Gurez Valley

About The Gurez Valley

Gurez is a valley located in the high Himalayas, about 86 kms from Bandipora and 123 kms from Srinagar in northern Jammu and Kashmir. At about 8,000 feet (2,400 m) above sea level, the valley is surrounded by snowcapped mountains. It has diverse fauna and wildlife including the Himalayan brown bear and the snow leopard. The Kishanganga River flows through the valley. The road to Gilgit runs through Gurez. Gurez is divided into three regions. The area from Toabat to Sharda Peeth is administered by Pakistan as Neelum District, that between Kamri and Minimarg is part of the Astore District, Northern Areas, Pakistan, and that from Toabat to Abdullae Tulail is known as Tehsil Gurez, and is part of Bandipora district. People of Gurez valley are Dards, they speak Sheena language and have their ancestral connection with Gilgit valley now in Pakistan. The feature and attire of the Dards are similar to Kashmiri people of mountain region. Though Gurez is a far flung area but the people of the Dard race have uplifted themselves by the hard work and proper education. Dard women are fair with athletic built, who spend the summer in collecting wood from mountains for the harsh winter; when it is impossible to move in 20 feet out side. Ultimate adventure destination to the north of Kashrnir, Gurez, is a gateway to the famous silk route across central Asia. The pyramid shaped peak named after famous Kashmiri poetess Habba Khatoon is most fascinating peak of Kashmir. The emperor Yusuf Shah Chak who is said to be a Dard from Gilgit entered into Kashmir through Gurez. It is believed that when emperor was imprisoned by the King Akbar, his beloved Habba Khatoon used to wander near the peak to look for her lover. The roar of mighty Kishan-Ganga River flowing across the valley, resonates with surrounding mountains that lulls a visitors to sound sleep.The traditional log wood houses make Gurez no less than a European country side. The trekking Routes from Gurez and Tilel lead up to Gangabal and Sonamarg to its east and Drass, Dahanu and Zanskar to its north. The Kishen Ganga River in Gurez offers easy level of stream for Rafting and tough ones from Tilel. Some of the mountains have absolutely challenging scope for Rock Climbing.Trout fishing is a frequent sport among locals who through in a line to get decent meal for the day. Anglers can be delighted to catch a brown trout in the Kishen Ganga River or the streams coming down from the mountains. Gurez has lovely campsites where the tents can be pitched near the river. 20 km from Gurez,the awesome villages of Tilel have log wood houses which perfectly add to the magnificent view of mountains full of pine and fir trees. The road from Gurez to Tilel is just 7 years old, which has been extended upto Drass in Kargil region. The rugged and tough life of people of Tilel can make a visitor to contribute for promotion of the destination in one way or the other.

Important Contact No.s in Gurez

STD Code: 01936
Tourist Office: 01936243224
JKTDC: 01936243285/243308
Police Station: 01936243228

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The legend Habba Khatoon

Gurez's most formidable peak is Habba Khatoon, around which legends abound and at one time, even a film starring Dimple Kapadia was planned.The pyramid shaped peak was named after the Kashmiri poet Habba Khatoon. She was a beautiful and intelligent woman from Saffron village chandhara, Pampore and originally known as "Zoon" (which means Moon in English). She was the daughter of a peasant Abuddi Rather, who married her to an illiterate peasant boy named Habba. Zoon was ill-treated by her mother-in-law and husband, because she spent most of her time in poetry and singing. Dejected by her plight, she changed her name to Habba Khatoon.
The emperor of Kashmir, Yusuf Shah Chak, was enthralled by her beauty, intelligence and poetry. He arranged her divorce from Habba and married her. According to the story, Shah Chak was imprisoned by his rival King Akbar, Habba Khatoon used to wander near the peak that now bears her name to look for her lover. After her husband's death, she wandered the banks of river Jhelum in mourning. Her songs uttered the words for lost love and said:

“Ghoh choun wuchan gotti, aki latti yeham naa”
“I look for you oh my love in storms. I wish you to come once”

She died twenty years later by drowning into the Jhelum and now her tomb is at Athwajan. The musicians & singers of the royal court groomed her to a complete poetess. Habba Khatoon contributed musical compositions, Sufiana kalams and Kashmiri songs

“Meha Kari cheii kith, poshe daswanoi, Chhou mean danai posh”
“I have done up myself with flowers for you, relish the beauty of the flowers oh my love”

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How to Reach Gurez Valley

You can go to Gurez through a TRC (tourist reception centre) helicopter run by government or by a taxi. Helicopters can be booked at TRC office, Rajbagh, Srinagar. Go to H block, 2nd floor, there is a counter to book the ride to Gurez. The helicopter ride is priced at Rs.3000 per person one way and it flies to Gurez only on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays both ways and just takes 35 minutes to cover the 130 km stretch. Alternatively, Taxis can be hired for around Rs.5000-5500 one way from Srinagar. The road ride is even more interesting as you can see the mesmerizing Razdan top.
The downhill road from Razdan reaches to the small village of Kunzalwan, where border is just across the hills. There is a famous tributary of Jhelum / Kishan Ganga River with a length of 180 miles, rises in extreme eastern Tilel and flows westwards joined by Raman Sind and Burzil stream. Kishen Ganga River starts and re-enters to Pakistan via Gurez valley. A plain road journey of more than an hour makes a way to the most spectacular view of Habba Khatoon peak (a limestone mountain) in Gurez.
Gurez valley is a most visiting place for all tourists as it is completely safe and untouched. The best place ever to see in Kashmir. The locals are all welcoming and generous. Keep aside 2-3 days from your itinerary to visit this magical land. You will keep coming back here often.

Where to Stay in Gurez

For a 3 to 6 days tour to Gurez, arrangements can be made at tourists office Srinagar Tented accommodation to be arranged from Srinagar is the only option available for night stays in Gurez valley. The houses at Dawar & Tilel could be used as guest houses with prior arrangements with the residents. The assistance of a registered travel agent of Kashmir is strongly recommended.

Where to eat in Gurez

Few local restaurant run by local people at Dawar provide meals during the day. It is advisable to carry sufficient packed food to visit the spot. Eating out at the campsite with the group is recommended.

Places of interest in Gurez Valley

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