MUZAFFARABAD ( مظفر آباد) AZAD KASHMIR:
Since we were little kids, we were always told that if you want a glimpse of heaven on earth you should visit Kashmir, that fairies live in the valley of Kashmir and that Kashmir is an integral part of Pakistan and its people are our people.
Kashmir sure is a heaven on earth and the capital of this heaven is Muzaffarabad.
SOME FACTS ABOUT MUZAFFARABAD:
The name Muzaffarabad means Muzaffar’s town. Who is this Muzaffar ? well Muzaffarabad was named after a muslim ruler of Khandan-e-Bomba,(family of Bombay or Mumbai) Sultan Raja Muzaffar Khan.(well they were among the ruler families of the subcontinent and definitely could afford to name a town after them:P) later on after the 1948-49 war , Muzaffarabad was made the capital of Azad Jammu and Kashmir .
On its western side it is connected to Khyber Pakhunkhwa(previously known as N.W.F.P) in Pakistan, while on the Indian side by the Kupwara and Baramulla districts and to the north is present the Neelum district of Azad Kashmir.
The city is now a blend of variety of cultures, languages, new and old buildings, river Neelum and Jhelum and the local religion followed is Islam.
WAYS TO TRAVEL TO MUZAFFARABAD:
The airport is not found functional mostly but flights were scheduled from Islamabad, Lahore, Quetta, Gwadar, Sialkot and Karachi via PIA, Air Blue, Shaheen Air International. Lets hope they start the flights again soon.
By road(my most preferred) it takes approximately 3 hours to Muzaffarabad from Islamabad(the federal capital) Via Murree is the quickest route about 45 min (talk about enjoying two places on one vacation :D) from where you take a 2 hr drive and entre Kohala and pass through a bridge i.e Kohala Bridge and another 30 min to reach Muzaffarabad.
But this 3 hrs will pass like anything once you get immersed in the beauty of the surroundings and listen to your favourite songs along the way.
WHERE TO GO IN MUZAFFARABAD:
There are various places on can visit in muzaffarabd.Apart from all the lush green carpeted mountains and neelum river flowing in the area ,there are some buildings one should visit, the crowded and full of life bazars where one can find traditional to contemporary things, the hiking tracks,fish hatcheries ,zoo’s,the bridges,lakes and what not.
Some of places which are a must visit include:
|RED FORT, MUZAFFARABAD|
Now there are two forts on each side of the river Neelum, the Red and the Black Fort. I got the chance of visiting the Red fort and I couldn’t help noticing that it was rotting:S. which is sad not only because it is a historical building but it is so magnificent and has wonderful view of the Neelum river. It has these little cells(which were so dark and gloomy,,brrr) and a guide is there to show you around and take pictures for you tooJ
The Muzaffarabad fort’s construction was completed in 1946 by Sultan Muzaffar. Many rulers came and left leaving the fort abandoned in the end. It is now open for public and is a tourist attraction indeed.
If you are a nature lover Pir Chinassi is just the place for you. The climate is wonderful, the mountains are covered with green valvet and the scenery is breadth taking. It is located eastwards of Muzaffarabad and is famous for hiking, trekking and camping activities.
Another place famous for its scenic beauty is Shaheed Gali. It is located westwards of Muzaffarabad at almost 16 km and is at an altitude of 1640 meters. Once you are in Shaheed Gali you should take the chance and visit “Sri Kot” which is a trek of 4 km. tourists rest house is also available to refresh yourself and get something to eat.
If you are a fishing person and you want to enjoy fishing in Kashmir you should definitely go to Pattika. It is a gateway to Neelum valley and has a tourist resort as well, also you can take your young ones to the mini zoo. I am sure they will love it.
You should also make plans and visit:
SUBRI (LANGARPURA)LAKE :
You can indulge in different activites like hiking, trekkin, camping at the foothill regions of the valvet green pleatues ,you can also do picnics at the banks of river Neelum but make sure you find a spot where the water flow is smooth as the water is very fast flowing and rough in the river. Enjoy the scenic beauty and wonderful climate.
WHAT TO SHOP IN MUZAFFARABAD:
|HAND MADE SHAWL|
The hand woven carpets and Kashmiri shawls are famous all around the world. The wonderful designs, colors and the quality of the material is of international standards.
Handicrafts: Carpets, silk woolen clothing, woolen shawls, wood carving, Papier Mashie, rugs.
|KASHMIRI OR PINK TEA|
Other products and fruits: mushrooms, honey, walnuts, apples, cherry, medicinal herbs & plants, resin, Deodar, Kail, Chir, Fir, Maple and Ash Timbers etc.
One of the must have or taste rather is the Kashmiri tea or pink tea. It has a wonderful color, taste and is filled with nuts. A cozy treat for your taste buds in the wonderful climate
2005 KASHMIR EARTHQUAKE:
|CENTRE POINT OF KASHMIR EARTHQUAKE|
On 8th October 2005 a terriable earthquake shook not only Kashmir but all of Pakistan and people lost their lives their, loved ones, their homes and valuables.
Approximately 80,000 people were killed in the Pakistan premises and the magnitude of the earthquake was 7.6….and once you see the mountain which was the epicenter of the earthquake you are stunned ….and you instantly beg Allah for forgiveness and pray for the killed souls to rest in peace..it is so mind jolting to see that huge mountain teared in literally a half …on half standing while the other half came on the ground with everything beneath it….Indeed Allah is Almighty…is all you have on your mind.
|BEAUTIFUL VALLEY OF KASHMIR|
A visit to Muzaffarabad ,Azad Kashmir Pakistan is a must with your family and friends, you will love the people and the place and you will want to go there again and again .