The hidden gem of Pakistan is the self-governing Azad Jammu and Kashmir. This long-running conflicted area of Pakistan represents one of the most beautiful spots in the world, located north of Punjab and south of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. From destinations like Chitta Katha Lake, to Neelum Valley, to Mirpur, to Ratti Gali Lake, Azad Kashmir is still princely as it once was before the Partition of India in 1947. Polite and kind people and lush, emerald and picturesque mountains and valleys are features of Azad Kashmir.

Kashmir as a whole is unquestionably one of the most stunning areas in the world; it is rich in natural beauty and regularly labeled “Heaven on Earth” by sightseers for its scenic environmental splendor and striking sceneries. Its snow-covered mountaintops, woodlands, streams, valleys, plush plateaus and weather varying from wintry to sultry combine to make it a “go-to” tourist destination for both domestic and foreign tourists.

Unfortunately, this area of Pakistan is dominated by the inconsistencies of unity. Less than half of this area is under the jurisdiction of Pakistan, while more than half is under the Indian government, separated by the military control line between the Indian and Pakistani de-facto border of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. While there are inconsistencies of unity, this region is quite safe compared to rest of the country. The crime scene in Azad Kashmir is considered to be relatively safe, but there are some people who target tourists during peak time, so it is always best to “lay low”.

While there are restrictions on the border, this area of Pakistan is one to explore, as it has not been exposed to many people, because of the overall depiction of Pakistan as a country. The Hidden Gem of Pakistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, is one in which you can gain new experiences and explore real nature without the fear of terror attacks and more importantly, one in which you can attain something comforting for yourself. Don’t forget to pick up your authentic Pashminas!


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