With plenty of photos filling my SD card, it was the smallest feature that began to fascinate more as time went on. Nothing could be more pleasant than knowing that I can choose to go from the funny and noisy videos of Ruqaeya and Hussain to the peaceful scenery above and around the motel.
Throughout the month of July, Ayesha Mubasher (my stage-mom, best friend and colleague), Iqra Jami, Aneela Illyas, a couple colleagues of mine and I took full advantage of our days off from our work to explore parts of Azad Jammu and Kashmir via a series of day trips. The rivers, waterfalls and valleys of Kashmir are a sight to behold with their jagged and impressive mountain peaks. Photographs did not do justice to the majestic beauty laid before our eyes.
We found Muzaffarabad to be a visual treat and a delight with a lot of fun just ready to be discovered. We reached there by almost mid-night, so we just crashed in our hotel rooms.
As the road twisted and turned, it wasn’t long before we were greeted by those incredibly scenic mountains and waterfalls. What a stunning mountain range! We passed numerous places to dry camp, and as much as we wanted to stop and check out the possibilities, we were on a mission to get to our next stop.
To get to Sharda valley we had to drive along the Neelam river, which I was particularly curious about. We had to park our cars and cross a wooden bridge to get to our hotel. It was old and was shaking but it was strong enough to take us to our hotel safely. I’ll, however, never forget the way Iqra accompanied me. I had the misfortune of not being with Attia baji at that time but Iqra re-created the whole scene for me. Since we spent the whole day in car, travelling to reach this place, this was the best thing that happened.
Sharda, Neelam Valley is a popular destination with its challenging beauty, mesmerizing scenery and romantic weather. The beautifully colored wooden homes dot the landscape. The elegant mountains and trees blend beautifully in with the Neelam river. You can’t help falling in love with the abundance of heavenly beauty seen in all directions.
The mountains of Neelam Valley are imposing but can be challenging for hiking. Our time in Sharda was brief and we didn’t get a chance to hit the trails to really delve into the lay of land as much as we would’ve liked. So we just visited Sharda Devi’s temple and then left for Kel.
I must share; we enjoyed the best cup of tea on our way at the best tea spot in the world. It was a local hotel located somewhere across the Neelum river near Kel.
I’m all about weather, atmosphere and scenery along with the company of my favorite people and the Kel’s cable car adventure hit the spot perfectly; beautiful place, lovely weather and endless fun – highly recommend. I could’ve sat there for hours admiring the view. The beauty of our surroundings had had me feeling somewhat nostalgic as memories of my hometown were conjured up. Then there are the memories of my school trip.
It was raining and we were completely soaked to the bones and freezing so Iqra and I grabbed some snacks and a cup of tea and found a spot to sit. We initially sat in silence as we watched Kalsoom and the kids enjoying the ride. Although there are many aspects about that time that I miss, I somehow felt incredibly content and fortunate to be relaxing on that wooden bench admiring that view.
We were quite smitten with Sharda valley and the Neelam river. It is breathtakingly and mesmerizingly beautiful. Kashmir made our “return” list, which I’ll admit,seems to get longer the more we travel.
I’m glad that me and my friends made it a priority to visit Kashmir. If there’s one place on planet earth I’d say is a “must see”, this would be it.