The Depot (British India), The White City
|• MNA (NA-57)||Sadaqat Ali Abbasi (PTI)|
|Elevation||2,291.2 m (7,517.1 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC+5 (PST)|
Murree (Punjabi, Urdu: مری, marī, meaning "apex") is a mountain resort town, located in the Galyat region of the Pir Panjal Range, within the Rawalpindi District of Punjab, Pakistan. It forms the outskirts of the Islamabad-Rawalpindi metropolitan area, and is about 30 km (19 mi) northeast of Islamabad. It has average altitude of 2,291 metres (7,516 ft).
Construction of the town was started in 1851 on the hill of Murree as a sanatorium for British troops. The permanent town of Murree was constructed in 1853 and the church was consecrated shortly thereafter. One main road was established, commonly referred to even in modern times, as the mall. Murree was the summer headquarters of the colonial Punjab Government until 1876 when it was moved to Shimla.
Murree became a popular tourist station for British within the British India, several prominent Britons were born here including Bruce Bairnsfather, Francis Younghusband, Reginald Dyer and Joanna Kelley. During colonial era access to commercial establishments was restricted for non-Europeans including the Lawrence College.
Since the Independence of Pakistan in 1947, Murree has retained its position as a popular hill station, noted for its pleasant summer. Many tourists visit the town from the Islamabad-Rawalpindi area. The town also serves as a transit point for tourist's visiting Azad Kashmir and Abbottabad. The town is noted for its Tudorbethan and neo-gothic architecture. The Government of Pakistan owns a summer retreat in Murree, where foreign dignitaries including heads of state often visit.
The town's early development was in 1851 by President of the Punjab Administrative Board, Sir Henry Lawrence.[a] It was originally established as a sanatorium for British troops garrisoned on the Afghan frontier. Officially, the municipality was created in 1850.
The permanent town of Murree was constructed at Sunnybank in 1853. The church was sanctified in May 1857, and the main road, Jinnah Road, originally known as Mall Road and still commonly referred to as "The Mall"), was built. The most significant commercial establishments, the Post Office, general merchants with European goods, tailors and a millinery, were established opposite the church. Until 1947, access to Mall Road was restricted for "natives" (non-Europeans).
In the summer of 1857, a rebellion against the British broke out. The local tribes of Murree and Hazara, including the Dhund Abbasis and others, attacked the depleted British Army garrison in Murree; however, the tribes were ultimately overcome by the British and capitulated. From 1873 to 1875, Murree was the summer headquarters of the Punjab local government; after 1876 the headquarters were moved to Shimla.
The railway connection with Lahore, the capital of the Punjab Province, via Rawalpindi, made Murree a popular resort for Punjab officials, and the villas and other houses erected for the accommodation of English families gave it a European aspect. The houses crowned the summit and sides of an irregular ridge, the neighbouring hills were covered during the summer with encampments of British troops, while the station itself was filled with European visitors from the plains and travellers to Kashmir. It was connected with Rawalpindi by a service tangas.
The sanatorium of Murree lies in north latitude 33° 54′ 30″ and east longitude 73° 26′ 30″, at an elevation of 7,517 feet (2,291 m) above sea level, and contained a standing population of 1,768 inhabitants, which was, however, enormously increased during the [May–November] season by the influx of visitors and their attendant servants and shopkeepers. It is the most accessible hill station in the Punjab, being distant from Rawalpindi only a five hours' journey by tonga dak. Magnificent views are to be obtained in the spring and autumn of the snow crowned mountains of Kashmir; and gorgeous sunset and cloud effects seen daily during the rains [July–August]. Part of the station, especially the Kashmir end, are also well wooded and pretty.
In 1901 the permanent population of the town was 1,844; if summer visitors had been included this could have been as high as 10,000.
Churches from the British era can still be found in Murree and Nathia Gali. There is an Anglican church, built in 1857, located at the centre of the town, which is still used as a place of worship. Many houses around the church are still standing, functioning mostly as hotels. Old traditional restaurants have been replaced by fast-food shops and newer restaurants.
The Murree residence of the Punjab Governor is the Kashmir Point, an imposing building built in the 19th century by the British. There are Punjab and Sindh houses to cater needs of the provincial government. Similarly, there are rest houses for the judges of the Supreme Court and Lahore High Court. A large number of government, semi-government and private departments and institutions maintain guesthouses in Murree. A number of diplomatic missions based in Islamabad established their camp offices in Murree in the 1960s, although they are now seldom used.
Murree features a monsoon influenced subtropical highland climate (Cwb) under the Köppen climate classification. It is situated in the outer Himalayas, retaining high altitude. This type of area has cold, snowy winters, relatively cool summers with drastically escalated rain, in relation with lower altitudes, and frequent fog. Precipitation is received year round, with two maxima, first one during winter and second one at summer, July–August. Total mean precipitation annually is 1,904 mm (75.0 in).Murree receives around 62.6 inches of snow per year according to a 13-year data.
|Climate data for Muree|
|Record high °C (°F)||17.2
|Average high °C (°F)||7.2
|Daily mean °C (°F)||3.7
|Average low °C (°F)||0.1
|Record low °C (°F)||−8.4
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||126.5
|Source: NOAA (1961–1990)|
A variety of rare animal species can be found in Murree, including the leopard, which inhabits the neighboring Galiyat region. Common animals include the rhesus monkey, wild boar, foxes and various species of birds, including the cheer pheasant and kalij pheasant. Murree gives its name to the Murree vole, a rodent species endemic to Pakistan.
Tourism and economy
Murree's economy relies heavily on tourism during the tourist season, which runs from early January to mid-October and during which footfall ranges from 20,000 to 25,500 tourists monthly. Domestic tourism in 2018 contributed ₨ 89bn, making up 30% of total domestic T&T spending.
The Murree Galliat region is known for its scenic vistas of pine- and oak-covered mountains, criss-crossed with springs and rivulets and dotted with lawns and orchards. On clear days a good view of the snowy peaks of Kashmir is possible, and the crest of Nanga Parbat can sometimes be seen. Tourist attractions in the area include the Murree Wildlife Park.Whereas Arjun Bhandari, a senior journalist of Nepal, says the place looks like Nagarkot, a tourist destination of Bhaktapur, Nepal.
A notable attraction in Murree is Patriata (also called New Murree). This place, which is 15 km away from Murree Hills, is famous for its chairlift that gives a bird-eye view of the Kashmir green hills. It is at the highest point of Murree Hills that subsequently makes it the highest point of Punjab as well.Ayubia is also a center of attraction in Murree, which comprises four hill stations including Khanspur, Ghor Daka, Changla Gali, Khairagali. Ayubia Chairlift and shops offering cultural shawls, caps and necklaces are the major appeal of this place. Scenic Nathiagali, situated in Abbottabad at a distance of 2500m from Murree, is popular for its maple, pine, walnut and oak trees. Jinnah Road is the center of economic activity in the town, with tourist shops, banks, hotels, and restaurants.
Murree is one of the largest resort towns in the Galyat region of Pakistan, and is the municipal capital of Murree Tehsil, an administrative division of the Rawalpindi District. As well as being tehsil headquarters, Murree is also a Union Council, bounded to the north by Darya Gali and Rawat, to the west by Ghora Gali and Tret, to the south by Numbal and Mussiari, and to the east by Ghel and Angoori. Formerly comprising the same administrative unit, in 1850 the British decided to divide the regions between the Rawalpindi and Hazara provinces. However, the two regions are inseparable geographically, culturally, and linguistically.
Localities and Union Councils of the Murree area:
- Rawalpindi District
- Circle Bakote
- Kohati Kakrahi
- Dewal Sharif
- Darya Gali
- Changla Gali
- Dunga Gali
- Gulehra Gali
- Uc Ghel
- Bochal Kakrahi
- Ghora Gali
- Bansra Gali
- Jhika Gali
- Khaira Gali
- Mohra Sharif
- Nathia Gali
- Potha Sharif
- Aliot, Murree
- Sehr Bagla
- Las Kothar
For administrative purposes, the military areas of Murree are divided into two separate cantonments, Murree Gali Cantonment and Murree Hills Cantonment. Murree houses the headquarters of the 12th Infantry Division of the Pakistan Army, several educational and training institutions, and a combined military hospital established to serve Murree and adjoining garrisons. The Pakistan Air Force also maintains a base at Lower Topa, near Patriata, with its own military boarding school for boys, PAF Public School Lower Topa. During the British Raj, in the hot season Murree was the headquarters of the Lieutenant General of the Northern Command. The Commissioner of the Rawalpindi Division and the Deputy-Commissioner of Rawalpindi also resided here during part of the season, for which period an Assistant Commissioner was placed in charge of the subdivision consisting of Murree Tehsil. The site was selected in 1850 almost immediately after the annexation of the Province, and building operations commenced at once. In 1851 temporary accommodation was provided for a detachment of troops; and in 1853 permanent barracks were erected. The regular garrison generally consisted of two mountain batteries and one battalion of infantry.
- Ansar Abbasi, journalist and socially conservative commentator
- Kashif Abbasi, journalist, television talk show host and anchorperson
- Mehtab Abbasi, politician
- Muhammad Nawaz Abbasi, former justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and a former justice of Lahore High Court
- Sadaqat Ali Abbasi, politician & sitting Member of the National Assembly
- Sadia Abbasi, politician
- Shahid Khakan Abbasi, former Prime Minister of Pakistan
- Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) of the Pakistan Navy
- Marriyum Aurangzeb, politician
- Javed Malik, former Ambassador at Large of Pakistan & Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on foreign investments
- Parikshit Sahni, Indian actor
- Mohammad Wasim, cricketer
- Reginald Dyer (1864–1927), British Army officer
- Gerald Lathbury (1906–1978), British Army officer
- Muhammad Riaz Khan (d. 1979), Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)
- Khaqan Abbasi (d. 1998), politician
- Muztar Abbasi (1931–2004), scholar
- Raja Ashfaq Sarwar (1954–2020), politician
- The earliest British discovery of Murree, like many of the adjacent hill resorts in the Galyat range of the Hazara region, was first made by Major James Abbott in 1847. Please see Charles Allen Soldier Sahibs: The Men who made the North West Frontier London: Abacus Books, 2001 p. 141, ISBN 0-349-11456-0; and Journals of Honoria Lawrence eds. J.Lawrence and A. Widdiwis, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1980 edition. For an account of Abbott's early time in Hazara and founding of Abbottabad, see Omer Tarin and SD Najumddin, "Five Early Military Graves in the Old Christian Cemetery, Abbottabad, Pakistan, 1853–1888", in The Kipling Journal (ISSN 0023-1738) Vol 84, No 339, p.35-52
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- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Murree". Encyclopædia Britannica. 19 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 42–43.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Murree.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Murree.|
- Everett-Heath, John (2012). "Murree". Concise Dictionary of World Place-Names (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2012-06-20.
- "New Murree project in harmony with environment". Daily Times (Pakistan). 2 August 2005. Retrieved 2012-06-22.
- "Murree, Pakistan". GeoNames. 2007. Retrieved 2013-06-22.
- Abbasi, Wajih (26 April 2014). "Political History of Murree". Retrieved 22 June 2014.
- Abbasi, Usama (14 April 2020). "Murree weather update". Retrieved 14 April 2020.