Vaishnodevi Patnitop and Amritsar Trip Report October - 2017

#1 Jan 6th, 2018, 17:27
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  • saikatbabai is offline
#1
Prologue

I started planning this on late July - 2017. Thought was to visit some holy place (Vaishnodevi and Amritsar), relax on a hill station (Patnitop) and finally have some really nice stuffs for the delight of test buds (Amritsar). Initially the plan was to make it in the week of Diwali. But leave could not be managed in office. So I had to pull it on the week of 2nd October 2017.

I did some research on trains between Amritsar and Jammu. The only train that runs in a timely manner from Amritsar to Jammu was Bhatinda-Jammu Tawi Express. But it reaches Amritsar at midnight. So I have started looking reverse way - Jammu to Amritsar and found that Jammu Tawi - Muri - Tata Express make almost one day late at the end of its run but between my required stretch it runs perfectly on time. So first I have booked Jammu Tawi to Amritsar train ticket. Then I have booked Kolkata to Jammu (via Delhi) and Amritsar to Kolkata (via Delhi) ticket in Indigo.

To put another nice flavour I have decided to ride on helicopter for the first time - Katra to Sanjichat and back. The booking was a hard experience. It is no less than a tatkal booking on IRCTC. Booking opens at 10.00 am 60 days before journey date. I have logged in at 9.55 am and jumped at sharp 10 o'clock. But it constantly said system is busy due to too many users blah blah blah... Finally at 10.20 am the availability page gets displayed properly and there were no availability of three persons in a single flight for same day return. Maximum availability was for two persons. So I have made two bookings at a gap of 10-15 minuets - one for me and my son and another for my wife. Another nice thing in the passenger detail section of the website is gender and id type are by default male and driving license!!! And guess what, I did the obvious mistake in hurry - I have made my wife male and issued a driving license to my 7 years old son Later I have sent an email to the authority stating everything and the real good thing was they replied - Jai Mata Di! No issues.
#2 Jan 6th, 2018, 17:36
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#2
Day 1

02-Oct: We started Gandhi Birthday at 3 o'clock in the morning and started our journey to Kolkata airport at 4.30 in a pre-booked taxi. Flight to Delhi was smooth and uneventful. We have a little more than two and half hours lay over. We had some food from McDonald's and ride on the next flight. It have a hop at Amritsar. We reached Jammu at around 3.00 pm. Prepaid car for Katra is available from the airport. We got an Indica for Rs 1500/-

On the way to Katra I have started conversation with our driver Mr. Shammi Kapoor regarding a car for Katra to Patnitop - two night stay there and then drop to Jammu Tawi station. He quoted Rs 4200/- His car was very old and not up to the mark. I asked him that is he quoting for the same car and he replied no, it will be a newer Indica Vista. I kept his phone number but not confirmed him at that moment.

We reached Katra and checked in to Hotel Nek. I have booked it a week ago by Make My Trip portal. It was a nice hotel at competitive price. After getting fresh we went out for a stroll in the market. Our phones were prepaid and were not working in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. So we made call to our home from public telephone. Then we started to get some more quotes for our upcoming trip from various travel agents in the market. And have seen that the quote provided by Shammi was the cheapest. So I called on his cell phone and confirmed him for the trip. He said there will be another person who will receive pickup us from hotel at 1.00 pm in a new Vista next day. We had early dinner at Pooja Vaishno Dhaba with delicious kulcha and kadhai paneer. After a long day we went to sleep early.
#3 Jan 6th, 2018, 18:15
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#3
Day 2

03-Oct: Our helicopter time was 9.05 and 9.15 am. So we had to report at 8 in the morning (one hour before). We got a Maruti van from hotel for Rs 200/- for the helipad. At the time of reporting I stated that we three are together and if it is possible to put us in the same flight. The person agreed. They took our weight and issued the boarding pass. From there they took us to the actual helipad by their car (Maruti Eco). Before entering for security check we collected pooja parchi. My son was very excited for the ride. Finally our number came and we queued. Our cell phones were kept in a bag for the fly time. The actual fly time was five minutes. It was a little scary at beginning but enjoyable. After reaching Sanjichat the helicopter authority put some unrealistic return time on our ticket. Later we understood that it is not very important to maintain it. Actually it was so early which could not be met. We started walking downhill. It is around 2.5 kms from Sanjichat to Bhawan. The road was tiled and shaded.

We bought dry fruits for puja in the way. We had to collect lock and key for locker. There we had to keep shoes, purse, belt, cell phone etc. Queue for the darshan/pooja took almost an hour. For returning to Sanjichat we took two horse - my son did not agree to ride alone and he road with me. Rates are fixed - Rs 300/- per horse.

We return back to Katra by 1.00 pm. From helipad we took auto for hotel which took Rs 200/- again. We checked out and then had our lunch in the hotel. By that time our car arrived. It was really new and nice one. Road condition up to Udhampur was excellent. But after that it was not up to the mark. We saw the newly inaugurated tunnel which bypasses the old road via Patnitop. On the way to Patnitop I had nice conversation with our driver Mr. Kuldeep Sharma. He stopped at a place and said we can take sonpapri from there. All shops were good. We checked and really sonpapri was very good. We decided to take it for home at return time. We reached Patnitop at around 5.00 pm and checked in to Hotel Patnitop Heights (pre-booked from Make My Trip). It is a luxurious hotel with a nice big lawn and fountains. Kuldeep said in season this hotel charges are double than we were paying. We had some chicken items as evening snacks in room and then went out for a walk in the lawn. Bone fire was arranged for one group. We spent some nice time there and then moved to the restaurant for dinner which was not up to the expectation.
#4 Jan 6th, 2018, 18:27
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#4
Day 2 Photos

Sanjichat to Bhawan



On the way to Patnitop from Katra





Stop for sonpapri



From Patnitop Hotel





#5 Jan 6th, 2018, 19:12
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#5
Day 3

04-Oct: The day was not good for us. My son started vomiting at around 3.00 am in the night. In morning I went out with Kuldeep and able to find a sarkari dawakhana. There I found a doctor who provided some medicine. Original plan for the day was to explore Nathatop. But my son was too weak for that. So finally we decide that it will be only me who will go to Nathatop with Kuldeep. We went out for that.

Road was nasty. Kuldeep is very enthusiast of photography. He stopped the car at proper place to get nice views. We started moving towards Sanasar and seen a airbase of Indian Airforce on top of the mountain. Kuldeep said that Sukhoi 30 MKI and Mirage 2000 fighter squadrons are there. We spent some quality time there and took photographs. We came down and took some photos around Patnitop.

We came to Hotel by the lunch time and had light lunch. At the evening we took some photographs of our hotel lawn and fountains.
#6 Jan 6th, 2018, 19:18
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#6
Day 3 Photos

Nathatop and Sanasar

















Airbase



Patnitop













#7 Jan 8th, 2018, 13:45
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#7
Awesome Clicks...
Great Information...
Waiting For More...
#8 Jan 9th, 2018, 21:11
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#8
Quote:
Originally Posted by umeshparikh View Post Awesome Clicks...
Great Information...
Waiting For More...
Thank you Umesh ji :)
#9 Jan 12th, 2018, 18:44
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#9
Day 4

05-Oct: Plan for the day was to go back to Jammu and reach Amritsar by train. My son became ok to travel. So we started for Jammu after breakfast. There was long queue of trucks on the road. Kuldeep informed us that these trucks are coming from Kashmir and are full of Apples. We reached Jammu Tawi station at around 12.30 pm. We had lunch at Jan Aahar at station. It was nice, air conditioned and pocket friendly.

The train departed on time and we reached Amritsar around 7.15 pm. At Amritsar station we booked an Auto for our pre-booked hotel Akaal Residency. It took Rs 200/- The autowala constantly talking about what we should visit there and he have car and this is the rate etc. Honestly we did not wanted to visit a lot of tourist points. We have planned only for The Golden Temple, Jalianwalabagh and Attari-Wagah border. We reached the hotel and I kept autowala's phone number. The hotel was very good. But they did not have a proper restaurant. They actually outsourced this part. The hotel owner suggested us to have meal at Brother's Dhaba. So we took a rickshaw and reach close the Golden Temple, till where vehicles are allowed. Then we went to Brother's Dhaba and had awesome dinner with stuffed paratha, kulcha and lassi.

Then we entered the Golden temple. The night view was indescribably spectacular. We roam around the lake and realized our hotel is just 2 minutes' walk from another entrance to the temple. But we left our shoes at other side. So we had to go there and had to take rickshaw for hotel. On the way we have seen a group of people cleaning roads with some holy mantras.
Last edited by saikatbabai; Jan 13th, 2018 at 21:02..
#10 Jan 13th, 2018, 20:58
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#10
Day 4 Photos

Tanks on rail-at gurdaspur station



The Golden Temple







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