Jammu and only 17 km from Patnitop.
There are several ways to reach Jammu and Patnitop, the fastest, of course, would be to fly to Jammu and hire a private cab from Jammu to Patnitop.
Jammu Tawi is a main railhead at Jammu and is well-connected with all the major cities.
You can reach Sanasar from Jammu Tawi via Kud and Patnitop by bus or taxi.
The taxi fares are pretty reasonable. You will have to negotiate, of course. Usually the driver will double up as a guide, and take you to the best hotel and also get you some good discounts.
This small wayside township falls on the way to Sanasar from Patnitop. The patisa (a kind of sweet made out of flour and sugar) is a special delicacy here and a must try.
Patnitop is complete eye candy. If Sanasar basks in the glory of being unexplored, Patnitop can revel in being the jewel that has been polished from a coal piece.
It is a must-see place with its huge deodhar trees, waterfalls, picnic spots and the Nag temple. Pony rides, camping, trekking, golfing and paragliding are some of the activities you can indulge in.
They say Patnitop and Sanasar are best visited during the summer between May and July. From November to January, both places witness harsh winters with heavy snow. That too must be a treat to watch and is a good time for winter sports.
Where to stay
Jammu and Kashmir Tourist Development Corporation provides decent accommodation in both Sanasar as well as in Patnitop.
Patnitop is comparatively more expensive than Sanasar and people prefer to stay here as the amenities are better.
Moreover, since Sanasar is only about 17 km away, visitors usually make a day trip from Patnitop.
Sanasar has a row of cottages that you could stay at. Actually they are more like self-contained huts. The service is good but the power cuts and lack of telephone and mobile network makes tourists prefer Patnitop over Sanasar.
In Sanasar, double room accommodation would be between Rs 400 to Rs 1,000 for a couple per night. In Patnitop it comes to around Rs 600 to Rs 2,500 per night for a couple.
Quick travel tips
~ The clement weather (in the summers) will equal the temperatures at the early onset of winter in places like Bangalore. But be prepared and carry light woollens such as shawls and sweaters.
~ Sanasar doesn't really have fancy eateries or hotels, hence may not be accepting debit/ credit card. So, keep enough cash ready while travelling to such places.
~ There are quite a few good hotels and resorts in Patnitop such as Green Top, Oasis Resorts, Hotel Jaishree etc Most of these would be around Rs 2,000 per day for a double room.
~ Though visiting the Nag temple may not figure prominently on your agenda, it is worth a visit, especially since it is said to be a few thousand years old!
~ Naughty tip: For all those from the south, make a trip in December. The fierce winters might scare you to stay indoors but the snow-covered outdoors will help make unforgettable memories.
Swetha Iyer is a product marketing analyst in Bangalore.
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