Neelum valley falls among Northern Pakistan’s top listed places of tourist attraction. Discover the true beauty of Northern Pakistan and lose yourself in the 200 kilometers long lush green valley of Neelum, Azad Kashmir. This scenic Himalayan gorge, commonly referred to as Neelum Valley, is the right choice for you and your family’s summer/winter time getaway. From viridescent sprawling landscapes, to snow topped breathtaking peaks, there is nothing of natural beauty that this valley cannot offer. Running parallel to the famed valley of Kaghan, Neelum valley quietly snakes its way across the Line of Control that separates Indian Administered Kashmir from Pakistan held territory.
Where is Neelum Valley Located?
Altitude: 1,200 m – 2,300 m
The majority of the valleys falls within the Neelum District. It originates in Gurez Valley, in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir, and roughly follows first a western and then a south-western course until it joins the Jhelum River at Muzaffarabad.
Neelum Valley’s distance from Muzaffarabad is around 100 km (it takes approximately 4 hours to travel from Muzaffarabad to Neelum Valley via car or bus). While its distance from Islamabad is an approximate 225 km ( about a 7 hour ride from Islamabad to Neelum Valley).
Neelum Valley Near By Places :
There are numerous places to visit in Neelum Valley, Azad Kashmir, Pakistan. Running side by side the famous Kaghan Valley further up North, this serpentine vale majestically weaves its way through mighty mountains hitting upon a number of breathtaking spots along the way, that are not only just accessible to tourists but also boast scenic accommodation. Some of these aforementioned spots that should not be missed when you go on your Neelum Valley tour are:
- Sharda, Neelum Valley
Location: 30 km from Dawarian (left bank)
Altitude: 1981 m (above sea level)
Lush, verdant and pretty-as-a-picture, Sharda is a blend of rich forests, high peaks, fresh springs and a tourist village. Named after a folklorist princess called Shardi, this tourist spot is a proud owner of a number of excellent Neelum Valley hotels. Sharda also possesses the ruins of an old Buddhist monastery and a fort, both of which are of historical value. A trip here will not be a disappointment for sure.
- Keran, Neelum Valley
Location: 9 km from Authmaqam (right bank)
Altitude: 1524 m (above sea level)
Keran is a well-established tourist destination and rightly so. Not only is it a mesmerizing landscape of rich green vegetation but it also sits across the line (the meandering emerald-green river Neelum itself) that separates Indian administered Kashmir from Azad Jammu and Kashmir. This only adds to the excitement! Keran is a friendly host when it comes to tourist accommodation. Tourism Motels, established by the AJK Tourism Department, are an adequate enterprise for catering to the large influx of summer-time tourists that visit this hotspot every year. Recently, thanks to the Neelum Valley winter festival, snow-witnessing tourism has also seen a boost.
- Authmaqam, Neelum Valley
Location: 10 km from Kundal Shahi (left bank)
Altitude: 1371 m (above sea level)
Authmaqam is the district capital of Neelum District. It serves as the take-off point for tourists that are interested in hiking and in exploring the inner valley. Authmaqam is also well-known for its variety of fruit. The village also has all the necessary facilities required for a pleasant stay, including many up to the mark private hotels. Details regarding these hotels are included in various neelum valley tour packages that are available online.
- Kel, Neelum Valley
Location: 19 km from Sharda
Altitude: 2097 m (above sea level)
Kel is a charming little village nesting within the valley of Neelum. Lying on both sides of the river, this village also serves as a base camp for all the mountaineering activities to “Sarwaali Peak” (6326 m above sea level) and the 25 km long “Sarwaali Glacier” (about 25 km long). Both of these attractions are unavoidable as the former is said to be the highest peak and the latter the biggest glacier of Azad Kashmir. The village of Kel itself is also a delightful spot to stay at and refresh oneself as it offers all the essential facilities to make the stay worthwhile. Some of Neelum Valley’s best hotels can be found in this little village with the stay charges being reasonable.
- Dawarian, Neelum Valley
Location: 22 km from Athmuqam (left bank)
Altitude: 1,615 m (above sea level)
The village of Dowarian is the base camp to Rati Gali Lake. It lies at the merger of the river Neelum and the Rati Gali spring. A number of buildings in this village got destroyed as a result of the flood in2015. AJK Tourism has established a tourism hotel in Dowarian as this little village is home to many fruit orchards, making it quite delightful and panoramic.
- Kundal Shahi, Neelum Valley
Location: 74 km from Muzaffarabad
This is a small spot located where a silvery stream of water falls into the river Neelum. This point where the two water bodies meet is known by the locals as Kundal Shahi. It is rich in trout and hence attracts and encourages fishing and angling tourism.
Neelum Valley Winter Festival
This year, as a result of heavy continuous snowfalls in Murree and nearby tourist destinations, the roads were blocked. As a result of which traffic jams occurred and stopped winter tourism to these areas in its tracks. Some of the visitors were redirected towards Neelum Valley’s and in order to encourage winter tourism in this scenic valleys. A two day winter festival was organized over the weekend by the local governing authority to host these redirected tourists. This had quite a positive result and people realized that in Neelum Valley’s winter is an opportune time for witnessing breathtaking Himalayan snowfalls.
The festival showcased local handicrafts, organized sports and musical events. It also included a jeep rally from the deputy commissioner’s office in Athmuqam to Upper Neelum. As a result of this initiative, Pakistan’s tourism association is expecting a boost in the number of winter visitors in the coming years.