Neelam Valley (also spelled Neelum Valley) (Urdu: وادیِ نیلم ) is a 200 km long bow-shaped deeply forested region in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan. It is consist of Neelam District has two tehsils Athmuqam and Shardah.
Neelam Valley is situated at the North & North-East of Muzaffarabad, running parallel to Kaghan Valley. The two valleys are only separated by snow-covered peaks, some over 4,000 meters (13,000 ft) above sea level.
The valley possesses scenic beauty, panoramic views, towering hills on both sides of the noisy Neelam river, lush green forests, enchanting streams and attractive surroundings.
The valley is connected from Muzaffarabad by Neelam road, which leads up to Kel. The road condition from Muzaffarabad to Athmuqam is very good and suitable for any kind of transport. From Keran to Kel road condition is not well and not suitable for low floor vehicles. In winters road onward Keran block due to heavy snowfall and it is very difficult to reach upper parts of the valley.
Vans serve is only Muzaffarabad to Athmuqam after every 30 minutes. Buses run daily between Muzaffarabad and Kel in good weather. Jeeps and horses are available to reach remote areas of the valley.
Telecommunications services are provided by "Special Communications Organization (SCO)" up to Kel. These services include land line telephones at various locations namely Dhanni, Jura, Chialana, Mirpura, Kutton, Kundal Shahi, Authmaqam, Nagdar, Keran, Sharda, Dhudnial and Kel. Mobile service with the brand name SCOM are available at Kundal Shahi, Authmuqam, Dhanni and Kel. Broadband internet services available at Jura, Kundal Shahi, Authmuqam and Kel with brand name Snet. SCO's dial up internet service is available on all land line telephones.
Accommodation and guest houses
Rest houses and lodges of AJK Tourism and Archeology Department are located in Keran, Kutton, Dawarrian, Sharda, Kel and Taobat for tourists stay. Some private hotels like newly built Hotel Neelum Greenland and rest houses with satisfactory facilities are also located there.
In Neelam valley there are dozens of beautiful and historical places, Sharda Peeth is one of the most beautiful and historical place in Neelam valley.
Towns and villages
Athmuqam: The chief town of valley located about 84 kilometres from Muzaffarabad. It is the headquarters of Neelum District. All the basic necessities of life are available there. Hotels, rest houses, market, post office, banks, hospitals, and telephone exchanges are also present.
Kutton: Also known as Jagran Valley, is a village and tourist resort located 82 kilometers (51 mi) from Muzaffarabad and 8 kilometers (5.0 mi) from Kundal Shahi on the bank of Jagran steam. Rest houses of AJK Tourism Department and WAPDA are located here. Some private rest houses and hotels are also available here for tourists stay.
Dowarian: It located 106 kilometers (66 mi) from Muzaffarabad and 22 kilometers (14 mi) from Athmuqam on the bank of Neelam River at the altitude of 1,615 meters (5,299 ft). A rest house of AJK Tourism Department located here for tourists stay. It is the base camp to Ratti Gali Lake.
Dudhnial: It is a very famous and beautiful town of Neelum Valley. There is a government college, Girls high school and Hospital and other government offices. There are many shops and restaurants. Private rest houses facility is also available
Sharda: One of the beautiful spots of the Neelum valley located on the banks of the Neelum river at an altitude of 1,981 meters (6,499 ft), about 136 kilometers (85 mi) from Muzaffarabad.
The ruins of the famous temple and Hindu pilgrimage site Sharada Peeth, dedicated to the goddess Sharada, is situated in this town. Other historical sites in the town include the Sharda fort, and Kishan Ghaati.
Few private hotels and a tourist hostel of AJK Tourism Department located there for tourists stay.
Kel: The most beautiful village of the valley located 19 kilometers (12 mi) ahead from Sharda at the altitude of 6,879 feet (2,097 m). Few private hotels and a rest house of AJK Tourism Department located there for tourists stay. Its also has bank, college, hospital and market.
Taobat: The last station of the valley. It is 200 kilometers (120 mi) from Muzaffarabad and 39 kilometers (24 mi) away from Kel. A tourist motel of AJK Tourism Department and few private hotel with basic facilities located here for tourists stay.
Chitta Katha Lake is located in Shonter valley, a sub valley of Neelam valley at the altitude of 13,500 feet (4,100 m). The lake is accessible from Kel by a 20 kilometers (12 mi) jeep track and then 5 kilometers (3.1 mi) hiking trek. Kel is the base camp to this lake.
Ratti Gali Lake is located in Neelam valley at the altitude of 12,130 feet (3,700 m). The lake is accessible from Dowarian by a 19 kilometers (12 mi) hiking trek. Dowarian is the base camp to this lake.