Arang Kel Location
Arang Kel in Neelum Valley Azad Kashmir Pakistan is a village, a tourist destination within the Neelam district of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan. It is located at the top of the mountain above Kel at an altitude of 8,379 feet (2,554 m). It is like a large plain on top of a hill.
How to reach Arang Kel in Neelum Valley Azad Kashmir
Arang Kel is 230 kilometers from Muzaffarabad through the Neelum valley near the flowing Neelum River and Sharda. Sharda is a popular base camp for many tourists in the region and if you have not planned a trip at least 45 days in advance, chances are you will not find accommodation in Sharda.
After staying in Sharda, one has to leave the area very early in the morning to reach Kel, so you do not have to wait many hours in line for the chair lift. This Chair-lift in a way is not a joke. It is a handmade metal cuboid with two benches on both sides, can accommodate only 6 people looks like a toy hanging 200+ meters above the ground, and takes you from one end of the valley to the other.
Chairlift saves you an hour on the go, if you are too scared to cross the river in this shady thing, you have to cross the river and walk an extra hour to get to the top.
Arang Kel in Neelum Valley, Azad Kashmir, can be reached by walking a 2 km (1.2 mi) trail from the town of Kel or by using a 1 km chairlift managed by the Pakistan Army. To reach Kel, travelers must first enter the Neelam village from Muzaffarabad. Good roads are available from Muzaffarabad up to Athmuqam, where you can take a public van to reach your destination. Beyond Athmuqam, a private or rented car is necessary to pass through Keran, Kutton, Dawarrian, and Sharda to finally reach Kel.
Arang Kel in Neelum Valley, Azad Kashmir, is situated just 19 miles (12 mi) past Sharda at an altitude of 6,879 m (2,097 m). Buses operate daily between Muzaffarabad and Kel, depending on weather conditions. Several private hotels, AJK Tourism Department lodges, and archaeological sites are available to accommodate visitors. Good guesthouses and hotels can be found within the range of Rs. 1000 to Rs. 2000 ($10-$20) per person.
Food may be relatively expensive due to the necessity of transporting supplies from Kel to Arang Kel using donkeys and horses. Arang Kel also features essential amenities like a bank, college, hospital, and a market (bazaar).
Once you cross the river, the journey begins. It’s a short distance, around 900-1000 meters. However, if it starts to rain, it can become an adventurous and challenging trip. The road becomes extremely slippery when wet, and locals often rent hiking sticks, which can be very useful, especially in the rain.
An hour later, you’ll be greeted with an astounding view: lush green fields with mountains in the background, small wooden huts scattered about without electricity or televisions—just pure serenity.
However, talking to locals can reveal that this region has seen its share of dark days. Arang Kel, located on the border between Pakistan and India, was once a mass grave just a few years ago. Instead of green fields, it witnessed bombs, bullets, and arrows. But as the situation improved, people left all that behind and resumed their peaceful way of life.
The wildlife in Arang Kel including brown bears and leopards were spotted here a few years ago, which was well-received by the military personnel.
Arang Kel, situated near the control line and a road, is prone to frequent landslides in summer and snowslides in winter. During winter, all routes are closed, making it challenging to access Arang Kel. Combined with these factors, it has earned a reputation as one of the most arduous places to reach.