Located 65 km from Jammu and 200 km from Srinagar is the district and city of Udhampur. Named after Raja Udham Singh, Udhampur enjoys strategic importance by virtue of being a Northern Command headquarters of the Indian Army as also a Forward Base Support Unit (FBSU) of the Indian Airforce. Udhampur is also endowed with pristine natural beauty, crystal clear lakes, rugged mountainous terrain and lush green dense forests. It serves as a perfect getaway from Jammu. Tourism in Udhampur has quite a lot to explore and caters to both the spiritually inclined and adventure lovers. Here is a snippet of travel guide to Udhampur.
How to Reach
Though it serves as an Airforce base, Udhampur does not have an airport to cater to civilian needs. The nearest airport is about 72 km away in Jammu, the Satwari Airport. This airport is fairly well connected by national and private carriers with greater parts of the country. From the airport, tourists can hire a taxi to travel to Udhampur.
Udhampur boasts of a small railway station located amidst picturesque setting, about 2 km from the city centre. It has a fair number of express trains running between the city and neighbouring cities like Delhi giving it good connectivity. Over the years several trains travelling to Jammu have extended service to Udhampur as well.
Udhampur is connected by National Highway with neighbouring cities like Jammu. Udhampur enjoys great road connectivity as most buses plying between Jammu and Srinagar go via Udhampur. Jammu And Kashmir Road Transport Corporation (JKRTC), private carriers like Gee Pee Travels, Bhatia Travels, National Travels operate regular bus service in the region.
Udhampur does not have cabs or buses for moving around the city. Car rentals and auto rickshaws are ready available for sightseeing and visiting neighbouring tourist areas. As it is a small city with beautiful locales, walking and hiking are recommended for exploring the place.
Summer (March to June):
Udhampur summers are pleasant and ideal for camping and sightseeing. Temperatures never cross the 40 degree mark and after the fairly tough winters it feels wonderful to soak in the warmth of the summers. Most tourists flock at Udhampur during these months.
Monsoon (July to September):
As a mountainous region, Udhampur receives heavy showers during monsoon. In July it receives an average rainfall of about 283 mm and the town of Ramnagar receives highest rainfall. It is preferable not to visit the city during these months as rainfall could be accompanied by landslides and mudslides.
Winter (October to February):
Winter months in Udhampur are chilly but with rarely any snowfall. Temperatures tend to dip as low as 2 degrees. The upper areas of the city have started experiencing snow in recent times. Despite the chill, several tourists prefer to visit Udhampur during winter to enjoy the cold weather and also because of the skiing and sledging opportunities that Udhampur offers.
Udhampur with its high altitude, rugged landscape and lush greenery all around offers the perfect setting for many thrilling adventure activities. It is the perfect getaway for adventure lovers who can indulge themselves in aquatic sports, trekking, hiking, hot air ballooning, rock climbing etc. Sansar is the hotspot for these adventure sports.
Skiing & Sledging:
Patnitop, a few kilometres from Udhampur has some great slopes for skiing. During winter months Patnitop becomes an ideal destination for skiing as a number of courses are offered to skiing enthusiasts. People with little or no prior experience in skiing can indulge themselves in this activity. Sledging is equally an engaging activity. All you need is a wooden sledge and off you go!
Udhampur has some brilliant spots and locales for taking a refreshing walk. The alpine forests, the stunning crystal clear lakes, the rugged terrains offer walking trails for nature lovers and hikers. A walk in the mountains is an extremely rejuvenating experience.
Udhampur and its surrounding areas offer great opportunity to bird watchers and photographers. It has many migratory birds flocking in these areas and also serves as breeding ground for many endemic birds. The small bird sanctuary is a little haven for bird lovers.
Udhampur has a number of beautiful temples that must not be given a miss during a tour of the city. There are the Krimchi Temples dating back to the 11th and 12th centuries and has been stories woven into them. The ISKON or Sri Sri Gaur Radha Krishna Temple is also extremely popular and architecturally a beautiful creation. These temples have large number of pilgrims paying homage to them every year.
Shopping in Udhampur
Like any other place in Jammu & Kashmir, Udhampur offers ample opportunity for shopping for souvenirs. There are many bazaars and shopping centres. Patnitop is famous for street shopping from where you can pick up a Pashmina shawl or handicrafts to carry back home.
Eating in Udhampur
Udhampur boasts of some flavourful dishes that are unique to the place. Any trip to the city without a taste of these dishes would be incomplete. Bread Kaladi, aloo tikki, Nutri chhole kulcha, kachalu, gurgule, golgappe etc are some of the popular dishes both among the locals as well as the tourists. Do not forget to get a taste of Kalari, which is a traditionally ripened Himalayan cheese, tasting a lot like mozzarella. Made from cow or goat milk, the cheese is bursting with flavours and is a must-have.