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The heritage charm of the Poonch House | Travel Review |

Just off the main market road in Kud, a steeply sloping road winds up on the left-hand side, which leads straight to the main gate of the erstwhile Poonch House. Lush green fruit-laden trees flank the main driveway that vies to capture your attention. Walnuts, apples, plums, apricots, pears, pomegranates, almonds – all clamoring for attention with their fruit-laden boughs. I cannot even imagine what spring would look like here when all the blossoms are in bloom.

History of the heritage Poonch House

The Poonch house is a beautiful heritage bungalow that has been passionately restored to a charming boutique homestay. It was built in 1936 by the Maharaja of Poonch, and one can still glimpse some of the antique touches from that era. The hand-painted borders on the walls of the rooms, the old-fashioned fireplaces, brass artefacts and the entire architecture of the bungalow is reflective of its history and charm.

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The stay at the Poonch House

The entire heritage estate is sprawled over a few acres which have been portioned off into private and guest areas. The Poonch House has 2 beautifully done up guestrooms for couples and a separate cottage for a family. All the rooms have been modified with practical and thoughtful conveniences like gas geysers, solar inverter, wooden flooring and fully functional fireplaces. My favorite are the solar-powered lights on a timer in the green areas of the bungalow.

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The delights at the Poonch House:

Heritage-Kud-Patnitop hills- Jammu - Katra - Homestay- Boutique - Poonch House-pakistani bully dog- cocker spaniels- French mastiffWhere do I even begin to list the charms of this delightful homestay? The owner is a huge animal lover and this is evident in the menangerie of sorts he has established at the Poonch House. So we have a pair of frisky horses who are also the natural “lawn mowers” when the grass gets too high and needs to be trimmed down. The extremely affectionate quartet of 2 Cocker Spaniels, 1 French Mastiff and 1 Pakistani Bully dog who will make your heart beat just a little bit faster.

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Then there are cows (milk, ghee, paneer, dahi, butter are all home derived), rabbits and fish in the estate pond, all of which offer a lot of delight to children and adults alike.

A mud kitchen structure is perfectly aligned with the property to have food cooked off a wood chullah in the traditional style. Its perfect for a lunch on a winter afternoon when one is craving sunshine and warmth. Like we did on our last visit here when we were served the perfect lunch of makki ki roti and sarson ka saag. The rotis were cooked hot and fresh, right in front of our eyes. Bliss!!!

Best time to visit this heritage homestay:

Every season is perfect for a relaxing and peaceful stay at this gorgeous heritage bungalow. One can see the joy of each weather interval in every bit of foliage planted here.

Spring brings the blossoms in abundance on every fruiting tree even as the wild flowers pop their sweet heads in unexpected spots. Its the perfect time to enjoy sunshine in every corner of the sprawling estate.

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Summers is ideal for a cool escape to the misty serenity that envelops the estate. One can pluck green walnuts off the tree and split them open to gorge on the soft sweet kernel within. Pears, plums and apricots are other fruits which are just ripe for the plucking.

Autumn swoops in the shades of the falling leaves which ranges from a rich yellows to deep reds and purple. Its also a quite time in the mountains and is perfect for some quality me-time.

Winter has the bonus of snowfall peppering the trees and surroundings with a soft white feathery touch. If its a lucky year, then the snow can be plentiful enough to build snowmen and also have a snowball fight.

Intrigued? Pin it for later!!

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My rating:

Location: 5/5 stars

Hospitality: 5/5 stars

Accommodation: 5/5 stars

Food: 5/5 stars

Value for money: 5/5 stars

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How to get to the Poonch House:

Kud lies 95 Kms from Jammu and the car journey takes about 2 hours. This is the best way to reach the Poonch House as the bus service is almost non-existent. Its a beautiful drive with views of mountain ranges all around, liberally dotted with pine trees.

Nearby dine out options:

Plan to have the breakfast enroute and stop at one of the roadside shops near Udhampur selling the famous “kaladi”. Its basically a fermented milk cheese, very much like the mozarella. It’s offered in many delicious forms. We sampled the sandwich version which was just amazing. But you could also opt for Kaladi Kulcha (fermented bread) or the Kaladi Parantha which is basically a roti cooked on the girdle and has a stuffing on this cheese. I guarantee you haven’t tasted anything this decadent ever. It makes for the perfect filling breakfast for sure.

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Step out for a day’s outing at the Sky View Resort, located at Chenaini, a short drive away. Or you could head up to the cable car station at Patnitop and take the 15 minutes ride down to the resort. Either ways it’s a short distance away through scenic route and is a nice change of pace. The floor to glass windows of the dining area is a divine experience. Food was 4/5 but service was 3/5. They do need to work on that a bit plus clean up the loos which were malodorous to the risk of being health hazards 😉 You could try some of the adventure sports offered here.

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Shiva Cottage , located at Patnitop, is a fabulous option for an exquisitely served and cooked meal of the traditional local delicacies. Some items are available on request and its advisable to call ahead and book/inquire for the same. We recommend the khatta meat and anardana chutney– both are finger licking good! It is a family run boutique hotel and offers some stunning views from its well-appointed rooms. People swear by the service and food quality of this place.

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Natha Top & Sanasar

This is a local lookout point when heading towards Sanasar valley. There are some quaint roadside coffee and maggi points which are worth a short stop. The road is not in a great condition after every rain and is pretty steep and winding. So driving needs to be done really carefully here. Experience rating: 4/5

An hour away from Natha top, one lands at Sanasar through some very picturesque green hills and turns. Shiva Cottage packs a hearty picnic basket on request which is ideal for gorging on in this perfect landscape. You could carry a rug or blanket to sit on the ground which is often wet. Sanasar is a steeply dipped mini valley with a lake and a ring of pine trees all around. The infrastructure and facilities are quite rustic here, so be prepared for dirty washrooms. Some adventure sport and boating on the lake are on the offer here along with horse riding. Experience rating: 3/5

The Poonch House contact info:

Website: The Poonch House

Email: poonchhouse.in@gmail.com

Phone: 097975 61011

Address: Poonch House VPO. Kud, Teh. Chenaini, Distt Udhampur, Jammu and Kashmir 182142, India

If you do head out to this heritage destination, we would love to hear about your experience. Do tell us if you discover something new there which we can sample the next time around.

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A trained Interior designer who loves to travel, photograph and write, I have done some boutique stays in limited budgets and some in extravagant heritage ones too. I specialize in using locally sourced/ made products which would provide support to the local community.

I am also an advocate of using sustainable practices in housekeeping, laundry,etc which lessens the use of harmful chemicals. The water used for such chores is clean enough to be fed into the garden directly.

You could get in touch with me for:

  • Interior design services for your property
  • Training and implementing of green practices at your property
  • Doing an honest Travel reviews for a unique stay anywhere in the world. If you liked this review and would like for me to visit your property, please drop in a mail at shalzmojo@gmail.com


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10 thoughts on “The heritage charm of the Poonch House | Travel Review |

  1. I don’t know if I will ever get to this place, but saving just in case. It looks really relaxing, beautiful and delicious. My bucket list grows and grows. LOL. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Some day… someday. The location is perfect… the kind of place I always yearn for. Loved reading about your experience and the vivid description of the place. Beautiful photos.

    1. Thanks Raji- it is indeed a special place to vacation and I am hoping that now that I am living so much closer to it, there will plenty of trips to the Poonch House.

  3. What a fun time. I would love that zoo of pets at the house….especially all of those doggos. Loads of joy there. A beautiful, charming home combined with lovely pets makes for the perfect trip.


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