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, flourishing green forests, streams, high altitude lakes and attractive surroundings make the valley a dream come true. 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 high 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. A fair weather road opens the valley to tourists up to Kel, 165 kilometers from Muzaffarabad. Coaches ply daily on this route and accommodation facilities are also available at places of tourist attraction. Some of the places of tourist interest are:
Kutton (Jagran Valley):
The bewitching beauty of Kutton, with an altitude of 1530 meters above the sea level permeated in the radius of 10 kilometers, makes Jagran Valley. The area is 16 kilometers from Kundal Shahi and is accessible by road. For the convenience of tourists, AJK Tourism Department has constructed a rest house while adjacent residential complex managed by the Power Development Organization (PDO) is also available for accommodation. From here 16 Kilometers onward, Thunian, Ghainsi and Jagran are located which are worth seeing spots for nature lovers and adventure seekers. A Jeep track towards Baboon hill top is also accessible from Jagran area which connect Patlian, Rati Gali lake area.
Upper Neelum (Neelum Village) is located at a distance of about two & half Kms. from Karen with an altitude of 1824 meters above the sea level. This panoramic lush green village, profound in wild fruit and wild life, attracts the tourists from every nook & corner of the country. Another remarkable feature of this spot is that one can view the entire area of occupied Kashmir from here. Owing to its tourists attraction AJK Tourism Department has constructed tourist huts to convert both the Upper and Lower Neelum into a tourist village. The area has number of guest house with quality services and famous as tourist village. From the back side of the village a road is constructed towards Baboon hill station for adventure lovers.
Rati Gali Lake:
The famous and fascinating Rati Gali lake is situated about 18 kilometer from Dawarian. A Jeep track on left side of the Neelum Valley road is accessible to this lake which can be visited during months of May to October.
Located at a distance of 30 kilometers from Dawarian, it is a breath-taking green spot at an altitude of 1981 meters. Shardi and Nardi are the two mountain peaks overlooking the valley, named after legendary princesses Sharda & Narda. It has a captivating landscape with numerous springs and hill sides covered with thick forest. Over the right bank, opposite to Sharda, the river Neelum is joined by the Surgan Nullah along which a track leads to the Noori Nar Pass and through it to Kaghan Valley.In sharda, one also finds ruins of an old Buddhist Monastery and a fort which are of historical back ground. Facilities of a small bazaar, Post office, health center. The AJK Tourism Department has established here a “Tourist Village” consisting of Tourist Rest Houses, Youth Hostels, Cafeteria and Games room to facilitate the tourists while dozens of private guests’ houses are also offered accommodation and other services. Boating facility is also obtainable here on river Neelum.
19 Kilometers journey from Sharda, upstream takes one to Kel. It is a small valley at the height of 2097 meters. This is another pleasing 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 “Sarwaali Peak” 6326 meters about sea level and “Sarwaali Glacier” (about 25 Kms long) which are respectively said to be the highest peak and biggest glacier of Azad Kashmir. Coaster and Vans ply daily on this route. It is advisable to hire a jeep from Sharda or Kel for a trip into the Shoather and Gurez Valleys. Horses and Ponies can also be hired locally for travel to the Shoather Valley. Banks, College, Hospital, Bazaar, Tourist Motel are available here
Gurez / Gurais also pronounced Gorai in local Shina Language is a valley located deep in the high Himalayas, about 38 Kms ahead of Kel and at an altitude of about 8,000 ft above sea level is a fascination yet unexplored. The valley is surrounded by snow capped mountains. It has diverse fauna and wildlife including the Himalayan Brown Bear and the Snow Leopard. The valley is also situated very close to the Burzil pass which leads into Astore district of the Gilgat Baltistan. Due to heavy snowfall in winter, the valley remains cut-off for the 5 months of the year. The essential commodities are stocked during the summer season for the consumption during the winter. The valley has much charismatic and panoramic view with traditional wooden home and culture. The area having beautiful places like Janawai, Pholawai, Saonar, Sardari, Halmat, Nikro, Cream abad, and Tao Butt, where dozens of guest houses are available with basic necessities of life for the visitors. A white floating gold Gagai Nullah and emerald River Neelum also meet at Tao butt. Tao But is ultimate tourist destination of tourists with calm, greenery meadows, neat and clean atmosphere.
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The Newly established Neelum Jhelum Power Project Dam is situated about 36 Kilometer from Muzaffarabad. The purpose of the dam is to diverting the water of River Neelum through Tunnel into River Jhelum for Power Generation. It is a tourist spot and attract the tourist during the traveling along the Neelum Valley Road.
it is the first village of Neelum Valley while opposite area is occupied territory of Indian occupied of Jammu & Kashmir.
It is 74 Kilometers from Muzaffarad. Here, silvery stream Jagran Nullah joins river Neelum, where trout fish is found abundantly. Some private hotels are available.
Authmuqam is 10 kilometers from Kundal Shahi. It is located at a height of 1371 meters ASL. Being the district headquarter of Neelum District, it serves as a take off point for tourists interested in hiking and exploring the inner valley. It is an attractive place known for its variety of fruits. All necessary facilities such as bazaar, post office, banks, hospital, telephone, PWD rest house and some private hotels are available with good standard.
It is about 09 Kms from Authmaqam, Neelum (Karen) is situated at the right bank of Neelum River at about 1524 meters above sea level. It has captivating scenery. A small bazaar and a Tourist Lodge of Tourism Department situated on the bank of meandering river Neelum across which one can have a glance of other side of Keran in Indian held Kashmir. The AJK Tourism Department has established Tourism Motels here which leased out to private sector on public private partnership policy which is known as Karen Resort. Karen is most popular and famous tourist destination with dozens of guest houses in private sector to cater the influx of tourists.
Dawarian is situated about 13 Kms from Neelum at an altitude of about 1615 meters. It is surrounded by mountains covered with Conifer trees. A mule track up to Ratti Gali pass about 30 Kms towards west connects the Neelum & Kaghan Valleys. A hut of Tourism Department and some private guest houses provides accommodation facility for visitors near main road as well as on the top of the hill.
A panoramic and break-taking greenery village is situated 9 kilometer from Kel followed by hiking track. Due to its scenic beauty a cable car is also offered pick and drop service from Kel to Arang Kel and mostly used by tourist. Arang Kel is renowned for tracking, hiking and adventure tourism. To cater the need of tourist some guest houses are provides accommodations with food.