For the best experience, open
on your mobile browser.

Spellbinding Peer Ki Gali emerges as Kashmir’s ultimate summer escape 

The historical significance of Pir Ki Gali adds to its allure.
12:55 AM May 29, 2024 IST | Gulzar Bhat
spellbinding peer ki gali emerges as kashmir’s ultimate summer escape 
File/ GK

Shopian, May 28:  Located at an elevation of 11,500 feet, Peer Ki Gali mountain pass, running through the imposing Pir Panjal range offers a spell-casting view.


Around 90 km south of Srinagar and barely an hour-long drive from Shopian town, the mountain pass connects Jammu division’s Poonch and Rajouri districts with Shopian in Kashmir division.


While an intense heat wave is sweeping through Kashmir like other parts of the country, a significant portion of the mountain pass is covered under a thin film of snow.


“This location is graced with breath-taking natural beauty, captivating visitors with its majestic landscapes and pristine surroundings,” said Bilal Ahmad Bhat, a local.


An outstation tourist said that he found the place one of the best tourist destinations in Kashmir.


The entire stretch from Shopian to Peer Ki Gali offers a host of breathtaking locations along the way.


A wildlife sanctuary located in Heerpora, roughly 25 minutes drive from Shopian village, is abode to Markhor, Musk deer, Himalayan black bear, and other rare animals.


Extending over a sprawling area of 341 sq km, the sanctuary is also home to rich flora, including Kail pine trees and wild roses.

Barely a few kilometres from the sanctuary is located the tourist destination Dobijan.

The area is known for its hot water springs and people believe that its waters have curative powers.

“Since my childhood, I have seen people visiting the place and taking a dip in the warm waters,” said 70-year-old Abdul Rashid of Shopian.

In January, when hotspot tourist destinations in Kashmir did not experience snowfall, the mountain peaks dotted by towering pine trees remained draped in snow, providing a stunning winter landscape to the visitors.

Both the local and outstation tourists visited the Mughal Road up to Dobijan to enjoy the snow.

Since the re-opening of Mughal Road in April this year, tourists have been visiting the area to experience its scenic beauty and charm.

Jahangir Ahmad, who runs a tea stall along the road, said that the government should initiate a raft of steps to develop the area to attract more tourists to the area.

“The road is more than an alternate surface link connecting two regions. Its scenic vistas framed by snow-capped mountains and lush green meadows hold tremendous tourism potential,” said Ahmad.

Many residents demanded the authorities prioritise the wayside amenities along the arterial road.

CEO Peer Ki Gali Dobijan Development Authority, Ghalib Mohidin Shah told Greater Kashmir that they were creating the infrastructure to develop the area.

“We are also working on wayside amenities,” he said.

Shabir Ibn Yusuf adds to the report

As Pir Ki Gali continues to enchant visitors with its stunning natural beauty and historical charm, both tourists and locals are voicing their thoughts on the emerging tourist spot.

While tourists are captivated by the serene landscapes and adventure opportunities, locals are advocating for improved infrastructure to support the growing influx of visitors.

The historical significance of Pir Ki Gali adds to its allure.

The Mughal Road, which connects Kashmir with the Poonch district, was once a vital trade route used by Mughal emperors.

The road's rich history is reflected in the ancient architecture and remnants of Mughal-era infrastructure that dot the landscape.

For history enthusiasts, a visit to Pir Ki Gali offers a glimpse into the J&K’s storied past and the legacy of the Mughal dynasty

“Pir Ki Gali is an absolute gem,” said Ramesh Kumar, a tourist from Delhi. “The scenic beauty here is unparalleled. It's like stepping into a different world, away from the hustle and bustle of city life. The trek was challenging but incredibly rewarding with breathtaking views at every turn.”

Preeti Roy from West Bengal said: “I have travelled to many places, but Pir Ki Gali is truly special. The combination of history and natural beauty is captivating. It is an ideal spot for nature photography and just unwinding. I’m already planning my next visit!”

A trekker, Javid Ahmad Mir said that the Pir Ki Gali has so much to offer for adventure enthusiasts like him.

“The trails are well-maintained, and the experience of camping under the stars in such a pristine environment is unforgettable. However, better facilities would enhance the experience,” he said.

Locals, while appreciative of the tourism boom, are calling for better infrastructure to accommodate the growing number of visitors.

“Tourism has brought new opportunities for us, but we need more infrastructure to support it," said Ghulam Rasool, a local vendor. “Better roads, guesthouses, and proper sanitation facilities are essential. This will not only help tourists but also improve our quality of life.”

Another group of vendors at Pir Ki Gali said that the spot has the potential to become a major tourist hub.

They said that they need the government to invest more in developing the area.

“Improved connectivity and amenities will attract more tourists and provide more jobs for locals,” they said.

A group of tour guides said that the natural beauty of Pir Ki Gali is its biggest asset, but it needs to be complemented with good infrastructure.

“Enhanced safety measures, better healthcare facilities, and eco-friendly practices are crucial to ensuring sustainable tourism growth,” they said.

Officials from the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department have acknowledged the need for infrastructure development.

“We are aware of the growing popularity of Pir Ki Gali and the need for improved facilities,” officials said. “Plans are underway to enhance road connectivity, build more accommodation options, and ensure the area is equipped to handle an increased number of tourists while preserving its natural beauty.”

As Pir Ki Gali continues to rise as a tourist destination, the collaboration between tourists, locals, and the government will be key to unlocking its full potential, ensuring a harmonious balance between development and conservation.