Neelum Valley (نیلم ویلی) is a scenic valley located 240 kms from Muzaffarabad Pakistan (مظفرآباد پاکستان). It runs parallel to Kaghan valley and is separated by snow covered peaks. It offers panoramic view of hills on both sides of the river, lush green forests, enchanting streams, high altitude lakes and attractive surroundings. It is also ideal for Mount tourism. A scenic road opens this valley to tourists up to Kel, 155 kilometres from Muzaffarabad Pakistan. Accommodation facilities are also available in the rest houses at places of tourist attraction.
- Jhelum Valley is another scenic valley located 59 kms from Muzaffarabad Pakistan
- Palandri (پلندری ) in Sudhnati (سدہناتی): Baral (برال) is the village near Plandri is a Beautiful Place. There is a fort of Dogra (ڈوگرا) (Sikh) period.
- Billan Nar is another small, beautiful place.
- Niyarain Sharif (نیریاں) is a religious place.
Things to do:
Azad Kashmir (آزاد کشمیر) has varied mountainous landscape ranging from low hills to high mountains (2000 to 6000 m) which are suitable for adventure sports like climbing, trekking, mountaineering, summer camping, hiking and paragliding.
Its Rivers & Stream are suitable for white water sports, especially rafting, canoeing and kayaking. It has a varied wildlife to see which includes Leopard, Himalayan Bear, Ibex, Grey Goral, Musk Deer, Kashmir Stag, Monal Pheasant, Western Tragopan, Snow Pheasant, Red-led Partridge, Black Koklas Pheasant, Peacock, Dusk Markhor etc.
What to eat?
Kashmiris celebrate the first snowfall of the season by socializing over a goat barbecue. They relax in the cold crisp evenings with a cup of warm ‘Kahwa’ – a black tea brewed with cinnamon, cardamom and honey. Also a perennial favorite is the pink colored ‘Nun Chai’ made with a special salt. Rich and redolent with the flavor of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and saffron, Kashmiri food is suitable for all palates.
Kashmiris, and especially ‘Pahari’ speakers, are known for their slow-steeped milk tea, “Kashmiri Chai.” Kashmiri chai is fairly sweet, with crushed almonds and a creamy pink complexion.
Azad Kashmir is considered to be relatively safe, but some parts of it are off-limits to tourists, particularly the 15-mile-wide buffer zone along the Line of Control that separates the state from the neighbouring Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Domestic tourists can visit Azad Kashmir (آزاد کشمیر) without any restriction but, however, are advised to keep their identity papers with them. Foreign tourists are only allowed to visit following places with permit; Dheerkot (دھیرکوٹ), Rawalakot (راولا کوٹ), Chotta gala (چھوٹا گالا), Chikkar (چکر), Daokhan (داؤ خان), Muzaffarabad مظفرآباد), Mangia (مانگیا) & Sehnsa (سہنسہ). Permits are issued by the AJK Home Department at Muzaffarabad.
Large portions of Azad Kashmir Pakistan were devastated in the October 2005 earthquake, which leveled entire villages and towns and killed over 75,000 people.
Mangla is a small beautiful modern town. It is situated at a distance of 15 kilometers from Mirpur (میرپور) City. The construction of Mangla reservoir having perimeter of 100 kilometers and presence of Mangla and Ramkot Forts of Mughal period have turned this place into an attractive tourist spot. Mangla (منگلہ) has special attraction for the tourists coming on short visits because of its proximity to Jhelum (جہلم), Lahore and Rawalpindi / Islamabad Pakistan.
Picturesquely located on the summit of a hill, Ramkot Fort is built over the site of an old Hindu Shiva temple. Three sides of this hill top are surrounded by River Jhelum (ancient Vitasta). During excavations relics of the 5th – 9th century AD have been discovered near one of the temples. In the 16th – 17th century AD the Muslim rulers of Kashmir in safe guarding their boundaries built numerous forts. Ramkot (رامکوٹ), sitting atop at the confluence of the river Jhelum & Poonch (پونچھ ) is one of them. The Sikh Maharaja of Kashmir further fortified Ramkot.
Ramkot Fort is located on the opposite side of the Mirpur Town and one has to cross Mangla Lake on boat to reach there. A 10 minutes travel by road from Mirpur Pakistan leads to Sukhian and nearby Army Water Sports Club from where boats are available for access to Ramkot Fort. It takes 45 minutes to reach there.
Ramkot Fort can also be visited from Mirpur via Dudyial-Baily Kathaar route (77 Km) but from Baily Kathaar onward there is no regular road so it is better to travel from Sukhian by boat.
It is located at 8km from Mirpur. And it is known for housing the Shrine of the Sufi Saint known as Baba Pir-e-Shah Ghazi (Damrian Wali Sarkar). The place acts as a great seat of learning for students of Islam. Also at Khari Sharif is the Shrine of the late Mian Mohammed Baksh who wrote the famous tale Saif-ul-Muluk. This tells of a Prince who fell in love with a fairy called Badi Jamal who he saw in a dream.
The story records his travel in search of the fairy and the spiritual lessons he learns on the way. Jatan has become the main commercial centre for all Khari Sharif and half of District Bhimber. It is located at the borders of both Districts Mirpur and Bhimber.
Bhimber is a sub-division of the district, situated 50 km from Mirpur. The area is very rich in archaeological remains. Bhimber falls on the route that was followed by the Mughal rulers of India for their frequent visits to the Kashmir Valley.
Jandi Chontra is a scenic spot located 17 km from Bhimber and 67 km from Mirpur. The area is known for its panoramic views. The Shrine of the Sufi Saint Baba Shadi Shaheed (بابا شادی شہید) is also located here.
Baghsar is situated at 975m above sea-level in the Samahni valley. The Sar, local name for a lake, is nearly half km long sheet of clear water that soothes the senses of the visitor. On top of a hill is the famous Mughal Fort over-looking the lake that adds grandeur to the area. This four storey massive structure of granite is a feat of Mughal engineering that has stood the ravages of time. It has also played important roles in history during the times of Ahmed Shah Abdali, Ranjit Singh and Gulab Singh. It is said that the Mughal Emperor Janghir (جہانگیر), on his way back from the Kashmir Valley, fell ill and ultimately died in this fort.