Top 10 places to visit in Neelum Valley

List of Places to Visit in Neelum Valley

1)      Kutton Waterfall 2)      Keran 3)      Upper Neelum
4)      Sharda Valley 5)      RattiGali Lake 6)      Baboon Valley
7)      Kel 8)      Arrang Kel 9)      Chitta Katha Lake
10)  Taobutt

1.Kutton Waterfall

Travel Time: 3 hrs from Muzaffarabad ( At the road of Kutton Jagran Resort )

Best time to visit: March to October

Video: Kutton Waterfall

Kutton Waterfall is 2 kilometers from Kundal Shahi Bazaar of Neelum Valley at road Jagran Valley. Easily accessible via car. Kutton Waterfall is the first main place to visit in Neelum Valley.

kutton waterfall2. Keran Valley

Travel Time :  3 hrs from Muzaffarabad on Main Neelum Valley Road

Best Time to Visit: Throughout the year

Video: Keran Valley

Located at Bank of Neelum River, it’s LOC where you can see both Indian held Kashmir and Azad Kashmir. The river flows smoothly at this place.

keran Neelum Valley3. Upper Neelum

Travel Time: 3 hrs 20 minutes

Best Time to Visit: March to October

A small link road connected the main Neelum road to a hilltop with Upper Neelum Village, the landscape of the village is most beautiful.

4. Ratti Gali Lake

Travel Time : 3 hrs from Keran

Best Time to Visit: July to September

Video: Ratti Gali Lake

20 Kilometers jeep trek from Dowarian to Rattigali takes about 2 and half hours, Ratti Gali is an alpine glacier lake and one the best place to visit in Neelum Valley.

Ratti Gali Lake Neelum Valley

Ratti Gali Lake Neelum Valley

5.Baboon Valley

Travel Time: 3 hrs from Keran

Best Time to Visit: July to September

Video: Baboon Valley

You have to take the Jeep from Naqdar which is hardly five minutes drive from Keran. It’s the second-best place to visit in Neelum Valley. Baboon Valley is famous for water streams, waterfalls, lush greener meadows.

Baboon balley

Baboon Valley

6. Sharda Valley

Travel Time: 5 hrs from Muzaffarabad ( Located on Main Neelum Valley road

Best Time to Visit: March to December

Video: Sharda Valley

Sharda Valley is a small town located on the bank of the Neelum River, mainly tourist attractions in Sharda are water sports, hiking to Sharda Peeth, Sharda Bridge, and fishing.

Sharda Village with Neelum River7. Kel

Travel Time: 2 hrs 20 minutes from Sharda

Best Time to Visit: March to December

Kel is a very famous town in Neelum Valley, small huts, waterfalls, and Neelum River are the major tourist attraction. Kel is also the route to Shounter and Chitta Katha Lake. Astore to Kel tunnel is under consideration under CPEC.

neelum valley arrang kel8. Arrang Kel

Travel Time: 45 minutes hike from Kel

Best Time to Visit: March to December

Video: Arrang Kel

Most famous and visited tourist place of Neelum valley is Arrang kel, a small town but big green fields, glaciers, small huts, and hotels serving hot teas. With respect to landscape Arrang kel is the most beautiful destination of Neelum. Arrang Kel is not accessible by road it’s only connected by a chair lift and 30 minutes hike.

Kel Neelum Valley

9. Chitta Katha Lake

Travel Time: 1 day Tour (2 hrs jeep rides then 6 hrs hiking)

Best Time to Visit: July- September

Video: Chitta Katha Lake

Chitta Katha Lake is 2 hrs jeep ride to base and then a hiking trek of 6 hrs, it’s very hard to travel for families only full fit person could conquer this lake.

Chitta Khata Lake10.Toabutt ( Guraiz Valley)

Travel Time: 3 hrs jeep trek from Kel to Taobutt

Best Time to Visit: July- September

Taobutt is the last place of Neelum valley, places to visit during the visit from Kel to Taobutt are Helmet, Sardar, Phulawai, and Janawai. Taobutt is famous for landscape only 3 or 4 hotels are available for stay.

Taobutt Neelum Valley 

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Book your Neelum Valley Tours

Book your exciting tour of 5 days with family call 03005772942 for bookings.

Inclusive :

  • Prado/Pajero Exceed/Landcruiser
  • Sightseeing
  • Fuel
  • Accommodation 3 Star
Days From To Stay SightSeeing
Ist Day Islamabad Kutton Jagran Valley Kutton Murree, Kohala, Kashmir Waterfall, Pattika, Marcopolo, Kutton Waterfall
2nd Day Kutton Jagran Sharda Sharda Kutton Jagran Valley, Authmuqam, Keran, Lawat, Sharda
3rd Day Sharda Taobutt  Sharda  Kel, Helmet, Sardari, Phulawai,Janawai, Taobutt
4th Day Sharda Upper Neelum  Neelum  Dowarian, Keran Upper Neelum
5th Day Neelum Islamabad

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FIVE HARDEST PLACES TO REACH NEELUM VALLEY (Part One)

Neelum Valley is a land of forests, rivers, fountains, springs, waterfalls, high-lands, snow-capped mountain peaks and wild life treasure, hidden assets of precious gem-stones and minerals and plants. Neelum Valley is a 90 miles long bow-shaped valley, loaded with pine, fir and deodar trees. It lies in the North-South of Muzaffarabad (the capital of Azad Kashmir). It is elevated at the height of 8,000 feet approximately. The valley is connected from the Kaghan Valley; linked via the Nuri-Nar Pass, the Ratti Gali Pass and many other minor Passes. From Dowarian it takes two days for hiking/riding with a night stay at Dharian (elevation: 12,000 feet) above sea level. The alternative route is from Muzaffarabad, at the distance of 65 miles (105 kilometres), accessible only in the tourist season. The valley starts from Nouseri, next to Patika 24 miles ahead of Muzaffarabad. The Chilhana Crossing Point (height: 3,200 feet), Barian, Salkhala, Kundal Shahi and Athmuqam, Sharda and Kel can be reached through the same route. There are a few places of the Neelum Valley, which are accessible through rough and difficult routes only. Let’s try to explore these places.

  1. Salkhala

It is another difficult place to access and situated at 3 kilometres away from Kundal Shahi, across the river Neelum. A Trout fish-hatchery has been established by the Fisheries Department of Government of Azad Kashmir. Accommodation facility is available here.

  1. Neelum

Neelum Village lies on a difficult track though situated merely 9 kilometres ahead of Athmuqam, on the right hand side, on the bank of River Neelum, opposite to the Keran village in IHK (Indian Held Kashmir). Neelum Village is located at the altitude of 1,524 metres (5,000 feet) above sea level.

  1. Sharda:

Sharda is located at a distance of 136 kilometres from Muzaffarabad and 30 kilometres from Dowarian. It is a serene and picturesque tourist spot. The place attractive and marvellous yet the road condition often remains deteriorating, due to weather, rain and land-sliding. The remains of Sharda University and other monuments of Buddha/Hindu eras are also found there. The historical background of the relics, provide a unique learning experience to the people, who are interested in Archaeology and History.

  1. Kel:

Kel is 19 kilometers away from Sharda and this small valley is located at the height of 2,097 meters. Kel is located on the confluence of the Shounter Nullah and River Neelum. A track from Kel leads to Gilgit Region via Shounter Pass (4,420 metres) and it is also a base camp of mountaineering activities to the Sarwali Peak (6,326 metres) above sea level and Sarwali Glacier, which are said to be the highest peak and biggest glacier of Azad Kashmir. It is suggested to the tourists to hire a jeep from Athmuqam for their convenience. Horses and mules can also be hired, for travelling to the narrower tracks of the Neelum Valley. There is a small and beautiful tourist resort, Arrang Kel, which is difficult to access and reachable through trekking or a lift.

  1. Halmet:

It is a bordering village and located at a distance of 38 kilometres from Kel. Janawai and Sardari are the most beautiful places but they can be reached through rough tracks. Accommodation facilities are available for the tourists and visitors
(to be continued)

Author:Fehmeeda Farid Khan

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HOW TO PLAN A TRIP TO NEELUM VALLEY

The Valley:
Kashmir is called the Paradise on Earth and Neelum Valley is the jewel of the heaven. It is one of the most beautiful places in Azad Kashmir. Neelum Valley is located in the North and North Eastern side of Muzaffarabad because of its bow-like shape and it lies parallel to the LOC. It is connected to Kaghan Valley from the other side. 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.

District Neelum is situated 43 kilometres away from Muzaffarabad and the area is famous for its minerals & gem-stone treasures, fertile land, fruits like Apples, Apricots, Cherry, Walnuts and Plums are famous for their different taste and aroma.

The Sarwali Peak (elevation: 6,326 metres/20,755 feet) is considered the highest mountain-peak in Azad Kashmir. Some of the famous places of the Valley are; Shounter Pass, Chitta Katha Lake, Ratti Gali Lake, Baboon, Nuri-Top, Sharda, Kutton-Jagran, Kundal Shahi, Athmuqam, Kel, Arrang Kel, Surgan, Tao Butt etc.

The Plan:
The basic purpose of itinerary plan for visiting any place is to enjoy the trip with a relaxed mind; healthful and soulful journeying around. There are three basic rules for an excellent end-to-end pleasant tour;

  1. Discover
  2. Plan
  3. Enjoy

Once you have discovered your destination, it’s time for making arrangements for the finances and a well-organized packing plan of some specific duration (3/4/5/6/7 Day packages are available). Let me try to sort out each and every detail for your trip to the picturesque and breathtaking Neelum Valley.

Suppose it is a three-day visit to the valley that would be full of adventures, trekking, hiking, fishing, hunting, spontaneous events and exploration. The schedule must be over-viewed with all the possibilities to keep in mind. In the tourist season, there must be a scarcity of accommodation availability but there should be a Plan-B under your belt, that is camping and you need to address it with extra-preparedness.

Ample research is also mandatory before your journey has started. Check out the detailed information of climate of the valley (usually it remains cool even in the summers). Search out the weather forecasts/updates and put the clothing accordingly, road condition of the valley. It is better to consult a tour-planner, who will arrange the the tour with best of his expertise and amenities.

The Budget:

A three-day tour to Neelum Valley in Azad Kashmir might include;

  • Total Expenditure: (in PKR/per package)
  • Hotel Expenses: (Prior booking of Three-Nights)
  • Transportation Fares
  • Eating Out Charges
  • Sight-Seeing Ticketing Charges
  • Camping Apparatus Expenditure
  • Miscellaneous Expenses

The Luggage:

(for camping & trekking)

  • A large Rucksack: (to carry all the trekking apparatus)
  • Sleeping Bag: (for the protection, in harsh weather)
  • A folding mattress
  • Shoes: (for trekking, with durable rubber sole)
  • Sandals: (for walking during camping)
  • Water Proof Jacket & Trousers
  • Pairs of Trousers & full Sleeves Shirts
  • Pairs of Socks: (Woolen Stuff)
  • Sun Hat & Woollen Cap
  • Pair of Gloves: (Woolen & water-proof)
  • Walking Stick
  • Water Bottles
  • Emergency Light
  • Pocket Knife

Other Items (optional):

  • A light-weight water-proof Tent
  • Small Stove with Fuel
  • Plastic Cane of Water
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Food Stuff: (per-head menu/trip duration)
  • Match Box
  • Map and Compass
  • Binoculars
  • Camera

Some Extra Suggestions:

  1. Luggage Bags: Back-packs are ideal. Do not carry fancy bags (these are inappropriate for the hilly areas).
  2. Clothing/Shoes: Hiking-shoes and sneakers are strongly recommended.
  • Umbrella: the weather of these areas is always unpredictable.
  1. Sun Glasses: (the sun is often glittery).
  2. Sweaters, Cardigans and Jackets: (the weather gets harsh).
  3. Medicines: tourists are advised to bring all the necessary medicines because these could seldom available there.
  • Miscellaneous: all toiletries especially the sun-block cream.

Medication:

  • Allergy Medicine
  • Eye Drops
  • Aspirin & Pain-Killers
  • Band-Aids
  • Sickness Medicines
  • Tranquillizers

The Plan:

Some of the places of the Valley are really worth-mentioning to visit to, such as Shounter Pass, Chitta Katha Lake, Ratti Gali Lake, Baboon, Nuri-Top, Sharda, Kutton, Jagran, Kundal Shahi, Athmuqam, Kel, Surgan, Tao Butt etc.

Itinerary Packages for Neelum Valley Trip

Day 1

Journey starts at Islamabad, in a vehicle of the company from the Airport/Hotel/Home on the given time.

Sightseeing: Murree, Kohala, Kashmir Waterfall and finally Pearl Continental Hotel, Muzaffarabad.

Day 2

Beginning of a joyous journey to Neelum Valley in Azad Kashmir, from PC Hotel Muzaffarabad.

Sightseeing: Patika, Neelum-Jhelum Hydro-electric Project, Titwal, Kundal Shahi, Kutton/Jagran.

Stay: Kutton/Jagran Resort, Neelum Valley.

Day 3

Keran Tourist Resort and pack-up to go back to Islamabad via Muzaffarabad.

Stay: Muzaffarabad

Note: Food is not included in the Packages.

color ful pictures of neelum valley

Author: Fehmeeda Farid Khan

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SOME FACTS ABOUT NEELUM VALLEY

color ful pictures of neelum valley

Neelum Valley is one of the beautiful places in Azad Kashmir and it is called the “PARADISE OF KASHMIR”. Neelum Valley is located in the North and North East of Muzaffarabad and it lies parallel to the Kaghan Valley. Its snow-covered mountains are located on 4000 metres above sea level. It consists of 370 villages. It is hilly and mountainous valley. The valley comprises of thick forest, clear water streams and rivers. The valley can be approached from two different points; i.e., one from Kaghan Valley and the other is from Noori Top. Besides these two routes, it has been reached through many other minor passes as well.

The district of Neelum is situated 43 kilometres away from Muzaffarabad and the area is famous for its minerals. Local fruits like Apples, Apricots, Walnuts and Plums are famous for their unique taste.

The Sarwali peak (6,326 metres) is the highest mountain peak in Azad Kashmir. Some famous places of Neelum Valley are Shounter Pass, Chita Khata Lake, Ratti Gali Lake, Baboon, Noori Top, Sharda, Kutton, Jagran, Kundal Shahi, Athmuqam, Kel, Surgan, Tao Butt etc.

Some Important Areas of Neelum Valley:

Kutton/Jagran:

It is situated in the lower part of Neelum valley, Jagran Nullah (stream) adds charm to its landscape and beauty. A mega hydro-electric project is constructed here.  Himalayan mountain range starts from here and stretches to Kaghan Valley, Skardu and Chilas.

Athmuqam:

Athmuqam is the town with its unique beauty, as LoC starts from here. It is given the name Athmuqam, because it was 8th station from Muzaffarabad to Upper Valley. Typical Kashmiri pattern houses are built here with wooden logs and mostly double-storey. Hiking tracks to adjacent mountains are traced by the tourists.

Sharda:

Sharda is another beautiful place with its lush green plains, smooth flowing river. This is a major tourist attraction and there found remains of Buddha (Sharda) University.

Kel:

It is another tourist attraction of the Neelum Valley. A long track goes towards Nanga Parbat from here. A beautiful resort of Arrang Kel is located on a distance of two and a half hour hiking from Kel.

Dresses:

Shalwar-Kameez is common dressing code of both men and women. The men usually wear a coats, sweaters and jackets. Women mostly wear a Burka or cover themselves with dopatta.

Language:

The official language is English but Urdu is widely understood language. Local people speak Kashmiri, Pahari and Hindko. A few people can speak Punjabi and Pashto as well.

Handicrafts:

Carpet, Namda, Gubba, Silken & Woolen shawls, Wood Carving, Rugs and Papier Mashe, etc. are famous handicrafts.

Local Cuisine:

The popular dishes are Gushtaba, Tabak Maaz, Hareesa, Risstey, Kofta, Yakhni, Kebabs etc.

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HANDICRAFTS OF NEELUM VALLEY

The Valley of Jammu and Kashmir is not only rich in cultural and ethnic diversity but also its Art has countless shades, which are nurtured through the centuries till date. The Art has gets more and more diversified and modern day by day. Kashmir is famous for its Tweed Textiles, Pashmina Shawls, Embroidered Suits, Kashmiri Silk Saris, Papier Mache, Wood Carving Crafts, Hand Woven Carpets and a lot of other traditional handicrafts.

  •  Carpets:

Kashmiri Carpets is traditional asset and famous for two reasons; firstly, these are completely hand-made and secondly these are knotted manually, not tufted. The carpets are made up of silk yarn or cotton ( as well as woolen) yarn and both the categories have a cotton base. However in case of silken base the price of the carpet increases proportionately. The color combination is always eye-catching that make the Kashmiri carpets a wonderful genre. The carpet-weaving skills instilled in Kashmiri Artisans originally from Persia, which are reflected from the local Patterns with sophisticated touch of Persian variation in the Carpeting.

kashmiri carpet

  • Namda:

It is a traditional colorful floor covering, made up of woollen and cotton fibre, which has been manually moulded into desired shape. It is decorated as a rug on the carpets,  in the corridors and on the tiled floor of the houses. Its prices vary with the genre of the wool, for instance, a Namda is more expensive which contains 80% of wool than that of containing 20% of wool. The rugs are often embroidered with chain stitch embroidery and mainly woollen and cotton threads are being used.

Kashmiri Namda Work

  • Papier Mache:

Papier Mache is an ancient Art. Papier Mache products are fabricated through moulding a paper. Firstly a piece of paper is soaked in the water until it starts getting disintegrated, then pounded it well with hands and mix an adhesive solution into it. Spread it over a mould and allow it to get dried so that it could take a proper shape. After getting drying, apply bright, glossy and shiny paint or varnish on the product with artistic designing, to smoothen its surface and enhancing its beauty.

kashmiri papier mache

  • Shawls:

Kashmiri Shawls are famous all over the world for their quality, tenderness and delicacy. These are fabricated through three types of fibres, namely Wool, Pashmina and Shahtoosh. Woollen Shawls are cheaper version, while Shahtoosh is the most expensive one. Woollen Shawls are popular speciality of Kashmir and the embroidery and quality of wool is matchless, which determines the price of the Shawls. Pashmina Shawls are produced from yarn spun from the hair of the ibex, collected from the high mountains (14,000 feet). The hair sticked and fasten to the shrubs, while Ibex are grazing there and carefully picked, one by one. Shahtoosh (Ring Shawl) is distinguished for its thin lightness, softness and warmth.

kashmiri shawls

  • Crewel work: Crewel work is a typical Kashmiri Art and it is in great demand all over the world. The pre-shrunk white cotton fabric is adored with the embroidery. The price of every piece is depends upon the size of the stitches and the quality of the yarn. Chain stitch embroidery is created with wool, silk or cotton threads. Instead of usual needle, a hook is used in the embroidery and applied on the fabricated decoration pieces like wall hangings, furniture coverings and rugs.

crewel work

  •        Tweeds: Tweed is a coarse cloth, woven with pure and non-blended woollen threads. On the other hand the silk-worms, reared in Kashmir, produce one of the superior quality fibre and its fineness speaks itself. The Silk is recognized as Chinon (Crepe De Chine).

silk tweeds

  •        Pherans:

That is a coat-like or a cloak-like dress worn by Kashmiri folk. It is often loose enough to place a Kangri (a small mud-basket with coals embers, which is carried like a hot water bottle) in the winters. Pherans for men are produced with a tweed or coarse wool, on the contrary woman-Pherans are fabricated with Ari (Hook) embroidery on the neck, cuffs and edges of the Pherans. The quality of embroidery and thickness of the thread determines the price of the Pherans.

pheran

  •        Basketry:

Basketry is another renowned handicraft in the Kashmir Region. It is created through willow stripes. It includes the attractive and colorful decoration pieces like baskets, table lamps, wall-hangings, pen-holders, cutlery-holders etc.

Basketry

  •  Walnut Wood Carving:Walnut Wood is unique in its color, intrinsic designs and sophisticated look. Kashmiri Artisans are famous for carving and crafting wood-work, especially on walnut wood.It speaks aloud in its designing and volume of quality work.

kashmiri walnut carving

  • Naqash Crafting: Naqash is a Kashmiri Art of ancient origin. It is seen on the walls, floors and even in the ceiling, of the local homes and other buildings in the Valley. Naqash are crafted on the house-hold items like samovars, bowls, plates, ash-trays and decoration pieces etc. with floral, geometric, leafy and even calligraphic motif-designing. It is crafted mainly on a copper or a silver base.
  • copper and silverware

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5 reasons to visit Sharda Neelum Valley

  1. Peaceful river with awesome landscapes 

Sharda Neelum Valley is famous just because of it’s peaceful river flowing around village, on your visit to Sharda Neelum Valley you should invest 20 minutes to be seated on bank of river to enjoy it’s peacefulness.

Book your Tour of Sharda  and enjoy your stay.

Sharda-Neelum-Valley

2. Cheeky Climate 

Cheeky Climate means if it’s sunny in early hours then it will be rainy at afternoon. 24 Celsius in afternoon get turns into 17 Celsius at Night. Gazing of Stars at night is one of the dreamy situation for everyone.

sharda-neelum

3. White Snowy Village

In season of winter you will find snow at sharda , everything will seem snowy all around. Thousands of tourist rush towards sharda valley to explore it’s mightiness in season of winter.

sharda-snow

4. Blue Gem of Sharda 

Sharda River is Blue Gem of Sharda. you may find the blue water with clear visibility of stones in it. Sharda is famous for it’s fish.

five reasons to visit sharda neelum valley

5. Hiking & Trekking

Hiking towards ruins of sharda is a fascinating thing, trekking towards Ground of sharda  (Maidaan) is another awesome thing to do.

sharda view

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7 Days Naran and Kashmir Tour Package

PakistanTravelGuide offers 7 Days tour packages for Naran and Kashmir to Explore with Family, This package is exclusively for people of Karachi & Lahore. Kashmir /Neelum Valley is blessed with incredible beauty along beautiful places of Naran Valley. This package will cover Islamabad, Murree, Kutton Keran, Upper Neelum, Balakot, Shogran, Naran, Saif-ul-malook, Kaghan..

Inclusive :

  • Prado/Pajero Exceed/Landcruiser
  • Sightseeing
  • Fuel
  • Accommodation 3 Star
Days From To Stay SightSeeing
1st Day Islamabad Murree Murree Islamabad, Murree, patriata, Bhurban, Jheeka Gali
2nd Day Murree Muzaffarabad Muzaffarabad Kashmir Waterfall, Kohala Picnic Point, Muzaffarabad
3rd Day Muzaffarabad Keran  Keran  Pattika, Dhani Waterfall, LOC, Kundal Shahi, Kutton Waterfall, Keran.
4th Day Keran Shogran  Shogran Garhi Habibullah, Balakot, Shogran, Siri Paye
5th Day Shogran Siri Paye  Naran  Siri Paye
6th Day Naran Saif ul Malook  Naran  Lake Saiful Malook
7th Day Naran Islamabad

7 Days Package for 6 adults 4 Children 

Day 1: Pickup from Lahore / Islamabad enroute via Motorway Lahore

Sightseeing : Islamabad, Murree.

Stay: Murree

Day 2: En route to Kashmir via Kohala , Muzaffarabad

Sightseeing : Kashmir Waterfall, Kohala Picnic Point, Muzaffarabad

Stay: Muzaffarabad

Day 3: Route to Neelum Valley.

Sightseeing : Kutton, Keran.

Stay: Keran

Day 4: Visit to Shogran via Ghari Habibullah

Sightseeing : Garhi Habibullah, Balakot, Shogran

Stay: Shogran

Day 5: Visit to Naran Valley

Sightseeing : Kaghan, Naran.

Stay: Naran Kaghan

Day 6: Explore  Saif ul malook via Jeeps

Stay : Naran

Day 7: Drive Back to Islamabad/Lahore

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