Neelum Valley is a heavenly spot with peaks as high as four thousand meters above the sea level and even more. It is a valley of exotic scenery, picturesque view, and sky embracing tops, captivating brooks, alluring greenery, elusive paths and all that a wandering soul looks for. Pleasing trekking area, a lovely broad road for tourists, convenient traveling and accommodation facilities make Neelum valley a must-see charming landscape.
Best Time To Visit Neelum Valley:
Most of the people are usually interested to know the most suitable time to visit according to Neelum valley weather. The good news is that you can visit this charming valley at any time throughout the year. You just have to manage a vacation from your work routine. Every season is fascinating and captivating in the Neelum Valley. Still, if you wish a discreet instruction to visit the place, it is from April to October. If you long for hiking, you should visit from mid of July to mid-September.
Neelum valley is also known as “the Paradise of Kashmir”. It was a common belief that it is called Neelum in accordance with a precious stone Neelum, whereas, it was named after its curvy blue river. This is a valley of lush green forests, rivers, and streams. Its fascinating views are the cause of alluring many tourists to visit the valley.
The official language of Neelum Valley Kashmir is Urdu, as the local people can understand and communicate well in Urdu. People speak other local languages as well; Hindko, Pahari, and Kashmiri. You can feel convenient in talking to people in Pushto and Punjabi as well because there are some Pushto and Punjabi people gone there for work.
The lifestyle of the people of Bhimbar, Kotli, and Mirpur is quite simple. They are tradition-loving people who have adhered to their customs over these years when people in other cities are enamored by Western culture. People living here are honest and simple. They have a deep respect for their land and values. The custom and traditions of these areas resemble the neighboring region of Punjab.
Muzaffarabad district is the capital of AJK. It has its distinct civilization; its residents are sharper, skillful and industrious. People are more educated and cultured as compared to other residents of nearby valleys. Some renowned and highly qualified people also belong to this district.
Men and women both wear Shalwar Qameez in Neelum Valleys. In summers, men prefer waistcoats, whereas, jackets and sweaters are worn with Shalwar Qameez in winter. Women are seen in traditional dressing, western dressing is not appreciated in these areas. Some women wear a burka, and others veil their faces or cover their heads with shawls or dupatta. Even the foreigner tourists enjoy wearing local dresses in order to enjoy the company of the local people.
Islam is the major religion of the valley; almost the entire population is Muslim. Most of its residents are not natives rather the majority of the residents of Azad Kashmir are Punjabis by origin. According to the data provided by the Christian community association, the number of Christians residing in this area is 4,500. Most of Christians reside in Bhimber and Muzaffarabad and Mirpur are next in the list. Only a few families of Bahais are said to be living in some rural areas but there is no official data available. An estimated number of twenty to twenty-five thousand Ahmadis is also reported to be residing in Muzaffarabad, Mirpur Bhimber and Kotli.
If you are a foodie, you are going to fall in love with the Kashmiri food delights. You may eat to satiate your stomach but your tongue may crave for more. There is not a single particular dish to represent the taste buds of the valley residents; rather there is a large variety to make you fall in love with Kashmiri cuisine.
Most of Kashmir food is essentially non-vegetarian, influenced by Mughal food traditions. Most of the foods have chicken, fish, and mutton as a main ingredient of dishes. There is a limited number of delicious vegetarian dishes as well. Hot spices like cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, fennel, and saffron add rich flavor to the food to make you yearn for more.
The signature food of the valley is Rogan e Josh, a treat for meat or lamb lovers. This Mughal originated food a low-fat healthy dish with a mouth-watering aroma of roasted onions, relishes, and yogurt. Matschgand is another food treat for food overs, minced meatballs with spicy mouthwatering gravy can seduce your taste buds to crave for more.
Yogurt lamb curry, Aab gosht, and Goshtaba treat for meat lovers. While, g=vegetarians can relish their taste buds with scrumptious meals like Modur Pulav, Dum Olav, and Lyodur Tschaman. Momos is a popular dish with Tibetan origin added with local tastes can also be a great addition to your menu.
Neelum Valley Weather
Weather conditions of Neelum valley are a great attraction for the tourists and it is the most visited area in Azad Kashmir. The best time to visit this alluring piece of land is between March to October end. You would need to make 3-4 days plan to enjoy this scenic beauty of nature. It is better to avoid your visit in the rainy season and if it rains during your visit you need to be precautious of sliding areas.
Expenses / Travel Guide To Neelum Valley / Routes
The best way to plan your visit is to get an advance reservation in some hotel at least two weeks before to avoid inconvenience especially if you are visiting during the peak season. There is no cellular network coverage forty kilometers ahead of Muzaffarabad.
The best way to visit Neelum Valleys is to avail some Kashmir tour packages for a convenient and less hassle-free trip. Being a tourist you cannot have in-depth knowledge of the area, its facilities, travelling conditions and a lot more. Usually, you can avail these facilities from Islamabad. In case, you have to travel from Lahore, Karachi, or some other area of Pakistan, you are instructed to reach Islamabad to avail of this travelling facility. There are different Kashmir tour packages; the expenses of four or five-day trip with a single room accommodation may cost you sixty thousand rupees or more inclusive of transport facility, driver, and fuel, guide, sight-seeing, comfortable accommodation, and superb services. Foreigner tourists can avail these packages in 300-400$.
You can avail public transportation but they are usually not comfortable enough. You can get a car or jeep on rent still; you may not be able to trace the easier and better roads. You are suggested to avail some package that suits your need. Jammu and Kashmir Tourism offer you to make family visits to different areas of Kutton, Kel, Sharda, Taobat, Halmat, Upper Neelum, Keran, Muzzaffarabad, and Peer Chanasi. If you are interested to have an adventurous trip, you can avail trips to Noori Nar, Chita Katha, and Ratti Gali.
It is suggested that you study Neelum valley map yourself or with the help of some guide and keep them in your record. You will not be able to enjoy cellular communications to get access to online maps in these areas.
Top Places to Visit in Neelum Valley
Arang Kel is a village and most recommended spot to visit in Neelum Valley. It is located on top of the hill at an altitude of 2.554 m near Kel. It is considered to be a heaven on earth by visitors. It is situated nine kilometers away from Kel. The picturesque beauty of this land, misty mornings, snow-covered peaks, rosy dusks, breathtaking sights, winding hiking track, and wonderful cable car add to make it a great attraction for tourists.
You get an opportunity to be closer to Mother Nature at its best. You should plan at least one night or two-night stay to explore this exotic valley. From Kel to Arang Kel, you can either choose to take a chairlift or start hiking. You ought to have great stamina and physical fitness to hike for 1.5 -2.5 hours hiking. Otherwise, the chairlift is a good choice, it would take almost half an hour but it is really steep. Most of the tourists prefer using this cable car. Another option to move is horse riding. Arang Kel is famous for its adventure tour tourism. Paths become slippery and muddy when it rains, you should be careful. You can take walking sticks along. Don’t forget to take water as well.
There is a facility of camps and guests houses but you may not find them up to your expectations. These guest houses also provide food for tourists. But you can choose to ignore some inconvenience to enjoy the breathtaking natural beauty.
Ratti Gali Lake
The splendid and captivating Rati Gali Lake is a famous visiting spot situated almost eighteen kilometers from Dawarain. The best time to visit this place is between May to October. You can find a jeep track to get access to it. You are recommended to take a guide with you. Its marvelous waterfall, picturesque spots, and charming weather make sit a great attraction for the local and foreign tourists.
According to different tourists, despite its bumpy road and risky drive, this place is worth visiting. You will forget the rest when you will view this heavenly magnificent land. Here, weather is not predictable, it can rain any moment or strong winds start blowing. It is better that you don’t take kids along.
You can ride a jeep on a track left to the Neelum valley; it is a four hours’ drive to the base camp. A steep narrow road gives you chills along with the chilly weather; it is even cold in summers as well due to glaciers. The overwhelming scenic views will keep alluring you despite the risky drive. To move further, you can choose either to trek up or a horse ride to the lake. As the track is quite steep you need to be alert on a horse ride. Once you reach the top, you realize that it was all worth the efforts. If you choose to walk back, it may take you 3-4 hours again to get back. The serenity of Rati Gali Lake is no less than a fairytale; it can prove to be a lifetime experience for you.
In order to bring children along, you should get the proper directions about the suitable weather. Choose proper footwear as it is a must to enjoy your adventure. You can avail any of the Kashmir tour packages that suit your time of budget and convenience.