Valley Neelum Valley is dipped in beauty. About 240
kilometers long the picturesque Neelum Valley is situated to the North &
North East of Muzaffarabad. Running parallel to the Kaghan Valley. It is
separated from it by snow covered peaks, some over 4000 meters above sea
level. Excellent scenic beauty, panoramic view, towering hills on both sides
of the noisy Neelum river, lush green forests, enchanting streams, high
altitude lakes and attractive surroundings make the valley a dream come
true. The swaying lush green forests, snow capped mountains, streams
singing songs of joy, and fast flowing river Neelum, all go together to make
it naturalist’s wonderland.The
area is also ideal for mountain tourism. A part of Nanga Parbat Massif falls
in this area which is dominated by "Sarwaali Peak" (6326 meters) the highest
mountain in Azad Kashmir. Moreover like Kaghan Valley it is famous for
fishing and angling activities in Neelum river and Jagran nullah which are
stocked with trout fish.
Traveling during May to October from the scorching heat of plains to the
high land basin of Neelum Valley is indeed an escape from hell inferno to
the cold breezes of paradise. The temperature remains in between 65°F to 90°
F during the summer. The upper portion of the area normally receives first
snow fall in the month of October and at some times even during September.
It is a valley of fountains, springs, waterfalls, flowering trees and
plants. Geographically too, it is a hospitable valley. The Neelum Valley, 90
miles long bow-shaped with majestic pine, fir and deodar trees, lies
north-south of Muzaffarabad (capital). This ninety-mile long kingdom of
vegetation is ripped apart by the indigo blue Neelum river which flows
serpentinely down hills to merge itself into the river Jhelum at Domail.
Domail, the confluence of two mighty rivers, presents highly fascinating
scene of youthful embrace. This heart-warning spectacle is most soothing to
The valley, starting from Muzaffarabad, the capital of Azad Kashmir, is
about 150 miles long. It lies on both sides of the river Neelum. The
geographical features enhance the natural beauty of the Valley. Its
elevation, a mere 2,000 feet at the start, gradually rises till it attains a
respectable height of 8,000 feet. On both sides there are high mountains and
peaks. Nearly all the forest wealth of Azad Kashmir is to be found in this
part of the State.
There are two approaches to the valley. One from the Kaghan Valley which is
linked with it at two points, the Nuri Nari Hali (Pass) and the Ratti Gali
and many minor Passes. From Dawarian it takes two days for hiking or riding
and night stay at Dharian at 12,000 feet. The second approach is from
Muzaffarabad. It is a distance of 55 miles which is jeepable in fair
weather. The Neelum meets the Jhelum river at Domali (meeting of the two) on
the outskirts of Muzaffarabad city. From Paticka forest one reaches Nosari,
24 miles ahead of Muzaffarabad. Next come Chaliana (height 3,200 feet), Qazi
Nag, Barian, Salkhela, Kundal Shahi, Athmaqam on this road. On a number of
places, the local population has built rope crossings on the river. It is a
very dangerous device and the very thought of crossing these points is
horrible but thrilling.
Tao Butt is an example of vegetation generosity of the liberal nature. The
spot is donned with all delicacies and niceties. Nature flirts here with
fantastic environment. The forest wealth abounds in the Neelum Valley.
Deodar, pine, fir, wild walnut, strawberry and hosts of other high stature
trees and other types of wild growth and herbs are the treasure of the
valley. Besides being invaluable in economic terms, the variety of natural
growth offers a captivating scenery. Shunder Hill tops are covered with
green forests and the fields are lush green with crops.
Pattheka;The valley is accessible by an all weather road metalled up to Kundal Shahi
and well maintained up to Kel. At the gateway to the Valley lies a sprawling
town of Pattheka with a dependable commercial centre. For a tourist,
Pattheka can be the first journey break. This town has a modest bazaar with
day-to-day activity. All essential items are available in the bazaar which
feeds a fairly large number of villages behind it. On its back runs the
forth-emitting river Neelum. The village and bazaar are connected by a
suspension bridge crossable by jeep alone. This old bridge is being replaced
with an RCC one enabling it to afford heavy traffic. The running streams,
water channels and water falls across the Pattheka village present another
heart winning scene. It is fully electrified. A few years back, the Federal
Minister of Power and Water, Government of Pakistan had a hydel station
built in this village over a perennial nullah which is in fact a mini river
of Pattheka. The quality of life here is full of emotions despite its
simplicity. It is perhaps due to verdure. Financially, it is an affluent
town. Majority of the village folk is engaged in profitable business abroad
especially in the Middle East countries. A number of scheduled banks of
Pakistan are operating in the village on the strength of remittances from
abroad. But despite fattening coffers, the town has no industrial activity.
The ratting of machinery is unknown to the town. The serene atmosphere
shrouded into lush greenery and milky-white waterfalls and water curses and
their rhythmic flow totally absorbs the visitors. Added to the general plant
fragrance is the sweet smell of menthol plants along the banks of the nullah,
it cuts its way across the crop-fields in such wavy manner that it looks as
a white ribbons over green head of damsel Nature. Bhateeka is linked by
ancillary roads with other surrounding areas uphill and downhill.
It is the entrance of Jagran. Here Jagran Nullah converges into Neelum
River. It is situated at a distance of 74 Kilometers from Muzaffarabad and
about 5 kilometers from Authmuqam. In Authmuqam and Kundal Shahi almost all
basic necessities are available in the local market.
At a distance of 74 Km. from Muzaffarabad one can reach Kundal Shahi. From
this place a visit can be planned to the loveliest part of the Neelum
Valley, commonly known as Jagran Valley. Jagran:
Nestled in the lower part of Neelum valley, the picturesque “Jagran” is its
inseparable part. Jagran Nullah (stream) is indispensable and plays pivotal
role in the formation of its landscape beauty and charm which reveals the
richness of the area. On the side lane of the impressive Tourists Resort the
ever flowing greenish and surf gushing waters of Jagran Nullah add to its
peculiar character. jagran Nullah, rushing downwards all along the tall
grooves of trees is almost small river. Surrounded by scintillating beauty
under the shades of the majestic snow-clad mountains the river is freezing
cold. The snowmelt of these sky heights named “Jagran Nullah” is also know
for rout fishing attracting angles all over the seasons.
In Jagran places like kutton, Thunian, Ghansee and Pattlian Sar are
worth-seeing and inviting everyone to visit and enjoy. Jagran is ideal for
mountaineers and takers too. Here the mountains are ranging from 4000 feet
to 1400 feet above sea level. The ever green forests are stretched in the
far flung lush green plateaus with abundance of wildlife. Gradual and
fathering of uphill distance is encountered with the pleasant and soothing
environ which never fades into memory.
Not more than 3 kilometers from Kundal Shahi across the river Neelum one
can enjoy the lovely place Salkhala. A Trout hatchery has been established
by the Azad Kashmir Fisheries Department. A reasonable accommodation
facility is available here.
Uphill road from Kundal Shahi leads to Kutton at a distance of 6 kilometers.
The picturesque Kutton and Jagran is best to visit during April to October.
Here the Greater Hydle Power is also an additional attraction for the
tourists. The famous Nullah Jagran passes through this valley. At kutton
about 8 kilometers from Kundal Shahi a hatchery for Trout fish is
established by the fisheries department.
10 Kilometers from Kundal Shahi is the Sub-Divisional Head-quarter of
the area. The bazaar consists of over a dozen shops with a post office and
telephone call office. This place is suitable for the people interested in
calm and quite atmosphere.
Another 9 Km journey ahead of Athmaqam takes you to Neelum. It is
situated on the right bank of river Neelum opposite to the Keran village
(Indian occupied Kashmir). Neelum having an altitude of 1524 meters above
sea level is very popular among tourists.
Dowarian at a distance of 13 Km from Neelum at an altitude of 1615
meters is surrounded by mountains full of conifer trees. Over here a mule
track up to Rattigali pass (about 30 Km) towards west, connects the Neelum
and Kaghan Valley.
So far is the half of the Neelum Valley and after it are the more
enchanting spots full of exuberance and life. Kairan is another beauty spot
on the river side with a neat and clean wooden flooring rest house. Its
lawns slope down towards the western bank of the river. Commodities are
transported to the bazaar from Athmaqam by trucks. The physical feature of
Kairan resort resembles a broad forehead of a person with thick hair on the
head. Stay is more comfortable here.
The most picturesque place in Neelum Valley is “ Sharda” it is located
at a distance of 136 Km from Muzaffarabad and 30 Km from Dowarian. It is a
breath taking spot. This place from the point of view of tourists is so
attractive and captivating that they get their money’s worth when they spend
a few days here in their sojourn amidst nature. In Sharda one also finds
ruins of an old place of learning. The presence of these ruins lends Sharda
is a historical background providing special attraction for the people
interested in archaeology and history.
19 kilometers journey from Sharda, upstream takes one to Kel. It is a small
valley at the height of 2097 meters. This is another picturesque place in
the Neelum Valley . The Shounter Nullah joins river Neelum at this place and
leads to Gilgit Agency over the Shounter Pass (4,420 meter). Kel is also a
base camp of mountaineering activities up to “ Sarawaal peak” 6326 meters
above sea level and “Sarawaali Glacier” which are said to be the highest
peak and biggest glacier of Azad Kashmir.
The border village about 38 km ahead of Kel, is a fascination yet
unexplored. Janawai, and Sardari are the most beautiful places around here.
A tourist rest house had been constructed a Halmat to provide accommodation
facilities to the visitors.
: Some of the tourist places of Neelum Valley are situated in the
range of Line of Control, therefore sometimes it become difficult to visit
these areas. So before visiting the valley, the visitors are required to get
The water snow fed river and streams are ideal for trout. Some time back
this fish was introduced in the Valley . Trout spawn naturally in Neelum
river and hatcheries have been developed at Salkhala, Kutton and Dowarian to
restock depleted water.
Neelum Valley provides a variety of treks at varying altitudes
durations, ranging from a day to a week via from Dowarian or Sharda to Ratti
Gali with duration of 3 days, reaching a maximum altitude of 4140 meters and
the trek can be extended to the Kagan Valley by crossing the Ratti Gali
Pass. Near the pass one can see an ideal natural lake “ Ratti Gali Sar” at
an altitude of 3832 meters. A challenging trek of a week’s duration is from
kel to Astor via Shounter Gali, reaching a maximum altitude of 4260 meters.
It is also a regular route for trade between Kel and Astore.
The area is well connected by road, more than half of it from Muzaffarabad is
black topped, while remaining is all weather (un metalled), which is being
metalled. A regular bus service up to Kel is available. However you can
drive in your own car up to Dowarian from there
onwards you have to switch over to Jeeps for your drive.