The capital of the Azad Jammu & Kashmir is situated at the confluence of the Jhelum & Neelum rivers. It is 138 km from Rawalpindi and about 76 km from Abbottabad. The present name of Muzaffarabad has been given to it after the name of Sultan Muzaffar Khan, chief of the Bomba Dynasty (1652). There are two forts, namely, Red & Black Fort, situated on the opposite sides of river Neelum. The Neelum river streams through the town joins river Jhelum at Domel and plays a dominant role in the microclimate of Muzaffarabad. Places of interest in and around Muzaffarabad are Pir Channasi, Shaheed Gali and Patika.
People & Culture
Azad Jammu & Kashmir is a land of fascinating people, languages & cultures. Its population is composed of different races claiming their descent from Semitic, Mongoloid, Aryans, Persians, Turks & Arabs, speaking different languages like Kashmiri, Pahari, Gojri, Punjabi and Pushto. The people of Kashmir are sturdy, simple, truthful, intelligent, ingenious, hardworking, skilful and deeply attached to their land.
What To See?
Azad Jammu & Kashmir is very rich in natural beauty. Its snow-covered peaks, dense forests, winding rivers, turbulent foaming streams, sweet-scented valleys, velvet green plateaus and climate varying from arctic to tropical, all join together to make it an excellent tourist attraction. Valleys like Neelum, Jhelum, Leepa, Rawalakot, Banjosa, Samahni & Baghser unfold delightful scenic beauty and provide a feast of pleasure to a discerning tourist’s eyes. Azad Kashmir is also blessed with a varied mountainous landscape ranging from low hills to high mountains (2000 to 6000 m) most suitable for adventure sports like climbing, trekking, mountaineering, summer camping and hiking. Blessed with rivers & streams, it offers great potential for white water sports, especially rafting, canoeing and kayaking. Azad Kashmir has varied wildlife including Leopard, Himalayan Bear, Ibex, Grey Goral, Musk Deer, Kashmir Stag, Monal Pheasant, Western Tragopan, Snow Pheasant, Red-led Partridge (Chakor), Black Koklass Pheasant, Peacock, Eagle, Dusk Markhor etc.
Domestic tourists can visit Azad Jammu & Kashmir without any restriction. However, they are advised to keep their identity with them. Foreign tourists are only allowed to visit the following places with the permit; Dheerkot, Rawalakot, Chotta gala, Chikkar, Daokhan, Muzaffarabad, Mangia & Sehnsa. Permits are issued by the AJK Home Department at Muzaffarabad.
What To Buy?
Carpets, Namda Gubba, Patto, silk woollen clothing, woollen shawls, wood carving, Papier Mashie, rugs are popular handicrafts of Azad Kashmir. Other products and fruits are; mushrooms, honey, walnuts, apples, cherry, medicinal herbs & plants, resin, Deodar, Kail, Chir, Fir, Maple and Ash Timbers etc.
In the northern areas, please don’t photograph military installations, major bridges and airports. Taking photographs of women is also prohibited should be with their prior permission. Please do not travel at night on mountain roads and do not swim in the rivers up north or other fast-flowing mountain streams.