About 240 kilometers long the picturesque District 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.
Moreover like Kaghan Valley is famous for fishing and angling activities in Neelum River and Jagran nullahs which are stocked with trout fish. A fair weather road opens the valley to tourists up to KeI, 155 Kilometers from Muzaffarabad Buses ply daily on this route and, accommodation facilities are also available in the rest houses at places of tourist attraction. Some of the places of tourist interest are
- Kundal Shahi
- Kutton (Jaghran Valley)
- Lower Neelam (keran)
- Upper Neelum
Kundal ShahiIt is 74 Kms from Muzaffarabad. Here, silvery stream Jagran nullah Joins river Neelum, where trout fish is found abundantly.
Kutton (Jaghran Valley)
The bewitching beauty of Kutton 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, AJ&K tourism Department has constructed a rest house here. Whereas, accommodation facilities are also available in adjacent residential complex managed by the Hydro Electric Board. From here 16 Kms onward, Thunian, Ghainsi and Jagran are located which are worth seeing spots for nature lovers and adventure seekers.
SalkhalaAbout 5 kilometers ahead of kundal Shahi, Salkhala is another secluded spot of tourist interest located across river Neelum. Here a trout hatchery has been established by AJ&K Fisheries Department. A tourist Rest House and 3 huts are available here for accommodation.
Athmaqam is 10 kilometers from Kundal Shahi. It is located at a height of 1371 meters ASL. Being the district headquarters 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 fruit. All necessary facilities via bazaar, post office, banks, hospital, telephone and PWD rest house are available here.
Lower Neelam (keran)
At a distance of about 9 Kms from Athmaqam, Neelum (Karen) it situated on the Right Bank of Neelum River at about 1524 meters above sea level. It has fascinating scenery. A small bazaar and a tourist rest house situated on the bank o’ meandering river Neelum across which one can have a glance at the Indian held Kashmir.
Upper Neelum (Neelum Village) is located at a distance of about two & a half kms from Keran. This panoramic lush green village, profound in wild fruit and wildlife, 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 tourist attraction AJ&K Tourism Department has launched a development project to convert both the Upper & Lower Neelum in to a Resort.
Dowarrian is situated about 13 Kms from Neelum at an altitude of about 1615 meters. It is surrounded by mountains covered with Conifer trees. A mute track up to Ratti Gali Pass about 30 kms towards west connects the Neelum & Kaghan Valleys. There is a Forest Rest House on the top of the hill and a tourist rest house is available for accommodation near main road.
Located at a distance of 30 kilometers from Dowarrian, it is a breath- taking green spot at an altitude of 1981 meters. Shardi & Nardi are the two mountain peaks overlooking the valley named after legendary princesses, Sharda & Narda. It has captivating landscape with numerous springs and hillsides 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 Noon 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 background, Facilities of a srnal bazaar. Post Office, health center and Public Call Office art available in Sharda. The AJ&K Tourism Department has established here a “Tourist Village” consisting of Tourist Rest Houses, Youth Hostels, Cafeteria and Games room to facilitate tourists.
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 “Sarawaali Peak” 6326 meters above sea level and biggest Glaciers (about 25 kms long) which are said to be the highest peak and biggest glacier of Azad Kashmir.
Buses ply daily on this route. It is advisable to hire a jeep from Athmaqam for a trip into the Valley. Horses and ponies can also be hired locally for travel to the interior of the Neelum Valley Banks. College, Hospital, Bazar, PCO and a Tourist Motel are available here. The border village about 38 km ahead of Kel, is a fascination yet unexplored. Halmat, Tao Butt. Janawai, and Sardari are the most beautiful places around here.
(Note): Some of the tourist places of Neelum Valley are situated in the range of Line of Control (LoC), therefore. Sometimes it becomes difficult to visit these areas. So before visiting the valley. The visitors are required to get information from AJ&K Tourism Department.