NEEL FAIRY MEADOWS KAHUTA AZAD KASHMIR

neel fairy

Neel Fairy Meadows are found in Forward Kahuta, District Haveli in Azad Kashmir. Forward Kahuta is a beautiful village, located 250 kilometres (155 miles) away from Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. Formerly it was a part of District Bagh but it was the July 2009 when it became a separate District, of the State of Azad Kashmir.

Neel Fairy Meadows is one of the most beautiful places of Kahuta (District Haveli) in Azad Kashmir and its distance from Muzaffarabad (capital of AJK) is about 162 kilometers (100.7 miles). The total area of the District Haveli is 598 Square kilometres (230.89 square miles).

The District has two sub-divisions, Haveli and Khurshid Abad and it is famous for brave and diligent tribes. Farming is the basic source of earning because the land is very fertile and productive which gives a good deal of produce. Somehow most of the people are associated with the white collar jobs. A major segment of the population belongs to expatriates, living in Middle Eastern and European countries and their remittances help the economy to boost. There is a Hydro-electric Power Project, with the production capacity of 4.MW at the Nullah (stream) Battar at Chanjel. The region has a very impressive historical background, mainly because of providing a safer route between Poonch and Srinagar during the Mughal Era.

District Haveli consists of high mountains like Bedori Peak (17,000 feet) above sea level, where Neel Fairy Meadow are in the vicinity and many other beautiful places such as Hajji Peer Pass, Hillan Valley, Ali Abad, Plangi, Khurshid Abad, Kalali,  Sungulla Sharif, Jabbi Syedan, Sheru Dahara and Las Danna.

The most magnificent and panoramic place is Neel Fairy Meadows which are situated in Forward Kahuta, in the foothill of Bedori Mountain Peak. It is the popular tourist spot, which is easily accessible through the metalled road from Islamabad and Muzaffarabad. Tourists and visitors come to enjoy the natural beauty and serenity of the place in the particularly in the summers. This is a majestic valley and its mystic charm grips over the attention of the tourists. It produces nearly all kinds of fruits, crops, dry fruits & nuts and above all pure natural Honey.

Its adjoining areas like Forward Kahuta, Plangi, Hillan, Bedori peak and Qaim Abad are the prominent places to visit. Qaim Abad is a famous for the Shrines of Sufi Saints, Baba Qaim Din and Baji Alaf Din. The other adjoining places of Neel Fairy Meadows are:

  • Haji Pir Pass
  • Ali Abad
  • Sheroo Dahara
  • Las Danna
  • Mehmood Gali

It is a suitable place for the day long visit because it is easily accessible from Islamabad and Muzaffarabad and gives a real retreat for the lovers of nature, trekking and hiking.

Author: Fehmeeda Farid Khan

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Palas Valley in Kohistan

Let start from Besham.15 kilometres approx from Besham you will reach Dobair Bazaar(a kohistani settlement) on KKH.25 km(approx)from Dibair Bazaar there is a village name PATTAN.There is a bridge across the indus at the same place and a difficult jeep track from here will lead you to the the magical valley of Palas.
Although Lower Palas valley is accessible from Jeep but Upper Palas valley is inaccessible but as you know that the beauty is always Hidden.Lower Palas is no doubt a magical place with its forests and uncounted meadows.But the place in Picture is called “Ledi” located in upper Palas valley.The meadows of Ledi and Palas are popular among locals too and some meadows and pastures of Palas Valley are still the cause of cold wars between the tribes of Allai valley and Palas.Allai valley is just at the east of Palas.

Some points to remember.

1.The track towards lower Palas valley Is still in very rogh conditions that why only jeeps can go not cars.
2.To go to upper Palas valley you will require a good hike.you can also asks locals for a way to reach upper palas on foot.
3.There is no domestic and foreign tourism here in Palas Valley.you will see no tourists around you.
4.Hotels are also not present for resting.
5.All you have with are your camps.So camps are necessary.
6.Even very few Local lives in upper Palas valley with some more living in Lower palas valley but they are all in all nothing as compared to number of villages in Kaghan valley.
7.Peoples of Palas do not want their women to be seen by any outsider and sometime it become difficult to deal with the peoples.
8.You will find sometime hard to even take pictures.so be prepared for it.Never aimed your camera towards villages.
9.I have heard that nowadays tourism is growing slowly in Palas Valley although i dont know the real situation now.

upper palas valleypalas valley trek guidepalas valley

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THE STORY OF SAIF-UL-MALOOK

Lake Saif-ul-Malook is a famous tourist spot and it is located about 8 kilometers (5 miles) North of Naran, in Kaghan Valley, in District Mansehra, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It is located at an altitude of 3,224 metres (10,578 feet) above sea level. It the place, where the story of Prince Saif-ul-Malook and Badi-U-Jamal was started.

Story of Saif ul Malook

The legendary story of Lake Saif-ul-Malook is penned by the Sufi poet Mian Muhammad Bakhsh, in the form of poetry.

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The story describes the tale of an Egyptian Prince, Saif-ul-Malook, who fell in love with a fairy, Badi-u-Jamal. He saw her in his dreams and after waking up the prince at once set out in search of his beloved fairy Badi-u-Jamal. Until he met a Saint, he was clueless regarding his journey. The Saint told him how and from where he could find the fairy. He informed him about the hurdles which he would face before he could find and marry Badi-u-Jamal, because she was a fairy and the prince himself was a human being.

Hence the prince started the journey in the name of love for a fairy, but after facing many challenges and with his courage and valiance, his journey turns into the spiritual explorations.

The prince, Saif-ul-Malook lived in Egypt. He was a handsome man after Joseph, on the face of the earth; tall, lean, gleaming skin, sharp eye-brows, dark-black deep eyes and jet-black hair that billowed over his shoulders. He was brave, a skilled hunter, rider and trained swordsman, true to his Arabic name the “Sword of the Kings”. Prince Saif-ul-Malook was born in riches. He had never asked for anything in his life; until he saw a dream of a fairy that had changed the whole course of his life and his peace of mind was stolen by her.

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He saw a lake, which he had never seen before, surrounded by sky-high mountains that they seemed to touch the sky and the shimmering water of the lake looked emerald-green in the silvery moonlight.  In the lake seven fairies were taking bath, tender, slim and delicate creature, with creamy skins, golden eyes, and curly blonde hair. Beauty of all the fairies outmatched to one another but the glamour of the seventh one surpassed the charm of the rest with her black hair. Her face was as glooming as the full moon (badr). It was her laughter that seized the heart of the prince, even on waking up it still rang sweetly in his ears. He did never see such a spell-bounding dream in his whole life.

He went out in search of fairy and kept on wandering to and fro. One day while he was in the outskirts of the Cairo city, the prince happened to meet a Saint who sitting under a shady olive tree. He thought the Saint might be helpful to him. As soon as he approached him, the old man looked at him expectantly and a smile lit up his face. He informed the prince that he was waiting for him. He narrated the story of the prince and revealed his predictions of coming life the prince. He warned the prince of the obstacles in the way towards Badi-u-Jamal. He guided Saif-ul-Malook about the direction to access the fairy.

SAIF 14

The prince reached at the Lake Saif-ul-Malook after intense hardships and barriers. At last he saw his beloved, Badi-u-Jamal in the emerald-green water of the lake. There she entered the Lake in the last, gliding into the water effortlessly, with her long black hair spread over her back, her face was as radiant as the full moon and her eyes were twinkling. Prince Saif-ul-Malook felt himself in the heavens after undaunted and tiring struggle for consecutive six years and forty days. He was right there to see the palpable fairy, whom he could touch, feel and to live with!

Author: Fehmeeda Farid Khan

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BEST PLACES/HOTELS FOR HONEYMOON

Honeymoon has become a custom in Pakistan. It is originated from the West and gains popularity all over the world. It is a private and secluded holiday trip of the newlyweds to celebrate their marriage. Honeymoons are celebrated with great zeal and zest now-a-days, in the places which are considered calm, quiet and romantic. Here we are going to provide a list of best accommodating destinations.

Pakistan is really a beautiful country and a wonderful place for honeymoon. The peace, serenity and beauty of Northern Areas is matchless and it has resorts with a lot of natural tourist attractions, highest mountains of the world, hills, rivers, valleys, plains, meadows, greenery, parks, waterfalls, hiking tracks etc. Kaghan-Naran and Swat are most amazing areas of the country; especially the beauty of the famous lake Saif-ul-Malook. Murree Hills, also called Queen of Hills is also a popular tourist resort of Pakistan.

  • Islamabad:

Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan is a magnificent place and adjoining spots like Pir Sohawa, Monal, Daman-e-Koh, Rawal Lake, Shakarparyan, Margalla Hills etc. Saidpur Village depicts a true reflection of the traditional heritage of the country. Furthermore it is hub of restaurants, cafes, parks, wonderful, shopping malls and diplomatic enclaves. Islamabad is the first destination for travelling around; to Murree, to the Northern Areas and to Azad Kashmir.

Faisal Mosque Islamabad

Marriott Hotel Islamabad:

Marriott Hotel Islamabad is the best choice for the newly-wed couples, on the eve of their married life. Marriot is a five star hotel and a central accommodation, located in the foothill of the Margalla, near the Rawal Lake. The town centre, Presidential & Premier Residences, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Senate, Parliament House, Foreign Missions, World Bank, Government Offices, corporate sector, Print and Electronic Media Offices are in the vicinity of the hotel.

The Hotel is a first and foremost choice of the politicians, diplomats, businessmen and tourists. It is just half an hour journey between the Hotel and Islamabad International Airport.

marriott hotel muzaffarabad

  • Gilgit-Hunza:

Gilgit is the capital of Gilgit-Baltistan, located at an elevation of 1,500 metres (4,921 feet) above sea level. It is best known for its cold weather, warmhearted people, dry-fruit, fabrics, chinaware and handicrafts. Gilgit-Hunza is a wonderful destination for the couples who are intending a fantastic honeymoon in the fabulous Northern Areas.

gilgat hunza

Gilgit Serena Hotel:

Looking forward for a serene and romantic destination, the honeymoon couples should opt for the Gilgit Serena Hotel. It is situated at the Brig. Sherullah Beg Road, Jutial in Gilgit. Emplaced amidst the bewitching landscape of Karakoram Mountain Range, the Serena Hotel is truly a spot for the love-birds.

It is accessible from all the directions of Gilgit and it is about 3 kilometres away from the Silk Route (KKH). Gilgit Serena Hotel represents a modernized symbol of comfort and luxury surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of nature. Although it is a 3* hotel yet it is equipped with all the latest facilities and amenities, which makes the stay pleasant and memorable.

Gilgit_Serena_Hotel

  • Kaghan-Naran Valley:

The beautiful valley of Kaghan is a prominent among the alpine-climate valleys of Pakistan. It is situated in Mansehra District of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province in Pakistan. The valley spreads over 155 kilometers (96 miles) and rises at an elevation of 2,134 feet (650 metres) above sea level. Its highest point is the Babusar Pass, which is elevated at 13,690 feet (4,170 metres) above sea level.

naran-kaghan-trekking-saifulmalook

PTDC Motel, Naran:

There lies the PTDC Motel, which is considered the pioneer in the Naran Valley and among the finest hotels of the town. The PTDC Motel is located on the bank of the Kunhar River, which is famous for its meandering cool water and Trout fish. The Motel spreads over 20 acres. It offers standard rooms, huts & economy rooms and 3 VIP cottages. The restaurant serves continental and Pakistani cuisines and aromatic and trout fish to the anglers.

ptdc-naran

  • Skardu-Shigar:

Skardu is the capital of Skardu District of Gilgit-Baltistan Region. Skardu valley spreads over 10 kilometres (6 miles) wide and 40 kilometres (25 miles) long, at the confluence of the Indus and the Shigar Rivers. The altitude of the Skardu is about 2,500 metres (8,202 feet) above sea level. The town is surrounded by greyish brown coloured mountains, which are in the front of the above 8,000 metres high peaks of the nearby Karakoram Range.

Shigar-Fort

Shangri-La Resorts:

Shangri-La Resorts is a part of the Shangri-la Lake (Lower Kachura Lake) and it is located at the 20-minute drive from Skardu (elevation: 2,500 metres or 8,200 feet) above sea level. It is a popular tourist Resort and has a unique texture in the fuselage of an aircraft that was crashed here. Shangri-la was established in 1983 with the opening of the first Resort Hotel in Skardu, Baltistan. Shangri-la Resort Hotel was founded by late Brigadier Muhammad Aslam Khan.

It is the best destination for the newly-wed couples and time spent here at Shangri-La Resort is a lifetime experience that one would want to relive again and again. The area is commonly known as “The Roof of the World” and because of its natural beauty, the first impression of Shangri-La is of a Fairyland.

Shangrila-Skardu11

  • Murree-Galliat:

Murree is located in the Pir Panjal Range, some 60 kilometres (37 miles) away from Rawalpindi/Islamabad in the North-East. It is located on the Southern slopes in the foothill of the Western Himalayan which are ascending North-Eastwards. Its average altitude is 2,291 metres (7,516 feet) with pleasant summers and cold-snowy winter.

Pearl Continental Bhurban:

Bhurban is a small town and a hill station in Murree and a resort. It is located about 9 kilometres away from Murree. It is named after the nearby forest. Pearl Continental Hotel Bhurban is located in the vicinity of the magnificent Himalayas at the elevation of over 2000 metres. The Hotel is 4.5* with 200 luxurious and comfy rooms.

pc bhurban

  • Chitral-Kalash:

The elevation of Chitral Valley is 3,700 feet (1,100 metres) above sea level and it is situated on the Western bank of the River Chitral (also Kunhar River), in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. The town is located in the foothill of Tirich Mir, the highest peak of the Hindu-Kush Mountain Range, at the elevation of 25,289 feet (7,708 metres) above sea level.

Kalash Valley is situated in Chiral District and comprises of three valleys of Bumburet, Rumbur and Birir. The valley is famous for the oldest tribe of Kalash in the South Asia and its unique culture, religion, language, festivals and the way of living.

Pamir Riverside Inn:

Pamir Riverside Inn is located at the bank of Chitral River with a view of Tirich Mir, ideal for the couples, who want to live in seclusion and quiet environment. It is surrounded by the mountains and the spectacular scenic beauty of nearby areas.

  • Azad Kashmir:

Azad Kashmir (AJK) means The Free State Jammu and Kashmir is the territory which lies in the West of the Indian Held Kashmir (IHK). It is blessed with rivers, mountains, forests, streams, waterfalls, meadows and passes. It has one of the oldest civilizations and rich culture. Muzaffarabad, the capital of Azad Kashmir, is 138 kilometres away from Islamabad, Pakistan and it takes about 3 hours journey to reach Muzaffarabad. Muzaffarabad city is connected to Pakistan from Murree and Abbottabad. Its popular tourist resorts are Neelum Valley, Jhelum Valley, Pearl Valley, Bagh, Leepa Valley and other adjoining areas.

Pearl Continental Muzaffarabad:

Pearl Continental Hotel Muzaffarabad was inaugurated on June 29, 2007. It is situated on the hill-top of Muzaffarabad,  the land of green plateaus, enchanting lakes & water-falls and conjoining of two rivers; blue icy River Neelum and aggressive River Jhelum. It is also the capital city of Azad Kashmir, which is the hub of social, political and all kinds of art activities, yet keeping an alluring beauty in its territory. The panorama of the city and the junction point of Neelum & Jhelum Rivers DOMEL, present a exiting grandeur from MAKRA hills, which adds captivating magnificence to the beauty of Muzaffarabad.

  • Swat Valley:

Swat is an historical valley of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan. The upper Swat valley rises in the foothill of Hindu-Kush Mountain Range and its capital is Saidu Sharif yet the main town is Mingora. It is a place with high mountains, green meadows and lakes of clear water. It is called “the Switzerland of the East”.

Swat is surrounded by Chitral, Upper Dir and Lower Dir in the West, Gilgit-Baltistan in the North; Kohistan, Buner in the East and Shangla in the in the South-East.

White Palace Marghzar:

The White Palace of Marghzar is an oldest hotel and it was the residence of the first king of Swat, Miangul Abdul Wadud (Badshah Sahib), built in 1940. It is located in the small town of Marghzar, about 13 kilometres away from Saidu Sharif. It was given the name because it built with white marble and now it serves as a hotel. It remained the summer residence of the Wali of Swat, Miangul Jehanzeb. Its elevation is about 7,000 feet, above sea level, on the Marghzar Hill. It was later converted into a tourist resort and it is a perfect choice for honeymooners.

  • Neelum Valley:

Kashmir is called a Paradise on Earth and Neelum Valley is the jewel in the heaven. It is one of the most beautiful places. Neelum Valley is located in the North and North East of Muzaffarabad, it’s a bow-like valley and it lies parallel to the LOC. It is a high-altitude valley and its elevation is over 4000 metres (13,123 feet) above sea level. It consists of 370 villages in total. The valley comprises of thick forest, clear water streams, rivers, treasure of gem-stones and minerals.

Keran Motels/Resorts:

Keran is situated on the right bank of the River Neelum at an altitude of 1, 524 metres above sea level with fascinating scenery. Fruits and wildlife is abundantly found in the Neelum Valley. There are beautiful, comfortable and luxurious Motels, called Keran Motels in Neelum Valley.

Sharda Lodges:

Sharda is a breath-taking tourist resort in Neelum Valley, at an altitude of 1, 981 metres. It has a captivating landscape with springs, water-falls, and hills covered with lush-green trees. On the right bank, opposite to Sharda, the River Neelum is joined by the Surgan Nullah along with which a track leads to Nuriar Pass, which is connected to the Kaghan Valley.

Remains of an old Buddhist University are also found in Sharda in Neelum Valley.

Kel Guest House:

Kel is a small Valley, situated at a height of 2, 097 metres. This is another picturesque place in the Neelum Valley. The Shounter Nullah joins River Neelum here and it leads to Gilgit Agency over the Shandur, at an elevation of 4, 420 metres. From Kel, tourists can visit Shounter Valley & Taobat, Neelum Valley.

Author: Fehmeeda Farid Khan

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TIPS FOR FOREIGN TOURISTS TO PAKISTAN

Tourism in Pakistan gets flourished during 1970s when a large number of foreign tourists thronged the country. The choice was limited as the tourists opted to visit the Khyber Pass, Peshawar, Karachi, Lahore, Swat and Rawalpindi. A few of them were interested in the ruins of the Indus Valley Civilization such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa and Taxila while the others were attracted to the Himalayan hill stations.

Pakistan is blessed with the highest mountain peaks such as K2, Nanga Parbat, Rakaposhi etc. which are the major attractions for the adventurers and mountaineers from all over the world. The Northern Areas of Pakistan are the home of old civilization, models of ancient architecture, the valleys of Hunza, Chitral & Kalash, a small pre-Islamic tribe. In the Punjab province, there are sites of Alexander’s battle on the bank of River Jhelum, the historical city of Lahore & its Mughal architecture such as Badshahi Masjid, Shalimar Gardens, Tomb of Jahangir and the Lahore Fort. Last but not the least, to explore the beautiful, mystic and breathe-taking places of Azad Kashmir fills the charm in the life.

Tips for foreign tourist in Pakistan

Hundreds of thousands of foreign tourists come to Pakistan every year before the instability in the country as many countries of the world declared Pakistan an unsafe and dangerous place to visit. The situation is under control now but still tourists should take some precautionary measures before going to the below mentioned areas, to avoid any mishap. Travelling to Pakistan is mainly safe yet there are some suggestions for the foreign tourists, which are issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

  • Tourists should avoid some areas of Karachi.
  • Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
  • Districts of Charsadda, Kohat, Tank, Bannu, Lakki Marwat, Dera Ismail Khan,Buner and Lower Dir in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
  • The city of Peshawar and Southern Districts of the city, including travelling on the Peshawar-Chitral road via the Lowari Pass.
  • Northern and Western Balochistan.
  • Travelling on the Karakoram Highway (KKH) between Islamabad and Gilgit.
  • The Kalash Valley, the Brumbret Valley.
  • Arandu District in the South and West of Chitral in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
  • The city of Quetta.
  • The city of Nawab Shah in Sindh Province and area in the North of Nawab Shah.
  • Interior Sindh.
  • Travelling to Azad Kashmir is quite safe yet the journey requires an NOC to get there, due to the sensitive nature of the area.
  • Pakistan is prune to natural disasters such as earthquake, land-sliding and floods. Tourists should aware of the necessary safety measurements and security procedures.
  • There might be a risk of terrorist attacks, kidnapping and sectarian violence in some areas of Pakistan. Western nationals should beware of these acts and be vigilant enough to take appropriate security precautions. Tourists ought to contact the concerned authorities before visiting to such places and should follow the advice of the authorities and refrain from going to the crowded areas.
  • World Health Organization has warned of Polio Virus presence in Pakistan, so it recommended, before departing the tourists who have spent more than 4 weeks in Pakistan, will produce a valid vaccination certificate to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for Tour Operating Companies on how to cope with all kinds of political, economic and business related security risks.
  • Take out comprehensive travelling and medical insurance before leaving for the destination.

By taking above mentioned steps, you are secured to travelling anywhere in Pakistan. Have a safe and enjoyable journey.

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