Murree and the Galis
Murree, at 2,240 meters (7,400 feet), is only an hour's drive north-east of Islamabad. Its cold pine forests, amidst magnificent
mountain scenery, make it the first choice for a day's outing from the capital. The Galis are a string of hill resorts along
the ridge between Murree and Abbottabad, on the Karakoram Highway.
Founded as a hill station by the British in 1851, Murree was the summer headquarters of the government of
Punjab until 1876, when the honour was transferred to Simla. Murree remained, however, a little bit of England, complete with
The Mall for promenading, parks, churches, schools, clubs and cafes. Since independence, Murree has once again become the
summer retreat of the governor of Punjab and, since Islamabad became the capital of Pakistan in 1962, has expanded rapidly.
Murree is lovely all year round. In summer it is cool - even chilly in the evening - and rain is common. In winter, the snow
is piled high along the sides of the streets. But it is extremely popular with Punjabis escaping the heat of the plains in
summer, so is too crowded for comfort from late May to early September, especially at weekends. To beat the crowds and still
enjoy the walks, the best time to go in April-May and September-October.
Murree spreads along the top of a ridge for about five kilometres (three miles). At the north-east end is
Kashmir Point, with views across the valley of the Jhelum River into Azad Kashmir. At the south-west end is Pindi Point, looking
back towards Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Between the two runs The Mall, at the centre of which is the main shopping area, where
most people congregate. Numerous roads leave. The Mall and either follow the contours of the ridge or descend to the principal
road. Promenading and shopping are Murree's main amusements, or riding in the new chair-lifts, one from Bansara Gali (below
Murree) to Pindi Point, the other to the top of Patriata hill (on the road to Karor); both rides cost about Rs. 50 and take
half an hour with a change from open chair-lift to the enclosed bubble in the middle.
Good buys in Murree are Kashmiri shawls, furs, walking sticks, fruits and nuts. Murree's pistachio nuts are
reputed to be the best in Pakistan.
Bhurban is a minor resort eight kilometers (five miles) from Murree on the road leading north-east to Kohala
and the Jhelum Valley. The golf course here is open only to members. From near the Pearl Continental hotel you can take one
of the many delightful paved walks through the woods.
Perhaps the most sought out is the beautiful Nathiagali perched 2501 metres high about 32 km away from Murree.
The bracing air of the surrounding mountains is as pure as fresh spring water.
Khairagali, Changlagali, Khanspur and Ghora Dhaka, these four mini resorts spread over an area of 26 km have
been developed into a resort complex called Ayubia. In addition to riding trails, hiking places and picnic spots, Ayubia has
a chair lift, which like a ski-lift, takes you up to the summit of the nearby range for a panoramic view of the forested hills.
Ayubia is 26 km from Murree.
Dungagali is a picturesque small resort situated on the slopes of the Mukshpuri hill (2376 m.). It commands
a charming view of a series of wooded spurs projecting towards the river Jhelum on the western side. From Dungagali one can
climb the 2813 m peak of Mukhshpuri, which is the highest point in the range. Natural springs abound on the slopes. It is
30 km from Murree.
It is 16 km from Murree at an elevation of 2346 m and commands a panoramic view on either side of the ridge.
It is 16 km from Murree at an altitude of 2559 m. There is a rest house located in the most picturesque surroundings.
25 km from Murree. The TDCP has developed a new tourist resort at Patriata. There is chairlift and cable car
system which takes visitors upto Patriata Ridge in two stages from Gulehra Gali. The first stage is by chair lift up to Patriata
Bazaar. From here visitors transfer to cable car gondolas for the ride up to Patriata Ride. A restaurant has also been established.
Further plans include development of a wildlife park at the mid-station.