India Travel Motorcycle Travel

My 7-Day ‘Discovering Jammu’ Motorcycle Itinerary

I’ve ridden throughout Ladakh and the Kashmir valley, so now it was time to ride a lesser-known region that’s also perfect for a motorcycle adventure – Jammu.

In this post, I’ll give you my full itinerary so you can go on the same trip I took during my ‘Discovering Jammu’ YouTube series.

Watch episode 1 of my Discovering Jammu series to see all that Jammu has to offer.

What is the Jammu region?

Jammu is located in the northern part of India. Jammu city serves as the winter capital of the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Geographically, Jammu is situated on the banks of the Tawi River and is surrounded by the Himalayas to the north.

You can learn more about Jammu city and its food and people in this vlog.

The union territory’s name is actually Jammu & Kashmir, but people often refer to it as just Kashmir. Motorcyclists rarely think about Jammu because it’s overshadowed by the nearby motorcycle meccas: the Kashmir valley and Ladakh.

But Jammu is its own distinct region which is just as beautiful, challenging, and interesting for riding.

The following itinerary is not a full ride of the Jammu region but half of it.

In this video, I show you how to deal with riding in the Indian summer. It also covers the first two days of my trip to Basohli, Jammu & Kashmir.

My trip started at my home in Delhi, and I rode for two days to the Jammu & Kashmir border town of Basohli.

On the first day, I rode from Delhi to Ludhiana (300km, 5 hours). Then, you can ride directly to Basohli (227km, 4.5 hours).

When is the best time to visit the Jammu region?

Summer is the best time to visit the Jammu region for this motorcycle trip. It will be very hot on the plains but mild once you reach the mountains.

Mountains on the way to Bhaderwah, Jammu & Kashmir, India.
Mountain and glacier on the way to Bhaderwah.

‘Discovering Jammu’ motorcycle itinerary map

You can save this map to your Google Maps app for the route.

Day 1: Basohli

The Atul Setu Bridge in Basohli. This is the border point to enter Jammu & Kashmir.

The town of Basohli is one of the entry points into the Jammu region. You’ll cross the beautiful Atal Setu Bridge, which connects Punjab to Jammu & Kashmir.

The town is known for its world-famous paintings, which you can see, and meet the artists at The Basohli School of Painting (aka Vishwasthali Painting Centre).

An artist at the Vishwasthali Painting Centre working on a new painting.

You can also visit the massive Ranjit Sagar Dam for jet skiing, fishing, and boating.

We stayed the night at Forest Vibes, a glamping site overlooking the dam.

Day 2: Basohli to Sarthal Meadow (121km, 4 hours)

Taking a break to admire the view. You’ll want to do this a lot on this trip!

Today, you’ll leave the hot plains and enter the cool mountains, spending the night in a beautiful meadow called Sarthal.

Along this route, you’ll find many beautiful roadside waterfalls and a few small water crossings. It’s an easy ride, and as you climb higher, there are many selfie points.

On route, you can stop after about 2 hours to enjoy some mountain food at a small sweet shop. They sell a delicious warm chickpea, onion, and spices dish for just ₹10.

Delicious chickpeas at a small roadside stop along the way.

Next to the shop, mountain water flows out of taps, and locals stop to fill water bottles or clean their cars with it.

There are several accommodations in the meadow. Just ride down the main road to town and find something. Don’t expect anything luxurious, though.

Our Royal Enfield Himalayans in Sarthal. This is the best locally manufactured bike for adventure riding in India.

We stayed at the TRC Hotel and it sucked big time, the guy was trying to get us to stay in some other accommodation too. Then he tried to overcharge us.

Hotel Sharma Niwas looked ok from the outside.

Fresh trout is available at the meadow for ₹600 a kg. If you want to try it, ask your accommodation to arrange it for your dinner.

There’s nothing else to do in Sarthal besides stroll through the meadow and enjoy the serenity there.

In episode 2, see the incredible roads and sights on this route.
This video will give you an idea of the road conditions we faced. Apparently, renovations on this road are complete now.

Day 3: Sarthal Meadow to Bhaderwah (40km, 1.5 hours)

The views on the way to Bhaderwah are breathtaking.
It was a really hard ride! See all the action in this episode.

Sarthal to Bhaderwah was a really challenging ride because the roads were under construction, and this area was very muddy.

Dangerous Road to Bhadarwah, Jammu & Kashmir, India.
This was the difficult road we took! It was under construction.

We had to ride through multiple small water crossings, thick mud, and very damp grass. Not to mention the construction work, which nearly killed my friends when they rolled a bolder down towards him. He dropped his bike and ran!

This ride took up double the time stated because of the road condition.

Hopefully, the road will be fully constructed when you read this, and you can enjoy a much easier ride than we did!

There’s one small mountain pass (Chattergala Pass) as you enter the Doda region of Jammu and then you descend it to the stunning Bhaderwah hill station.

Karl Rock posing with motorcycles

Day 4: Bhaderwah

See just how stunning Bhaderwah is!

You may want to stay at this hill station for one or two days because it’s stunning and has so much to do.

The stunning Bhadarwah!

Bhaderwah is the home of India’s Purple Revolution, where farmers converted their farms to grow lavender. There’s now a lavender festival every June.

There are a lot of Hindu temples to explore; I recommend you check out the Gupt Ganga temple, which is right next to the flowing river Neeru.

Food-wise, you can try some great traditional Kashmiri food called Wazwan, which is available at Zainab Hotel (also known as Khan Wazwan). You must try the Rogan Josh and Rista (meatballs).

These are 3 Wazwan dishes: Rogan Josh, Yakhni, and Rista.

At nearby bakeries, you can also find a large biscuit called “Aad Khan Cake.”

A list of places to visit in Bhaderwah from our hotel accommodation, Hotel Jai Vasuki.

From Bhaderwah, there are also several meadows and valleys to explore, such as Jai Valley, Padri Meadow, and Soej Meadow.

We stayed at two hotels. First was the nicest hotel in town, Tilligarh Tourist Complex, which absolutely sucks. Besides the stunning hilltop location overlooking the valley, there’s nothing good about it.

Instead, stay at the smaller Hotel Jai Vasuki, which has a nice temple view and serves delicious vegetarian food (meat is not allowed in this hotel).

Day 5: Bhaderwah to Patnitop (83km, 3 hours)

The main meadow at Patnitop hill station.

At this point of the ride. You might want to deviate from my itinerary. If you want to extend your trip, then at Doda, take a right towards Kishtwar instead of a left to Patnitop.

That direction will take you to some great high-altitude treks like the incredible Machail. Riding is enough adventure for me, though.

Try to leave early for Patnitop because it’s a hot ride until you ascend to Patnitop. The road was very dusty when we took it, so take a mask so you’re not eating dust.

This is one dish you must try in Jammu! Their famous Rajma Chawal (kidney beans and rice).

On the way, stop at Sharma Vaishno Dhaba for the best Rajma Chawal (kidney beans and rice) in the Jammu region. It’s just ₹80 for a half-plate which is enough for 1 person.

This was the best Rajma Chawal I’ve ever eaten.

This region is known across India for its locally grown kidney beans.

Make sure you ask for a Ghee add-on (clarified butter). Be careful; the pomegranate seed chutney (next to the onions) is very tangy, but it tastes beautiful when combined with the beans.

Day 6: Patnitop

See all the things to do in Patnitop in this video, there’s a lot!

Patnitop is a quintessential Indian hill station. The weather is perfect, and the meadows are full of activities like zip lining, boating, zorbing, shooting, horse riding, and more.

Remember to take a 20-km ride out to Sanasar Lake. The best zipline is there, and it’s just a bigger and better meadow than what’s at Patnitop. Plus, along the road, you have a flower valley, an ancient Hindu temple, and some good local food like Karadi Kulcha (cheeseburger) at Natha Top.

There’s one luxury resort called Skyview By Empyrean, but I wouldn’t stay there because you have to take a Gondola from it to reach Patnitop. Then you’ll have to hire a taxi because your motorcycle is at the bottom of the hill.

Instead, stay where the action is at Hotel Green Top. Or anywhere else in that area.

Day 7: Patnitop to Jammu (109km, 2.5 hours)

Jammu is the main city of the region and a nice place to stop for a day. From Jammu, I put my motorcycle on a train to Delhi to beat the heat riding home – BIG MISTAKE.

Watch my Jammu vlog to see what to do and eat in Jammu City.

Did this blog help you? Please leave a comment.

By Karl Rock

Karl Rock, is a Hindi speaking Kiwi ex-pat who take viewers behind the scenes of incredible India and its neighbours. He has visited every state and union territory in India, and its culturally similar neighbours – Pakistan and Bangladesh, and aims to make others fall in love with India and the subcontinent.

15 replies on “My 7-Day ‘Discovering Jammu’ Motorcycle Itinerary”

Wow, Karl! What an amazing blog. It shows everything a traveler should know before exploring this beautiful place. Thanks for promoting your Jammu series, which might help the tourism in this region grow. Jammu is truly amazing. I highly recommend adding it to everyone’s yearly travel itinerary.

Being from Jammu and Kashmir and a Dogra from Jammu, I always knew how amazing and beautiful my Jammu is. It is at par with the other travel destinations. It’s so diverse considering its landscapes, from plains to mountains, to food, to people. All we want is support from people travelling to explore this unexplored heaven and call it as Jammu and not Kashmir. I have seen people travelling in Jammu region and call it as Kashmir due to resemblance of the hilly terrain. Thanks Karl for visiting Jammu again, real Jammu is still in mountains.

Such a detailed blog. Haven’t seen such an informative blog about jammu.
Kudos to you. And thank you very much for exploring jammu. And sharing your journey with the world, it’s gonna help tourism industry in jammu.

Love the blog. Nicely put and makes for easy viewing and reading.

We bumped into you at saif malook last year. (Visiting from the UK).

Great to see this blog and look forward to more.

First of all, Thank you for visiting my hometown Bani and especially this unexplored area of Jammu Region. It is the most beautiful and scenic area of Jammu region. I would appreciate if the tourism gets boosted by your blog and Travel Series on your youtube, but I would also appreciate if the people visiting Bani valley, Sarthal Valley, Bhaderwah and even Basohli keep it clean and do not throw their litter. It is beautiful and if everyone want these places to be beautiful in future too, these places need to be kept clean. Thank you once again for letting people know about this place through you.

Hey karl ….m so so so happy tht you are covering the hidden gems of jammu in your vlogs i am thrilled to watch your jammu series basholi is near my hometown…m more thn happy tht you are exploring and covering this region of jammu …basholi painting are world famous and basholi pashmina recently received prestigious GI tag also jammu is as beautiful as kashmir but its just tht this place is unexplored…..
welcome to jammu❤️

Really happy to see that our region and its hidden gems are being promoted. Hope you had fun exploring places.

Your Jammu travel series was amazing. Can’t believe I have never heard of Jammu as a destination before this. Thanks for introducing this fantastic travel series. ✌🏼

Going to explore Bhaderwah and sarthal after watching your youtube videos. Thanks for exploring such a beautiful region.

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