Muzaffarabad is the capital and largest city of the Pakistani-administered territory of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and is the gateway of Neelum Valley.
The city is located in Muzaffarabad District on the banks of the Jhelum and Neelum rivers. The district is bounded by Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in the west, by the Kupwara and Baramulla districts of Indian-administered territory of Jammu and Kashmir in the east, and the Neelum District of Azad Kashmir in the north.
|Local Language Name:||urdu,punjabi|
|Time Zone:||PST (UTC+05:00)|
|Density:||418/km2 (1,080/sq mi)|
|Elevation:||737 m (2,418 ft)|
|Area:||1,642 km2 (634 sq mi)|
|Territory :||Azad Kashmir|
|From Abbottabad:||76 kilometres|
|From Rawalpindi and Islamabad :||138 kilometres|
|capital of:||Azad Kashmir|
|Park:||Machiara National Park|
|Muzaffarabad’s Forts:||Red Fort , Black Fort|
|Buildings:||AJK Assembly, AJK Supreme Court, Mosque Assembly Secretariat, Kh. Khurshid Tomb|
|Guest Houses, Rest houses, and Hotels:||Pearl Continental. Check-in: noon, check-out: noon. Five star hotel. Rs 12,000|
|Guest Houses, Rest houses, and Hotels:||Orash Lodge Guest House, 61-B upper chattar, +92 58 22434997-8.|
|Guest Houses, Rest houses, and Hotels:||Grand motel, Bank Rd, +92 58 81047383. Check-out: 3PM|
|Guest Houses, Rest houses, and Hotels:||Agha Jee Hotel, Bank Rd, +92 58 81047383. Check-out: 3PM|
The original name of Muzaffarabad was Udabhanda.Hieun tsang, the celebrated Buddhist pilgrim who is said to have visited the valley in 633 A.D mentions Pan-nu-tso, i.e., modern day Punch, Ho-lo-she-pu-to i.e. modern day Rajauri. He entered India from Udabhanda, Urasa (present Muzafrabad and Uskara) entered the valley via Baramula gorge.Udabhanda was the capital of the Shahi dynasty. The Shahi (Devanagari), also called Shahiya, dynasties ruled portions of the Kabul Valley (in eastern Afghanistan) and the old province of Gandhara (northern Pakistan and Kashmir) from the decline of the Kushan Empire in third century to the early ninth century. The kingdom was known as Kabul-shahan or Ratbel-shahan from (565 – 670 CE) when they had their capitals in Kapisa and Kabul, and later Udabhandapura (also known as Hund) for its new capital.The term Shahi is the title of the rulers, likely related to the Kushan form Shao or Persian form Shah and refers to a series of 60 rulers probably descended from the Kushans or Turks (Turshkas).
The capital of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir, is situated at the confluence of the Jhelum and Neelum rivers. It is 138 km from Rawalpindi and about 76 km from Abbottabad. The present name of Muzaffarabad has been given to it after the name of Sultan Muzaffar Khan, a chief of Bomba Dynasty (1652). There are two forts, namely, Red and Black Fort, situated on the opposite sides of river Neelum. The Neelum river streams through the town, joins the river Jhelum at Domel and plays a dominant role in the micro-climate of Muzaffarabad.On October 8, 2005, the city was struck by an earthquake measuring a magnitude of 7.6 on the Richter Scale.
Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) extends from the plains of Punjab near Jhelum up through Mangla Lake to the foot hills of the Himalayas, and north to the mountains 6000-20000 feet above sea level. It is drained by three major rivers the Jhelum, the Neelum and the Poonch. The valleys are green and wooded.
Capital of Azad Kashmir Pakistan
Muzaffarabad is the capital of Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, situated at the confluence of the Jhelum and Neelum rivers. This city is located in Muzaffarabad District on the banks of the Jhelum and Neelum rivers. It is 138 kilometres from Rawalpindi and Islamabad and about 76 kilometres from Abbottabad.
North-West Frontier Province
The Muzaffarabad district is bounded by North-West Frontier Province in the west, by the Kupwara and Baramulla districts of on the Indian side of the Line of Control in the east, and the Neelum District of Azad Kashmir in the north.
Muzaffarabad city is one of the major cities in Pakistan. It is a hilly area and consists of wonderful cliffs. It is located in the Muzaffarabad district and ranks among the major tourist destinations in Pakistan. Thousands of tourists and travelers visit Muzaffarabad from all over the world. The scenic beauty and diverse culture of the place makes it a popular holiday spot. Rice and maize are widely grown. Varoius plants like resin, Deodar, Kail, Chir, Fir, Maple and Ash Timbers etc are exist.
Well Known for
Muzaffarabad is also well known for its beautiful gardens, forests, valleys, rivers and mountains. It is a popular holiday spot in the country. The idyllic landscape of the city makes it popular to both local people and foreign tourists. Muzaffarabad is a scenic tourist destination. Administrative capital of Kashmir, Muzaffarabad offers tourists stunning views and exciting trekking trails.
Muzaffarabad meaning Muzaffars Town
The name “Muzaffarabad” (meaning Muzaffar’s Town) comes from the name of Sultan Raja Muzaffar Khan (a Muslim ruler of Khandan-e-Bomba). After the 1948-49 war, Muzaffarabad was made the capital of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
Number of Trekking Trails
Muzaffarabad is a wonderful destination for trekking enthusiasts. There are a number of trekking trails that pass thorough some spectacular scenic spots in Muzaffarabad. Muzaffarabad has a number of beautiful monuments, farms and parks.
Old Monuments and New Buildings
The city is a combination of old monuments and new buildings and a blend of different cultures and languages. It has besides official buildings, farms, parks and the historic forts standing on the banks of the Neelum, Muzaffarabad, Mirpur, Rawlakot and Kotli are connected with Pakistan by the Micro-weave system of telephone.
The population of the district, according to the 1998 Census, was 725,000, and according to a 1999 projection, the population had risen to almost 741,000. The district comprises three tehsils, and the city of Muzaffarabad serves as the capital of Azad Kashmir. Cradled by lofty mountains, Muzaffarabad reflects a blend of various cultures and languages. The main language is a form of Hindko.
Neelum River Streams
The Neelum river streams, proudly through the hub of the town, joins river Jhelum at Domel, Muzaffarabad also serves as a base camp for the tourist intending to visit tourist spots and other historical and cultural & traditional aspects of AJ&K.
The climate of Muzaffarabad is mostly pleasant. The summers are mild while the winters are chilly with snowfall. The ideal time to visit the city is during the autumn season when the skies are clear and the weather condition excellent. Muzaffarabad is full of idyllic areas which add to the charm of the place. The Neelum river plays a dominant role in the microclimate of Muzaffarabad which joins Jehlum River near Domail.
Being the capital city Muzaffarabad is not only the hub of political and cultural activities but it also serves as a base camp for the tourists. It has various spots of leisure. View point Sathra, a public place, unravels the panorama of the entire city before a beholder. The junction point of the river Neelum and Jhelum presents a majic beauty from here. Lohar Gali, situated 9 kilometers from Muzaffarabad on Abbottabad road. The Red fort is a witness to the ancient history of this great city. The local market in Muzaffarabad can be explored for walnut carvings, kashmiri shawls and other traditional handicrafts. It is always possible to get a good bargain. It has besides official buildings; farms, parks and historic fort standing on the bank of the Neelum. Shopping is an exciting activity in Muzaffarabad and you can shop for Kashmiri shawls and walnut carvings.
Touring in the city is also easy and convenient as there are wide modes of transportation available. Travelers who wish to tour Muzaffarabad should have proper information about the city and keep the travel tips in mind for a safe and enjoyable tour.
Past the Red fort, crossing Neelum river at Ghori, a few km way is ‘Makra mountain’ 3,890 meters which is visible from Muzaffarabad and continues on to Shogran in the Kaghan Valley. This is a superb short trek, although you need to camp overnight halfway.
The upper Jhelum valley makes another interesting scenic excursion from Muzaffarabad. follow the Jhelum upstream, taking the road beneath the Domel bridge. This was the old route to Srinagar. The valley is broad with raised terraces above the river.
Places to See
Muzaffarabad is not only the hub of political and cultural activities, but also has various spots for leisure. Domel, the junction point of Neelum & Jhelum Rivers, presents a magic beauty from here. At the right bank of River Jhelum near this site, an established “Food Point” offers the delicacy of the famous “Kashmiri Cuisine” and other varieties of local traditional dishes of Kashmiri origin. “Lohaar Gali” situated 9 kilometers from the city on Abbottabad road, offers a bird eye view of the capital city. At night, the lights of the city present an unforgettable scene from this point.
Very few people are provided with education. This is due to a number of reasons; they are conservative minded as compared to Islamabadians and other comparatively developed areas so they do not allow their women to cross the boundaries of their houses to get education or jobs. Most of the women of this city don’t even get the primary education so the literacy rate of the city is very low. Other than that there is very little awareness for the importance of education which make them consider it an unnecessary thing.
Religion is deep rooted in this city. Most of the people found here are either sunnis or shias. People practice Islam and are very punctual in offering prayers. Mosques as well as darbaars are alos found here. Other than this holy places of shias are also constructed in different areas of the city.
They are bound together with each other and a tradition of get-togethers among the families (specially the relatives) is very common. Moreover, they are very kind hearted and hospitable. They are very welcoming towards guests and provide them with best of time. Obesity is very common in this city because they are very fond of eating plenty of food.
Only one big and main market named “Madina Market” is found in the city which provides the people with all their necessities.
Muzaffarabadians are famous for cooking a variety of food items. There is a trend of heavy intake of food which makes these people highly obese.
The famous cuisines among the people of this city are Gushtabay, Bakar-khani, red beans (Daal), dam aloo, Balti gosht, Yakhni, Daal Makhni, methi gosht, methi chawal, hareesa, baraista bat, palak paneer, Chicken Korma, kulcha and many more. Use of dry fruits is very common; especially in curries. Women like to cook a lot of food so they prefer making even the very necessary items like desi ghee, ketchup, achaar and many more themselves. Kashmiri Pulao is also very famous there.
Sweet Dishes; Sweet dishes are considered a mandatory part of the meal. They are served at the end of the meal. Popular lip smacking sweet dishes are firni, kheer, Panjeeri, sviyaan and many more.
They are very fond of drinking tea. The most liked drink there is Kashmiri Tea (also known as Pink Tea) and Green Tea. The combination of Pink tea and Bakarkhani is very common for breakfast.
Both men and women wear very traditional dresses like Shalwar Kameez; however, the some women also wear Phairan (a traditional kashmiri dress) in addition to Shalwar kameez. The use of Kashmiri Shawls, to cover their heads, among women is very common in the city. Moreover, the use of Kashmiri embroidery on dresses is also very prominent practice noted among the people. Boys also wear pants and shirts.
There are two historical forts, the Red Fort and the Black fort situated at the opposite side of the Neelum river.
The Mughals built this fort above the river junction but it’s used by the army and is off limits to visitors
During the year 1549 the construction of the red fort was undertaken. The red fort was finally completed by Sultan Muzaffar Khan, the founder of Muzaffarabad city during 1646. When the Mughals overtook the Kahsmir rule, this fort lost its importance. The Mughals were more interested in Kabul, Bokhara and Badakshan. During the Durrani rule the fort again came into limelight and its importance was rediscovred.
Maharaja Gulab Signh and Ranbir Singh, the Dogra rulers, reconstructed and extended the fort for political and military operations. Towards the end of 1947 the Dogra forces filed away leaving the fort wide open to anybody.
Architectonics of the Fort Show
The architectonics of the fort show that great experts in design and structure participated in its construction. It is surrounded on three sides by Neelum river formally known as Kishan Ganga. The northern part had terraces with steps leading to the bank of the river. The Eastern side of the fort was very well protected from the hazards of flood waters but some parts in the north were slightly damaged. There was an inn at the entry of the fort which has traces left now. It has been in the bad shape for quite some time and wears deserted look. The structure still stands with all its inherent glory, grandeur and its historical background.
Pir Chinasi is a large mountain with an altitude of 2924 meters above the sea level located on 32 km east of Muzaffarabad city overlooking vast expanses of Azad Kashmir. Due to its tremendous scenic beauty, velvet green plateaus and wonderful climate, it wins admiration of nature lovers. This place is also visited by tourists who can get a great view of Muzaffarabad and rural areas around the hidden city. Adjacent to Pirchinassi is Pirassimaar, so beautiful yet unexplored!
The views of the summit of the neighboring mountain peaks spell bounds a tourist. The adjacent Pir Asimar, phawna da Danna and the areas in the bottom of pir chinassi, i.e. Saran, Sud Bun, Muskhi, Sakki and Jarran phirran are also worth seen and ideal for hiking, trekking and camping activities. AJK Tourism Department has also constructed a tourist lodge at Saran to provide accommodation facilities to the tourists
Machiara National Park
Machiara National Pak is Situated in Lower Neelum Valley, Azad Kashmir and covering an area of 13532 ha. The park is reached via Patika. In 1996 the southern slopes were brought within a new protected area management plan, and a small game reserve there grew into the 135-sq-km Machiara National Park.
Machiara National Park
Machiara National Park consists of montane mixed broadleaf-coniferous forest and contains a significant number of bird species. The forested Ganga Mountains, a branch of the Himalayan foothills, separate the Neelam and Kaghan Valleys and provide a fragile home to brown bear, ibex, Himalayan griffon vulture, western tragopan, lammergeier and, allegedly, snow leopard. It is home to a variety of wildlife including leopards, monkeys, wolves as well as many other species. The most endangered specie of the area is the Western Tragopan Pheasant. The park provides a breeding ground to the birds whose number was fast dwindling in the past. The Himalayan griffon vulture and lammergeyer (large vulture) are also found here. The park also provides sanctuary to the Himalayan Brown Bear, Ibex and Snow Leopard.
Machiara National Park is one of three globally significant national parks selected for a Global Environment Facility sponsored project. The overall goal is to set up management models demonstrating effective natural resource conservation and make a significant contribution to the development of Pakistan’s capacity. The local community is very protective towards the past and is trying its utmost to save the threatened animals as well as their natural habitat.
The comely beauty of the place attracts a restive mind to prolong his stay. This picturesque Shaheed Gali is situated at the height of about 1640 meters above sea level at a distance of about 16 kilometer westward from Muzaffarabad. From Shaheed Gali is a trek of 4 Kms leads towards a wholesome spot namely “Sri Kot”. A tourist is bound to be fascinated by the serenity for the backdrop of the area. A Tourist Rest House is available for accommodation at Shaheed Gali.
Patika is located at a distance of 19 Km from Muzaffarabad, is a gateway to Neelum valley. There is also A mini zoo and a fish hatchery. Tourism Department has constructed a Tourist Rest House here, which is very popular among tourists.
Subri Lake Langarpura
Some 10 kms out of Muzaffarabad the river widens to from a small lake. This was created by a landslip some years ago. There is a small Angler’s Hut here, which makes a pleasant picnic spot. It is possible to take boats out on the river. Book through the Tourist Department in Muzaffarabad. There are rest houses, good hotels and guest houses in Muzaffarabad city where the tourists can stay.
Amidst Muzaffarabad to Kohala, a road bifurcates the highway and leads to Danna, crossing the labyrinthine roads. Dann is known for its healthy climate and alluring scenic beauty. A tourist rest house is available for accommodation. From here one can go to Dheerkot, a known hill station in District Bagh.
Muzaffarabad being the capital of Azad Jammu and Kashmir has the beauty worth watching. Occupied in the middle of mountains, this attractive city could attract the tourists from different countries. But unfortunately its tourism is not yet well established and needs to be promoted.