Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Islamabad - Muree Hills

February 2010
Once, a terrorist!

Muree is the most famous popular mountainous resort in northern Pakistan, lies 50km northeast of Islamabad capital city at 7500ft height in the Himalayan foothill. Before Pakistan/India partition, Muree was one of two important hill stations in the Punjab, other being "Simla", in present day Himachal Pradesh state of India. Murree was more accessible from the Punjab plains than "Simla" and served as summer capital of the province till 1875 when it was replaced by Simla.  

The view from Bollywood movie that my late parent used to adore

Murree is a mountainous area, forming part of outer Himalayas, bounded by River Jehlum in the east, NWFP districts of Abbottabad and Heripur to the North and West, Islamabad Capital Territory to the Southwest and Kotli Sattian Tehsil (town) of Rawalpindi district to the South. Murree town was built in line with the European cities with Church in the centre and main road, The Mall, running along with commercial places and administrative offices around the same. The Mall was and still is still the centre of attraction. Non Europeans were not allowed access to the Mall till independence in 1947. It was part of the caste land under British ruling. 

The northern half of the Murree Tehsil is held entirely by the Dhund, who claim to be Abbasi Arabs, claiming descent from the Prophet Mohammad's uncle Abbas ibn Abdul Mutalib. The Satti tribe, which claims Rajput ancestry is found confined to the hilly Kotli Sattian Tehsil. In between these two tribes, are wedged the Kethwal, who claim descent from the Greek general Alexander the Great. The Dhanyal hold the western half of the Murree Tehsil, known as the Karor illaqa, as well as villages in the Islamabad Capital Territory. Like the Awan, the Dhanyal claim descent from the Prophet Mohammed's son in-law Ali. The small of the Murree Hill tribes are the Jasgam, who hold several villages in the hilly portion of the Kahuta Tehsil. Like the Dhund, they claim to be Abbasi Arabs.

Picnic with a scenic view of Muree plateau

It was gun to shoot the balloon... hehe!

Murree hill station was constructed by the British colonial government soon after it captured this part of then India in 1850. Murre lies between Kashmir Point and Pindi Point. As the names suggest Kashmir point gives a panoramic view of snow laden Himalaya and Pir Panjal ranges in Kashmir while the Pindi point overlooks national capital Islamabad and adjacent Rawalpindi. At Pindi Point one can enjoy ride on a Chairlift three kilometers down to Bansragalli and enjoy a panoramic view of Hazara mountains as well as Rawalpindi Islamabad. 

With the locals at the place where we stop for picnic

The city of Murree lies in seven kilometer area between these two points. The most popular area in the hill station is the Mall road spanning over about two kilometer in beautiful settings. Murree Tehsil has a total area of 434 sq kilometer and according to 1998 census has a population of 176426 people of which 155,051 live in the rural areas while others live in Murree city as well as different cantonments spreading over different hill tops.

Posing as a model for Telenor, 1 of Pakistan Telco
In recent years Bhurban and New Murree (Patriata), have also developed as a tourist centre. The whole Murree Galliat region is known throughout South Asia for its scenic beauty and fascinating greenery. Mountains overhung with pines and oaks, bubbling with gurgling springs, crisscrossed by rivulets, dotted with sprawling lawns and orchards overloaded with fruits present spectacle of Paradise on earth.

Coffee break at PC Bhurban Hotel

By the swimming pool of PC Hotel in Bhurban

Bhurban, boosting with 5 star Pearl Continental Hotel owned by Pakistan's best hotel chain and a nine hole Golf course has cropped recently as another tourist attraction in Murree area. Lying at an altitude of 6000 ft, Bhurban is situated at a distance of 13 kilometers from Murree on one of main roads leading to Azad Kashmir. Punjab government is planning to develop New Murree city at Patriata 15 kilometers southeast of Murree. Punjab Tourism department constructed resorts at the virgin forests on the Patriata ridge in 1987 besides a 3 kilometer sky ride from Gulara Gali to the top of Patriata ridge.  Patriata is connected with Islamabad and Murree through a number of all weather roads. 

Breathtaking view at PC's restaurant balcony

Last photo of the awesome view from PC Hotel
Hope you guys enjoy the panoramic view and the background of Muree.

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