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Located at the tail of River Neelum, Taobat is a remote and small village of around 100-200 homes. This is the last formal human abode in this region, and our first destination, which can be reached through a jeep-able trek in summers. During winters it gets landlocked due to snow. The place is so far-flung that it still houses the endangered Himalaya Brown Bear. (Ref: http://bearproject.info/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/A-76-Status-of-the-brown-bear-in-Pakistan.pdf)
|Taobat: Last Village of the Neelum Valley|
|River Neelum Coming from the Indian Occupied Kashmir where it is known as Kishanganga|
|These Old Jeeps Connect Remote Villages to the Developed World|
|Colorful Creatures are a Common Sight around Taobat|
|One of the Many Wild Flowers around Taobat; Resembles Somewhat to Saffron!|
|This was the First Time in My Life that I Spotted a Woodpecker!|
|Trout Fish: Catch of the Trip!|
After Taobat, we visited Arang Kel, which is a lush plateau at a height of >8,000 feet. It can be approached by hiking from Kel – an important commercial and transportation hub of the valley. The 1,000 feet hike to this naturally gifted village is an experience in its own and was a reality check for lazy urbanites like us. It is steep, strenuous, and a bit risky especially if it is raining – but too full of delights Mother Nature has to offer.
|Trek to Arang Kel is all Natural Beauty|
|Halfway on the ~1,000 feet Hike to Arang Kel|
|Nature's Warm Welcome; the Rainbow Came Out When We Climbed up to Arang Kel|
|From Arang Kel's Perspective, this is Just an Ordinary Scene!|
|It was Stunning all around Arang Kel|
|A Lone Cloud Wandering Around Arang Kel's Corn Fields|
|Arang Kel's Sunflower|
On our way back to Keran from Kel, we had a sojourn at Sharda mainly tovisit the ancient Buddhist monastery ruins of which are still alive!
|Details About Sharda's Buddhist Ruins|
|Sharda's Buddhist Monastery: The Ruin was a Gigantic Cubical Structure|
|Sharda's Buddhist Ruins: A Story of Survival!|
|Sharda's Buddhist Monastery: Remains of the Entrance|
Keran is located right at the bank of River Neelum. This is the farthest place in the Neelum Valley which can be approached conveniently without a four wheel drive and where one can find decent accommodation facilities, making it a good destination for leisure travelers and families.
|Keran: Beyond the River this is Indian Occupied Kashmir|
|Keran: On the Other Side of the Line of Control; Landscape is the Same But Life is Different!|
|Keran Resort; A Clean, Peaceful, and Scenic Accommodation - Operated by Valley Trekkers|
|Apples Were Abound in the Resort's Backyard But Most of them Were Green and Sour!|
|Still I Managed to Find Some Ripened Ones!|
Kutton is yet another picturesque town of Neelum. It is located off the river-road duo, uphill along Jagran Stream. Further up, there is 30MW hydel power plant called Jagran Power House. The company, from some Scandinavian country I learnt, built a housing colony for their staff at Kutton during the construction of the plant. Lately, this colony had been converted into a tourist resort; the reason why the place is more famous than its peers.
|Jagran Resort Kutton; the Most Liveable Tourist Accommodation in Pakistan IMO|
|All Rooms in Jagran Resort are Cottage Style and were Well Equipped|
|Pear was Abundant in this Part of Neelum Valley|
|A Persimmon Tree in Kutton's Jagran Resort|
|This is one of the Hundreds of Mushroom we Found All Around Kutton's Jagran Resort|
|The Landslide Caused Due to Flood that Barred Us from the Return Journey for Two Days!|
The Travelogue is finally completed with lots of photos and tips about accommodation, transportation, and food: