Kashmir, the Epitome of heavenly landscapes comprising mountains, Canyons, glacial rivers, streams, pine forests, pasturelands, meadows and vibrant flora and fauna, is the dream destination for travellers. Be it for just sightseeing, religious reasons, or some adventurous manoeuvre Kashmir was and will be the favoured destination. Kashmir is not just the region of few places like Srinagar, Pahalgam, Sonmarg and Gulmarg. Still, it is much more than that. They are quintessentially stunning in every term, which is less explored or not explored by many travellers due to many reasons from safety, transportation or awareness about the place. Gurez Valley or Guraai in Local terms is one such place in Kashmir that was out of reach from tourists due to safety reasons till recent years.
Gurez valley in Kashmir is situated at an altitude of 8000 ft above sea level in the Himalayan mountains. Located 85 kilometres away from Bandipora district, Gurez valley is surrounded by old glacial mountains as part of the ancient silk route between Kashmir and Gilgit. Flanked by Srinagar, Bandipur in North and Gilgit-Baltistan in South, Gurez Valley is divided into three parts, out of which Taobat to Sharda peeth and Kamri to Minimarg is ruled by Pakistan, while Taobat to Abdullah Tuail known as Gurez Tehsil is part of Bandipora district and governed by India.
Gurez valley comes under a sensitive area and easily visible from Line of Control, was not allowed to be accessed by tourists till 2007, which is now changed and it is again on the map for tourism.
Due to its closeness from Burzil Pass, the valley of Dards or Shins was also part of ancient Dardistan and still follows the Culture resembling their blood relatives from Gilgit-Baltistan, which comes under the Pakistani administration. Away from the chaotic city life, Gurez valley is still not polluted with crowds; the rush and tensions of city folks make it a unique and most tranquil place in Kashmir valley.
There are few but splendidly amazing places to visit in Gurez valley, allure the curious travellers worldwide.
Wulur lake is one of Asia's largest freshwater lakes, situated in Bandipora districts formed due to tectonic movement and sustained by the Jhelum river. Ideal spot for Boating, water skiing, and other water sports along with your family while enjoying the most scenic background.
Ghastly rapid Kishanganga river passes through Gurez Valley before disappearing in Jhelum river near Muzaffarabad in POK is a genuinely pleasurable site. River rafting and Trout fishing are favourite activities that interest locals and tourists with prior permission on the Kishanganga river.
Razdan pass, located at the height of 11,500 ft between the Srinagar- Gurez valley route, makes sure that passerby's stop for a while to take in the fascinating view of surroundings.
Pir baba shrine is dedicated to the saint from Multan, Pakistan, in 1933 and settled in Cave at Durmat. The shrine looks over the valley of Gurez is worshipped by locals and visited by tourists to seek the saint's blessings.
Habba Khatoon peak, named after the poetess Habba Khatoon who was married to the King of Kashmir. After the King's capture by Akbar's hands, she roamed near the peak in search of her husband till death came to her. The
Dawar, in Gurez valley, is a small township with traditions and customs, gives the vintage feel of an old era. Those who have never seen actual villages with still minimal facilities yet raw and pretty with old wooden cottages and lovely people will surely fall in love with Dawar.
Due to the coldest weather Bandipora Gurez valley receives heavy snowfall from November, resulting in a total shut down for almost six months a year.
In Dawar Gurez valley weather is moderately pleasant from May to October, allowing tourists to travel without any trouble.
You can reach by road to Gurez valley from Srinagar, which usually takes around seven to eight hours. Though the streets from Bandipora to Gurez valley are rough and risky for inexperienced drivers, it is suggested that to hire a local cab or take local buses.
Srinagar can be reached by Rail, Road and Air from significant cities of India. The nearest Railway station is Udhampur, Jammu Tawi and Katra, while the Nearest airport is Srinagar International Airport. Jammu and Kashmir is well connected with National highways to other states of India.
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