The State of AJ&K
Azad Jammu & Kashmir is the liberated part of the former State of Jammu & Kashmir. It is situated to the north of Pakistan about 3-hour drive from Islamabad. The area is 13297 sq. Km and is inhabited by about three million people. The state consists of ten districts namely, Muzaffarabad, Neelum, Bagh, Poonch, Sudhnoti, Kotli, Mirpur, Bhimber Hatian Bala and Kahota. It is a land of wonders blessed with unparalleled natural beauty. Its breath-taking landscapes, high mountains blanketed with green grass and covered with towering trees, the snow-capped peaks forming a stunning background, the meandering rivers curling through mountains, the naturally formed cascades and lakes cast a spell on the beholder.
The existing population is composed of races claiming to be descendents of Semitics, Mongols, Aryans, Persians, Turks and Arabs. Where else would one find so many different races combined into one single organic whole? Commensurate with its natural beauty, Kashmir is famous for its rich and varied cultural heritage.
Handicrafts are famous the world over. Products like Carpet, Namda, Gubba, Patoo, Silk & Woolly Clothes, Woolen Shawls, Wood Carving and Paper Mashie immediately bring to mind the name of Azad Kashmir. About half a dozen languages are spoken in the state. These include Kashmiri, Pahari, Gojri, Hindko, Kohistani and Punjabi. Besides being rich in natural scenic beauty, Azad Kashmir is generously gifted with wildlife which include Snow Leopard, Hunting Leopard, Brown Bear, Black Bear, Ibex (Kel), Grey Goral (Mountain Goat), Musk Deer, Kashmir Stag, Himalayan Monal, Pheasant, Western Tragopan, Snow Pheasant, Read- Led Partridge (Chakar), Black Koklas Pheasant, Peacock, Eagle and Dusk Markhor (Wild Goat). Some of the food specialities are Rice, Yekhni, Math-Maz, Aab-Goshat, Tabakh-Maz, Ristay, Gushtabe, Hareesa, Rogan-joosh and Saag (Spinach). Their taste of dining-table delicacies and decorum is unique.
Azad Kashmir is a tourist attraction for the people all over the world. It is a well known area to those who love outdoor life. Splendid valleys of Neelum, Jhelum, Leepa, Sudhan Gali, Banjosa, Rawalakot, Paniola, Datot, Tolipir and many more have magical attraction for visitors.
Distance of Muzaffarabad from Rawalpindi is 138 kilometers
Distance of Muzaffarabad from Abbottabad is 76 kilometers
Kotli is at a distance of 141 kilometers from Rawalpindi/ Islamabad.