The border village about 49 kilometers ahead of Kel is a fascinating but unexplored sight. J The area from Kel to Taobat is called the Halmat. Janawai, Sardari and Halmat are the most beautiful places of this area. A tourist rest house has been constructed at Halmat to provide accommodation facilities to the visitors. The drive itself is slow as the road is a dirt track, crossing streams and waterfalls. It almost takes 4 hours to reach this place from Kel.
You can also start seeing some glaciers melting into the Neelum River. This is the last hamlet before you reach the LOC.
A 19 kilometers journey from Sharda upstream takes one to Kel. It is a small valley at a height of 3000 meters. The Shounter Nallah joins river Neelum at this place and track from here leads to Astore and Deossai plains. There are some very beautiful high alpine lakes accessible from Kel, which involves 4x4 off-roading and hiking – maybe even renting mules. Buses ply daily on this route in good weather. There are several local banks, schools, army hospital, and bazaar in Kel. AJK also has accommodation available here.
Army have their headquarter here and theire medical corp is mainly treating the locals.
At an altitude of 2000 m, Sharda is a beautiful green spot. The landscape consists of several small streams, hill side covered with green forest, cultivated land around it. Located at a distance of 30 kilometers from Dowarian. A track from Sharda takes one to Nurinar Pass (Nuri Top) following Surgan stream, which then connects to the Kaghan Valley.
There also exists ruin of an old Buddhist University. AJK Tourism dept has a modest rest house. Do note that there is no electricity in this area.
To reach Sharda, one has to cross a magnificent suspension bridge over Neelum River.
Dowarian is situated about 13 kilometers from Neelum at an altitude of 1615 meters. It is surrounded by mountains full of pine trees. About 30 km from here, a track goes deep inside Rattigali Pass, which connects Neelum and Kaghan Valley. A high alpine lake (4000m), Rattigali, also exists in this pass. To get there you need to track or hire mules for the journey.
Keran is situated on the bank of the river Neelum 1524 meters above sea level. It has some very picturesque scenery. The main attraction for this place is that India is visible on the other side of the river. There is also a small military bridge that connects the two divides, and one can see both Pakistani and Indian soldiers patrolling. AJK Tourism department has a rest house built here as well.
Authmuqam is at height of 1400 meters and is the divisional headquarter of Neelum Valley. A large bazaar exists where you can purchase all your necessary items; there is a post office, some local banks, hospital, and telephone service. During Pak-India conflict, Authmuqam was a constant target for Indian shells.
Kutton was our first rest stop, and is situated 10 km from Kundal Shahi. A road going west follows the Jagran River and climbs up to Kutton. There are some rest houses belonging to AJK Tourism department, and rest houses belonging to the hydro project management. The rest house is built over the Jagran River, and there is a constant roar of river flowing below. The rest house is surrounded by lush green forest, surrounded by snow covered mountains. The October 8, 2005 earthquake totally devastated this area, and most houses we saw were rebuilt.
The Jagran River is said to be filled with trout, and several trout hatcheries have been built near Kuttan and Kundal Shahi.