at the confluence of the Jhelum and the Neelum rivers Muzaffarabad the
capital of the State of Azad Jammu and Kashmir is at a distance of 138
km from Rawalpindi and 79 km from Abbottabad. Surrounded by mountains,
it looks like a walled town. It is the administrative capital of Azad
Kashmir. Behind the Secretariat to the east is a road climbing above the
town from where one can walk upto Pir Chinasi at 2,900 meters with good
views of the Jhelum Valley and the higher mountains above the Neelum to
the north. From the cool on the Abbottabad Road, you can walk along the
ridge looking over the Jhelum and Kunhar rivers.
Past the Red fort, crossing Neelum river at Ghori, a few km away 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. Rice and maize are widely grown. Some 10 kms out of Muzaffarabad,
the river widens to from a small lake. This was created by a landslide
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 Tourism Department in Muzaffarabad.
The city was founded by Sultan Muzaffar Khan of Bamba dynasty and was the seat of an independent State for quite a long period under his successors.
The city is now a combination of old 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.
There are rest houses, good hotels and guest houses in Muzaffarabad city where the tourists can stay.
The rather sleazy bazaar in Muzaffarabad can be explored for its walnut carvings and its Kashmiri shawls. It is sometimes possible to get a good bargain.
Border skirmishes between the armies of renowned Mughal The Great Akbar and the Chak rulers of Kahsmir were common. To ensure safety of the people, and the land, the Chaks realised to raise defence posts and efficiently countered the offensives.
During the year 1949 the construction of the red fort was undertaken. It 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.
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.
The awe-inspiring locus, with an altitude of 2924 meters above the sea level is located eastward of Muzaffarabad. Due to its tremendous scenic beauty, velvet green plateaus and wonderful climate, it wins admiration of nature lovers. The view of the summit of the neighbouring mountain peaks spell bounds a tourist. Devotees of Saint Shah Hussain Bukhari, take pilgrimage to rejuvenate their adust heart. The adjacent Pirchinassi, phawna da Danna and the areas in the bottom of Pirchinassi, i.e. Saran, Sud Bun, Mushki, 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.
The comely beauty of the place attracts a restive mind to prolong his stay. The picturesque Shaheed Gali, situated at the height of about 1640 meters above sea level is at a distance of about 16 kilometers westward from Muzaffarabad. From Shaheed Gali 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.
Located at a distance of 19 Km from Muzaffarabad, it is a gateway to Neelum valley and can be the first journey break on the way.A mini zoo and a fish hatchery have turned the place into a site of diversions. AJK Tourism Department has constructed a Tourist Rest House here, which is very popular among tourists.
The upper Jhelum valley
makes an interestingly scenic excursion from Muzaffarabad. By following
the Jhelum upstream and taking the road beneath the Domel Bridge you'll
be retracing the old route to Srinagar. The valley is broad with raised
terraces above the river. Rice and maize are widely grown. Some 10 km
out of Muzaffarabad where the river widens to form a small lake. A landslide
is responsible for all this. Located here, is a small Angler's Hut, which
makes it a pleasant picnic spot!