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Neelum Valley

Type of Attraction: Sightseeing, Landmarks, Adventure, Nature

Activities: Bonfire, Camping, Stargazing, Jeep ride, Hiking, Trekking, and Boating

Check-ins: Arang Kel, Kel, Ratti Gali Lake, Mangla Dam, Pir Chinasi, Nergola Waterfalls, Neelum River, Mangla Fort, Dhani Waterfalls, Taobat, Upper Neelum, Patlian Lake, Sharda, Kutton Waterfalls, Sharda University, Sharda Helipad 

Neelum Valley – AJK

Location: Neelum Valley is situated in the North & North-East of Muzaffarabad Azad Kashmir, running parallel to Kaghan Valley. The two valleys are only separated by snow-covered peaks, some over 4000m above sea level. Neelum Valley Road is a spectacular and dangerous high mountain road going through the Neelam Valley (also spelled Neelum Valley) in North and North-East of Muzaffarabad, this route is not suitable for normal cars as the roads are very bumpy and dusty. Most people preferred to travel in jeeps on this route. About 240 kilometers long, the picturesque Neelum Valley is situated to the North & North East of Muzaffarabad.  A fair-weather road opens the valley to tourists up to Kel, 165 kilometers from Muzaffarabad. 


Importance: The district of Neelum is the northernmost of 10 districts located within the Pakistani-administered territory of Azad Kashmir. Taking up the larger part of the Neelam Valley, the district has a population of around 191,000 people. It was among the worst-hit areas of Pakistan during the 2005 Kashmir earthquake. 


There are many languages spoken by the people of the region among which Hindko is the most widely spoken language, spoken by about 78 percent of inhabitants. However, other languages spoken by the people are Kashmiri, Punjabi, Kundal Shahi, Gujri, and Shina. Urdu is considered to be the official language of the valley. Neelum Valley has its own charm all year. In summer the greenery will soothe your soul with calm. SCOM is the only Network for communication. It would be issued on your CNIC in Muzaffarabad or any main town of the Neelum valley region. 


Climate: Neelum Valley is known for its dense moist/dry temperate forests, cold waters of glacier-fed streams rich in trout, and majestic alpine pastures attracting resident and nomadic glaciers during summer. In summer, the weather is hot in the daytime due to the sun while at night, it is quite cold. People even wear sweaters at night in summer. 

On the other hand, in winter, it is extremely cold. People also witness snow falling in winter. 

Distance: It takes about 7 hr 23 min (295 km) to reach Neelum Valley from Islamabad via Hazara Motorway/M-15 and Mansehra – Naran – Jalkhad – Chilas Rd/N-15 



Starting Point Ending Point Distance Between Two Places Timing 
Islamabad, Pakistan Muzaffarabad, Azad Kashmir 132.68 KM 3:30 Hour 
Muzaffarabad, Azad Kashmir Kundal Shahi, Neelum Valley 74 KM 2:30 Hour 
Kundal Shahi, Neelum Valley Kutton, Neelum Valley 05 KM 20 Minute 
Kundal Shahi, Neelum Valley Athmuqam, Neelum Valley 10 KM 30 Minute 
Athmuqam, Neelum Valley Keran, Neelum Valley 11 KM 30 Minute 
Keran, Neelum Valley Dowarian, Neelum Valley 11 KM 45 Minute 
Dowarian, Neelum Valley Ratti Gali Lake, Neelum Valley 18 KM 3:00 Hour + 1:00 (Trekking) 
Dowarian, Neelum Valley Chaangan, Neelum Valley 07 KM 20 Minute 
Chaangan, Neelum Valley Dudhnial, Neelum Valley 05 KM 15 Minute 
Dudhnial, Neelum Valley Tejian, Neelum Valley 03 KM 05 Minute 
Tejian, Neelum Valley Dossutt, Neelum Valley 05 KM 10 Minute 
Dossutt, Neelum Valley Sharda, Neelum Valley 08 KM 10 Minute 
Sharda, Neelum Valley Kel Seri, Neelum Valley 09 KM 30 Minute 
Kel Seri, Neelum Valley Kel, Neelum Valley 11 KM 30 Minute 
Kel, Neelum Valley Arrang Kel, Neelum Valley 2 KM 2:00 Hour (Hiking) 
Kel, Neelum Valley Arrang Kel, Neelum Valley Cable Car 05 Minutes + 30 Minutes (Hiking) 
Kel, Neelum Valley Machhul, Neelum Valley 07 KM 30 Minute 
Machhul, Neelum Valley Jaamgar, Neelum Valley 03 KM 10 Minute 
Jaamgar, Neelum Valley Jander Seri, Neelum Valley 06 KM 20 Minute 
Jander Seri, Neelum Valley Janoi, Neelum Valley 04 KM 30 Minute 
Janoi, Neelum Valley Phulawai, Neelum Valley 04 KM 30 Minute 
Phulawai, Neelum Valley Sardari, Neelum Valley 10 KM 30 Minute 
Sardari, Neelum Valley Helmet, Neelum Valley 02 KM 45 Minute 
Helmet, Neelum Valley Nikron, Neelum Valley 03 KM 15 Minute 
Nikron, Neelum Valley Kareemabad, Neelum Valley 04 KM 20 Minute 
Kareemabad, Neelum Valley Taobat, Neelum Valley 02 KM 10 Minute 



Location: Athmuqam is 10 kilometers from Kundal Shahi. It is located at a height of 1371 meters. 

Importance: Being the district headquarter of Neelum District, it serves as a take-off point for tourists interested in hiking and exploring the inner valley. It is an attractive place known for its variety of fruits. All necessary facilities such as a bazaar, post office, banks, and hospital are available. 


Location: It is about 9 Km from Authmaqam, Neelum. Keran is situated on the right bank of the Neelum River at about 1524 meters above sea level. 

Importance: It has captivating scenery. It is perfect for travelers who want to enjoy nature, do sightseeing, and consider a honeymoon in Pakistan. The Keran Valley offers mesmerizing options for sightseeing along the streams, lakes, and the Neelum River flowing through. And the local bazaars in Keran are the perfect place to buy the famous hand-woven Kashmiri shawls and Kashmiri honey is also having a glance at another side of Keran in Indian-held Kashmir. Keran is the most popular and famous tourist destination with dozens of guest houses to stay in. On the way from Muzaffarabad to Keran, there are charming waterfalls that every traveler in Pakistan must see, such as the Dhani waterfall and the Kutton waterfall.

Baboon Valley:

Location: Baboon Valley is located approximately 13000 ft above sea level. 

Importance: Baboon Valley is a beautiful part of the Neelum Valley. If you want to see real nature, Baboon Valley is a grand spot to be visited for nature sweethearts. The valley offers delightful perspectives on cascades, springs, lavish Green Meadows, Snow Covered pinnacles, and ice sheets. Some of the nearby areas of this valley are Ratti Gali Lake, Keran, Jabri Top, Jabri Forest, Kandor Stadium, Doarayan Jungle, etc.

This beautiful valley is located at a drive of 8 hours from the Upper Neelum. It is only accessible through 4X4 jeeps. There are two major routes to reach the Baboon Valley. One is from Kutton, and the other is linked through Keran. The distance of the Baboon Valley from Muzaffarabad is 98 Km. However, the road is dangerous due to non-construction. The weather of the Baboon Valley is unpredictable, just like other northern areas. You never know when it starts raining within a few mins after having a sunny day.

Upper Neelum Valley: 

Location: Upper Neelum (Neelum Village) is located at a distance of about two & half Km from Karen with an altitude of 1824 meters above sea level. 

Importance: This panoramic lush green village, profound in wild fruit and wildlife, attracts tourists from every nook & corner of the country. Another remarkable feature of this spot is that one can view the entire area of occupied Kashmir from here. The area has a number of guest houses with quality services and is famous as a tourist village. From the back side of the village, a road is constructed towards Baboon Hill station for adventure lovers. 


Location: Dowarian is a village in Neelum Valley, Azad Kashmir, Pakistan. It is located 106 kilometers from Muzaffarabad and 22 kilometers from Athmuqam on the bank of the Neelum River at an altitude of 1,615 meters. Dowarian is accessible by the Neelum road from Muzaffarabad.  


Importance: There are mountains and countless pine trees around the town of Dowarian. Its height is almost 1,615 meters (5,299 feet) above sea level. Similarly, it is 58 km away from Nouseri and 13 km (8 miles) ahead of Neelum village. So, Ratti Gali Pass, which correlates the Neelum Valley and Kaghan Valley, is about 30 km upward, in the West of Dowarian. So, it is accessible through a narrow mule trek. Moreover, a living facility for tourists is also available there.  


Location: Located at a distance of 30 kilometers from Dawarian, it is a breathtaking green spot at an altitude of 1981 meters. 

Importance: Shardi and Nardi are the two mountain peaks overlooking the valley, named after legendary princesses Sharda & Narda. It has a captivating landscape with numerous springs and hillsides covered with thick forests. Over the right bank, opposite to Sharda, the river Neelum is joined by the  Surgeon Nullah along which a track leads to the Noori Nar Pass and through it to Kaghan Valley. “Sharda” is another name for the Hindu goddess of knowledge, Saraswati, and is known for being the site of the ruins of the famous temple and Hindu pilgrimage site Sharada Peeth, dedicated to the goddess Sharada. The AJK Tourism Department has established here a “Tourist Village” consisting of Tourist Rest Houses, Youth Hostels, a Cafeteria, and Games room to facilitate the tourists while dozens of private guest houses are also offered accommodation and other services. A boating facility is also obtainable here on River Neelum. In all probability, the Sharda temple was constructed somewhere in mid 12th century, during the reign of Jaisimha by an Aryan Saraswat Brahmin warlord of Kishanganga Valley.  

Rati Gali Lake: 

Location: Ratti Gali Lake is an alpine glacial lake. The lake is fed by the surrounding glacier waters of the mountains and is situated about 18 kilometers from Dawarian. It usually takes 45 minutes to reach Ratti Gali from Base Camp. 

Importance: There are comfortable arrangements for a night stay at base camp. You can easily go towards the lake by yourself or rent a horse from locals. You have to rent a jeep in order to reach the base camp. No chance of inconvenience at any point! A Jeep track on the left side of the Neelum Valley Road is accessible to this lake which can be visited during the months of May to October. 

Kel Valley: 

Location: Kel is a village in Pakistan’s Azad Kashmir region near Neelum Valley. Moreover, located at an altitude of 2,097 meters (6,879 feet), it is 155 kilometers (96 mi) from Muzaffarabad (the capital of Azad Kashmir). 

Importance: In addition, this place used to be known as Kel as it was the birthplace of Markhor in Pakistan. So, which is now known as a Kill Bakhra in local slang (a goat-like animal that kills).  

This is another pleasing place in the Neelum Valley. The Shounter Nullah joins river Neelum at this place and leads to Gilgit Agency over the Shounter Pass (4,420 meters). Kel is also a base camp for mountaineering activities up to “Sarwali Peak” 6326 meters above sea level and “Sarwaali Glacier” (about 25 Kms long) which are respectively said to be the highest peak and biggest glacier of Azad Kashmir. 

Muzaffarabad and Kel are connected by buses every day when the weather is good. In addition, from Karen, Sharda, and Kel, most tourists use jeeps for transportation. It takes 23 kilometers to get to Kel from Sharda. AJK Tourism and Archeology Department has a hotel and a rest house in which tourists can stay. Additionally, A non-metallic road leads to the Kel, which is near the Line of Control. Moreover, this road is frequently affected by landslides in the summer and the winter by snow slides. On the other hand, winters are very difficult because all routes are blocked. Consequently, it is among the most difficult places to reach when taken together. Similarly, when traveling between Sharda and Kel, you will discover glaciers. 

Arang Kel: 

Location: Arang Kel is a village and tourist spot in the Neelam valley of Azad Kashmir, Pakistan. It is located on the hilltop above Kel at an altitude of 8,379 feet (2,554 m). Arang Kel is known for its green forest and meadow on a hilltop. It is accessible after crossing the Neelum River by cable car or by trekking to Arang Kel is quite an adventurous mission. The journey starts from Muzaffarabad, you need to drive for 110 km alongside the fast-flowing Neelum River and reach Sharda. 

Importance: The best time to leave Sharda is in the early morning to get to Kel, so you don’t have to wait for hours in line for the chair lift. This chair lift by the way is no joke. It’s a handmade metal cuboid with two benches on either side, can only fit 6 people, and looks like a toy hanging 200+ feet above the ground and takes you from one end of the valley to the other. The chair lift saves you an hour on the hike. If you’re too scared of crossing the river in this shady thing, you have to cross the river and hike for an extra hour to get to the top. Once you have crossed the river, the hike begins. The hike itself is not very long, it’s about 900-1000m but if it starts raining, it is going to be the craziest hike of your life. The path gets very slippery when it rains, and there would be a number of local people renting out hiking sticks for your convenience. You might think you don’t need them but it’s strongly suggested to take one right at the beginning. After an hour, you’ll be welcomed with the most beautiful view ever. Lush green fields with green mountains in the background. Small wooden huts scattered around the fields, no electricity poles, no television, just a whole lot of peace. 


Location: Taobat is the last outstanding place in the Neelum Valley which is at a distance of 200 km from Muzaffarabad. Most probably, 39 km away from Kel. 

Importance: Taobat is on the verge of LOC, besides some other smaller villages. So, it is the place where Kishan Ganga turns into river Neelum on entering Pakistani soil. Accommodation facilities are available through some public/private hotels. Hence, the jeep’s fare or charges from Sharda to Kel to Taobatt and back to Sharda in a range between Rs.11000 to Rs.12000. And, it takes 3 to 3.5 hours from Sharda to Kel to Taobat on the way. If you are planning to visit, Azad Kashmir Taobat should be on your list. The rosy sunsets and misty mornings will enlighten your soul with calmness and peace. The panoramic view and mesmerizing scenic beauty of Taobat would be a memory forever. The lush green trees and beautiful Neelam Valley around Taobut have fascinating sights. Taobat is a gem of Azad Kashmir. The people of Taobat are innocent and generous. The generosity of the locals of Taobat is one of the reasons that it is a preferred tourist spot. 

Gurez Valley: 

Location: Gurez Valley is located in the high Himalayas, about 86 kilometers from Bandipora and 123 kilometers from Srinagar in northern Kashmir and southern Gilgit-Baltistan. At about 2,400 meters above sea level, the valley is surrounded by snow-capped mountains.


Importance: The valley is surrounded by snow-capped mountains. It has diverse fauna and wildlife including the Himalayan Brown Bear and the Snow Leopard. The valley is also situated very close to the Burzil Pass which leads into the Astore district of Gilgit Baltistan. Due to heavy snowfall in winter, the valley remains cut off for the 5 months of the year. The essential commodities are stocked during the summer season for consumption during the winter. The valley has a charismatic and panoramic view with traditional wooden homes and culture.