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Azad Kashmir

 Azad Kashmir

Azad Jammu and Kashmir or Azad Kashmir for short (literally, "Free Kashmir"), is the southernmost political entity within the Pakistani-administered part of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. It borders the present-day Indian-controlled state of Jammu and Kashmir to the east (separated from it by the Line of Control), Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to the west, Gilgit-Baltistan to the north, and the Punjab Province of Pakistan to the south. With its capital at Muzaffarabad, Azad Kashmir covers an area of 13,297 square kilometers (5,134 sq mi) and has an estimated population of about four million. Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan both constitute an area known as Pakistan-administered Kashmir which is referred to in India as Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Some parts of Azad Kashmir are off-limits to tourists, especially the 15-mile-wide buffer zone along the Line of Control that separates the state from the neighboring Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Large portions of Azad Kashmir were devastated in the October 2005 earthquake, which leveled entire villages and towns and killed over 75,000 people.
Council is a supreme body consisting of 11 members, 6 from the Government of Azad Jummu & Kashmir, and 5 from the Government of The State of Azad Kashmir Jammu and Kashmir usually shortened to Azad Kashmir (literally 'free Kashmir'), is part of the Pakistani -administered section of the Kashmir region , along with the Northern Areas ; its official name is Azad Jammu and Kashmir. It covers an area of 13,297 km² (5,134 mi² ), with its capital at Muzaffarabad , and has an estimated population of almost 4 million. 
 
Azad Kashmir has been considered politically, constitutionally and geographically as part of a separate state, i.e. Jammu & Kashmir. This state is disputed territory, and has been controlled by both Pakistan and India since their independence, 14 / 15 August 1947 respectively. Azad Kashmir is under the indirect control of Pakistan. Its defence, foreign policy and currency are under the direct control of Pakistan. 
Consequently, financial matters, i.e. budget and tax affairs, have been dealt with by the Azad Jammu & Kashmir Council, instead of the Central Board of Revenue. Azad Jammu & Kashmir Pakistan.
Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) or simply Azad Kashmir is the Pakistani-administered portion of Kashmir. It's technically self-governing and constitutionally not a part of Pakistan Azad is Urdu for "free" but, for all practical purposes, it acts like a part of Pakistan in practice and is claimed by India as well. 
 
Regions
 
There are two division of Azad Kashmir 
  Muzaffarabad & Rawalakot - includes districts of Muzaffarabad, Neelum, Poonch, Bagh and Sudhnati - which are further divided into Muzaffarabad city, Rawalakot, Hajira, Abbaspur, Bagh, Haveli, Dhirkot and Pallandari. 
  Mirpur - includes districts of Mirpur, Bhimber and Kotli - which are further divided into Mirpur, Dudial, Bhimber, Barnala, Samahni, Kotli, Fatehpur and Sehnsa. 
 
Azad Kashmir Day
Azad Kashmir Day celebrates the 61st day of the Azad Jammu Kashmir government, created on 24 October 1947.
 
 
Geography 
 
The northern part of Azad Jammu and Kashmir encompasses the lower area of the Himalayas, including Jamgarh Peak (15,531 feet [4,734 meters]). However, Hari Parbat peak in Neelum Valley is the highest peak in the state. Fertile, green, mountainous valleys are characteristic of Azad Kashmir's geography, making it one of the most beautiful regions of the subcontinent.[1] The region receives rainfall in both the winter and the summer. Muzaffarabad and Pattan are among the wettest areas of Pakistan. Throughout most of the region, the average rainfall exceeds 1400 mm, with the highest average rainfall occurring near Muzaffarabad (around 1800 mm). During the summer season, monsoon floods of the rivers Jhelum and Leepa are common due to extreme rains and snow melting.
 
 
Climate
 
The state of Jammu and Kashmir stretches between 32.17o to 36.58o North and the altitude rises steeply from 305 metres to 6910 metres above sea level. There are the hot plains of the Jammu Province and coldest dry tableland of Ladakh. The area has different weather conditions at different places because of the lofty mountains like the Pirpanjal, the Zanskar and the Karakoram that check the moisture-laden from entering the valleys.
 
In summers, the outer plains and the outer hills receive rainfall from monsoon winds while in winters, winds from the Mediterranean cause snowfall and rainfall in the Valley of Kashmir. The moisture-laden winds cause rainfall in the forests on the hills making the temperature to fall in summer; hence, the thickly wooded areas such as Pahalgam and Gulmarg have milder weather conditions than that of Srinagar or Sopore. Similarly, the climate of the valley of Kashmir is comparatively milder than that of the Outer Plains as it is on higher altitude. 
 
The unique climatic conditions found in the zone of the Middle Mountains and its valleys, are determined by the altitude, which in turn determines the degree of coolness and elevation the form of precipitation and summer temperature. Winters are cold and of long duration and with increasing altitude, it gets colder still, till there is snowfall in the higher mountains. Summers, however, are milder but are very short. Winters last from November to March. Spring begins after 15th of March and there is heavy rainfall during the season. Landslides often take place during this season. Humidity in the monsoon season stretching over July and August is as high as 70% and with increasing temperature in summers can be uncomfortable. During this season, the entire valley is covered with a thick fog blocking the surrounding mountains from view. 
 
 
When to Go.
 
The seasons are marked with sudden change and a year can be roughly divided into six seasons of two months each: 
 
1. Spring - From March 15 to May 15. 
2. Summer - From May 15 to July 15. 
3. Rainy Season - From July 15 to Sept. 15. 
4. Autumn - From Sept. 15 to Nov. 15. 
5. Winter - From Nov. 15 to Jan 15. 
6. Ice Cold - From Jan. 15 to March 15. 
 
People of Kashmir
 
Kashmiris have made remarkable contributions to the arts of story-telling and mystical poetry, the Shaiva philosophy, grammar and the sciences. The artistic and cultural genius of the people of Kashmir is evident in their folk songs and dances as well as the various arts and crafts that are world-renowned. Known for their charming beauty, most of the people in the valley are very fair complexioned, with light brown to dark hair, blue or grey to black almond eyes, rosy cheeks behind Indian tan, chiseled features and fine physique. Superstitious by nature, Kashmiris are generally non-aggressive and temperate in nature and are God-fearing. Regarded as non-martial in character, they are considered extremely warm, friendly, and hospitable. 
 
Cities of Azad Kashmir
· Muzaffarabad – 
· Mirpur - 
· Rawalakot 
· Bhimber 
· Kotli 
· Bagh 
· Sudhnati 
· Neelum 
 
 
 
 Places Of Interest
  •   Mangla Resort 
  •   Neelum Valley Jhelum Valley 
  •   Palandri 
  •   Billan Nar 
  •   Niyarain sharif 
 
How to Reach
 
By plane
There are no direct flights to Azad Kashmir. 
Islamabad International Airport in Islamabad is currently scheduled to be expanded and modernized to meet future passenger needs, as the demand for air travel has increased dramatically. There are many airlines flying into and out of Islamabad, including Ariana Afghan Airlines, British Airways, and China Southern Airlines. When the Islamabad airport is used by local government officials and foreign diplomats, however, other travelers might find the airport temporarily closed to them for security reasons. 
 
By land
 
Traveling by road to Azad Kashmir is itself an attraction as you come across the most beautiful scenes of winding rivers and hills. It takes about 4 to 5 hours from Islamabad to Muzaffarabad in a car or van. You also pass through the beauty of hills the Murree during the journey. This is the shortest route to this city. 
Buses and MPVs leave from Islamabad, Pakistan approximately every 20 minutes for different destinations in Azad Kashmir. 
 
By Bus
 
Muzaffarabad and Mirpur has the busiest bus network in Azad Kashmir, running from early hours of the morning to late night. Daily routes includs Bhimber District, Dina, Gujrat, Jhelum, Kharian & Kotli District. 
The new coaches in Muzaffarabad / Mirpur travel to larger cities of Pakistan including Bahawalpur, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Peshawar, Quetta, Rawalpindi & Sialkot. 
 
By Taxis
Also by Car hire 
 
 
Where to Stay
· There are so many cheapest hotels which rents up to 500 till 1500 and as well as the expensive hotels are there for the accommodation facility Located on a hill top overlooking Muzzaffarabad and the Kashmir mountains this Hotel is the jewel of hospitality in the area specious guest room with balconies State Of The Art equipment and a variety of Restaurants which facilitates with 
· 24 Hour Reception
· Air Conditioned
· Business Center
· Cable / Satellite TV
· Currency Exchange
· Elevator / Lift
This rents up to 7000 till 10000. The tourist lodges are also facilitates which rents up to Rs850 till Rs1050.
What to do
Azad Kashmir has varied mountainous landscape ranging from low hills to high mountains (2000 to 6000 m) which are suitable for adventure sports like climbing, trekking, mountaineering, summer camping and hiking. Its Rivers & Stream are suitable for white water sports, especially rafting, canoing and kayaking.
 
 
 
What to Eat and drink
 
Kashmiris celebrate the first snowfall of the season by socializing over a barbecue. They relax in the cold crisp evenings with a cup of warm 'Kahwa'... a black tea brewed with cinnamon, cardamom and honey. Also a perennial favorite is the pink colored 'Nun Chai' made with a special salt. Rich and redolent with the flavor of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and saffron, Kashmiri food is suitable for all palates. 
Pakistan is mostly a dry country and Azad Kashmir is no exception. However, Kashmiris, and especially 'Pahari' speakers, are known for their slow-steeped milk tea, known to non-Azad Kashmiris simply as "Kashmiri Chai." Kashmiri chai is fairly sweet, with crushed almonds and a creamy pink complexion. 
 
Jammu Kashmir Wildlife
 
Dachigam National Park
 
A beautiful reserve, 22 km Srinagar, the capital city of Jammu and Kashmir, it stretches across an area of 141 square kilometers. With abundance of the most scenic natural beauty, the variation in its altitude is vast, ranging from 5500 ft to 14000 ft above the sea level. Thus, it is very clearly marked into an upper and lower region and the best times to explore these two areas are summers and winters respectively. The park has been a protected area since 1910 and its name literally means 'ten villages', which stands for the number of villages that were relocated for its formation. It was finally declared a National Park in the year 1981. Initially created to ensure clean drinking water supply for the city of Srinagar, it now houses many rare species within its premises including Hangul, or Kashmir Stag. 
 
The entire appearance of park changes with the onset of each season. In the wintes, during the months of November to February, the park adorns a white cloak of snow. Hangul moves down to the lower regions in this season and is more easily sighted. Spring arrives in March and the ample greenery of the park stands in contrast with the preceding snow of the mountain slopes. Wild Cherry and other fruit trees give the lower regions a splash of pastel colors. Short summer season thaws out snow to unveil waterfalls and streams and even the higher regions are covered with vast grassy meadows and beautifully scented flowers. This is also the mating season for the Hanguls, which have already moved to the higher region are followed by the females and their recently born young ones during this season. August invites Autumn and the tree leaves turn to bright shades of red, gold, yellow and orange. 
 
 

Flora

 

 
The flora of the park includes wild trees like Wild Cherry, Pear, Plum, Peach, Apple, Apricot, Walnut, Chestnut, Oak, Willow, Poplar, Chinar, Birch, Pine and Elm while the fauns includes, besides Hangul, Musk Deer, Leopards, Himalayan Gray Langurs, Leopard Cats, Himalayan Black Bear, Himalayan Brown Bear, Jackals, Hill Fox, Himalayan Weasel, Yellow Throated Martens, Jungle Cats, Long Tailed marmots and Otters. Some of the main bird species found here consist of Cinnamon Sparrows, Black Bulbuls, Monal Pheasants, Golden Orioles, Kokla Pheasants, Choughs, Warblers, Buntings, Streaked Laughing Thrushes, Minivets, Pygmy Owlets, Woodpeckers, Babblers, Wall Creepers, Black and Yellow Grossbeaks, Himalayan Griffons, Bearded Vultures, Redstarts, Wagtails, Laughing Thrushes, Red Browed Finches, Himalayan Ruby Throats, Long Tailed Blue Magpies and Tits.
 
 
Lakes of Kashmir
 
The paradisiacal beauty of Kashmir valley can be mainly attributed to its outlandish natural beauty, pretty landscape and beautiful water bodies. These water bodies are of great ecological and socio-economic significance. The most famous of these are Dal Lake and Nagin Lake of Srinagar with their multi-faceted eco-system and grandeur. National and international tourists throng to the place attracted by the breathtaking beauty of the places.
 
 
 Jammu Kashmir Fairs & Festivals
 
The festivities and the celebration with an abundance of striking colors in the backdrop of snow and evergreen forests, the fair and beautiful people smiling and laughing, girls with rosy cheeks dancing and feasting resemble the glimpse of the paradise. This is the picture anyone on earth can watch by a visit to Jammu and Kashmir during the festive season that comes too often to be missed by the visitors. The enthusiasm, the zeal and the excitement brighten up the whole state. There are major Indian festivals which are named as follows
 
 
  Baisakhi
  Lohri
  Jhiri Mela 
  Bahu Mela
  Mansar Food and Craft Mela
  Purmandal Mela 
  Chaitre Chaudash
 
 
Monuments of Kashmir
 
Jammu & Kashmir has a good share of Indian historical and archaeological legacy. There has been a very unique and glorious tradition of the people of the State of preaching and worshipping of each other's religions and pilgrimage centres. There are well-renowned Hindu shrines co-existing with the equally famous Muslim pilgrimage centres that are held in highest esteem by the people of every faith. Buddhism, which is still followed in the Ladakh region of the State, has its origin in the valley and was preached and disseminated by the Kashmiri scholars in its earlier days. There are some wonderful examples of this communal harmony in pilgrimage centres like the one at Hari Parbat where monuments of all three religions - a temple, mosque and gurudwara are standing side by side. Some of the important shrines and monuments of the region have been covered below:
 
Hazratbal Mosque
Jami Masjid
Shankaracharya Temple
Khanqah of Shah Hamadan
Hari Parbat Fort & Temple of Sharika Devi
Makhdoom Sahib
Chhatti Padshahi Gurudwara
Martand
Kheer Bhawani
Awantipur
 
 
 
 
 
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