While Lahore and Islamabad are the usual go-to spots for tourists visiting Pakistan, there are several lesser-known cities in the country that offer unique experiences and a chance to explore Pakistan’s diverse culture and history. One such city is Khuiratta, located in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. In this article, we will take a closer look at Khuiratta and what it has to offer to travelers.
Location and Geography
Khuiratta is located in the Kotli district of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, bordering the Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir. The city is situated on the banks of the Poonch River and is surrounded by lush green mountains. The region is known for its natural beauty, with several streams and waterfalls adding to the charm of the place. The climate in Khuiratta is temperate, with mild summers and cold winters.
History and Culture
Khuiratta has historical significance as it was a major center of the Kashmiri freedom movement against the Dogra rule in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The city is also known for its cultural diversity, with people from different ethnic and linguistic backgrounds living together peacefully. Some of the famous landmarks in Khuiratta include the historical Khuiratta Fort, the Shrine of Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah, and the Chakothi-Uri Bridge, which connects Azad Jammu and Kashmir to Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir.
Economy and Infrastructure
Agriculture and small-scale industries are the main sources of livelihood for the people of Khuiratta. In recent years, the government has invested in infrastructure development, including the construction of highways and bridges, to improve connectivity within the region. The city is well-connected to major cities in Pakistan, with several transport options available, including buses and taxis.
Tourism and Attractions
Khuiratta has several tourist destinations that offer glimpses into its rich cultural and natural heritage. The Shrine of Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah is a popular pilgrimage spot for both Muslims and Hindus. The Khuiratta Fort, built during the Mughal era, is another historical landmark that attracts visitors. Adventure enthusiasts can go trekking in the nearby mountains, while nature lovers can explore the waterfalls and streams in the area. Local cuisine, including traditional Kashmiri dishes like Rogan Josh and Yakhni, is a must-try for foodies.
Challenges and Opportunities
Like many other cities in Pakistan, Khuiratta faces several challenges, including poverty and lack of basic facilities like healthcare and education. However, the local government, with the help of non-governmental organizations and private enterprises, is making efforts to improve the living standards of the people. There is also enormous potential for tourism in the region, which can create job opportunities and boost the local economy.
Khuiratta may not be as well-known as other cities in Pakistan, but it offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty that is worth exploring. As travelers, we have a responsibility to promote sustainable tourism in lesser-known cities like Khuiratta, which can not only provide us with enriching experiences but also contribute towards the development of these regions.