This summer, Rawalakot Azad Kashmir is the Rave. Forget traffic jams in Murree and their ill-mannered staff. Forget Naran and their filthy tent city. Rawalakot Azad Kashmir has all the ingredients of a perfect travel destination. Rawalakot is also the home of the brave Sudhun tribe of Azad Kashmir.
Rawalakot Azad Kashmir is at a height of 1638 m above sea level, at 3 hours’ drive from Rawalpindi. The summer temperature stays cool and the weather pleasant, even in July-August months. You don’t have to look to Accuweather.com Rawalakot weather forecast of today or tomorrow.
Rawalakot also has an educated, open minded society that does not mind women in trousers. The place even has a mixed gender Poonch University Rawalakot and Medical college. You can sent your urgent letter at GPO Rawalakot Kashmir at Post Code or Zip Code 12350. You wouldn’t hear bad news coming out of Rawalakot on violent crimes, like the rest of Pakistan.
Rawalakot Azad Kashmir has all the essentials you’d find in a typical Pakistani city like, food, water, hospitals, dispensaries, hotels. Add to all this, Rawalakot AJK has the most beautiful looking people in whole of Pakistan.
I will go over my top 5 reasons why your next summer stop must be Rawalakot Azad Kashmir.
This is the Rawalakot map on Google maps
At 2828 meters, Toli peer mountain top give you a Birdseye view of the valleys down below. It’s a one hour’s drive from Rawalakot city Centre. You can take any car there, but it gets tricky when it rains or when it snows on the top in the month of November – December. It’s a meadow plain on top of a very high mountain and some adventure clubs also conduct para gliding from its slopes.
Toli peer has acceptable hotels close to the summit where families can stay comfortably. The charges are Rs 5000 per night. In winters, it is advisable to bring your own gas heater and stove. There is thick pine forest cover close to the top that smells heavenly.
Banjosa Lake is a 30 minutes’ drive from Rawalakot and is serene to see. The opposite bank has thick pine forest cover that is ideal for couples to stroll along. There are fish in the pond, but no one is allowed to fish there.
The hotels close to banjosa are not good for families. It’s better that the family stays at Rawalakot hotels / guest houses and then drive around during the day.
Remains of Sikh Gurdwara near Pooch University
Pre partition, there was a sizable Hindu and Sikh population in Rawalakot and in the surroundings. They were all pushed beyond the present line of control towards the Indian held Kashmir side. The hatred towards non-muslim was not religious but was because of the high handedness of the Dogra Hindu ruler pre-1947 who collected draconian taxes for the British Raj. He also conducted wanton killing of muslim residents of Jammu state of Kashmir. Several were killed.
This Gurdwara near Poonch University is the one of the few remnants of the non-muslim resident’s holy sites. It is believed that a few decades after partition, a Sikh from the Indian side of Kashmir came to this Gurdwara and took away his jewels and gold that they had kept hidden in plain view, from this very Gurdwara
Drive to the banks of Poonch River
Poonch River flows into the Pakistani side of Azad Kashmir from the Indian held side. It is calm and peaceful at a 2 hours’ drive from Rawalakot. Take your lunch with you when you drive to this picnic spot. You can get fresh tea at the side from any of the local shops.
Nergola water fall at Mutialmera
Mutialmera is a suburb of Rawalakot city and a 20 minutes’ walk takes you to this minor water fall. With chairs placed right below the water drop site, it is very enjoyable to have tea and chat with your friends there. As Rawalakot people are not very conservative, the ladies that come with tourists families don’t feel uncomfortable in these off-site locations.
Drive to Thorar on the pine trail
The drive to Thorar town on the old Rawalakot-Mong road is a site for sore eyes. Now that public transport rarely uses this old road, this pine trees lined road can rarely be found anywhere else in Pakistan. Stop on the way and smell the sweet odor of fresh pine leaves, especially when the pine trees stay green all year round. The whooshing of the wind on these pine leaves, leaves a solid impression of people that appreciate nature.
The road to Rawalakot is ok all along except an 8 km stretch after Kahuta, at a place called Azad Pattan Bridge, where a dam is being constructed. The total distance of Rawalakot from Rawalpindi is 100 kms. If you know anybody from the place, the villages high in the mountains are an even better place to stay, especially since you get to eat desi makan, doodh, pure vegetables, makai ke roti and fruits from the trees.