Pakistan is a land of diverse landscapes, cultures, and traditions. Neelum Valley is one of the most unexplored and hidden gems of Pakistan. Located in the northern part of the country, Neelum Valley is a valley of mesmerizing beauty, surrounded by snow-capped mountains, lush green forests, and glistening streams. This valley is a perfect destination for adventure seekers, nature lovers, and those who want to experience the authentic culture and traditions of Pakistan.
Exploring lesser-known destinations like Neelum Valley is essential to promote tourism in the country. It not only helps in creating employment opportunities for the locals but also contributes to the economic growth of the region. Moreover, discovering new places helps in preserving the natural and cultural heritage of Pakistan.
Getting to Neelum
Neelum Valley is accessible through three routes: Islamabad-Muzaffarabad, Islamabad-Mansehra-Naran, and Islamabad-Muzaffarabad-Kel. The most convenient and popular route is Islamabad-Muzaffarabad, which is approximately 138 kilometers long and takes around four hours to reach the valley. Public and private transport options are available, including buses, taxis, and minibusses. It is recommended to book a private cab if you want to explore the valley at your own pace.
The infrastructure of Neelum Valley is gradually improving, and the roads are being widened and improved. However, there are still some parts of the valley where the roads are narrow and bumpy. It is advisable to travel during the day and follow the instructions of the locals. There are checkpoints at the entrance of the valley, where you need to register yourself and your vehicle.
Attractions in Neelum
Neelum Valley is a paradise for nature lovers, with its magnificent mountains, crystal-clear lakes, and gushing waterfalls. The most popular natural attractions include Ratti Gali Lake, Kutton Waterfall, Shounter Valley, and Baboon Valley. These places offer breathtaking views and opportunities for hiking, trekking, and camping.
Apart from natural beauty, Neelum Valley also has historical and cultural landmarks, including ancient mosques, shrines, and forts. Some of the famous cultural attractions are Neelum Valley Fort, Chilhena Bandi Mosque, and Sharda University. These places are not only significant for their historical and architectural value but also provide an insight into the local culture and traditions.
Accommodation and dining options
Neelum Valley has various accommodation options, ranging from budget-friendly guest houses to luxurious resorts. The most popular option for tourists is camping, which offers an authentic experience of staying close to nature. There are also a few hotels and resorts that provide basic amenities and services, such as hot water and electricity.
As for dining options, Neelum Valley has a variety of local dishes, including traditional Pakistani cuisine and Kashmiri cuisine. The most famous local dishes are Roghni Naan, Seekh Kebab, Harissa, and Kashmiri Tea. There are also a few restaurants that serve international cuisine, such as Chinese, Italian, and Continental.
Local culture and traditions
The locals of Neelum Valley are warm and welcoming, and they take pride in their culture and traditions. It is an opportunity for tourists to learn about the local customs and ways of life. The most significant festival of the region is Eid-ul-Fitr, which is celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervor. Other cultural activities include traditional dance performances, music, and handicrafts.
Best time to visit Neelum
The best time to visit Neelum Valley is from April to October, as the weather is pleasant, and the valley is in full bloom. During winter, the valley is covered with a thick layer of snow, and the roads are blocked due to heavy snowfall. However, if you are interested in winter sports, such as skiing and snowboarding, then winter is also a great time to visit Neelum Valley.
Neelum Valley is a hidden gem that needs to be explored and appreciated. It offers a unique traveling experience, with its natural beauty, cultural landmarks, and warm hospitality. Pakistan has many such lesser-known destinations that need to be promoted and supported to attract more tourists and promote economic growth. So, pack your bags and head to Neelum Valley to discover the hidden treasures of Pakistan.