When we talk about beauty of Kashmir, numerous of places come into mind and we get curious to explore those areas. There is Neelum valley, Jhelum valley, Pearl valley, Leepa valley and the list goes on. Muzaffarabad is not only the capital of Azad Kashmir but also the gateway to all these beautiful valleys. It is an historical city itself, with as many as places which are worth-visiting in its suburbs. It is multi-ethnic city of Azad Kashmir. Jalalabad Garden, Red Fort and Black Forts along the river Neelum connect its links with ancient era. Shrines of Sain Saheli Sarkar, Darbar Shah Inayat Wali, Mausoleums K.H. Khursheed and Maulvi Muhammad Yousaf reflect the glimpses of its architectural aspects. Hindu Temples tell the tale of its rich cultural heritage back to the near past.
In addition to it Sathra Viewpoint, Domel (confluence of two rivers, Neelum and Jhelum), Lohar Galli, Peer Chinasi and Peer Hassimar are the places to visit in Muzaffarabad. Amongst these, Peer Hassimar is one such unique place with all its beauteous and fascinating nature of landscape. Its elevation is 10,499 feet (3,200 metres) above sea level. It is accessible through Peer Chinasi, a popular hill-station which locates 40 kilometers (25 miles) in the East of Muzaffarabad city. It takes an hour of journeying, by the metal road. The tourist season is from May to September, mainly depends upon the weather condition. It is cool and serene place; hence a perfect summer spot. Peer Hassimar is suitable for those nature-loving tourists, who would like hiking, trekking and exploration the jungle environment.
The place is famous for its thick jungles, magnificent scenery and above all the Shrine of Peer Hassimar. It is named after Sufi Saint, Peer Hassimar. The trek of Peer Hassimar starts from Peer Chinasi while the distance between Peer Chinasi and Peer Hassimar is about 7 kilometres to 16 kilometres. Moreover it goes in ascending in the East, along the hilly ridges, then turns rightwards which is leading to Peer Hassimar. It takes approximately 6 hours of trekking, to reach at the top of Peer Hassimar (3,200 metres). It is the place from where tourists can see the panoramic scenery of the surrounding areas. LoC lies in South-East of Peer Hassimar and merely 15 kilometres ahead of it. Qazi-Nag and other high peaks of Indian-held Kashmir are clearly visible from Peer Hassimar.
The river Jhelum flows in the West while river Neelum flows on the North-Eastern side of Peer Hassimar. A trek goes in descending to Garhi Dopatta along the river Jhelum. Another trek leads downwards to Noseri and Devlian. It is a thick forested trek which takes approximately 11 hours to reach to Noseri and Devlian. From Peer Hassimar, tourists can approach Leepa valley as well through Hariala village.
It is a beautiful and worth-visiting area and highly recommended for trekkers and hikers who want to enjoy camping life. Hiring a local tourist guide is must, for the safe and enjoyable journey.
Author: Fehmeeda Farid Khan