The capital of Azad state of Jammu & Kashmir, is situated at the confluence of the Jhelum & Neelum Rivers. Its elevation is 724 meters (ASL) and at a distance of 138 kilometers from Rawalpindi and about 76 kilometers from Abbottabad. Muzaffarabad has been named after Sultan Muzaffar Khan, the chief of the Bomba Dynasty (in 1652). Cradled by lofty mountains, Muzaffarabad is a blend of varied cultures and languages. Being the capital of the State it has all the necessary facilities of life. In addition, there are two historical forts, the Red & Black Fort, situated on the sides of river Neelum. The Neelum River streams, proudly through the hub of the town, joins river Jhelum at Domel and plays a dominant role in the micro climate of Muzaffarabad. The capital city of Azad Jammu & Kashmir, “Muzaffarabad” also serves as a base camp for the tourist, intending to visit tourist spots and other historical, cultural and traditional aspects of AJK.
Muzaffarabad is not only the hub of political and cultural activities but also has various spots for leisure. Domel, the junction point of Neelum & Jhelum Rivers, presents a magic beauty from here. “Lohaar Gali” situated 9 Kilometers from the city on Abbottabad road, offers a bird eye view of the capital city. At night, the lights of the city present an unforgettable scene from this point. Similarly, Muzaffarabad city can be viewed from Sathra of Tariq Abad by-pass road and Maira Tanolian.
Muzaffarabad Fort, generally known as Red Fort is a witness to the ancient history of this great city. It is said that construction of Fort was initially taken up by chuk rulers to counter the offensives of the intruders. However, Sultan Muzaffar Khan, the founder of Muzaffarabad town finally completed it in 1646. During the Mughal rule in Kashmir, this fort lost its importance, as they were more interested in other parts of their empire. But when Durrani’s took over the rule of this area, it again came in to being lime light and its importance was recovered. Afterwards after the Dogra rule of Maharaja Gulab Singh and Maharaja Ranbir Singh, the fort was reconstructed and extended according to their political and militarial requirements. However towards the end of 1947, the Dogra’s fled away leaving the fort wide open to anybody. Since then it has braved devastating floods, ravages of time, and other hazards to project its inherent glory and historical background.
Historical tourist lodge Barsalla is located at a distance of 100 kilometer from Islamabad and 40 kilometers from Muree. On the way to Muzaffarabad it is only 3 kilo meters from Kohala Bridge that is entry point in AJK. This Lodge was firstly built in Dogra rule but historical importance is due to founder of Pakistan Mohammad Ali Jinnah who was stayed here in 1944 when he was returning from Srinagar. That particular chair is still present in this lodge on which Quaid was seated. Dograas rulers used to stay here while traveling between Rawalpindi and Srinagar. AJK Tourism Department has repaired it after it was hit by 2005 earth quake and now it has seven rooms for tourists. In summer season cool breeze from river Jhelum gives a pleasant touch. This historical resort is a memorable place for a tourist which is also known as Quaid-e-Azam Memorial Rest House.
The awe-inspiring locus, with an altitude of 2924 meters above the sea level is located 32 Kilometer, 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 heart. The adjacent Pir Asimar, Pawna, Danna and the areas in the bottom of Pirchanasi i.e. Saran, Sud Bun, Mushki, Sakki and Jarran Phirran are also worth seeing and ideal for hiking, trekking and camping activities. A tourist lodge at Saran (with an altitude of 1231 meters ASL) provides accommodation facilities to the tourists while construction of extra accommodation is in progress.
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 serenity for the backdrop of area. A Tourist Rest House is available for accommodation at Shaheed Gali.
Located at a distance of 19 Kms from Muzaffarabad and at the height of about 840 meters (ASL), 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. Some private hotels are available according to the local standard.
The state of Azad Jammu and Kashmir lies between longitude 73o – 75o and latitude 33o – 36o and comprises an area of 5134 square miles (13,297 square kilometers). The topography of the area is mainly hilly and mountainous with valleys and stretches of plains. The area is full of natural beauty with thick forest, fast flowing rivers and winding streams. Main rivers are Jehlum, Neelum and Poonch. The climate is sub-tropical highland type with an average yearly rainfall of 1300 mm. The elevation ranges from 360 meters in the south to 6325 meters in the north.
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