You must have heard about the beauty of Switzerland and would want to visit it someday. But what if we tell you that a place as beautiful is here in Pakistan? We are talking about Bagh Azad, Kashmir, Pakistan. Bagh, also known as the garden of Kashmir, is a lovely town that seems to come straight out of a fairy tale. The breathtaking scenery and wonderful ambiance can excite even the most taciturn people. If you genuinely want to interact with nature, this is your place. There is so much to do and enjoy in the beautiful valley that your visit here will be truly worth the bucks and time spent. You can fulfill your adventure craving by hiking on the mountain peaks or relaxing. Plan your visit to Bagh and make the fondest memories of your lifetime.
About Bagh AJK
The Bagh district is positioned on the lower Himalayas, whereas the main range is in the Pir-Panjal district. The region’s elevation ranges between 1500 to 2500 meters above sea level. The Bagh Azad Kashmir Pakistan area is covered with mountains sloping from northeast to southwest. Coniferous trees cover the mountain ranges, giving them a magical look. Pir-Panjal is the town’s main range, at 3421 m above sea level. The majestic mountain range attracts hundreds of visitors throughout the year. Mahl Nala and Betar Nala in Haveli are the two main streams that flow in the area, while several rivulets trickle in the district. Many visitors enjoy fishing and boating in these streams in this area.
Bagh means garden. The region got the name as a landowner had set up a bagh or garden, which is now included in the Forest Department.
Previously it was a tehsil of the Poonch district until 1987, but the status was elevated to the district. It has three subdivisions, Dhirkot, Bagh, and Haveli, and it is the district headquarters.
The city is located in Azad Kashmir at a distance of 100 Km from Muzaffarabad, 48 Km from Rawalakot, and 205 Km from Islamabad. It joins Muzaffarabad district on the north while it joins with Jammu and Kashmir on the east. On the west, it connects with Rawalpindi and Abbottabad districts and Poonch district on the South. The city is located where two rivers, Mahlwani and Mal, converge.
Culture of Bagh AJK
Bagh is culturally rich and has the most influence from Kashmiri culture. The people celebrate different festivals and traditionally hold weddings.
The people work in the forestry sector and public administration for a living. The people are hardworking and grow seasonal vegetables. Two flour mills in town employ many locals. Wool spins on the handloom in most parts of the district, engaging men and women. You can find locally made wooden handicrafts and stunning handmade carpets in the markets of Bagh Azad, Kashmir.
They are known for their bravery, skills, and courage. Their confectionery and baking skills are famous in the region.
The diversity of altitude also results in a diverse climate in the district. The average temperature is between 2 °C and 40 °C. The winters in the easter part are freezing, whereas the summer weather is moderate—the adjoining valleys at a lower altitude experience mild summers and winter temperatures. The hottest months are May and June, and December, January, and February are the coldest. The area receives 1,500 mm of rainfall annually.
When to Visit?
The ideal time to visit is from March to October when the Bagh Azad Kashmir, Pakistan weather is pleasant and not too cold, allowing you to explore the area comfortably. You might also experience rainfall during your visit.
Places to Visit in Bagh Azad Jammu Kashmir
Since it received district status in 1987, the city has developed and established itself as a trade center. The breathtaking mountains, beautiful rivers, and waterfalls offer tourists many scenic places. Some of the most famous spots are mentioned in detail below.
If you are looking forward to trekking on your trip, go to Sudan Gali in Bagh district, AJK. There is a base camp for trekking and hiking upwards to 3045 m Ganga Choti at Sudan Gali. You can reach there in a couple of hours. The place provides spectacular views leaving the spectators speechless. Rare trees over hundreds of years have grown in forests of Sudan Gali, which are a must-visit.
Rest houses at Sudan Gali are built and maintained by the AJK Tourism department and Public Works Department. You can book them in advance to confirm availability.
The town of Kohala, on the Jhelum river, is a border between Azad Kashmir and Pakistan. It had had military significance since 1814 when the Maharaja of Kashmir, Gulab Khan, established it as a business hub for Hindu traders. During the British era, the British government built a rest house for high-ranked officials. Allama Iqbal wrote the famous poem “Hammala” in his book Bang-e-Dra here. Until independence, the main Bazar of Kohala was the most populated.
Ganga Choti, or Ganga peak, in Bagh Azad Kashmir is a popular tourist destination. It can be seen from the city and hence got the title Crown of Bagh. To reach Ganga Choti, one starts trekking from Sudan Gali. It takes four hours to reach the peak of the mountain. The way to the top is steep, with hardly any flat ground, and the hike is challenging. Trekking on Ganga Choti is not recommended for those who do not have any prior experience with hiking. But the hard work is worth it in the end.
The base camp at Sudan Gali is at the height of 220 m from sea level, while the Ganga Peak is 3045 m above sea level. It falls in the Pir Panjal range.
You can see a panoramic view of meadows and valleys. The hiking experience is unparalleled anywhere else, with unbelievable views on the way to the top. Due to heavy snowfall, the area appears to have worn a white blanket during winter. The right time to visit this place is between April to August. It is highly recommended to camp at Shepherd’s hut at the base.
Many small villages are settled near the city, and Lasdana is one of them. It is 87 km from Islamabad and only 15 Km from Bagh district. Tourists must also take a trip to Lasdana to see its spectacular views.
Lasdana is on the border between Jammu and Kashmir and Kashmir. The Pakistani army secures the area and tourists without any fear. The dense vegetation around the village and fast-flowing rivers make the village a fantastic place to visit. You will come across beautiful wild horses grazing freely. The remnants of old bunkers from independence still exist and are open for tourists to glimpse the past. On your trip to Lasdana, wear warm clothing as the weather gets chilly as the sun sets. The serenity in the area, cool fresh air, and peace will instantly refresh your mind and soul.
Pakistan is blessed with places like Birpani in Azad Kashmir, where the locals can visit for vacations and experience raw beauty with untouched valleys and rivers. Many small towns are scattered, and Birpani is one of them, located only 20 Km away. It is a Union Council in the Bagh District of AJK.
Birpani mesmerizes tourists with its scenic views. Tourists who visit Birpani also tour Ganga Choti nearby. Birpani is famous for hiking, riding, and camping. The place is not much developed, which means preserving nature to its best. The unpolluted atmosphere and lush green forests make it an ideal vacation spot that cleanses the lungs and purifies the mind.
The tehsil of Dhirkot in Bagh district Kashmir is another popular destination in Azad Kashmir. Most mountainous places are difficult to reach due to steep routes and poor road conditions. Dhirkot is accessible and is only 36 Km away. The height of Dhirkot above sea level is 5,499 ft. The charming forests, springs of water, and tranquillity of the place invite tourists to visit and have memorable moments.
The people of Dhirkot are soft and humble. They greet tourists with respect and honor. There is a forest rest house, tourist huts, and log huts that provide accommodation to tourists. The literacy rate in the area is more than average in the regions. Girls are also encouraged to study and pursue higher education.
Those who visit Dhirkot enjoy fresh fruits like apples and apricots from the orchards. People spend their time walking up on the mountainous trails, riding on horseback, or simply savoring the peace of the area that clean air and beautiful mountains bring together.
Neela butt is located only 6 Km from Dhirkot or around 40 Km from Bagh district. The place offers mind-blowing views and is a perfect spot to relax for a few days. The government of AJK has built Neela butt resorts which provide accommodations with views of Murree. This spectacular place is where the Mujahideen-e-Azadi of Kashmir gathered on the 23rd of August and demanded independence. The day is celebrated to praise the efforts of the people in achieving freedom from India.
How to Get to Bagh Azad Kashmir?
The distance from Bagh AJK to Rawalpindi is 141 km. You can reach Bagh from Muzaffarabad, Poonch, and Rawalpindi via Murree road or the Koto Station Road. You can drive by yourself or take a ride via bus service.
Distance from Bagh AJK to Islamabad
Islamabad and Bagh districts are 154.8 Km apart. It takes about 1 hour and 55 minutes to reach Bagh from Islamabad, provided the roads are clear. The newly constructed metal roads allow smooth driving while looking outside at the gorgeous mountains.
Where to Stay in Bagh AJK?
There are a fair number of places that provide comfortable accommodation. PWD and Forest rest houses at city Bazar offer a cozy and pleasant place to stay.
The scenic beauty at Bagh Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, has great tourism potential. The unmatched appeal of the valley and the gushing rivers is a fabulous place with preserved nature. One can feel lost in the wilderness and forget all their worries about the world.