SVEEP Campaign: Participants embark on Patnitop-GauriKund Spiritual Trail; Given hands-on experience of voting

Patnitop, 29 March: In a collaborative effort, Patnitop Development Authority, Directorate of Tourism, Jammu, District Administration, Udhampur and Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University came together to organize Patnitop to Gauri Kund Trek today as part of the SVEEP Campaign for the forthcoming general elections.The trek was flagged off by Joginder Singh Jasrotia, JKAS, ADC Udhampur, which traced an ancient pilgrimage route leading to Sudh Mahadev-Mantalai, prominent Shaivite centers, and is steeped in natural wonders especially with the onset of Spring.Commencing from the Nag Temple, renowned for its construction using stones—a deviation from the prevalent use of Deodar wood in the region—the trek concluded at the Gauri Kund Temple, dedicated to Bhagwan Shiv and Mata Parvati. Legend has it that Mata Parvati bathed daily in its natural spring. The participants relished traditional cuisines offered year-round in the temple’s bhandara.Enthralled by picturesque vistas and enveloped in a mystical aura throughout the trek, more than fifty students from Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University, representing various districts of the Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory, expressed gratitude to the authorities for the endeavor.After the trek, the participants paid obeisance at Sudh Mahadev temple.At Sudh Mahadev, the participants from SMVDU, who were mostly first time voters, who were sensitized about the electoral process, the importance of exercising the right to vote, and rights and responsibilities of voters by Pankaj Singh Bhau, JKAS, Tehsildar Chenani. Additionally, they were given hands-on experience of voting equipments like EVM and VVPAT. Students of Government Higher Secondary School Sudh Mahadev created placards, performed skit and dance, which was followed by Sangam Theater Group’s nukkad natak for voter awareness.Devender Singh Bhau, JKAS, CEO, PDA, said, “Beyond electoral processes, adventure, and spirituality, the event also underscored cleanliness, environmental consciousness, and the preservation of natural beauty that attracts travelers from far and wide. The PDA staff, as part of ongoing PDA initiatives such as ‘Clean Patnitop Green Patnitop’, ‘Carry The Trash Back’, and ‘Clean Mountains Save Future’, collected waste along the trail.”The students were accompanied by their faculty, Dr. Satish Kumar Tiwari, Krishna Pandey, Keshava Pandey, Balbir Singh, Karan Singh, and officials and staff from both PDA and District Administration Udhampur. Skyview By Empyrean supported the event as hospitality partner. The trek was held under the event series, ‘Visit Patnitop,’ which was initiated by Patnitop Development Authority in September 2022 to showcase the all-encompassing beauty and the tourism potential of the Patnitop Tourism Circuit.