Pakistan, a beautiful country of South Asia, is home to a lot of attractive valleys and tourist spots. These alluring places include valleys like Neelum Valley Kashmir, Swat, Kalash, Kalam, Chitral, Kumrat Hunza, Naran, Dir, Gabeen Jabba, Gabral, Bahrain, Madyan, Kaghan, Neelam and many more. This land is also abode to the world’s highest mountain peaks and glaciers.

Calling all adventurers with a heart for nature – this splendid area invites you to dive into its marvels. Likewise, in Neelum Valley Kashmir, the stunning natural views go on forever. The people living there are as friendly as a warm sunny day that lights up the hills. From the moment you see Neelum Valley, its incredible beauty captures your attention completely. The winding Neelum River names this magical valley that looks like it is from a dream, with every scene looking perfect enough to be on a postcard.

Neelum Valley Azad Kashmir - A beautiful scene

Location and Geography

Neelum Valley, nestled in the northernmost reaches of Azad Kashmir, unfolds parallel to the enchanting Kaghan Valley. Perched at an elevation of approximately 4,000 meters above sea level, it stands as one of the loftiest valleys within this region. Snuggled in the heart of the valley are over three hundred seventy villages, everyone bursting with a magic all its own. The high mountains that scrape the sky, forests so green and full of life and lively clear streams reflecting the images of the surrounding peaks make one feel to be in a dreamland.

Natural Beauty and Landscapes

Upon entering Neelum Valley, the majestic landscape immediately demands recognition.  Often referred to as the “Paradise of Kashmir,” visitors are greeted by a splendid panorama – summits graced with immaculate snow, and lively waterfalls cascading down cliffs into lush forestry beneath.  Similarly, at the heart of this splendour flows the Neelum River, whose azure waters present a spectacle to behold.  Neelum Valley in Kashmir stands as one of Pakistan’s most distinguished locales, celebrated for its scenic beauty marked by verdant woods, clear streams, and peaks crowned with snow.

Dhani Waterfall, Bhaderwah Kashmir

Dhani waterfall Neelum valley Kashmir

The Dhani Waterfall, Bhaderwah, Kashmir, enveloped by verdant foliage, presents an exquisite spectacle as its clear waters gracefully descend the rugged landscape. If it is stillness and serenity you’re after, this spot is magnetic. With nature’s melody playing from streaming waters around every corner, this scenic view promises visitors more than just beauty.

Climate and Weather in Neelum Valley Kashmir

In the esteemed Neelum Valley Kashmir, visitors are graced with an optimal climatic duality. When summer hits, we all appreciate that refreshing cool spell amidst the heat. Winter follows suit with just enough of a nip in the air to make you reach for your comfiest sweater.

Athletes from diverse regions across the nation gathered for competitive winter sports events at the Snow Sports Festival, held in the breathtaking Neelum Valley. It is advisable to journey to this valley between April and October when conditions are most favourable and the natural scenery reaches its zenith in aesthetic appeal. Significant snowfall adorns the landscape during this time of the year, rendering it akin to a picturesque winter paradise. This period is particularly opportune for lovers of winter sports seeking to indulge in skiing and snowboarding amidst splendid settings.

Top Tourist Attractions in Neelum Valley Kashmir

Water Fall Neelum Valley Azad kashmir Pakistan

Kieran View Point

Kieran is a hilltop destination Located at the entrance of the Neelum Valley.  This point offers stunning views of the Neelum River and the surrounding mountains. This tourist destination is situated on the Line of Control (LOC) between Pakistan and India. Neelum Town is on River Neelum’s banks amidst the lush green mountains. These mountains wear a snow veil during the winter season. Karan is at a distance of 36 kilometres road journey from Sharda. Kieran is also a habitat of multiple wildlife like Markhore, wild goat, ibex, red foxes, snow leopards, jackals and rabbits.

Sharda:

Dedicated to the Hindu goddess of learning, the 5,000-year-old Sharda Peeth was an abandoned temple and ancient centre of learning. Established in 237 BC during the reign of Ashoka, the ancient temple was one of the foremost “temple universities” of the Indian subcontinent between the 6th and 12th centuries CE. Around 5,000 intellectuals congregated here and shared knowledge from the largest collection of books at the time. According to historical accounts, Sharda Peeth was initially a revered site for Buddhists, who used it as a centre of learning before it was transformed into a Hindu temple

Arang Kel Town

Located at an elevation of 6,000 feet, Arang Kel constitutes the culmination of Neelum Valley Kashmir and exposes extensive panoramas of the surrounding summits. Upon the onset of a brisk atmosphere, it becomes an unparalleled opportunity to behold Mount Nanga Parbat from the scenic point. As a result, Its majestic peaks stand in stark relief against the tranquil backdrop of the sky. This locality is surrounded by lush magnificence and is revered as the “ Pearl of Neelum Valley ”.

This location truly shines in the summertime when its vast fields burst into vibrant greens. The locals here are very friendly rear livestock and indulge in farming. The sight of cattle grazing in the meadow and basking in the sunshine makes it a typical picturesque scene of a Pakistani village.

Lakes and Waterfalls

Ratti Gali Lake:

The Ratti Gali Lake, Neelum Valley Kashmir is at an elevation of 3,700 meters (12,130 feet) above sea level. This alpine lake gets its refreshing waters straight from the glaciers around it. Accessibility to its base camp is generally available from the first week of August until mid-October. Accommodations can be arranged either at Keran or Dewarin along Neelum Road, where visitors must engage a 4X4 vehicle for transportation or at the base camp itself.

At the base camp, provisions for reasonable sustenance and potable water are made available. Facilities also include washrooms as beyond this point uphill there are no such amenities. To reach the lake from here, two modes of transport are available: equine assistance or pedestrian trekking. The journey by horse takes approximately 25 minutes while trekking may take around one hour on average. Travel time from Keran to base camp spans roughly 2.5 hours. Vendors along the way offer refreshments including tea, traditional “Qahwa” (green tea blend), and cold beverages.

The unparalleled scenic beauty of Ratti Gali Lake in the Neelum Valley Kashmir, especially when adorned with wildflowers in full bloom, offers a spectacle of visual splendour unmatched by any other activity besides sightseeing. The visitors are advised to allocate at least one hour to immerse in and appreciate the serenity that permeates this location. An established hiking trail from Ratti Gali towards Kaghan/Naran Valley intersects Browai en route also exists. It reveals about five lakes for further exploration opportunities within this region. Hindus hold this place very sacred because Lord Shiva, the mighty deity in charge of creation, protection, and change in the universe, calls it home.

Chitta Katha Lake Neelum valley Kashmir Pakistan

Chitta Katha Lake in the Neelum Valley Kashmir

Imagine chilling by a waterfall that drops from an impressive height of 100 feet, it’s no wonder everyone loves picnicking here. Chitta Katha Lake, at an elevation of 13,500 feet in the Shonter Valley within Azad Kashmir is flanked by the snow-draped Hari Parbat near Nanga Parbat ranks among the loftiest alpine lakes globally. Accessible only during July and August when it sheds its icy cloak, this breathtaking locale offers more than a mere hiking endeavour. It invites adventurers on an extraordinary exploration through Northern Pakistan’s awe-inspiring landscapes.

It encourages visitors to immerse in nature and spend several days camping amidst these serene settings without rushing further. Although situated near contentious borders, safety concerns are minimal with welcoming locals around. However, travelling at night is not advisable as roads beyond Muzaffarabad are prone to landslides.

Trekking and Hiking Routes in Neelum Vally Kashmir

Shounter Pass:

For adventure seekers, Neelum Valley offers some best trekking and hiking routes in Pakistan. Shounter Pass is one of the most trodden trekking. This challenging trek takes you through some of the most remote and beautiful parts of the valley, with stunning views of the surrounding peak.

Enthusiasts may undertake the formidable journey to the captivating Chitta Katha Lake, navigating through verdant forests and rugged terrain. If you’re looking for peace, head on up to Arang Kel. As you make your way there, the valley unfolds below in all its glory. Regardless of preference for challenging routes or peaceful walks, Neelum Valley Kashmir guarantees memorable trekking expeditions for all trekking enthusiasts.

Nanga Parbat Base Camp Trekking

The distance for trekking between Nanga Parbat Base Camp and Neelum Valley Kashmir, Pakistan, is contingent upon the chosen pathway and initial point of departure. Moreover, the journey from Neelum Valley to Fairy Meadows, serving as the base camp for Nanga Parbat, extends over a range of approximately 50 to 60 kilometres (31 to 37 miles). Depending on your walking speed and rest stops, the trekking could span multiple days. This trekking is a testimony of the strength, patience and stamina of trekkers.

Participants often undertake this arduous yet fulfilling venture to immerse themselves in the region’s pristine natural beauty and behold the majesty of Nanga Parbat. Apart from this, wandering through the ever-changing scenery brings explorers face-to-face with vibrant green landscapes, tumbling falls, and whispers of wildlife around them. The path progressively elevates offering sweeping vistas of Himalayan summits enveloped in fog.

Historical and Cultural Sites

In addition to the historic Arang Kel village, Neelum Valley Kashmir is a treasure trove of historical marvels amidst its breathtaking natural beauty. Sharda Peeth, an ancient Hindu pilgrimage site and centre of Buddhist learning, features ruins dating back to the 5th century. From the Buddhist university to Chitta Katha Lake, Neelum Valley echoes tales of ancient times. In the same way, Athmuqam, famed for wooden houses, is the valley’s administrative heart.

Languages in the Neelum Valley Kashmir

In the Azad Kashmir, almost seven different languages and dialects are spoken. However, Hindi and Kashmiri languages are common and understood by a vast majority of people. Encouragingly, a vast majority of Kashmiri people can speak and understand English and there is no language barrier for international and local tourists.  

Exploring the Local Culture and Traditions

In every corner of Neelum Valley, you’ll find stories that span centuries. Each tradition and piece of cultural heritage is carefully preserved by its proud inhabitants. Accordingly, every piece of carved wood or beautifully woven wool garment tells a story of the remarkable skill of the artisan.

The quintessence of traditional crafts in Neelum Valley Kashmir is epitomized by wood carving. Envision an arena where artisans endowed with remarkable skill devote themselves to transforming mere pieces of wood into ornate decorative masterpieces and furniture.

 In this locale, people produce premier-quality silk and wool. The locals use this silk meticulously in artistic creations such as luxurious shawls, enticing scarves, and traditional Shalwar Kameez. For this reason, the Punjabi and Pathans residing in the valley exhibit immense pride in their conventional garments.

Local Cuisine and Delicacies

In the beautiful Neelum Valley Kashmir, the food is a mix of Kashmiri and Pakistani styles, using fresh ingredients from the area. A famous meal for visitors to try is the Kashmiri Wazwan. Imagine sitting down to a lavish spread where meats, grains, and greens come together in centuries-old culinary traditions. Also, there’s a special tea called Kashmiri Qahwa. Think warm thoughts as you sip on green tea elevated by an aromatic trio – sweetly spicy cinnamon meets zesty cardamom finished by threads of golden-hued saffron. Sipping on this tea feels like a warm hug in the brisk mountain air.

Festivals and Celebrations

The Neelum Valley in Kashmir changes beautifully during its festivals, especially Eid-ul-Fitr. The end of Ramadan brings a burst of light and colour to the streets, signalling celebration time. Sharing a meal, sending up prayers, and revelling in festivities – that’s how people come close. Another important day is August 14th, Pakistan’s Independence Day. From dawn till dusk, every corner of the valley is alive with people joining in diverse cultural celebrations.

Accommodation in Neelum Valley Kashmir

There are multiple options for accommodation in every principal town en route to Taobutt. An official compendium of lodging options throughout Azad Kashmir, including Neelum Valley, exists for reference purposes. Embarking on a journey through Neelum Valley offers an opportunity to immerse oneself in splendid natural sceneries alongside rich cultural heritage underpinned by genuine hospitality—a quintessence that defines the experience awaiting visitors.

Boutique Hotel / Home Hotel

In the esteemed Neelum Valley Kashmir, accommodations cater to a broad spectrum of budgets and preferences. Whether you opt for a charming rest home or fancy a lavish resort experience, there’s something for everyone. Living in a Boutique Hotel (inn) with a local family is your ticket to truly diving into the culture and traditions of the area. You can join locals for a meal made right at their kitchen table, getting a true taste of valley living. In the Neelum Valley the government employees, really shine at providing top-notch service at a portion of their houses.

Choosing to stay with a host family in Neelum Valley Kashmir means you’ll live close to other guests which might limit your privacy. The facilities are usually basic and cultural differences can sometimes make you feel uncomfortable. It may also be hard to communicate if you don’t speak the same language as others. Relying on your hosts to show you around can make you feel less free. The safety rules might not be what you’re expecting and unexpected things happening could affect how much you enjoy your stay.

Transportation and Accessibility to Neelum Valley Kashmir

The Neelum Valley can be easily reached by road from Muzaffarabad, the main city of Azad Kashmir. The trip usually takes about 4-5 hours, but this can change depending on the weather and road conditions. For people coming from different parts of Pakistan, it’s a good idea to fly to Islamabad first. From there, you can either take a taxi or catch a bus to Muzaffarabad. Once in Muzaffarabad, you have the choice to hire a private car or use public buses for your journey.

Travel Tips and Precautions

Make sure you’re ready – safety first makes the journey all the sweeter! Keep your identification and all required permits handy, especially if you’re planning a trip near the Line of Control. Adhering to local dress codes and respecting indigenous customs and traditions are paramount. One must be vigilant regarding abrupt climatic shifts, especially during the monsoon period.

In those hidden-away places where technology hasn’t quite caught up, having enough cash is key since spotting an ATM or paying with plastic might not be an option. Including a Power Bank in your essentials list is advisable due to potential prolonged periods without access to electricity. Heeding the advice of tour guides or local authorities becomes critical whilst engaging in mountainous hikes or treks.

Impact on Tourism and Local Life in Neelam Valley Kashmir

The lush landscapes and age-old culture of Neelum Valley Kashmir transform it into a top pick for visitors far and wide. Owing to the fresh investments in infrastructure, tourism activities are gaining momentum. Because of the thriving travel industries, the dreams are now becoming a reality. The boom in visitors has spurred businesses like artisan crafts, food specialities tied to the area’s culture, and thrill-seeking activities.

Folks in Neelum Valley Kashmir find joy in sharing the best parts of where they live with others. From cultural richness to scenic beauty – they’re eager to put it all on display for anyone who comes by.  Imagine walking into a landscape where every turn reveals another masterpiece – that’s what visiting this valley feels like. Its lively waters carve rutted paths through woodlands ablaze with hues only nature could conjure up. Amidst its challenges, promoting tourism in Kashmir is a wise strategy for nurturing peace and economic growth.

By Munir Jan

With over two decades of writing experience, I am a seasoned male blogger who delves into deep insights and shares vast knowledge through engaging content. My journey has seen me enriching my blog with valuable perspectives, and establishing myself as a credible authority in my field. Presently, I contribute to my website (mjadil.com), where I have published several blogs, with numerous similar contents on various topics soon to follow. Focusing primarily on Local and International Tourism for the time being, I hold a Master's degree in English Literature. This background empowers me to craft articles, content, and blogs across multiple topics. My tenure includes teaching English Literature at Oxford College in Pakistan and participating in seminars and workshops sponsored by international donors. My blogs have garnered wide appreciation from optimistic readers worldwide. Eager to collaborate with renowned clients, I aim to share my extensive experience and acumen as a passionate freelancer.

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