Tourists’ festivities reach climax at snow-clad Galiyat, valleys

LAHORE, Feb 01 (APP): Every year a large number of people rush to breathtaking places to enjoy and see the snowy landscapes, as Pakistan is blessed with four seasons.

During winter season heavy snowfall hits some famous hilly areas which create charming and fascinating white scenic beauty.Hordes of tourists in Murree, Galiyat and other valleys of the country are being seen enjoying the snowfall and spending happy moments with their families and friends.

After listening to the news of Pakistan Meteorological Department PMD), who predicted heavy snowfall in Murree, Galiyat, adjoining areas and other Northern Area valleys, the tourists rushed to reach these picturesque landscapes to witness memorable and extraordinary weather conditions. In Pakistan, winter season normally starts in mid October and lasts till the end of February. During snowfall, hundreds of thousands of people enjoy the snowfall views at hills with their loved ones to feel the awesomeness of winter along with having some traditional cooked winter cuisines.

The charming snowfall valleys of the country included Nathia Gali (altitude of 8,200 feet), Skardu (altitude of 8,200 feet), Leepa Valley, Kalash Valley (altitude of 5,476–7, 576 feet) Malam Jabba(9200 ft ), Swat Valley and Peer Chanasi (in Muzaffarabad), Naran (Kaghan Valley), Kel Valley (a village in Neelum valley area) and Hunza Valley located at an elevation of around 8,200 ft.Leepa Valley is the most attractive and charming valley in Azad Jammu & Kashmir(AJK).

Among other fascinating winter tourist destinations, this is the most beautiful and loveliest valley.This valley offers an unending variety of scenic beauty, an everlasting memory of sights and sounds having high peaks covered with pine trees.

Leepa valley is covered with white snow throughout the chilly winter season. This valley is located some 105 kilometers from AJK capital, Muzaffarabad.

Another route having a pleasant weather road, which branches off for Leepa from Naile some 45 kilometers from Muzaffarabad and climbs over Reshian Gali (elevation of 10498 feet above sea level) and then comes down to 5501 feet on the other side into the Leepa Valley. Nathia Gali, a mountain resort town in Hazara, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), is one of the best Places to enjoy snowfall during December and January in Pakistan.

This hill station is well known for its peculiar scenic beauty, pleasant weather and hiking tracks. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations of the Murree hills Situated some 34 km (at one hour’s drive from both Murree and Abbottabad).  Similarly the weather of Nathia Gali is a great attraction for the country wide tourists, which remains pleasant, cool and foggy during the Summer season. Cold wind waves take a harsh start to chill the weather during Autumn.Winters are very cold and chilly.

The Galiyat Development Authority (GDA) spokesperson Ahsan Hameed told APP that Nathia Gali, with an elevation point of 8400m above the sea level was a unique and small tourist destination and had emerged as a most popular resort in the country.  While replying to a query, he said that around 90 per cent of local tourists visited this destination every year, during the winter season.

This charming resort had broken all tourist arrival records during the past two years’ winter,” he informed. Murree Hills and its surrounding Galiyat are at the top among the tourists’ destination list as hundreds of thousands of tourists are visiting Galiyat every day to witness snow-clad mountains and enjoying adventure tracks of its various valleys.

Abdul Raheem, a local hotel owner told APP that hotels in Galiyat were witnessing full booking since the start of snowfall last year, adding the popularity of the destination had grown exponentially among the students and family tourists.  There was a huge rush of local tourists in Kaghan, Naran, Abbottabad, Murree and Galiyat on this weekend, he said.

General Manager Operations, Tourism Development Corporation Punjab (TDCP) Asim Raza said the overall festivity and fun of the people amid COVID-19 was most  attractive and  activity at hill station was festive and busy.  To create a charming tourism environment for the local tourists, the tourism industry could further be promoted by providing world-class facilities that commensurate with our rich cultural legacy and heritage.

Asim Raza said that the tourism sector was the prime focus of Prime Minister Imran Khan and the Punjab government, adding, to visualize his vision, all out efforts and steps were being taken to achieve result oriented targets.

An international level conference on tourism would also be held in April this year while both TDCP and PBIT would explore different arenas to attract foreign and local investors in this multi-billion dollar potential sector, he informed. It may be mentioned here that Tourism Development Corporation Punjab (TDCP) and Punjab Board of Investment and Trade (PBIT) had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aiming at collective efforts to explore investment potential in the tourism sector.

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