Neelum Valley Neelum Valley is dipped in beauty. About 240 kilometers long the picturesque 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. The swaying lush green forests, snow capped mountains, streams singing songs of joy, and fast flowing river Neelum, all go together to make it naturalist’s wonderland. The area is also ideal for mountain tourism. A part of Nanga Parbat Massif falls in this area which is dominated by "Sarwaali Peak" (6326 meters) the highest mountain in Azad Kashmir. Moreover like Kaghan Valley it is famous for fishing and angling activities in Neelum river and Jagran nullah which are stocked with trout fish.Traveling during May to October from the scorching heat of plains to the high land basin of Neelum Valley is indeed an escape from hell inferno to the cold breezes of paradise. The temperature remains in between 65°F to 90° F during the summer. The upper portion of the area normally receives first snow fall in the month of October and at some times even during September.It is a valley of fountains, springs, waterfalls, flowering trees and plants. Geographically too, it is a hospitable valley. The Neelum Valley, 90 miles long bow-shaped with majestic pine, fir and deodar trees, lies north-south of Muzaffarabad (capital). This ninety-mile long kingdom of vegetation is ripped apart by the indigo blue Neelum river which flows serpentinely down hills to merge itself into the river Jhelum at Domail. Domail, the confluence of two mighty rivers, presents highly fascinating scene of youthful embrace. This heart-warning spectacle is most soothing to the eye.The valley, starting from Muzaffarabad, the capital of Azad Kashmir, is about 150 miles long. It lies on both sides of the river Neelum. The geographical features enhance the natural beauty of the Valley. Its elevation, a mere 2,000 feet at the start, gradually rises till it attains a respectable height of 8,000 feet. On both sides there are high mountains and peaks. Nearly all the forest wealth of Azad Kashmir is to be found in this part of the State.There are two approaches to the valley. One from the Kaghan Valley which is linked with it at two points, the Nuri Nari Hali (Pass) and the Ratti Gali and many minor Passes. From Dawarian it takes two days for hiking or riding and night stay at Dharian at 12,000 feet. The second approach is from Muzaffarabad. It is a distance of 55 miles which is jeepable in fair weather. The Neelum meets the Jhelum river at Domali (meeting of the two) on the outskirts of Muzaffarabad city. From Paticka forest one reaches Nosari, 24 miles ahead of Muzaffarabad. Next come Chaliana (height 3,200 feet), Qazi Nag, Barian, Salkhela, Kundal Shahi, Athmaqam on this road. On a number of places, the local population has built rope crossings on the river. It is a very dangerous device and the very thought of crossing these points is horrible but thrilling.Tao Butt is an example of vegetation generosity of the liberal nature. The spot is donned with all delicacies and niceties. Nature flirts here with fantastic environment. The forest wealth abounds in the Neelum Valley. Deodar, pine, fir, wild walnut, strawberry and hosts of other high stature trees and other types of wild growth and herbs are the treasure of the valley. Besides being invaluable in economic terms, the variety of natural growth offers a captivating scenery. Shunder Hill tops are covered with green forests and the fields are lush green with crops.
Attractions: Pattheka;The valley is accessible by an all weather road metalled up to Kundal Shahi and well maintained up to Kel. At the gateway to the Valley lies a sprawling town of Pattheka with a dependable commercial centre. For a tourist, Pattheka can be the first journey break. This town has a modest bazaar with day-to-day activity. All essential items are available in the bazaar which feeds a fairly large number of villages behind it. On its back runs the forth-emitting river Neelum. The village and bazaar are connected by a suspension bridge crossable by jeep alone. This old bridge is being replaced with an RCC one enabling it to afford heavy traffic. The running streams, water channels and water falls across the Pattheka village present another heart winning scene. It is fully electrified. A few years back, the Federal Minister of Power and Water, Government of Pakistan had a hydel station built in this village over a perennial nullah which is in fact a mini river of Pattheka. The quality of life here is full of emotions despite its simplicity. It is perhaps due to verdure. Financially, it is an affluent town. Majority of the village folk is engaged in profitable business abroad especially in the Middle East countries. A number of scheduled banks of Pakistan are operating in the village on the strength of remittances from abroad. But despite fattening coffers, the town has no industrial activity. The ratting of machinery is unknown to the town. The serene atmosphere shrouded into lush greenery and milky-white waterfalls and water curses and their rhythmic flow totally absorbs the visitors. Added to the general plant fragrance is the sweet smell of menthol plants along the banks of the nullah, it cuts its way across the crop-fields in such wavy manner that it looks as a white ribbons over green head of damsel Nature. Bhateeka is linked by ancillary roads with other surrounding areas uphill and downhill.Kundal Shahi:It is the entrance of Jagran. Here Jagran Nullah converges into Neelum River. It is situated at a distance of 74 Kilometers from Muzaffarabad and about 5 kilometers from Authmuqam. In Authmuqam and Kundal Shahi almost all basic necessities are available in the local market.At a distance of 74 Km. from Muzaffarabad one can reach Kundal Shahi. From this place a visit can be planned to the loveliest part of the Neelum Valley, commonly known as Jagran Valley. Jagran:Nestled in the lower part of Neelum valley, the picturesque “Jagran” is its inseparable part. Jagran Nullah (stream) is indispensable and plays pivotal role in the formation of its landscape beauty and charm which reveals the richness of the area. On the side lane of the impressive Tourists Resort the ever flowing greenish and surf gushing waters of Jagran Nullah add to its peculiar character. jagran Nullah, rushing downwards all along the tall grooves of trees is almost small river. Surrounded by scintillating beauty under the shades of the majestic snow-clad mountains the river is freezing cold. The snowmelt of these sky heights named “Jagran Nullah” is also know for rout fishing attracting angles all over the seasons.In Jagran places like kutton, Thunian, Ghansee and Pattlian Sar are worth-seeing and inviting everyone to visit and enjoy. Jagran is ideal for mountaineers and takers too. Here the mountains are ranging from 4000 feet to 1400 feet above sea level. The ever green forests are stretched in the far flung lush green plateaus with abundance of wildlife. Gradual and fathering of uphill distance is encountered with the pleasant and soothing environ which never fades into memory.Salkhala:Not more than 3 kilometers from Kundal Shahi across the river Neelum one can enjoy the lovely place Salkhala. A Trout hatchery has been established by the Azad Kashmir Fisheries Department. A reasonable accommodation facility is available here.Kutton:Uphill road from Kundal Shahi leads to Kutton at a distance of 6 kilometers. The picturesque Kutton and Jagran is best to visit during April to October. Here the Greater Hydle Power is also an additional attraction for the tourists. The famous Nullah Jagran passes through this valley. At kutton about 8 kilometers from Kundal Shahi a hatchery for Trout fish is established by the fisheries department.Athmuqam:10 Kilometers from Kundal Shahi is the Sub-Divisional Head-quarter of the area. The bazaar consists of over a dozen shops with a post office and telephone call office. This place is suitable for the people interested in calm and quite atmosphere.Neelum:Another 9 Km journey ahead of Athmaqam takes you to Neelum. It is situated on the right bank of river Neelum opposite to the Keran village (Indian occupied Kashmir). Neelum having an altitude of 1524 meters above sea level is very popular among tourists.Dowarian:Dowarian at a distance of 13 Km from Neelum at an altitude of 1615 meters is surrounded by mountains full of conifer trees. Over here a mule track up to Rattigali pass (about 30 Km) towards west, connects the Neelum and Kaghan Valley.Sharda:The most picturesque place in Neelum Valley is “ Sharda” it is located at a distance of 136 Km from Muzaffarabad and 30 Km from Dowarian. It is a breath taking spot. This place from the point of view of tourists is so attractive and captivating that they get their money’s worth when they spend a few days here in their sojourn amidst nature. In Sharda one also finds ruins of an old place of learning. The presence of these ruins lends Sharda is a historical background providing special attraction for the people interested in archaeology and history.
The area is well connected by road, more than half of it from Muzaffarabad is black topped, while remaining is all weather (un metalled), which is being metalled. A regular bus service up to Kel is available. However you can drive in your own car up to Dowarian from there onwards you have to switch over to Jeeps for your drive.