Known as the ‘Pearl Valley of Azad Kashmir’ one of the beautiful cities of Azad Kashmir is Rawalakot. With the breathtaking view and enchanting waterfalls, the town has big markets providing all essential commodities.
Rawalakot is located in Poonch district of Azad Jammu and Kashmir at altitude of 1615 Meters. It is situated at a distance of 76 Kilometers from Kohala is also linked with Rawalpindi/Islamabad via Azad Pattan and Dhalkot and with Muzafarabad Kohala by black top roads. The construction of Guoien Nullah road between Rawlakot and Azad Pattan has considerably reduced the distance and journey time.
How to get there
The road passing through (Jalooth) Paniola connects Rawalakot to Bagh and Muzaffarabad. Toward the west are Murree, Islamabad and Rawalpindi regions of Pakistan. Rawalakot is linked with Kotli via Mandhole and Tattapani. Distance of Rawalakot from Rawalpindi is 3 hours, as the roads are narrow but getting better by often process of constructions where needed. Construction of the Guoien Nalla road between Rawalakot and Azad Pattan has considerably reduced travel times. Rawalakot Airport is non-operational, as there is no demand for the air service provided by Pakistan International Airlines.
Weather experiences an erratic behavior in Rawalakot, as average temperature in summer remain between 25 °c to 35 °c and not very hot. In pearl valley, you may even require to put on light woolens in summers at night. Rawalakot is the most sought after hill station during summers. Before fall season the region gets covered in the hues of first gold, then russet and then red. Winter stretches from December to March, snowfall usually starts in December and lasts till February keeping temperature in negative often. Covered with snow, Rawalakot remained cold and chilly.
Hotels and Rest Houses
Accommodation on reasonable rates is available in Tourism AJK, PWD and Pearl Development Authority’s rest houses. Small hotels with living accommodations are also available in and around the city. Government-owned cabins are available in Rawalakot and Banjosa. Advance reservations are recommended as most of these accommodations are used by government officials on their tours. There are various guest houses, rest houses, motels and hotels at most of the tourist spots which can be booked in advance from their offices in Rawalakot.
Things to do
Mountain-based adventure tourism, rock climbing, mountaineering, trekking, summer camping and hiking, water-based adventure tourism, and paragliding. There are many picnic places in Rawalakot like Banjosa Lake, Toli Pir, Jandali, Hajeera, Poonch river, tatta pani etc. Banjosa Lake and Toli Pir undoubtedly best picnic spots in Rawalakot, offer different views in summer and winter accordingly.
Where to Eat
Hospitality with the open heart is the passion of locals. They provide tourist a feeling of home while they are away. Traditional and continental foods are available at hotels and guest houses. Restaurants are not frequently available i the area yet. A hot cup of coffee while sitting at the balcony is ideal in evenings.
What to Buy
Rawalakot is a downtown area. The town has good bazaars with the mixture of luxurious and essential commodities of life. For a tourist Handicrafts, silk woolen clothing, woolen shawls, wood carving, Papier Mashie, carpets and rugs could be a good choice. Mushrooms, honey, walnuts, apples, cherry, medicinal herbs, deodar are the other products to buy. Equipment for hiking such as diggers, camping tents, stoves and sleeping bags are available at very economical price.