Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) extends from the plains of Punjab near Jhelum up through Mangla Lake to the foot hills of the Himalayas, and north to the mountains 6000-20000 feet above sea level. It is drained by three major rivers the Jhelum, the Neelum and the Poonch. The valleys are green and wooded.Muzaffarabad is the capital of Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, situated at the confluence of the Jhelum and Neelum rivers. This city is located in Muzaffarabad District on the banks of the Jhelum and Neelum rivers. It is 138 kilometres from Rawalpindi and Islamabad and about 76 kilometres from Abbottabad.
The Muzaffarabad district is bounded by North-West Frontier Province in the west, by the Kupwara and Baramulla districts of on the Indian side of the Line of Control in the east, and the Neelum District of Azad Kashmir in the north.
Muzaffarabad is also well known for its beautiful gardens, forests, valleys, rivers and mountains. It is a popular holiday spot in the country. The idyllic landscape of the city makes it popular to both local people and foreign tourists. Muzaffarabad is a scenic tourist destination. Administrative capital of Kashmir, Muzaffarabad offers tourists stunning views and exciting trekking trails.
The name "Muzaffarabad" (meaning Muzaffar's Town) comes from the name of Sultan Raja Muzaffar Khan (a Muslim ruler of Khandan-e-Bomba). After the 1948-49 war, Muzaffarabad was made the capital of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
Muzaffarabad is a wonderful destination for trekking enthusiasts. There are a number of trekking trails that pass thorough some spectacular scenic spots in Muzaffarabad. Muzaffarabad has a number of beautiful monuments, farms and parks.
The city is a combination of old monuments and new buildings and a blend of different cultures and languages. It has besides official buildings, farms, parks and the historic forts standing on the banks of the Neelum, Muzaffarabad, Mirpur, Rawlakot and Kotli are connected with Pakistan by the Micro-weave system of telephone.
The population of the district, according to the 1998 Census, was 725,000, and according to a 1999 projection, the population had risen to almost 741,000. The district comprises three tehsils, and the city of Muzaffarabad serves as the capital of Azad Kashmir. Cradled by lofty mountains, Muzaffarabad reflects a blend of various cultures and languages. The main language is a form of Hindko.
The Neelum river streams, proudly through the hub of the town, joins river Jhelum at Domel, Muzaffarabad also serves as a base camp for the tourist intending to visit tourist spots and other historical and cultural & traditional aspects of AJ&K.
The climate of Muzaffarabad is mostly pleasant. The summers are mild while the winters are chilly with snowfall. The ideal time to visit the city is during the autumn season when the skies are clear and the weather condition excellent. Muzaffarabad is full of idyllic areas which add to the charm of the place. The Neelum river plays a dominant role in the microclimate of Muzaffarabad which joins Jehlum River near Domail.
Past the Red fort, crossing Neelum river at Ghori, a few km way is 'Makra mountain' 3,890 meters which is visible from Muzaffarabad and continues on to Shogran in the Kaghan Valley. This is a superb short trek, although you need to camp overnight halfway.
The upper Jhelum valley makes another interesting scenic excursion from Muzaffarabad. follow the Jhelum upstream, taking the road beneath the Domel bridge. This was the old route to Srinagar. The valley is broad with raised terraces above the river.
Places to See:
Muzaffarabad is not only the hub of political and cultural activities, but also has various spots for leisure. Domel, the junction point of Neelum & Jhelum Rivers, presents a magic beauty from here. At the right bank of River Jhelum near this site, an established “Food Point” offers the delicacy of the famous “Kashmiri Cuisine” and other varieties of local traditional dishes of Kashmiri origin. "Lohaar Gali" situated 9 kilometers from the city on Abbottabad road, offers a bird eye view of the capital city. At night, the lights of the city present an unforgettable scene from this point.
- Muzaffarabad's Forts:
- Black Fort:
- Red Fort:
Maharaja Gulab Signh and Ranbir Singh, the Dogra rulers, reconstructed and extended the fort for political and military operations. Towards the end of 1947 the Dogra forces filed away leaving the fort wide open to anybody.
- Pir Chanasi:
The views of the summit of the neighboring mountain peaks spell bounds a tourist. The adjacent Pir Asimar, phawna da Danna and the areas in the bottom of pir chinassi, i.e. Saran, Sud Bun, Muskhi, Sakki and Jarran phirran are also worth seen and ideal for hiking, trekking and camping activities. AJK Tourism Department has also constructed a tourist lodge at Saran to provide accommodation facilities to the tourists.
- Machiara National Park:
Machiara National Pak is Situated in Lower Neelum Valley, Azad Kashmir and covering an area of 13532 ha. The park is reached via Patika. In 1996 the southern slopes were brought within a new protected area management plan, and a small game reserve there grew into the 135-sq-km Machiara National Park.
Machiara National Park consists of montane mixed broadleaf-coniferous forest and contains a significant number of bird species. The forested Ganga Mountains, a branch of the Himalayan foothills, separate the Neelam and Kaghan Valleys and provide a fragile home to brown bear, ibex, Himalayan griffon vulture, western tragopan, lammergeier and, allegedly, snow leopard. It is home to a variety of wildlife including leopards, monkeys, wolves as well as many other species. The most endangered specie of the area is the Western Tragopan Pheasant. The park provides a breeding ground to the birds whose number was fast dwindling in the past. The Himalayan griffon vulture and lammergeyer (large vulture) are also found here. The park also provides sanctuary to the Himalayan Brown Bear, Ibex and Snow Leopard.
Machiara National Park is one of three globally significant national parks selected for a Global Environment Facility sponsored project. The overall goal is to set up management models demonstrating effective natural resource conservation and make a significant contribution to the development of Pakistan's capacity. The local community is very protective towards the past and is trying its utmost to save the threatened animals as well as their natural habitat.
- Shaheed Gali:
The comely beauty of the place attracts a restive mind to prolong his stay. This picturesque Shaheed Gali is situated at the height of about 1640 meters above sea level at a distance of about 16 kilometer westward from Muzaffarabad. From Shaheed Gali is a trek of 4 Kms leads towards a wholesome spot namely “Sri Kot”. A tourist is bound to be fascinated by the serenity for the backdrop of the area. A Tourist Rest House is available for accommodation at Shaheed Gali.
- Subri Lake (Langarpura):
Some 10 kms out of Muzaffarabad the river widens to from a small lake. This was created by a landslip some years ago. There is a small Angler's Hut here, which makes a pleasant picnic spot. It is possible to take boats out on the river. Book through the Tourist Department in Muzaffarabad. There are rest houses, good hotels and guest houses in Muzaffarabad city where the tourists can stay.
Amidst Muzaffarabad to Kohala, a road bifurcates the highway and leads to Danna, crossing the labyrinthine roads. Dann is known for its healthy climate and alluring scenic beauty. A tourist rest house is available for accommodation. From here one can go to Dheerkot, a known hill station in District Bagh.
What to Do:
Pleasant lodging facilities are also available in Muzaffarabad. The hotels in the city range from luxury hotels to budget hotels. There are various guest houses, rest houses and good motels at most of the tourist spots which can be booked in advance from their offices in Muzaffarabad.
How to Reach:
You can indulge in different activities like hiking, trekking and camping at the foothill regions of the Pir Chinassi, Saran, Sun Bun, Muskhi, Sakki and Jarran.
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How to Reach:
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