Saturday, 14 March 2015

Visit to International Book Fair: #Riyadh

Tired of working all week long??? Look for few activities and events in your area and visit, I can bet you will be relaxed and forget about tiredness. When Thursday approaches, I am happy from the morning that in evening I am a person with free will. I always look for something nice to do on my weekend to have a great start on Sunday. As annual “International Book Fair” was inaugurated in Riyadh few days before. So my destination yesterday was Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center where this fair was held. I was amazed to see the turn out, it was really big. 

I asked few of my friends to guide me about location and event as I never visited Riyadh’s International Annual Book Fair before. All told me it’s definitely worth visiting. I checked the website for details of grand hall with millions of books, click here for website. 
I was truly moved after visiting website and watching pictures. I called one of my friend and told her about the event and asked if she was interested to join. She said Yes! I went to her in half hour and then we hired a taxi and went to the Book Fair. As expected, there was a lot of rush and jam on road. Even taxi driver was asking for high fare because of rush. I realized it is not a good idea to visit during peak hours, better during morning. Today, 14th March is last day for Book Fair, but if you visited during next years, as it is an annual event that is organized in Riyadh, then go around opening time in morning.

After entering the gates for free(no entry fee), kids were greeted by many clowns and our

kids shake hands with every clown standing along the path and asked us to take their pictures. There were few camera-men too, taking pictures of the kids with the clowns. There is large area for eating and you can see people enjoying food as well.
This grand exhibition is all about Books, Books and lot of Books I guess millions, as name indicates, Book Fair. This is one of largest fair of #KSA with hundred of stalls displaying millions of books and millions visiting to buy the books. After entering the hall, you will feel lost and will think from where to start, as everywhere there are booths selling books on both sides of walkway and stalls crowded with the people. There were few booths with very nice decorations. Books were organized very nicely. 
There you can find diversity of topics and books. You can find books related to almost every field I saw books related to architecture, graphic design, literature, art, travel, science, religion mean for every aspect of life and the world. There were many books related to computers in Arabic. I also saw digital dictionaries, digital Holy Quran, CDs, Cassettes and videos. Digital books for kids too. I was amazed to see a board, there were selected books accompanying it. Place the book on the board and then press the word on the book, the board was pronouncing the word.  You can find large collection of Islamic books for grown ups as well for kids. There were people who had great knowledge of Islam and explained things to visitors related to Islam. I was happy to see Islamic books for kids in English. There was as stall from UK where our kids were happy to find variety of kids books in English. We got few bedtime stories. We saw few other English countries participating in Exhibition as well, mostly there were stalls of Arab countries. Unfortunately I could not understand Arabic language  but some covers of books were really catching attention.
There were books for all age groups. People of all ages were busying buying books. It was crowded place with large number of females too. Good thing is, majority of books were on discounted rates and it was also related to bargaining as well. My friend and I took few books for kids and exhibitor gave us further discount then mentioned. For sure we were happy with that.
I saw few “writers”, who were signing their books for the customers. There was long line of people males and females, waiting for their turns to get autograph on the book by author. There were discussion sessions on books with some nice presentations as well. 
There were many halls in exhibition. Mostly with books but one was with kid's toys and games. In “Kids Hall” you can find toys and books for kids. There were amazing toys to teach kids with the play on discounted rates. All the kids were super excited in this section as there were many toys for try, kids were busy making sand castles, building blocks and doing stuff. 
I was surprised to see the booth of Saudi Post”. I saw people sending letters, cards and books to friends or family. You can see large number of police to help, guide and for security purposes.
In “Family Section” I saw females selling books too. I met an amazing old women who was selling books for kids and the way she was explaining about the need to buy her books was amazing. She was telling how to teach kids with her books, many females were around her stall, to see or talk to her. Many bought her books, her stall was empty soon. I now believe that preparation/presentation, matters the most. There I too, met some female authors of  the books.
Soon I ran out of cash as started looking for "ATM". There is an ATM inside the center with a long waiting line and I finally explored a mobile ATM too, waiting outside the Center in a big van. My friends started laughing, she said, “We see Ice cream and pop corn or sims mobile vans and services. First time I am watching mobile ATM machine”. She added, “ They are telling people, do not have excuses get the cash and buy some books.”
You will hardly find any family or individual leaving from Exhibition Center without books. People were dragging big "bags" full of books. If you forget to bring your bag, do not worry there were few stalls outside the exhibiting halls, where you can find bags.

When we left whole place was very crowded around 8:00 p.m. There was large number of taxis outside but with long line of people waiting for them too. When we came out it took us more than 20 minutes to get a chance to sit in a taxi. Whole exhibition center was packed with vehicles.  
The Book Fair, seems a Big Success as almost every other person is talking about it. Such events brings a lot of opportunities for public and publishers with them. I hope that number of publishers participating in event with books in English will increase in coming year.
As a teacher I would like to suggest to students that they should attend such events and get the books related to their interest and subjects. The thing we lack now, is reading of the books. We must not forget that; "Book is always a best friend". Anything that you need to know is in books. If we can develop the habit of reading in our kids from start it can be a great gift to them. Student also get the chance to find some books that are normally not available in local market at such platforms. At university level some books like Physics, Maths, Chemistry etc. are taught in English, so the translations in ones language can be found, it can help students, understand the concept in a better way. I was happy to see some very nice books of science subjects in Arabic. Overall such events are very beneficial for all. 
I will recommend to visit when you are free with few hours in hand, as it is big event. I could not even have a look on all halls as each hall was huge with many stalls to visit. Thankfully I went there, had some amazing time and our kids were very happy to see a large collection of kids books. They have never seen such big festival related to books before. Riyadh Book Fair was such a fun day as I went with my friend and we all really enjoyed and bought few books too.  I think such fairs are perfect place for visiting. 

Friday, 13 March 2015

Road trip from Islamabad to Trarkhel. #Pictures.

Our destination was this Trarkhel, Azad Kashmir. You can check this link to read in detail about the place.  Let me take a chance to share with you the scenes that you can come across along the way during winter.  

We took this road to reach there. Mostly the road is carpeted and but at this time full of now but snow is soon removed as this is only way of transportation of goods to the city. 

Along way there came this place with a river winding through the hilly area. You can feel, if a big snake is going somewhere. O do not be scared, it's a beautiful river of Jehlum and it actually defines the boundary between Azad Kashmir and Pakistan. On one side is Azad Kashmir on other bank is Pakistan. The bridge connecting to banks is called Azad Pattan.  

You will also come across some fresh water streams while crossing Azad Pattan Area. The water of the streams is very fresh and many people sit around and relax for some time while on their way to different areas of District Poonch or District Sudhnoti.
Along the way you can see people removing snow from the roofs of the mud houses in a very old and traditional way. I do not know, why the have not changed the old method to remove snow. 

I think the view of the valley from height is breath taking. Isn't it???

Finally some sun. This is a house. Normally you will see houses of same shape and design with little change in style. Houses are spacious from inside. Heavy snow also breaks some weak branches as you can see in adjacent picture. Houses are not joined but always you will see that they are spread on the hill with some land surrounding them. This land belongs to house owner and they use it for different purposes and some make beautiful lawns with wonderful and colorful flowers and apple trees. 

How beautiful this baby pine tree is looking . Almost all the trees are covered with snow at this time. You will see variety of trees along the way. Depending upon the altitude from sea level. On tops there are Pine and Cider trees and down there is a lot of Eucalyptus. There are also bushes and thorny shrubs with beautiful flowers. Before all the sides of the roads and mountains were covered with forest but as the population is increasing mostly forest is cut down and it is also changing the weather. Forest department is everywhere but I am not much sure what they do all year. They seem active just when they plant trees in spring and afterwards no care for the plants and they soon die. I hope Forest department will really show some effort and stop the illegal cutting of trees from forest by locals or anyone else. I feel it is our responsibility to hand down a green Kashmir to our kids. I feel very sad when I see forest fire or see people cutting woods. But no one to stop them. 

Spring is knocking at the doors and people from different places bring their goats, lambs, cows and buffaloes for grazing. 
  This is a beautiful sight of the evening. In winter the weather and the sun does really wonders. It surprises you with beautiful colors. One can not stop from praising the Allah for beautiful colors that prevail the sky in winder. Beauty of Kashmir is because of the trees that cover it's mountains. At they leave pleasant effect on weather and I can not stop myself for remembering the sound of air when it plays with needle like leaves of pine. It plays with them and screams as it passes from them and gets cut or pinched. This is what I used to believe in my childhood.

 You can think to leave some foot prints on snow. But soon they will be gone. I love to eat snow, specially with sugar. My mouth is watering can not forget the taste of natural snow. Playing with snow at this time is really fun. You will see people out of their homes, covered with heavy cloths and making snowman and throwing it on one another. 

 Trees are not that happy to carry the weight of snow and try to get rid of it as soon as possible, some new plants get buried under the snow and desperate to come out and breath in fresh air, not so happy with chilling and freezing weather. 

 Here we can have a sight of historical place I would say as the trees in cluster were planted under rule of Mahraja in Kashmir. As he used to rest on this small hill along his way to Jammu & Kashmir and he ordered to plant these Deodar threes at this spot. He is gone but the think he left still benefits people and gives them happiness. Below you can see the same scene during summer. This place is famous for these trees. They are 22 in number and as you can see in picture you might be thinking it's one tree but it is not! You can also some traditional colorful houses nearby. 

You will also see fog as when it is fog, people say that weather will be clear soon after it will disappear. 

 This is the vehicle for local transport and this is a piece of very traditional art form of Pakistan. You will be wondering as you may not have seen such vehicle. So to break your surprise, we call it princess of hills. It is a bus, decorated like a bride. We also call it rocket bus. As when the drives runs it on circling roads with high music on, you do not know, where you are going and how. You will see it all time jam packed, even people will be on it's roof and hanging from sides.  Obviously we did not take the risk to sit on it but during my childhood it was one thing, I loved to ride on. 

I hope you will like these pictures taken along the way from Islamabad to Trarkhel.

Trarkhel Azad #Kashmir

Planing for summer holidays??? Why not go to a trip to Kashmir????

There are many advantages of going to Pakistan or Kashmir, to count few;

  • You can see beauty at it's peak with a blend of both rural and urban life. 
  • Shocked to see hustle and bustle of cities and amazed to feel calmness, freshness and peace of villages.
  • Pakistan is rich with variety of scenic beauty of lush green valleys, towering snow covered mountains, with flowing waters of springs, rivers and waterfalls.
  • World second highest peak K-2 is in Pakistan. 
  • There are colors of nature blended with colors of traditions, you will see nature at it's peak with variety of traditions. 
  • You will also realize that the propaganda that your media is doing against Pakistan is black - one with no reality on ground. 
  • Above all it will cost you few hundred Dollars ($). 

In my blog, I try to concentrate more on Kashmir and to introduce you will different cities/ villages of Kashmir. If you want to have  a look on few cities of Kashmir then check here to see Pallandri and here to see some amazing pictures of natural beauty and have a look on flowing waters of waterfalls click here. Check here to read about Virgin Beauty of Kashmir Neelum Valley.  To check my YouTube video about Kashmir check here. If you have checked my previous post about two cities of Kashmir,  I will take you on a trip of another village of Azad Kashmir today. 
Great advantage of going to Trarkhel is that, you will cross Pearl of Kashmir, the city of natural beauty Rawalakot then you will see wonders of man-made lake Banjosa and finally reach your destination with spiritual feels and blessings of natural beauty. 

I tried to put as much details about the town as possible. I do not think that you can find such details anywhere else. 

Trarkhel is a small town at the distance of 1.5 hours from Rawalakot. The distance of Trarkhel from Rawalpindi is 2 hours 33 minutes (131 Kilometer) via Pallandri- Hajira Road. It’s elevation is 6502 Ft. from sea level. 
According to Wikipedia different spellings are used for this city like; Tarar Khel, Tarar Khal, Tararkhel and Tararkhal  

Trarkhel is the biggest Tehsil of District Sudhnoti. Pallandri is District Head quarter and Deputy Commissioner and staff sit in Pallandri but there are offices of administrations and Assistant Commissioner sits in Trarkhel.

Before 1995 District Sudhnoti with all of its four Tehsils Pallandri, Balloch, Trarkhel and Mang was part of District Poonch whose head quarter is Rawalakot, Azad Kashmir.

It is a hilly area with high pine trees and lush green valley. Along with natural beauty and variety of wild flowers, trees and fruits. People of Trarkhel love to grow flowers in their gardens, in front of their homes. You can see the pictures of few varieties that people grow there. 
Trarkhel is connected to other parts of Azad Kashmir with a road. From Rawalakot to Trarkhel the condition of road is good as mostly people use Gouin Nala road to go to Rawalpindi, Pakistan. But the road joining Trarkhel to Pallandri is not that good. Nowadays construction work is under process and hopefully this road will be fine again. Before the construction of Gouin  Nala road mostly people going from Rawalakot to Pallandri were using Trarkhel road but after construction of the alternative path people left to travel on this road and many bazaars on the road have vanished that were working just because of local transport and routes of the buses.


Trarkhel is a beautiful place and tourist spot, it is famous for few reasons in Azad Kashmir.

  • ·         Nerian sharif: This was a remote area and house of wild life once. There was nothing but a dense jungle. Long ago a sufi saint Mohiuddin Ghaznavi came here and started teaching Islam to people and after some time, people from all around started travelling to this place to learn about religion and it’s values from him. Until now, long after his death people travel to Nerian for the same purpose as his son is also following his footsteps and doing a lot of social work for the poor and orphans.

  • ·         Mohi-ud-din University: Alauddin Saddiqqi a dignified and intellectual personality of Trarkhel. He has built a private university near Trarkhel, the name of place is Nerian Sharif. The name of university is Mohi-ud-Din Islamic University Nerian Sharif (MU).  Visit this link to go to official site of university; . This university is also recognized by Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC). Ala-ud-din Saddiqi chancellor of MU is also running a TV channel in UK with name Noor TV. More information can be checked on the website; . Alla-ud-din Saddiqui is also founder of Mohi-ud-din trust and Chairman of Al-Ehya Trust that helps poor, needy and orphans, educate them along with providing them food and accommodation.

  • ·         Tomb of Khwaja Pir Ghulam Mohiuddin Ghaznavi: There is also a shrine of Khwaja Pir Ghulam Mohiuddin Ghaznavi who was a religious sufi scholar and saint in Nerian. An annual praying ceremony is held, where thousands of people visit from around the world. This tomb is now called Darbar Aalia Nerian Sharif. The details can be checked here; . The Allauddin Siddiqui the son of Mohi-ud-din Saddiqui has also constructed a medical college in Azad Kashmir in Mirpur named Mohi-ud-din Islamic Medical College, Mirpur.

  • Danna Pothi Mir Khan : The thing that make it a tourist attraction is the place named
    Danna Pothi Mir Khan. This place is famous because of
    22 Deodar trees that are so closely placed that it seem that there is one tree. These trees were planted in era of Maharaja Hari Singh that was using this route to go to Occupied Kashmir and  used to take some rest at this spot during his journey as this spot is situated at a high place. He order for the plantation of Deodar trees here and then these trees were planted. There is a nearby water spring where he, his wife and other soldiers etc. used to drink water, it is called Baei until now.  

 Many people from Pakistan and Kashmir come to visit this place daily. Many school trips are arranged to visit Deodar and Mohi-ud-din university.

Literacy rate/ Jobs:

In all the areas of Azad Kashmir, literacy rate is very high including Trarkhel. There are many government and private schools and colleges in the area. There are separate government colleges for boys and girls.

Most of the people of District Sudhnoti are serving in army including Trarkhel. There are not much options with the people for earning. Many are government servants in different departments, others run their business and rest are abroad in other countries.


Females do not have much options for jobs with them. Normally they become teachers in private/government schools colleges and university. Few go in medicine as there is limited quota in medical colleges for females.


Trarkhel is winter station and due to rain and snow in winter all the schools/colleges and university is closed for winter. Rest the market and offices remain open. 

Social Life & Living :

  • ·         Religion: Almost 100% population is Muslim. Hardly with few homes of Christians. Many masjids are constructed by the locals to facilitate the public to perform religious rituals and prayers. There are few grand masjids in market where Friday prayer is offered and people from surrounding area travel to market to offer special Friday prayer. There is much hustle and bustle in the market area on that day. Many seem busy with grocery after the prayer.

  • ·         Dress: Male use a long shirt till their knees, shirt normally as collars and cuffs with a trouser. Females also wear long shirt but it do not have collar and cuffs with trouser. Females also wear a long piece of cloth to cover hair and upper part of body called dupatta.

  • ·         Marriages: In whole Kashmir people are conservative and stick with their traditions. They normally do not allow cross cast marriages. Members of a certain cast prefer marrying with people of their own cast. If not all, more than 95% marriages are arranged by family members. Main tribe of the Trarkhel is Sudhan.

  • ·         Houses: Few decade before people were living in mud houses but now mostly concrete houses are constructed. After earth quake of 8th Oct 2005 people prefer to build concrete walls as majority of mud houses fell in a massive shake with the magnitude of 7.8 in Richter scale with center near Capital Muzaffarabad, Azad Kashmir.

·         Roads: There is a network of roads on hills to join small towns together. People have their cars who can afford, rest travel by local buses, Suzuki and jeeps. At few places there are no means of transportation and roads are not constructed/carpeted. There are mud roads and jeeps move on them. At some places people also use donkeys and horses to carry goods and construction material to build houses. People also prefer walking on foot to their homes from main market place.
  • ·         Water: Mostly people use water for household use from natural springs and there is a water scheme by government that is limited and few get its benefit. Some also have hand pumps to use at homes. Females carry pitchers on their heads full of water from the springs for drinking purposes.
  • ·         Gas: Gas of cylinders is used for cooking near market area and away on hilly side people prefer burning wood from the jungle as they cut the tree for free.
  • ·         Electricity: People have electricity at their houses who are near markets, still there are some places where electricity has not reached. People suffer heavy load shedding in summer and do not have electricity for more than 18 hours. Even having a Mangla Dam in Mirpur people of Kashmir suffer most power shortage and many businesses are effected due to power break down.
  • ·         Mobiles & Internet: After the earth quake, permission was granted to mobile companies to operate and set up their towers in Kashmir. Before that, no mobile company was in Kashmir and people were relying on landline and there is a SCO digital exchange in town to provide people with facility. After earth quake all mobile companies set up their towers and people started using mobiles with ease and soon came the internet facility with wireless networks. Many are using internet on their mobiles and few use PTCL devices to connect with the world through net.

  • Climate:
      The weather is pleasant in summer, temperature range from 25-30C. In winter there is heavy rain and snow. All the nearby mountains are covered with a sheet of white snow.
  • ·         Crops: People grow wheat and corn in their fields with some seasonal vegetables. The crops they grow are normally for their own use or just to feed chicken they have at homes for eggs and meat. The soil is very fertile but due to lack of use of technology people do not make much profit from land and normally people do not have much land with them and what they have, is hilly.

  • ·         Fruits: Whole Kashmir is a fruit paradise. There are many fruits trees grown naturally and in many places people grow themselves. Apple, orange, walnut, plum, peach, pear and pomegranate trees can be seen everywhere. People enjoy different the juicy fruits in different seasons.

  • ·         Pets: People have chicken, pigeons, cows, buffalos, goats, lamb and dogs as pets at home. 

Rest House/ Market:

There is a rest house for tourist, hospital, market having few hundred shops with all basic necessities of life and  many other government and private schools and offices are situated in the town.

People are very hospitable. They are always happy to welcome the guests; serve guests with traditional food and drinks. 

For the pictures of Trarkhel and surrounding open below link;

Google satellite image of Trarkhel can be checked here;
Photos of nearby place Madhole Azad Kashmir
List of cities near Trarkhel;
For map of Danna Pothi Mir Khan click here;

All the pictures are sent by my Friend Bazga who is from Trarkhel. 

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Neelum Valley #Kashmir

Today I want to share with you some information and pictures of journey into a magical valley of Paradise Kashmir known as Neelum Valley. If you are not sure about Kashmir name and meaning then visit here.

Kashmir is a disputed area divided into three parts between India, Pakistan and China for the history check this link.  I have written a poem about Kashmir, you can check here. 

Neelum Valley: 

When this names comes to my mind, the sound of air spreading music with the movement of its cider, pine, deodar and fruit trees start soothing my mind. A lot of sites are there that will be busy praising the splendor of this magical land. I think I do not have suitable words to write about it’s beauty.

The name Neelum Valley is because of the fact that the valley is surrounded by bluish green Neelum River. Neelum mean Blue.

It’s heartwarming lush green valleys, gigantic snow-capped  peaks that loom on upper part of valley and line the horizon, finest soothing forests of cider, pine, fir and deodar with milky waterfalls, springs, fresh water lakes nested in mountains and river make it a wonder land.

I will provide you will the links of many websites that you can check to see amazing pictures from this valley. This valley is situated some 4000 m above the sea level.

This valley at 8000 ft. height  is a dream land and I can not describe what one feels for being there the land seems enchanting. It’s soothing air, fresh water springs and the crystal clear waters make it a fairy land. It is believed that fairies descend on lakes. It is gifted with excellent scenery by the Almighty Allah and I think if I tell you,” this valley tops the list of most beautiful valleys of Pakistan” you can guess about the beauty that is there to welcome you.

Fast flowing River Neelum winds across the valley downhill and meets and Jehlum River at Donail in Muzaffrabad. The river water is freezing cold because of melting snow from the mighty snow covered hills.

When you are bored of your routine and fed up of the hotness of your place, I will strongly recommend you to take a break and have a look what nature save for you in this gem. The temperature in May remains between 180C to 30oC.  It’s charming in summer but in winter extreme weather conditions with heavy snowfall covers whole area with unbearable cold breeze. 
Snow fall starts in upper part in November and afterwards in lower parts and it is hard to reach there as all the roads are closed normally because of heavy snowfall.

A new road has been constructed parallel to roaring Neelum River to reach this dream land but still it is not complete and it goes till Dowarian. Rest you have to go by four wheel drives(jeeps) or by horses. If you travel for the first time in a hilly area then be careful. Do not sit towards river as you can easily get scared.

This valley brings some special feelings to my mind as when for the first time Athmakam was announced as headquarter of, 90 miles Neelum Valley with 20,000 residents. This valley is at the distance of 84 km from capital Muzaffarabad and is at the height of 1371 m from sea level. My father was appointed in Head quarter to look after the matters. Then he also served in Hattain bala and finally passed 3 years of his life in Sharda and Neelum Valley. At that time new road was not built and he have to travel for couple of days to reach there after staying in different places. 

The name Ath-mukam  is taken from the fact as it is 8th station from to valley from Muzaffarabad. Ath is Urdu word for 8 and Mukam mean place or station. Interesting… isn’t it???

You will be amazed to know that one side of Neelum rizer is part of Azad Kashmir and other side is occupied by India. Brothers are separated by this river and when they have some important function or any sad happening in family, they call each other from banks of river and sing and dance in case of happiness and condole in case of any death. But can not meet and touch hands and never visited each other. Children have grown up by looking at each other from banks of the river.

There are many hotels near river and rest house in Athmuqam.

When my father was there he called us to visit this highly fascinating magical land and my eyes cannot believe the scenery that I see there the scenic beauty absorbed me. Valley is profound with fruits and wildlife. Apple and walnuts are very famous and also sent to other parts of the country. It was like, if I am not on earth. All the tiredness finished after reaching there. There were not much ways for communication at that time and there was a special sim that was given to government employees to keep in touch with the capital Muzzaffrabad and family. There is also a factory that makes the furniture of fit, cider and deodar and it is believed that this furniture lasts for more than 100 years.

It was rule of the Government of Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJ&K) that no one will be appointed there for more than 1 year as during winter whole area is blocked and the officers were just locked up in their quarters with fir/deodar burning inside in rooms. The boredom was killing and many can get some serious health issue, because of continuous exposure to heat and boredom. But the people of the valley liked my father a lot and government was so much happy that my father lived there for more years and finally he became heart patient and while coming back from Athmuqam in 2007 he got his first heart attack. But he is a man of strong nerves and courage and finally with his will power in that condition reached Rawalpindi after travelling 8-9 hours.

These memories bring tears to my eyes.


There are different villages, I am listing down few of them. 

Patika is gateway to Neelum valley and has bazaar that provides with all essentials for living to villagers . The rhythmic crystal clear water of waterfalls amaze the visitors. Trout fish is in abundance in waters and mostly people visit to enjoy trout fish and do fishing there. Jagran Nallah is famous for Trout Fish. 
There is a rest house in Kutton. The valley is famous of its revealing charming landscape. There are two famous hiking tracks as well. Tracking, hiking and camping is famous . 
Keran military bridge is finest spot to spend a night as there is no shelling or firing across the border after ceasefire on Line of Control(LOC). 2 ½ km from Keran is Neelum Valley. Entire occupied Kashmir can be seen from here. 
A high Alpine Lake and a Ratti Gali lake are situated in Dowarian which is at the distance of 13 km from Neelum valley. People cross the river by ropes, that is like a dangerous adventure, yet thrilling. 
Tao Butt is famous for forest wealth with abundance of vegetation and wild walnuts, strawberries with other trees and herb growth.

The valley provides with a captivating scenery with its gushing waters and forests. Sharda valley is tucked deep inside the mountains.  In Sharda there are remains of one of the oldest universities of Asia named Sharda University. The pictures of ruins of the ancient university can be seen here. These ruins attract many archaeologist from different places. This was a great place of learning starting in Buddhist rule till Hindu and Muslim rule. 

This beauty leaves an everlasting and captivating impression of pleasure  in your mind and soul. This valley offers plenty of opportunity to visitors to see the diversity and beauty at it’s peak. 

Many students of botany and other sciences of different universities of Azad Kashmir and Pakistan visit this place to collect data and samples of the vegetation. 

Neelum Valley is the place were you will feel yourself most alive and at peace. 


There are four famous lakes in the area named;
  1. Barkatia Lake – Ratti Gali altitude 3700m,
  2. Chitta Katha Lake – Kel altitude 2097m,
  3. Dakh Lake - Junai,
  4. Shounter Lake – Shounter valley 3100m,

At any point of the year there can be rain and sudden change in weather so it is highly recommended to be prepared for cold and keep warm cloth with you.

If you carefully plan your trip then you can get maximum advantage, pleasure and enjoyment from the visit. Before planning the visit contact information centers and make sure if the routes are open. 

This beauty of nature is enhanced by traditionally built wooden huts and terraced fields. The residents of this breath taking place are hospitable and live in harmony and peace. 

Visit to this place really make your life full and for sure the visit can never been forgotten. I think now you have enough travel inspiration and it is easy for you to decide where to go. In my view this is an exceedingly beautiful place. 

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. 

For more information you can visit these links. 

For Pictures:
Facebook Page of Neelum Valley
Most Beautiful places of Pakistan:
For trip, track, map and Facilities details;

All pictures are shared by my friend Meryye and her friends. I really want to thank them who took these wonderful pictures on their trip to Neelum valley and shared with me.