The Gateway towards a Merged Culture
Being one of the largest city in the state of Punjab, Pathankot serves as the merging point for three important states, namely Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab. Having been the capital city of the Pathani Rajputs of Nurpur, the city has an abundance of cultural heritage and scenic landscapes to view. Located in the foothills of Dalhousie and Kangra of the Himalayan Mountain ranges, it is flanked by the rivers Ravi and Chakki. Blessed with a breathtaking natural landscape, currently, Pathankot serves as the home base for defence forces of Indian Army and Indian Air Force. Along with it, Pathankot has some ancient and beautiful religious temples like the Mukteshwar Temple, Kathgarh Temple and Nagni Temple. One can have the experience of architecture that dates back to 900 years old in the Shahpurkandi Fort that was reigned by the Pathanian Rajputs. A city that is visited by a large number of tourist throughout the year, the ideal time to have a trip here will be from the months of October to April.
Pathankot represents the tradition, ethnicity, culture and richness in a beautiful amalgamation of the three states Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab. Due to its integration to the Gurdaspur district of Punjab, it is highly influenced by the state. The much acclaimed Baishakhi fair, held for 3 consecutive days in the month of April, is the most important festival for the town along with Shivratri Fair held in the premises of Mahakaleshwar Temple. Folk dances and music are an integral part of every function, festivities and religious affairs for the simple living folks of the town. Pathankot is very popular for its renowned traditional shawl weaving factories. The shops in the market of Pathankot are embezzled with shawls and woollen clothing along with intricate handmade handicrafts. Pathankot was ruled by Pathania Rajputs between the 17th and 18th Century giving the city the mix culture and heritage which is an influence of the Dogra and Himachali customs. The official language here is Punjabi but Dogri can be heard pretty commonly too.
How to reach
The cultural heritage of the Rajputs and the scenic location of Pathankot has made the city one of the most visited tourist place. Also, it is the gateway to the Himalayan Ranges, the state of Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal making it a stopover for tourist and locals alike. It is well connected with other neighbouring cities through various means of transport.
How to Reach by Flight
Although Pathankot has an Air Base, it is mainly used by the defence services of the country. The nearest Airport to the city is Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport at Amritsar which is 124 km away and the Jammu domestic airport which is 104 km away. Both of the airports get regular flights from Delhi, Leh, Srinagar, Mumbai and Hyderabad along with other major cities of the country.
How to Reach by Train
The Pathankot Railway Station serves as the main junction for Pathankot and nearby cities of Himachal and Jammu. The station receives a number of trains from all the major cities and towns across the country that includes Ahmedabad, Bhatinda and New Delhi etc.
How to Reach by Bus
The Maharana Pratap Inter State Bus Terminal of Pathankot is an important and main bus depot, serving as a stopping point for buses bound to Jammu and Himachal Pradesh. The state transport buses of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and Jammu provide deluxe, AC and semi – deluxe buses to Pathankot. Few private Bus operators like Sai Volvo and Hari Travels also serves regular and comfortable rides to Pathankot from various nearby cities.
How to Reach by Road
The roads and highways leading to Pathankot are all well maintained and in a good condition for driving the distance from the routes like Jalandhar-Srinagar National highway (NH-1A), Pathankot-Mandi National highway (NH-20) and Dabwali-Pathankot National highway (NH-54). It is recommended to hire a professional driver if you are travelling during winter in the hilly terrains due to the decreased visibility caused by fog.
How to travel within
Taxis and Personal Cars come as the first option to travel around the city viewing the attraction sites. But auto rickshaws and bicycle rickshaws can also be found in cheap rates to travel short distances for your convenience.
The cuisine of Pathankot is embellished due to the blended culture of the local peoples. Due to easy availability for certain items in the state, the locals here savoured the dishes that contain milk, curd, ghee and honey etc. Punjabi Cuisine is much famous here, where the dishes are cooked in the richness of butter, ghee and spices. The speciality of the area includes local Punjabi cuisine dishes like Dal Tarka, Muttar Paneer, Mutton Tikka, Mutton curry, Chhole Batura, Dal makhani, Rajma, Lassi and Sarson Da Saag with Makai ki Roti which is a dish made of bread from corn along with mustard gravy. Some of the most popular hotels available here are:
- Moti Mahal Grand
- Basant Vegetarian
- Mama’s Rasoi
- Green Hotel and Restaurant
Day 1: Landing on Amritsar Airport, you can take a direct cab to Pathankot which will take you less than 4 hours to reach. The road that connects both the city is well maintained and makes travelling very smooth. Enjoying the sights you can reach Pathankot before noon and get in the pre-booked hotel for freshening up. Enjoy your afternoon by sightseeing the town and roaming around the historic city while tasting the delicacies of Punjabi Cuisine.
Day 2: After breakfast, you can hire a cab that will take you around the city to visit the Mukteshwar Temple and later visit the Kathgarh Temple in order to take blessings from Lord Shiva while also viewing the breathtaking landscapes of the surrounding areas. Spending a few hours there take your ride towards the famous Nurpur Fort and explore the beauty of Pathanian architecture of 17th Century. Have a quick lunch from any of the restaurants in the city and go forward to visit the Nagni Temple and the peaceful Shahpurkandi Fort. Stay overnight at Pathankot and take a cab to drive back to Amritsar to board the flight back home.