The Neelum District (Neelam District,) is the northernmost of the 10 districts of Pakistan’s dependent territory of Azad Kashmir. Taking up the larger part of the Neelam Valley, the district of Neelum valley starts 43 km from Muzaffarabad.
The area is also famous for its mineral mines from that particular locality mineral are being transported to other cities of Pakistan. In addition to that, there is also LOC (LINE OF CONTROL) where relatives can cross the bridge and can meet their relatives on the other side of the bridge twice a month. There is a tourist seventeen-century fort built by the town’s founder, chief of the Chak tribe named Muzaffar Khan, to ward off the Mughal armies of Emperor Akbar.
Papulation of Neelum District
The district has a population of 191,233 (94,333 males and 96,900 females with a sex ratio of 97.35) according to the P&DD AJ&K report 2017
Location of Neelum District
The district is bordered on the north and north-east by the Diamer District, the Astore District, and the Skardu District of Gilgit-Baltistan, on the south Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir, on the south-west by the Muzaffarabad District, and by the west by the Mansehra District of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.
History of District Neelum Valley
The Neelum Valley was known before the partition as Kishan Ganga and was subsequently renamed for the village of Neelam. It flows from the Gurez Valley in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir and roughly follows first a western and then a south-western course until it joins the Jhelum River at Muzaffarabad.
The valley is a thickly wooded region with an elevation ranging between 4,000 feet (1,200 m) and 7,500 feet (2,300 m), with mountain peaks on either side reaching 17,000 feet (5,200 m). The Neelum Valley is 144 kilometers (89 mi) long. The Line of Control runs through the valley, either across the mountains to the southeast or in places right along the river, with several villages on the left bank falling on the Indian side of the border.
The Neelum District was part of the Muzaffarabad District until 2005. It is made up of two tehsils: the Athmuqam Tehsil, in which the district headquarters are located, and the Sharda Tehsil. The Neelum District is the largest district of Azad Kashmir by area.
The District Neelum valley extends for approximately 200 kilometers along the Neelum River. This is a generally poor region, reliant on subsistence agriculture and handicrafts, with tourism growing in importance in recent years.
The district is administratively subdivided into two tehsils:
- Athmuuqaam Tehsil
- Sharda Tehsil
Major Languages of Neelum District
Several languages are spoken natively in the district. The predominant one is Hindko. It is the language of wider communication in the area and is spoken at a native or near-native level by almost all members of the other language communities, many of whom are abandoning their language and shifting to Hindko.
This language is usually called Parmi (or Parimi, Pārim), a name that likely originated in the Kashmiri word apārim ‘from the other side, which was the term used by the Kashmiris of the Vale of Kashmir to refer to the highlanders, who spoke this language. The language is also sometimes known as Pahari, although it bears a closer resemblance to the Hindko of neighboring Kaghan Valley than to the Pahari spoken in the Murree Hills.
Unlike other varieties of Hindko, Pahari, or Punjabi, it has preserved the voiced aspirated consonants at the start of the word: for example, gha ‘grass’ vs. Punjabi kà, where the aspiration and voicing have been lost giving rise to a low tone on the following vowel. This sound change, however, is currently spreading here as well, but it has so far only affected the villages situated along the Neelam highway.
This variety of Hindko is also spoken in nearby areas of India-administered Kashmir. Since Partition, the language varieties on either side of the Line of Control have diverged in a number of ways. For example, in the Neelam Valley, there is a higher proportion of Urdu loanwords, while the variety spoken across the Line of Control has retained more traditional Hindko words.
The second most widely spoken language of the Neelam Valley is Kashmiri. It is the majority language in at least a dozen or so villages, and in about half of these, it is the sole mother language. It is closer to the variety spoken in northern Kashmir (particularly in Kupwara District) than to the Kashmiri of the city of Muzaffarabad.
The third-largest ethnic, though not linguistic, group are the Gujjars, whose villages are scattered throughout the valley. Most of them have switched to Hindko, but a few communities continue using the Gujari language at home. Gujari is more consistently maintained among the Bakarwal, who travel into the valley (and beyond, into Gilgit-Baltistan) with their herds in the summer and who spend the winters in the lower parts of Azad Kashmir and in Punjab.
In the upper end of the valley, there are two distinct communities speaking two different varieties of Shina (locally sometimes called Dardi). One of them is found at Taobutt and the nearby village of Karimabad (formerly known as Sutti) near the border with India. Its speakers claim that their variety of Shina is close to the one spoken further up the valley in Indian Gurez.
The community is bilingual in Kashmiri and is culturally closer to the neighboring Kashmiri communities than to the other Shina group, who inhabit the large village of Phulwei 35 kilometers (22 mi) downstream. The Shina people of Phullwei claim to have originally come from Nait near Chilas in Gilgit-Baltistan.
A Pashto dialect is spoken in two villages (Dhaki and Changnar) that are situated on the Line of Control.
One language that is unique to the Neelum Valley is the endangered Kundal Shahi. It is spoken by some of the inhabitants of the Kundal Shahi village near Athmuqam.
Additionally, Urdu is spoken by the formally educated and, like English, is used as a medium of instruction in schools.
Education in Neelum Districts
According to Pakistan District Education Ranking 2017, a report released by Alif Ailaan, the district of Neelum stands at number 58 nationally in the ranking related to education, with an education score of 60.87. The Neelum District is the lowest-ranked district in all of Azad Kashmir.
Here is a detailed list of famous educational institutes in the Neelum valley District
- ACADEMY OF ISLAMIC AND MODERN STUDIES SCHOOL AND COLLEGE KUNDAL SHAHI DISTT. NEELUM AK
- AL-NOOR MODEL SCIENCE COLLEGE ASHKOT NEELUM (A.K)
- AYSHA SADDIQUE GIRLS HIGHER SECONDARY SCHOOL SARDARY NEELUM AJK
- BAHA-U-DIN BAHAR GOVT. BOYS HIGHER SECONDARY SCHOOL DAWARIAN DISTT. NEELUM AK
- DEGREE COLLEGE ATHMUQAM, NEELUM.
- EMAN MODEL SCIENCE COLLEGE JURA NEELUM AK
- GIRLS INTER COLLEGE AUTHMOQOM, NEELUM.
- GOVT GIRLS HSS NAGDAR NEELUM AK
- GOVT INTER COLLEGE NAGDAR DISTT NEELUM
- BOYS HIGHER SECONDARY SCHOOL HALMAT DISTT. NEELUM AJK
- BOYS INTERMEDIATE COLLEGE SHARDA DISTT. NEELUM AK
- GIRLS H.S.S KUTTON DISTRICT NEELUM AJK
- GIRLS HIGHER SECONDARY SCHOOL, ASHKOT, NEELUM. A.K.
- GIRLS INTER COLLEGE KAIL NEELUM
- INTERMEDIATE COLLEGE MIRPURA NEELUM VALLEY
- KHAWAJA KHAIRULLAH SHAKAR BOYS HSS LAWAT BALA NEELUM AK
- MODEL SCIENCE COLLEGE KUNDAL SHAHI DISTT. NEELUM AJK
- GREATER SHAHEEN MODEL COLLEGE ATHMUQAM, NEELUM.
- IDEAL SCHOOL AND COLLEGE KUNDAL SHAHI DISTRICT NEELUM AK
- INTERCOLLEGE KALE, NEELUM.
- ISHTIAQ MEMORIAL PUBLIC H.S.S FLAKAN DISTRICT NEELUM
- KASHMIR LYCEUM COLLEGE DAWARIAN NEELUM DISTT. NEELUM AK
- MOHAMMAD AZEEM GOVT. INTER COLLEGE DUDHNIAL, NEELUM
- NEELUM INSTITUTE OF SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES ATHMUQAM DISTRICT NEELUM AK
- PINE HILLS SCHOOL AND COLLEGE KUNDAL SHAHI NEELUM AK
- University of Azad Jammu & Kashmir
- Sharda university Neelum valley
Agriculture in Neelum District
This land also has many local fruits which are of great taste including Apples, Apricots, Walnuts, and Plums which are famous. A large number of tourists visit it in the summers.
Power sector in Neelum District
The Newly established Neelum Jhelum Power Project Dam is situated about 36 Kilometer from Muzaffarabad. The purpose of the dam is to divert the water of River Neelum through a Tunnel into River Jhelum for Power Generation. It is a tourist spot and attracts the tourist during the traveling along the Neelum Valley Road.
Peoples and Culture of Neelum District
The people of districts Kotli, Mirpur & Bhimber, are simple, truthful, and deeply attached to their land. The culture of this area resembles that of the adjoining area of Punjab. People here mostly follow the culture which quite resembles that of Punjab.
Men of the District wear normal Shalwar Kameez and so do the women. The men mostly wear a weskit because in summers also the weather there is pleasant and cool and when we talk about winters the sweaters and the normal jackets come into play. Women also wear the Shalwar Kameez and you won’t see a single lady wearing tight jeans or a t-shirt. Women of these valleys like to cover their faces as well and mostly all of them wear a Burka or if not this then cover themselves with dupatta and hence the
The valley is no doubt a great place to visit especially with friends and family and in that way can enjoy the beautiful places and nature as well as can enjoy the local dishes and the fruits that can be found there. It can be a really good summer outing location where one can spend his vacations to relax and enjoy the wild thick forest and in that way is close to nature
The area is famous for its dishes like Gushtaba. The Kashmiri people love this food and are their most favorite. People eat rice a lot. They don’t consider a lunch or a meal with not having rice. Tabak Maaz is also quite eaten in this valley and the preparation of which is considered an art and a point of pride in Kashmiri culture.
Handicrafts of Neelum District
People of this valley make good handicrafts as well which include Carpet, Namda, Gubba. They are also famous for their Silk Woolen Clothing. People also make Woolen shawls. Besides all these, they are also good at Wood Carving and in making Rugs.
What is The District Dial code of Neelum District Valley?
Area Dial Code of Neelum Valley is +92-5821 Azad Jammu and Kashmir (JK), more detail is as below.
- International Dialing Code: 92
- International Prefix: 00
- National Prefix : 0
- National Destination Code: 5821
- Subscriber Number From 456000
- Subscriber Number To 456999
- National Destination Code Length: 4
- Uses National Destination Code: Yes
- National Significant Number Length: 10
- Number Type: G (Geographic Land Line, Fixed Line)
- Carrier Name: SCOM
what is the Postal code of Neelum Valeey?
Neelam, AJK: 13231
Neelam, AJK is located in Pakistan. Its zip code is 13231.
Address and Postcode
Neelam, Muzaffarabad, FCA & AJK
- District :
- Postcode (ZIP):
What are the Famous places of Neemum Valley?
The District Neelum valley include lush green forests and high altitude lakes make the surrounding heavenly and it is like a dream come true for the people who visit it. The snowcapped mountains and the fast-flowing Neelum river all make us believe that we are in some part of Switzerland. Many of the tourists who are interested in mountain tourism also come and enjoy it here. The river is also famous for its fishing and it has Trout fish in abundance
Some of its famous places like Shounter Pass, Chita Khata, Ratti Gali, Baboon, Noori top, Sharda, Kel, Surgon, and many more are mentioned by famous tourists like Mustansar Hussain Tararr, etc. Tararr even wrote a travelogue after visiting there. The three rivers present in this area are Jhelum, Neelum, and Poonch.The
Here are some famous places to visit in Neelum valley
Highest Mountain of Azad Kashmir
The whole valley gives fascinating and beautiful scenery. There is also a mountain “SARWALI” (6326 meters) which is one of the highest mountains in Azad Kashmir.
Kutton (Jagran Valley):
The bewitching beauty of Kutton, with an altitude of 1530 meters above the sea level permeated in the radius of 10 kilometers, makes Jagran Valley. The area is 16 kilometers from Kundal Shahi and is accessible by road. For the convenience of tourists, AJK Tourism Department has constructed a rest house while an adjacent residential complex managed by the Power Development Organization (PDO) is also available for accommodation.
From here 16 Kilometers onward, Thunian, Ghainsi, and Jagran are located which are worth seeing spots for nature lovers and adventure seekers. A Jeep track towards Baboon hilltop is also accessible from the Jagran area which connects Patlian, Rati Gali lake area.
It is 74 Kilometers from Muzaffarabad. Here, silvery stream Jagran Nullah joins river Neelum, where trout fish is found abundantly. Some private hotels are available.
Authmuqam is 10 kilometers from Kundal Shahi. It is located at a height of 1371 meters ASL. Being the district headquarter of Neelum District, it serves as a take-off point for tourists interested in hiking and exploring the inner valley. It is an attractive place known for its variety of fruits. All necessary facilities such as bazaar, post office, banks, hospital, telephone, PWD rest house, and some private hotels are available with good standard.
This valley town is very unique in its beauty with respect to the other places It is named Authmuqam because it is the 8th station from Muzaffarabad to the upper valley. Most people are government employees, the rest are in different fields. From here upwards emerges a typical Kashmiri living pattern with houses built of wooden logs, most of them double storied. Hiking tracks for surrounding mountains are traced by peoples and tourists.
Located at a distance of 30 kilometers from Dawarian, it is a breath-taking green spot at an altitude of 1981 meters. Shardi and Nardi are the two mountain peaks overlooking the valley, named after legendary princesses Sharda & Narda. It has a captivating landscape with numerous springs and hillsides covered with thick forest. Over the right bank, opposite Sharda, the river Neelum is joined by the Surgan Nullah along which a track leads to the Noori Nar Pass and through it to KaghanValley.
In Sharda, one also finds ruins of an old Buddhist Monastery and a fort which are of historical background. Facilities of a small bazaar, Post office, health center. The AJK Tourism Department has established here a “Tourist Village” consisting of Tourist Rest Houses, Youth Hostels, Cafeteria and Games room to facilitate the tourists while dozens of private guests’ houses are also offered accommodation and other services. The boating facility is also obtainable here on river Neelum.
Sharda is one of the most beautiful places with its lush green planes, a smooth flowing river which froze in severe cold season and serves as a passage for people of both sides of the river. This place from the point of view of tourists is so attractive and they get their money’s worth when they spend a few days here. In Sharda one also finds ruins of an old place of learning. There are also ruins present there which might be interesting for people doing historical research there. Also, there are signs of an old university and was the center of knowledge for the people of China, East, and Central Asia.
It is also one of the attractive places of the valley Neelum. One of the facts is the there is a long track goes towards Nanga Parbat. People can actually see this Nanga Parbat mountain from there and it is a beautiful sight for everyone who visits it.
A panoramic and break-taking greenery village is situated 9 kilometers from Kel followed by a hiking track. Due to its scenic beauty, a cable car is also offered pick and drop service from Kel to Arang Kel and mostly used by tourists. Arang Kel is renowned for tracking, hiking, and adventure tourism. To cater the need of tourist some guest houses are provides accommodations with food.
Arang Kel is a village and tourist spot in Neelam valley. It is located on the hilltop near Kel at an altitude of 8,379 feet. The village is accessible by a 2 kilometers trek from Kel. Beyond this mountain, the next mountain is a part of Indian-occupied Kashmir. It is one of the most beautiful locations in the Neelum valley.
It is a beautiful village that came while going from Kel to taobut
The area from Kel to Taobat is called the Halmat. A tourist rest house has been constructed at Halmat to provide accommodation facilities to the visitors. It almost takes 4 hours to reach this place from Kel. This is the last hamlet before you reach the LOC.
It is about 09 Kms from Authmaqam, Neelum (Karen) is situated at the right bank of Neelum River at about 1524 meters above sea level. It has captivating scenery. A small bazaar and a Tourist Lodge of Tourism Department situated on the bank of meandering river Neelum across which one can have a glance of another side of Keran in Indian held Kashmir.
The AJK Tourism Department has established Tourism Motels here which leased out to the private sector on public-private partnership policy which is known as Karen Resort. Karen is the most popular and famous tourist destination with dozens of guest houses in the private sector
to cater to the influx of tourists.
Upper Neelum (Neelum Village) is located at a distance of about two & a half Kms. from Karen with an altitude of 1824 meters above sea level. This panoramic lush green village, profound in wild fruit and wildlife, attracts tourists from every nook & corner of the country. Another remarkable feature of this spot is that one can view the entire area of occupied Kashmir from here. Owing to its tourist attraction AJK Tourism Department has constructed tourist huts to convert both the Upper and Lower Neelum into a tourist village. The area has the number of the guest houses with quality services and famous as a tourist village. From the backside of the village, a road is constructed towards Baboon hill station for adventure lovers.
Dawarian is situated about 13 Kms from Neelum at an altitude of about 1615 meters. It is surrounded by mountains covered with Conifer trees. A mule track up to Ratti Gali pass about 30 kms towards the west connects the Neelum & Kaghan Valleys. A hut of Tourism Department and some private guest houses provide accommodation facility for visitors near the main road as well as on the top of the hill.
Ratti Gali Lake
The lake is accessible from Dowarian by a 19 kilometers (12 mi) hiking trek. Base camp to Ratti Gali is Dowarian
In summer, the whole land of this attention-grabbing lake becomes a place of flourishing green meadows, wildflowers, and glowing alpine plantations while in winter it is covered with white snow and chunks of Glacier floats in the water of Ratti Gali Lake.
Gurase Valley in Azad Kashmir is the most attractive but remote and backward area of the Neelum valley which is located in the northeast of Muzaffarabad. This area is the heart of sustainable tourism in Azad Kashmir.
It is spotted in many sub-valleys from the Kail to Taubutt. The area is full of amazing flowers and fauna and enriched with natural resources like rivers, natural springs, forests, and minerals.
Rare species in Gurase Valley are also found which are now getting extinct due to illegal hunting, deforestation. Govt. of Azad Kashmir has declared the valley as a national park to protect and wise use of Natural resources for income generation of the local community.
This valley lies in Upper Neelum valley. It can be accessed through a jeep track from Kel which only gets opened for a few months of the year.
Shounter Lake is a small but very beautiful lake in the Shounter Valley. Base camp from this point Sarveli peak. The Shounter Nullah and river Neelum meets at this place and leads to Gilgit Agency over the Shounter Pass.
Around seven lakes were found and discovered and some were still hidden. Following lakes were discovered in shonthar valley:
- Chita Katha
- Lunda Sar/Lake
- Shounthar/Spoon Lake
- Sar Wali Peak base Camp Lake
- Asman Baik Sar/lake
- Baboon Lake
- Parrian Sar
Chita Khata Lake
Chitta literally means White and Katha means water reservoir. Chitta Katha Lake is in the shape of a deep bowl body and is surrounded by snow all the year.
Chita Khata Lake is situated at an altitude of 3,800 meters. Lake is only accessible in the months of July and August.
There is a road from Kel to Shounter Valley. First tourists have to reach UTLI DOMEL village at night and stay there and proceed forward in the morning. Tourists had to mount for 5 to 6 hours to reach the lake. Provision of horses and jeeps from UTLI DOMEL is there.
Tao butt is the last station and endpoint of Neelum valley. Tao Butt is known for its shrubbery bounty of nature. Heavy snowfall in winter and the cold season continues for about 6 months starting from October to April end. Due to land sliding path is not seen.
In summer it is an appealing place for tourists to visit. Neelum River emerges from here in the valley and continues its journey till Domail.
Tao butt has few red roof huts comprise this town which when seen from a high ground remind you of the calendar pictures of Switzerland.
People of this area are hard working. They stock up their groceries for 4 months and spend their time in homes.
Image source P&DD
Other salient features of Kotli District are as below:
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