The Patnitop Development Authority (PDA) came into existence on 26th of March, 1992 vide notification SRO 69 dated 26.03.1992 under section 4 of the J&K Development Act 1970. The jurisdiction of the Authority is spread over an area of 265 Sq. Km, spreading over two districts, Udhampur and Doda. This area extends from the tehsil headquarters of Chenani from the South to the administrative town of Batote to its North. and from Sanasar in east to Basantgarh in west. The area has number of places having very high potential for the tourism like Sanasar, Batote, Patnitop, Kud, Sudh Mahadev, Gourikund, Mantalai, Latti, Dudu and Basantgarh. Earlier the PDA was under the administrative control of Housing and Urban Development Department, but during the year 1998 the Authority was brought under the administrative control of Tourism Department. The objective of bringing the Authority under Tourism Department is to create infrastructure incidental to the promotion of tourism industry in harmony with Environment / Ecology of the area. The primary objective of the Authority is to promote/ facilitate the development of only critical infrastructure without disturbing the Environment / Ecology of the area rather focus will be on sustained preservation and improvement of the fragile ecology. The entire area is predominantly rural in character except Batote, a Class VI town and a traditionally important halt on Jammu Srinagar National Highway . Chenani, another Class VI town is situated at a strategic location on the foothills side of the NH from Jammu and is just outside the Patnitop Circuit Area. The entire area under Patnitop Development Authority (henceforth to be referred as Patnitop circuit) has been divided into three broad zones (or sub-circuits) based on physical proximity, accessibility and prevalent trends of tourism in order to achieve an effective and phased development of the plan.
- About Patnitop
By far the most popular of J&K’s hill resorts is a hilltop tourist location in Udhampur, situated on a plateau in the Shiwalik belt of the Himalayas, Patnitop sits at an altitude of 2024 metres. The river Chenab flows in close proximity to this location. It comprises several meadows enveloped by thick forests of Deodar(Cedar) and Kail(Blue Pine) trees, and affords peaceful walks amidst conifer groves, beautiful spots for enjoyable picnics and breath taking views of the Chenab basin and the Pir Panjal range beyond. For solace one can visit the beautifully located Nag Mandir at Karlah village.
Patnitop Other activities include horse rides and short treks into the surrounding hills. Patnitop also draws a lot of tourists when it snows during winters (January-February). The meadows with their gentle slopes are ideal for skiing and sledging. Skiing courses for beginners are conducted here. One can also drive through thick forests 12 kms downhill to Batote, an old hill station also known for apple orchards, Amar Cheshma and other springs and countless dhabas (eatries).
- SUB-CIRCUIT “A” (INCLUDES KUD-PATNITOP-SANASAR)
Largely accessible by the NH-1A (except for Sanasar which is 19 km from the Nh-1A) and being at a higher altitude (avg. 2000 Mtrs above M.S.L.) this circuit is already popular as a summer hill resort. Attractive sunny slopes, interspersed by large patches of full-grown Chair and Deodar forests, existing urban infrastructure and high degree of accessibility provide the sub-circuit with high potential for development as the core area within the Patnitop Circuit. Winter sports activities are gradually becoming popular too. The two major nodal centers in this region are Batote and Kud with an estimated population of 3105 and 2123 respectively in 1991
- SUB-CIRCUIT “B” (INCLUDES GOURIKUND-SUDHMAHADEV-DEVAK- MANTALAI)
These are places of high religious significance viz, Gourikund and Sudhmahadev where a large number of pilgrimage tourists come in particular seasons of the year. Devak is yet another important pilgrim place. Mantalai which has received a major growth impetus through the efforts of a private individual and already has good infrastructure also, has become a new tourist destination center. Tourists, both domestic and international, are attracted by the cultural activities in the Aparna Ashram at Mantalai. It has a 30 room hotel, a restaurant, besides that attractions of a small zoo, nicely laid out gardens etc