Nathia Gali or Nathiagali is a hill station and mountain resort town located in the Abbottabad District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. It is located at the centre of the Galyat range, where several hill stations are situated. Nathia Gali is known for its scenic beauty, hiking tracks and pleasant weather, which is much cooler than the rest of the Galyat range due to it being at a higher altitude. It is situated approximately 32 kilometres (20 mi) away from both Murree and Abbottabad. This veritable piece of heaven on earth is situated approximately 7,900 feet above the sea level. Considered one of the best places to visit in Galiyat, this tourist destination is known for its captivating landscape that looks like something right out of a fairytale. The tall pine, oak and walnut trees, vibrant flowers, beautiful hiking tacks, historic buildings and charming markets all set against the backdrop of a magnificent valley make this hill station even more enchanting.
Owing to its proximity to Murree, Nathia Gali sees a lot of visitors throughout the year. In summer months, the pleasant weather of this mountain resort makes it the perfect place to spend the holidays with your family. During winter, the area receives heavy snowfall, which leaves the mighty mountain peaks covered in snow, adding to its beauty and charm. However, during severe cold spells, the temperature can drop as low as -8 degrees Celsius. So, if you’re planning to go hiking, December and January may not be the best months. However, if you want to enjoy snowfall, Nathia Gali is one of the best places to visit in Galiyat to spend your winter vacations.
Apart from its scenic landscape, Nathia Gali also features a bustling market where tourists can buy souvenirs and traditional handmade items. The wooden building of St. Matthews Church, which is among the most historic churches in Pakistan, is also situated in Nathia Gali. There are also several hotels, resorts, restaurants and cafes located in the area.
Along with other top tourist destinations in Pakistan, the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has also introduced camping pods in Nathiagali in a bid to promote tourism.
HOW TO GET THERE?
There are two main ways to reach Nathia Gali from Islamabad. You can either drive through Abbottabad or travel through Murree to get there. If you choose the first option, it will take you a little over two hours to get to Abbottabad through Hazara Expressway. Also, the traffic within the city limits tends to get jammed during the daytime. However, the route from Abbottabad to Nathia Gali is considered one of the most picturesque roads in Pakistan.
On the other hand, if you want to reach Nathia Gali from Islamabad through Murree, you will have to drive for about two and a half hours. While this route is beautiful, it also has quite a few sharp turns and curves. Therefore, it is recommended to hire a local driver for this trip.
During British rule Nathia Gali, then part of Abbottabad tehsil of Hazara District, served as the summer headquarters of the Chief Commissioner of the (then) Peshawar division of the Punjab. The town along with Dunga Gali constituted a notified area under the Punjab Municipalities Act, 1891. The income in 1903-4 was Rs. 3,000 chiefly derived from a house tax, whilst expenditure was Rs. 1,900.
The weather of Nathiagali remains cool, pleasant and foggy in summers (1 May to 31 August). During the monsoon season (1 July to 16 September), rain is expected almost every day. Cold winds start to chill the weather in autumn. winters (1 November to 28 February) are very cold and chilly. In December and January, heavy snowfall occurs here. The weather remains cold in spring. Here most comfortable weather is the summer season. Frequent rainfall occurs here annually. Rainfall lies between 1650mm-1850mm annually.in winter temperature can drop to _10*C and in summer it rise to a high of 30*C.
The town is connected to Abbottabad and Murree by Nathiagali road. Public transport runs daily from Abbottabad and Rawalpindi to Nathiagali.
Between December to January, heavy snowfall can occur in this area and the road leading to Nathiagali is sometimes blocked due to heavy snow.
Nathiagali is covered by all GSM operators. Land line phone service is also available here.
Hotels, rest houses and cottages equipped with most facilities are available here for the tourists. From May to August their rates become high.
A small market also exists here where all the basic necessities of life are available.
Nathia Gali town also serves as the administrative centre of Nathia Gali Union Council. It is today located in what is the Abbottabad District, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. At an elevation of 2,410 m (8,000 ft), it is a popular tourist resort in the summer months. It is forested with pine, cedar, oak walnut and also oak and maple trees.
During the summer, Nathia Gali is relatively popular amongst tourists, but due to its limited area and availability of property, it is not thronged by as many people as the hill-station Murree, which is only an hour away, even though it has more recreation. Nathiagali is known for a beautiful trek that leads to Thandiani that passes through Dagri naka.
Ayubia National Park is also one of the spots here that tourists and nature lovers often visit.
The natural scenery is highly attractive. Nathia Gali is famous for its lush green meadows, deep forests of oak, cedar and pine, where fog in July/August present a glory. In winter snowfall adds to the scene. Nathia Gali has a church, St. Matthew’s, a remnant from the British period and made entirely of wood. It is situated at the edge of the mountain with a nice panorama towards Kashmir. Nathia Gali has a mini bazaar. Mukshpuri and Miranjani are two nearby high peaks.
Weather at Nathia Gali
Nathia Gali is situated in the middle of Galyat range, which is a range of closely situated hill stations with all their names ending in “Gali” which means “street” and therefore “Galyat” is for “streets”. Nathia Gali has the chilliest weather among all those as it is situated at the highest elevation of almost 8,000 ft.
The weather of Nathia Gali is quite pleasant throughout the summers, and then monsoon brings the transition of weather into winter. Heavy snowfall is expected during the months of December and January, yet the hill station is not completely closed during this time and is still open to tourists, unless an avalanche hits or land sliding occurs.
When should you visit Nathia Gali?
Visiting Nathia Gali is a food for soul as this place provides you with an experience of the heavens with its tender and heart throbbing weather. Now as to when is the best time to visit Nathia Gali; the piece of beauty and aesthetic scenes, it is considerably during the months of March to June. The other cities in Pakistan are hit with the hot breezes and heat waves during this season whereas Nathia Gali is cooler and provides recreation in this season.
Monsoon is highly appreciated in this region too, but the tourists are comparatively increased during these months owing to summer vacation and there barely goes a day without rain here, so if you are planning to visit Nathia Gali during this season, plan accordingly.
People might want to go to Nathia Gali during the season of snowfall in the months of December and January to experience those Game of Thrones vibes with the pine and cedar trees covered with dripping snow, sporting icicles. Although Nathia Gali indeed looks very amazing during the snow season but you need to be extra careful at that time, as the weather is not accountable to anyone and might get aggressive anytime which in turn increases safety risks.
What should you do in Nathia Gali?
Nathia Gali offers you the most incredulous views. It helps you meditate in the form of travel or vacation. Nathia Gali is descending and ascending on hills, with mountainous greenery flying upwards on your one side, and steep hills sliding downwards on the other.
The things that add up to making this hill station so purified and awesome are the cedar trees, oak trees, pine trees and walnut trees. The fog and mist getting geared up to welcome the chilly weathers grant this place magnificent glory. Nathia Gali even has mountain ranges for hiking and trekking and some wild life habitats too.
Nathia Gali demands to be enjoyed and fulfilled for at least a day or two or even a week, because one can never get enough of this sieved nature. Here are a couple of places you can visit in Nathia Gali.
- Danga Gali
Danga Gali is another hill station and mountain resort just three kilometers from Nathia Gali. It provides the route to various mountain trekking and being at an elevation has a cold climate. Danga Gali is a natural habitat of some wild animals too.
Mukeshpuri or Mukeshpuri Top is a trekking mountain just above Danga Gali in Nathia Gali area. It provides a panoramic view with trees and hills from western Himalayan region. The Mukeshpuri trek comes with a bird sanctuary in your way where one can stop to have some recreation too.
The top is picturesque and the peak provides the view of Murree tehsil, circle Bakot, Jhelum River and even the city of Islamabad.
Miranjani is the highest peak for trekking in Galyat region which is a few minutes’ drive from Governor House in Nathia Gali. The peak of Miranjani gives a view of Nathia Gali, Azad Kashmir, The Mukeshpuri top and even the snowcapped peak of Nanga Parbat (highest peak of Himalayan range) when the fog is clear.
- Ayubia National Park
Ayubia national park is a large area bounded by the wildlife departments and government for the promotion of ecological and tourism purposes. The peaks of Miranjani and Mukeshpuri also come in the boundaries of Ayubia National Park. The way from Nathia Gali to Ayubia National Park is called “The Pipeline Walking Track” which itself is very picturesque and beautiful.
of birds, insects, butterflies and other animals. The World Wildlife Fund has an office in the Galliat and has assisted in the breeding and reintroduction of the species of the near-extinct common hill leopard in the forests of the Ayubia National park, right by Dungagali and Nathia Gali. This area was thought to be a perfect habitat for them but according to local reports they frequently came out of the forest after cattle of the local villagers and were occasionally shot. Packs of pi-dogs which were previously considered to be a night-time menace can no longer be seen anywhere in the Galliat; it is thought that most have been killed by leopards. In the summer of 2006, several women were found dead in the deep valleys of Galliat with wounds from attacks. A large leopard was caught and eventually shot. His body has been stuffed and kept in the Dunga Gali Wildlife Museum, where he has been named the ‘Ghost of Galyat’. However, despite their reputation, these leopards are rarely spotted.
Horses are a common sight during summer months and are offered to children and adults alike for rides at rates that are often negotiable. The common hill rhesus monkeys can often be seen. Previously known to be a little shy, they have reportedly become more aggressive in recent years. This may be due to increased interaction with tourists, who often tease these monkeys or try to catch them. Monkeys often come up to guesthouses and hotels in search of snacks and can be quite noisy and playful. Visitors are advised to sun their bedding on arrival to get rid of bed-bugs, and to keep repellents and pesticides for insects as these have a tendency to show up a lot, especially in old homes, and in the monsoon season.
The Union Council of Nathia Gali is divided into the following areas: Bagan, Donga Gali, Jhansa, Keri Sarafali, Keri Raiki, Lassan, Malach, Nathiagali and Pasala.
The main tribe of Nathia Gali are the Karlal and a minority of Dhunds (who now call themselves ‘Dhund-Abbasis’). The locals are a kin to the people of other parts of Galyat and speak the Hindko language. Until well into the 1960s, most of these tribes and clans were mostly living rather basic and primitive lives, due to lack of educational and employment opportunities and most of them had to seek jobs and education down in the plains and cities such as Rawalpindi, Lahore, Peshawar and even as far away as Karachi; but in more recent times, with economic development, many of them are either employed locally in the tourism industry or in various jobs and businesses in the Abbottabad area.