Arang Kel Neelum Valley (Azad Kashmir)
Arang Kel is a small village near Kel and located on the hilltop at the distance of 2 Km from Kel at the altitude of 8,379 feet. It is just on the LOC, behind the mountain in front of you. There is no road to the village, so the only way to come here is a chairlift or hiking trek of two hours. The chairlift is supervised by the Army and local government. You also have to flow 30 minutes trek to access Arang Kel village, after the drop-off point of chair lift.
It is a lush green hill station and attracts most of the tourists coming to Neelum Valley. As it is not connected with roads so accommodation and food are relatively expensive here as compared to other tourist locations in the Neelum Valley. It will be good if you have some eatables. A night stay in Arang Kel, specially in full moon, would be a romantic and memorable night of your life there.
The trek to Arang Kel, is adventurous in the pine forest and beneath the roaring sound of the Neelum River. After crossing the bridge over the Neelum River, the trek is becoming narrow in the deep forest, you can see some waterfalls in your way. The last part of the trek is steeper and difficult, so you will have to put more force and courage to complete it. You can enjoy number of streams and springs on the passage on the lush green passage. By luck, you can also observe wild life there. Leopard, bear, wild cat, or fox can be seen in the valley. Do not try to go more closer to them, they may be dangerous. They will not attack if you are just moving along the trek. After completing the trek, you will get a splendid and broader view of Arang Kel village with colorful huts in green fields. It will restore all of your energies and you will forget your tiredness and weakness.
On the top of Arang Kel hill, you can see a broader view of Kel on one side, and range of lush green hills on the other side. The LOC is just located behind these mountain ranges behind the village. On the clear weather, you can also see the shining peak of Nanga Parbat . There are vast lush green fields behind the huts in village, that is connected with the dense forest on the foot of mountain ranges. If you want to explore more about wild life and plants, then it will be good opportunity for you. You can easily observe bear, fox, leopard, and wild cat there, but be care to get closer to them.
One of the most important in Arang Kel is the food. All of the items are transported through human efforts as no road is connected with it. So food is the most expensive item there, you have to pay more than double of the price. Therefore you must purchase some eatables from Kel before moving toward Arang Kel. There are no specialized restaurant there, so it will be better to order home-made food. You can also enjoy the local Kashmiri food in the village.
Weather of Arang Kel is pleasant in summer season, where it will be covered with snow in winter, so in winter season, it becomes difficult to access it. As village is on the hill, so there is pleasant cool breeze all time, coming from the Nanga Parbat side. Morning view of Arang Kel is more funtastic due to reflecting rays of sunlight on the hut roofs. It is good time to observe the Nanga Parbat peak, as weather at morning time is normally clear.
About Neelum Valley
Neelum Valley, a bow-shaped thickly forested region, is the last district of Azad Jammu and Kashmir in Pakistan, located at the distance of 100km from Muzzafarabad at an altitude of 5,299 feet. Its name is due to the Neelum River, flowing across the valley. Valley is divided among Pakistan and Indian held Kashmir, the LOC is normally moved along the Neelum River in this valley.
Neelum valley is very beautiful and attractive for number of visitors in all the seasons, it has a number of pictureous views of lakes, rivers, snow-capped mountains, green fields, waterfalls, etc. Road from Authmuqam to Kel, and then from Kel to Taobat is a real adventure of tour and full of beautiful views those must have an impact on life, as the road is adjacent to LOC, so you can see Indian Post and Indian flags on various hills in Indian held Kashmir.
It is also famous for orchards of apples, pears, and apricots. You can also see corn crops in all over the valley, that is much famous in all over Pakistan.
Kutton is small tourist point at the distance of 82 km from Muzaffarabad on the bank of Jagran stream. It is a beautiful picnic point and one can enjoy the lovely night there.
On the bank of Neelum River and just on the LOC, there is a beautiful valley called Keran at the altitude of 5,000 feet. There is a splendid view of the Neelum River at this point and one can enjoy fishing there too. Upper Keran is more beautiful small village at the top, and you can have a clear view of mountain ranges in the Indian held Kashmir there.
It is another most beautiful spot in the Neelum Valley at the altitude of 6,499 feet on the foot of Shardan Peak and at the distance of 136 km from Muzaffarabad. It is most attractive hill station in the Neelum Valley and people love to stay there for one or two days for getting peace of mind.
Kel & Aurang kel
Kel is the most attractive location for tourists at the altitude of 6,879 feet. Upper Kel or Aurang Kel is small village at the hilltop at the altitude of 8,379 feet, just two kilometers from Kel and is accessible through Chairlift or by performing two hours trek. Trek is little bit difficult at the end, but it will be the most valuable part of your life as there are number beautiful views of lush green forest, streams, springs, etc. If you are lucky, you may see some wild life there.
There are number of lakes in the Neelum valley, those are accessible through jeep and hiking trek. The most important of them are Chitta Katha Lake, Shounter Lake, Ratti Gali Lake, spoon lake, and Saral Lake. These lakes are glacier lakes as most of the water in these lakes is due to surrounding glaciers on the hills.
Arang Kel Neelum Valley Map