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Introduction.
Gurez or Gurais, also pronounced Gorai in the local Shina language, is a valley located in the high Himalayas, about 86 kilometres (53 mi) from Bandipore and 123 kilometres (76 mi) from Srinagar in northern Jammu and Kashmir, India. At about 8,000 feet (2,400 m) above sea level, the valley is surrounded by snow-capped mountains. It has diverse fauna and wildlife including the Himalayan brown bear and the snow leopard. The Kishanganga River flows through the valley. The road to Gilgit runs through Gurais. Gurais is divided into three regions. The area from Toabat to Sharda Peeth is administered by Pakistan as Neelum District, that between Kamri and Minimarg is part of the Astore District, Northern Areas, Pakistan, and that from Toabat to Abdullae Tulail is known as Tehsil Gurez, and is part of Bandipore district. Dawar Dawar is the central township in the area. The population of the area is estimated to be about 30,000, and is scattered among fifteen villages. Due to heavy snowfall in winter, the valley remains cut off for six months of the year.
History.
Historically, Gurais was part of ancient Dardistan, stretching between Sharada Peeth in the west, Minimarg in the north, Drass in the east, and Baghtor in the south. The valley falls along the ancient Silk Route, which connected the Kashmir Valley with Gilgit, before continuing further to Kashgar. Archaeological surveys in valleys north of Gurais have uncovered hundreds of carved inscriptions in Kharoshthi, Brahmi, and Tibetan. In particular, the carvings provide insights into the origins of the Kashmiri people and the early history of Buddhism. The ancient capital of the Dards, Dawar, is located in the Gurais Valley and is an important archaeological site. Other archaeological sites of importance in the valley include Kanzilwan, where the last council of Buddhism is believed to have been held and, further downstream, the ruins of the ancient Sharada University are preserved along the Kishenganga/Neelum River. Prior to the Partition of Kashmir, Gurais had been a popular destination for foreign tourists, including Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who is known to have visited some time before he became the US president. During the colonial period, Gurais was often visited by trekkers. Nehru and Indira Gandhi, accompanied by Sheikh Abdullah, were among those who visited the area in the 1940s, fishing for trout at Naranag, one of the lakes in the mountains above the valley
Places to Visit.


“Habba Khatoon” mountain peak is the central attraction of the valley, named after the famous kashmiri poetess. As the sun rises, you can witness the mountain peak in different shades as sun rays cut across the mountain ranges. It is suggested to the travellers to take a walk down the town in the morning and experience the most beautiful sunrise as mist over Kishanganga sparkles when sun rays brighten the valley. The mountain peaks are simply spectacular with a clear blue sky in the background. There is no specific place to visit, but spending some alone time with nature and absence of mobile network ensures that your batteries are completely charged. The mesmerising beauty of the region is beyond words as you cross the Razdhan Pass. Everything along the way is splendid, the hamlets, the formations on mountain slopes made by the melting snow, the deodar forests or the mountains turned golden by the sun rays.
Fishery.
Kishenganga River, with a length of 150 kilometres (93 mi), supports world class trout with an average weight of 24 pounds (11 kg). As of 2006, there were plans to develop the fishery potential of the area, making it a resource for the surrounding region.

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