and the Galis
Murree, at 2,240 meters (7,400 feet), is only an hour's drive north-east
of Islamabad. Its cold pine forests, amidst magnificent mountain scenery,
make it the first choice for a day's outing from the capital. The Galis
are a string of hill resorts along the ridge between Murree and Abbottabad,
on the Karakoram Highway.
Founded as a hill station by the British in 1851, Murree was the summer
headquarters of the government of Punjab until 1876, when the honor was
transferred to Simla. Murree remained, however, a little bit of England,
complete with The Mall for promenading, parks, churches, schools, clubs
and cafes. Since independence, Murree has once again become the summer
retreat of the governor of Punjab and, since Islamabad became the capital
of Pakistan in 1962, has expanded rapidly.
Murree is lovely all year round. In summer it is cool - even chilly in
the evening - and rain is common. In winter, the snow is piled high along
the sides of the streets.
But it is extremely popular with Punjabis escaping the heat of the plains
in summer, so is too crowded for comfort from late May to early September,
especially at weekends. To beat the crowds and still enjoy the walks,
the best time to go in April-May and September-October.
Murree spreads along the top of a ridge for about five kilometres (three
miles). At the north-east end is Kashmir Point, with views across the
valley of the Jhelum River into Azad Kashmir. At the south-west end is
Pindi Point, looking back towards Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Between the
two runs The Mall, at the centre of which is the main shopping area, where
most people congregate. Numerous roads leave.
The Mall and either follow
the contours of the ridge or descend to the principal road. Promenading
and shopping are Murree's main amusements, or riding in the new chair-lifts,
one from Bansara Gali (below Murree) to Pindi Point, the other to the
top of Patriata hill (on the road to Karor); both rides cost about Rs.
250 and take half an hour with a change from open chair-lift to the enclosed
bubble in the middle.
After independence, Murree has become the most visited
and thriving summer tourist resort for entire Pakistan. The recently widened
road takes about 45 minutes from the capital city Islamabad drawing attention
of the tourists to the forest clad mountains, mainly of pines. every summer,
people from rather hot areas of Pakistan, specially Lahore and down south
rush to Murree for a few comfortable days. In winters, the snow clad Murree
once again sees the hustle and bustle of visitors. The life line of people
of Murree is the summer season since no other business thrives or means
of livelihood available. Poor but hospitable, they greet the visitors
with welcome smiles, but no compromise on prices.But by far the best visited
area is the Mall Road (above) - established during the 1850's. Today the
road side is full of gift shops selling local furs, canes and other handicrafts.
An underground market near the old church is famous for imported ladies
cloth and dry fruit. Besides, there are many hotels and restaurants that
offer sizzling chicken and meat dishes. However, during the season, specially
the summers, the prices soar but people still flock these places after
walking up and down the Mall road.
Murree is at its best
in summers and winters, but for those who want to enjoy the silence and
coolness of the area, perhaps November is the best. Murree has a number
of spots, called the Kashmir & Pindi points, since these face in the
direction of Kashmir and Rawalpindi. Recently, chair lifts have been added
from main Rawalpindi-Murree Road to the Pindi Point.
buys in Murree are Kashmiri shawls, furs, walking sticks, fruits and nuts.
Murree's pistachio nuts are reputed to be the best in Pakistan.
is a minor resort eight kilometers (five miles) from Murree on the road
leading north-east to Kohala and the Jhelum Valley. The golf course here
is open only to members. From near the Pearl Continental hotel you can
take one of the many delightful paved walks through the woods.
Galis ( Streets )
Perhaps the most sought out is the beautiful Nathiagali perched 2501 meters
high about 32 km away from Murree. The bracing air of the surrounding
mountains is as pure as fresh spring water.
Khairagali, Changlagali, Khanspur and Ghora Dhaka, these four mini resorts
spread over an area of 26 km have been developed into a resort complex
called Ayubia. In addition to riding trails, hiking places and picnic
spots, Ayubia has a chair lift, which like a ski-lift, takes you up to
the summit of the nearby range for a panoramic view of the forested hills.
Ayubia is 26 km from Murree.
Dungagali is a picturesque small resort situated on the slopes of the
Mukshpuri hill (2376 m.). It commands a charming view of a series of wooded
spurs projecting towards the river Jhelum on the western side. From Dungagali
one can climb the 2813 m peak of Mukhshpuri, which is the highest point
in the range. Natural springs abound on the slopes. It is 30 km from Murree.
It is 16 km from Murree at an elevation of 2346 m and commands a panoramic
view on either side of the ridge.
It is 16 km from Murree at an altitude of 2559 m. There is a rest house
located in the most picturesque surroundings.
25 km from Murree. The TDCP has developed a new tourist resort at Patriata.
There is chairlift and cable car system which takes visitors up to Patriata
Ridge in two stages from Gulehra Gali. The first stage is by chair lift
up to Patriata Bazaar. From here visitors transfer to cable car gondolas
for the ride up to Patriata Ride. A restaurant has also been established.
Further plans include development of a wildlife park at the mid-station.