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Thread: Visiting Neelum Valley, Taobutt, Shonter on Bikes August 2012

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    Default Visiting Neelum Valley, Taobutt, Shonter on Bikes August 2012

    Assalam u Alaikum,
    Ever since my first visit of Neelum valley back in July 2010 the beautiful Neelum valley has always been in my mind. This year I was lucky enough to travel to the most beautiful valley of Azad Kashmir twice. First from 29 June to 2nd July 2012 and then again in Eid holidays from 22 August to 26 August 2012.
    Most of the pictures uploaded will be from my Motorbike tour with the exception of Jagran valley and Arang Kel which I visited in my June/July tour and skipped on my bike tour.

    Our Rides:
    Suzuki GS150 2011 Model
    Honda CG125 2011 Model
    Honda CG125 2004 Model
    Honda CD70 2011 Model
    Route Info:

    Islamabad-Danna (Roughly 55 KM) (1 Hour)
    We took the Murree Expressway and rather then turning towards Murree from Musiyari we went straight and reached Danna.
    Lower Topa - Kohala (Roughly 40 KM) (1-1.5 Hour)
    The road condition is good. We took the Phagwari route rather than taking the Bhurban-Deval route. Although the Bhurban-Kohala route is shorter but it is more steep and more dangerous.
    Kohala - Muzaffarabad (Roughly 34 KM) (1 Hour)
    Good road with a few areas affected by landsliding.
    Muzaffarabad - Nusehri (Roughly 42 KM) (1.5 Hours)
    Very good and newly built road with the exception of a 2km Patch about 10km from Muzaffarabad. Due to heavy rainfall this area had frequent landslides and got closed and cleared throughout the day.
    Nusehri -Kundal Shahi- Athmuqam - Keran - Dowarian (Roughly 68 KM) (At least 4-5 Hours)
    Very good and newly built road from about 2km past Nusehri to a few KM shy of Dowarian. Absolutely joy to ride and drive.
    Kundal Shahi - Kutton (Roughly 6KM)
    Not metaled but any car can go to Kutton.
    Kutton - Jagran (Roughly 10KM)
    Absolutely 4WD track. Recommended is to take a jeep from Kutton.
    Dowarian - Sharda (Roughly 32 KM) (1 -1.5 Hour)
    It is an old metaled road with a few bad patches but overall a good road. The main problem area is a couple of KM before Sharda the bridge of a Nala is broken and vehicles have to cross the Nala. Not to much dangerous and we crossed it on Mehran as well as bikes and we saw many vehicles like coure, alto, cultus etc. crossing it.
    Sharda - Kel (19 KM) (1 -1.5 Hour)
    Again the metaled road will disappear and you will be moving over stones/dirt/mud and many water springs. But still any vehicle can make it with careful driving.
    Kel - Shounter valley (20 KM) (2.5 - 3 Hours)
    Absolutely hardcore 4WD Jeep track. Just after Kel there is a Nala crossing. The original bridge has been destroyed by water but the locals have made a makeshift bridge which requires quite a lot of skills to cross.
    Kel - Taobut (43 KM) (2.5- 3 Hours)
    Mild jeep track. Any vehicle with high clearance can reach here. We saw many Mehran's and Alto's and one coure reaching Taobutt.

    Route Distance Chart:
    These distances are very important as there are absolutely no milestones on the Neelum valley road. So for the first comers it can be very difficult to know how much distance is left. With these you can always check your mileage meters for an approximate of distance to next place.
    Muzaffarabad - Kel Distances

    Muzaffarabad - Nusehri 42KM
    Nusehri - Kundal Shahi 32KM
    Kundal Shahi - Athmuqam 10KM
    Athmuqam - Keran 9KM
    Keran - Dowarian 13KM
    Dowarian - Sharda 30KM
    Sharda - Kel 20KM
    -----------
    Total Distance 157KM

    Kel - Taobutt Distances

    Kel - Jamgar Waterfall 12KM
    Jamgar Waterfall - Janawai 10KM
    Janawai - Sardari 10KM
    Sardari - Hilmat 4KM
    Hilmat - Taoubutt 7KM
    -----------
    Total Distance 43KM

    Kel - Shonter Distances

    Kel - Nala Crossing 1.5KM
    Nala - Nichli(Payeen) Domail 10KM
    Payeen Domail - Domail Bala 9KM
    Domail Bala - Shonter Lake 5KM
    Shonter Lake - Shonter waterfall 3KM
    -----------
    Total Distance 29KM
    Attached Images Attached Images    

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    nice details,i was there on hills since before eid and i can well imagine what were conditions on third and forth day.i myself tried to go mzd but returned back on second day of eid due to rain storm.
    waiting for the pics now.
    https://www.facebook.com/skillgrafik

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    Quote Originally Posted by imarshad View Post
    Yes we crossed it on bikes.... But boy it was a scary crossing.... There were three logs tied together and you have to keep the bike on the centre one. I had intended to take pictures/videos of us crossing the bridge but it was so scary that I forgot to take my camera out to take pictures....
    Jeeps are crossing this Nala on the same bridge. They have three logs on one side then there is gap and then 2 logs on the other side. One tyre has to be on three log tied together and other on the 2 logs tied together....
    Also note that this bridge is not on the Shonter Nala but another Nala. We never cross the Shonter Nala until we reach Shonter waterfall which is the last jeepable portion of the Shonter. Crossing Shonter on such a bridge is definitely suicidal....
    oops. I am leaving on 6th September. offcourse will nto try to cross it on my 4x4. plan is to come back via Noori top. hope it will be open.

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    Quote Originally Posted by taimur76 View Post
    oops. I am leaving on 6th September. offcourse will nto try to cross it on my 4x4. plan is to come back via Noori top. hope it will be open.
    Well you can always ask for some local jeep driver to help you cross the bridge.... People there are very friendly and helpful... But if you get your 4x4 in a straight line with the bridge and someone to guide you on the other side of the bridge then it will not be that much difficult.... Just like you get your cars on the deck for service.....

    Also the the Noori Top was open when we were there....Better have a look at this video before making your mind about crossing Noori Top....
    Climbing from Surgan Village - YouTube

    and this one....

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ps0QT...feature=relmfu

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    Quote Originally Posted by taimur76 View Post
    oops. I am leaving on 6th September. offcourse will nto try to cross it on my 4x4. plan is to come back via Noori top. hope it will be open.
    I have been visit noori top from jhalkad till sharda at 29 aug 2012. Road is very bad in condition and toooo scary as well at some points. And also there was 6 to 7 land slides on the way which our jeep difficultly managed to cross those slides. Jeep driver ko hmay utarna para different slides points py because there were dangerous, but jeep or bikes are crossing noori top. We saw 2 bikers at noori top

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    @engrshiraz,Congrats on making the cut bro..How much did the jeep driver charge from Jalkhad to Sharda and what was the travelling time with these road conditions..

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    Default

    I apologize to all for not updating the thread earlier.... The main culprit was/is my DSL connection at home....For the last 3/4 days it is mostly offline and even if it is online I get very slow speed....

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    Default Day1: Islamabad - Muzaffarabad

    Due to rain we had to delay our departure to 12AM from Islamabad.

    Just near the Murree Expressway turn after Bharakahu..... My bike is fully loaded with luggage....

    Visiting Neelum Valley Taobutt Shonter on Bikes August 2012 -1035372

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    Default Day1: Islamabad - Muzaffarabad

    The rest of Day1 was also very uneventful. We somehow dodged rain all the way to Muzaffarabad. I don't know how but on some places we passed just a few moments before the rain and on some places we arrived when the rain had just stopped. The only place where we actually encountered rain near Alliyot where we were taking Lunch in a restaurant and suddenly it started raining heavily outside. But when we had finished our lunch the rain also stopped and had damp roads all the way to Muzaffarabad.

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    Default Day1: Islamabad - Muzaffarabad

    Just after crossing Kohala we saw this Doli ride across the Jehlum river which takes to a very beautiful waterfall. I don't know how much water there is in normal days but due to torrential rains there was lots of water and was looking very beautiful.
    Visiting Neelum Valley Taobutt Shonter on Bikes August 2012 -1035374

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    Default Day1: Islamabad - Muzaffarabad

    We didn't have enough time to cross the river but I made a video of this place. Please watch all videos in 720P as I have shot them using my iPhone in 720P.....

    ....

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    Quote Originally Posted by gemzaib View Post
    @engrshiraz,Congrats on making the cut bro..How much did the jeep driver charge from Jalkhad to Sharda and what was the travelling time with these road conditions..
    Yr we wee 12 persons so we booked 2 jeeps at 15000 for 2 jeeps that is 7500 for 1 jeep, traveling time is 6 to 7 hours, it depends how much time u spend on noori top, road condition is bad and poor/scary at some points

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    Quote Originally Posted by engrshiraz View Post
    I have been visit noori top from jhalkad till sharda at 29 aug 2012. Road is very bad in condition and toooo scary as well at some points. And also there was 6 to 7 land slides on the way which our jeep difficultly managed to cross those slides. Jeep driver ko hmay utarna para different slides points py because there were dangerous, but jeep or bikes are crossing noori top. We saw 2 bikers at noori top
    Initially we also had plan to cross Noori top from Sharda side and reach Naran. But after some info supplied by some local people as well as those who had done it on bikes we changed our plans.... All were suggesting that it is too much demanding to cross it from Sharda side on bikes. The main reason being the 31KM ascend from Sharda to Noori top as compared to the 17KM from the Jalkhad side.... Also when we reached Sharda the color of Surgan Nala was muddy brown implying that it had rained quite heavily on the top and there was supposed to be some landslides etc. On my previous visits to Sharda the water of Surgan Nala was bluish and very clear....

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    Default Day1: Islamabad - Muzaffarabad

    The rest of Day1 was quite uneventful... We reached Muzaffarabad by 6PM and started to look for a low priced hotel. We fond one near the Bus Stand for Rs. 500 per night with 4 beds. We also cooked our own food in our room and slept hoping for a dry day. I also checked with a Bus driver about any blockage on the Neelum valley road. He told that the only problem area is 10KM from Muzaffarabad before Pattika. After this we will most likely encounter dry weather as there has been almost no rain in Neelum valley and all the rain has been in the areas adjacent to Muzaffarabad.

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    Default Day2: Muzaffarabad - Kel

    We left Muzaffarabad very early i.e at about 6AM. Although it was overcast but luckily it was not raining. When we reached the area vulnerable to landslides (which the bus driver had told) we found many vehicles in a que waiting for the machinery to clear the landslide area.... So it was a good spot for us to have a break and prepare our breakfast. We prepared our breakfast and enjoyed the scenery and in the meanwhile the road was cleared.
    We crossed the landslide area at about 8AM and then we rushed to our first stop i.e the famous Dhanni waterfall.... I had shown my friends videos of my last visit and they were really excited. But it was a real disappointment as there was almost no water in the waterfall.... A local told that they have put huge pipes at the top and are diverting the water for irrigation of crops.
    Then we crossed the Neelum-Jehlum hydel power plant area near Nusehri and then our next stay was a water spring near Jura Bandi. In all previous visits to Neelum valley we had always taken a bath in this spring. Although the water level was low and the water was not as crystal clear as it had been in our previous visits but still we enjoyed taking our bath there....
    After reaching Kundalshahi we took a small detour to Kutton. We had plans to go to Jagraan but due to shortage of time as well as the fact that I had been to Jagraan just 45 days ago we skipped Jaagran and came down on the main Neelum valley road. We crossed Athmuqam and Keran and drove our bikes to Upper Neelum region which is a 3KM detour from Keran.
    After reaching back to Keran we drove to Dowarian and then to Sharda where we prayed our combined Zuhr and Asar prayers. We left Sharda at about 5PM and reached Kel by 6:30PM. Again my friends opted for a low level economical hotel where we had 4 beds for just Rs. 300 per night....
    Other details of the day will be added as I will add pictures of this day....

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    Default Day2: Muzaffarabad - Kel

    There was landsliding just after 10KM from Muzaffarabad. Machinery clearing the landslide area.


    Visiting Neelum Valley Taobutt Shonter on Bikes August 2012 -1035458


    Visiting Neelum Valley Taobutt Shonter on Bikes August 2012 -1035459

    Crossing this area in night and specially in rainy season is definitely not advised.....

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    Default

    A video of the same event of the machine clearing the road. You can see the drop into the river which is some 200 feet below... Definitely advisable to see in HD i.e 720p.....


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    Default Day2: Muzaffarabad - Kel

    So this landslide forced us to take a breakfast break. Just a few meters before the landslide was a beautiful waterfall and we stopped at that spot and prepared our breakfast which was Double Roti with Half fry eggs and tea....

    Our bikes parked at the site of breakfast....

    Visiting Neelum Valley Taobutt Shonter on Bikes August 2012 -1035466

    My bike looking like a part of the background....

    Visiting Neelum Valley Taobutt Shonter on Bikes August 2012 -1035467

    Preparing tea......

    Visiting Neelum Valley Taobutt Shonter on Bikes August 2012 -1035468

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    Default Day2: Muzaffarabad - Kel

    A video of the same area to show the beauty of the area.....


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    Default Day2: Muzaffarabad - Kel

    Actual video of preparing breakfast....


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    Default Day2: Muzaffarabad - Kel

    Dhanni Waterfall
    After having the breakfast and clearance of the road we stated on our journey and our next stop was the famous Dhanni waterfall....
    Location:
    The location of Dhani waterfall is that it is almost at a travel of 1hour from Muzaffarabad. First comes Pattika at a distance of 40 minutes from Muzaffarabad. After Pattikka one has to further travel about 20-30 minutes to reach this waterfall and it is just a few minutes before the small town of Dhanni.
    As described earlier it was a real disappointment to see the waterfall almost completely dried out. A local told that they are taking water in huge pipes for irrigation purposes and so that's why it is almost dried up....

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