MURREE Excursion

murree-by-jamil-khan
A day on the hills of Murree

By Jamil Khan

“HOW about a visit to Murree in this cold and chilly season?” Asked one of my cousins when I reached Islamabad on a short visit and sat in front of the heater to warm myself. When I replied in the affirmative they arranged a programme to visit Murree early in the morning the very next day. This was the first time I would be visiting this famous hill station at the end of heavy snowfall.
The next day, early in the morning after taking a light breakfast, we approached Pirwadhai to catch the first bus. So with this our journey to the northeast of Islamabad began.
Murree — a well-developed hill station, is almost 64 kilometres from Islamabad and the drive takes almost two hours. Since the altitude is 2,000 metres so the drivers move their vehicles up the curvy road very slowly and carefully. Chattar Bagh some 20 kilometres from Islamabad was our first stop and we stopped there for a few minutes.
It is one of the picnic spot which was developed by Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC). Our next stop was Tret, at an elevation of nearly 1,000 metres, experiencing the fresh breeze under a shed of pines with the temperatures between 5-10°C. Prior to Ghora Gali, our bus once again stopped at Charra Pani for almost 15 minutes. Here we noticed dozens of cars and vans which had reached before us from various parts of the province. Here visitors enjoyed tea and coffee while children and a group of cheerful students took pictures of their friends at this picturesque place. We stopped once again at Ghora Gali (at the elevation of 1,600m); our driver told us that this place is the centre point between Rawalpindi and Murree where carriage horses were changed. This place later came to be known as Ghora Gali (horse pass).
Finally, after a two-hour long journey, we reached Murree and got rid of our bus and took light refreshment to energize ourselves to explore the beautiful and charming hills of Murree. People from Rawalpindi, Islamabad and other close-by areas visit this place specially on weekends and holidays.
Everyone wore colourful heavy woollen dresses. People who were heading for Bhurban, Patriata, Nathia Gali, Chhangla Gali, Koza Gali, Ayubia and Thandiani were arranging their luggage on taxis and other private vehicles. The best time to visit this hill station is between April and June but in the winter when the temperature is less than 5°C people come here to enjoy the snow fall and wish to captured these unforgettable moments forever.
There are many interesting places in Murree to visit so we started from the Mall. At the Mall a large number of souvenir shops, cafes, restaurants besides an overview of the shopping area attract the visitors from all over the world. Shopkeepers of woollen clothes and dry fruits are busy trying to strike a good deal with the customers.
At the height of around 2,000 metres from the sea level, we were surprised to see a number of people enjoying ice creams from roadside parlours while cafes also witnessed the gatherings of people for taking coffee and tea at roadside cafes and hotels. Passing the Mall we reached at GPO Chowk where we took rest after a while we proceeded to Kashmir Point. It was noon when we reached Kashmir Point along with many groups including families. Here we were surprised to see heavy layers of snow everywhere and people enjoying the season.
Children were throwing snow balls on each other while at many places some were making snow-men with their bare-hands to show their keen enthusiasm in the cold and cloudy season. Here people took pleasure viewing the Jhelum River and the Pir Panjal range into Kashmir. After spending an hour and a half enjoying the snow we moved towards our final destination, the Pindi Point.
On our way to Pindi Point we also tried our hands at horse-riding and purchased souvenirs from roadside stalls and shops. People were busy taking photographs of themselves with snowmen and women. Some creative people had also created beautiful scenery with artificial flowers to attract customers to take photographs. The Pindi Point offers a beautiful and breathtaking view of the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
At the Pindi Point, a lot of people including children and women enjoy ride in the chair-lift. This well equipped three-kilometre long chair-lift system offers a unique trip between the Murree hills to the visitors in all seasons. On the Murree Hills there are a number of gardens, hotels, summer cottages, and bungalows that attract a number of tourists.
After spending a long wintry day we concluded our trip and decided to return to Islamabad. Taking public transport we reached Rawalpindi just before sunset. We were very tired but I guess it was worth it.
-Published in Young World-Dawn | Jan 31, 2004

 


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