In the northwest of Pakistan lies Azad Kashmir, famous for its spellbinding lakes, lush green valleys and snow-capped mountains. It’s an oasis of rich culture and spirituality, all woven into mountainous green-covered landscapes.
Translated as free Kashmir, Azad Kashmir was historically part of the Jammu and Kashmir state. Since Partition, the state has been split between Pakistan and neighbouring India. Azad Kashmir is the Pakistan-administered side, beloved for its hypnotising landscapes that are nothing short of magic. It’s divided into three main divisions – Mirpur, Muzaffarabad and Poonch – each with their own distinct charm.
The region grows and blooms under the shadow of the magnificent Himalayas. Look around and you’ll soon find that green is the colour of Azad Kashmir – it’s as if a luscious blanket of green has been draped over its peaks and valley floors. You’ll find mountains sides sweeping down and giving way to pristine dales, dense forest cover that offers shade from the sun’s rays and thick shrubbery that seems to sing with vitality. And it’s no wonder, with the Neelum and Jehlum Rivers snaking their way through the entire region, breathing precious life into the land and all its crevices.
Azad Kashmir might just be the perfect place to wander misty hills and sit beside flowing rivers or simply to breathe in fresh mountain air
Amongst Azad Kashmir’s emerald mountains and valleys lies a tapestry of traditions. The landscape is home to enthralling cultures and innate spirituality. Its unique culture has evolved over the centuries, shaped by the arrival of diverse communities from near and far lands. You’ll likely find many shrines scattered across the valley, a glimpse into Sufism, a gentle, mystical form of the Islamic religion practised here. The region has created a niche for itself in arts, education, music, and handicrafts, too. Explore the region’s crafts – from intricate wooden work to elaborate carpets designs to woollen garments – and you’ll get a taste of its diverse influences.