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 Jammu & Kashmir Development Act 1970. The jurisdiction of the Authority is spread over an area of 265 Sq. Km notified as local area for the purpose of the said Act. The area extends from Sanasar to Basantgarh and prominent settlements like Sanasar, Batote (Partially), Patnitop, Karlah, Kud, Gourikund, Sudhmahadev, Mantalai, Dhuna, Latti, Jakher, Dudu and Basantgarh. Initially, PDA was under the administrative control of Housing and Urban Development Department but in the year 1998, it was brought under the administrative control of Tourism Department.
The objective of bringing the Authority under Tourism Department was to create infrastructure incidental to the promotion of tourism in harmony with Environment / Ecology of the area. The primary objective of the Authority is to promote / facilitate the development of tourism related infrastructure without disturbing Environment / Ecology of the area rather focus will be on sustained preservation and improvement of the fragile ecology.
Patnitop at an altitude of 2026m above MSL is an ideal and most popular hill resort for tourists visiting world famous pilgrim centre of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi as well as the local population as it is conveniently situated on National Highway (NH-1A) at a distance of 110 Km from Jammu, the winter capital of Jammu & Kashmir State, 80 Kms from Katra the base camp of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi and only 45 Kms from Udhampur which has the earest railway station from Patnitop.
In summer, Patnitop has pleasant weather and provides relief and succor to the lakhs of tourists agonized and traumatized by the scorching heat of long summer days of plains. Environment of Patnitop area mesmerizes and embalms the visiting tourists with the charm of its natural beauty and cool breeze blowing among the majestic deodars, deo-daru literally meaning the tree of Gods. Whosoever visits the lush green meadow of Sanasar, a resort only 18 Kms away from Patnitop can not escape being smitten by its enchanting beauty.
Patnitop and its surrounding areas such as Sanasar, Bhoom Bari (Batote), Kud, Gourikund, Sudhmahadev, Mantalai, Dhuna, Latti, Jakher, Dudu and Basantgarh are bestowed with natural beauty and are major summer health resorts with Sudhmahadev, Mantalai and Nag Temple (Patnitop) as famous religious spots attracting thousands of pilgrims throughout the year. A number of annual fairs are held at these temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and its consorts.
In order to plan for holistic development of the area, a Master Plan has been got prepared by Consulting Engineering Services (India) Pvt. Ltd. during the year 1995 which stands notified vide notification SRO 117 dated: 25.04.2000. As per the Master Plan, the area has been divided into three sub-circuit:
Sub-circuit A :Kud-Patnitop-Sanasar Sub-circuit B : Gourikund-Sudhmahadev- Devak-Mantalai Sub-circuit C : Dhuna-Latti-Dudu Basantgarh The Master Plan of PDA analyzes the enormous potential available in Patnitop circuit and also identifies the various development projects needed for the entire circuit and in individual places of unique features. \ It envisages the development of the Patnitop circuit in every field like strengthening of the PDA, tourism infrastructure, improving the economic condition of the locals by developing Agriculture / Horticulture sectors, improving the water supply / sanitation/ power supply / communication / Road network, developing the commercial complexes, creating the facilities for adventure tourism / sports facilities / trekking / water sports / pilgrim tourism, creating high standard educational institutions / health centre, preserving the ecology / environmental wealth in the circuit as also creating the land bank of the PDA. The Master Plan classifies the green zones, agricultural zones, commercial zones, construction zones and no-construction zones in the major settlements. Besides this, the Master Plan also envisages the guidelines and norms for any kind of development in the region, which has to be regulated by PDA.