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A view of the hills

With short breaks or – even better – full length holidays on the cards for many, a trip up into the relative cool of the hills is an affordable, easily doable option and what better destination than that old favourite hill station of Murree?

Plenty of accommodation options… Just over an hour’s drive from Islamabad/Rawalpindi, three hours from Peshawar and five from Lahore, historic Murree has, despite the visible dominance of new construction, much to offer on many fronts. Pleasant accommodation, ranging from the old fashioned, individual ‘bungalows’ to modern apartments can be found at reasonable prices. Furthermore, there is a choice of staying out of the hustle and bustle of the town in one of the numerous hotels, guesthouses or apartments, while for those who prefer to be right in the swing of things, there is plenty of accommodation on the busy Mall Road where everything happens.

7. The Mall.

The Mall is especially crowded during the summer

Kashmiri handicrafts – and books… Murree has, especially when it comes to handicrafts, a distinctly Kashmiri bent as trading ties with that beautiful region stretch back centuries to when the Murree area was governed from there. There is an excellent selection of handmade, Kashmiri artefacts in the Punjab Government Handicraft Store in Marabah Chowk and a wonderful array of embroidered Kashmiri shawls, jackets, woollen kurtas and decorative items in the two stores adjacent to the well known Book Galleria halfway along the Mall.

And Afghan ones, too… There are some Afghan shops tucked away on the popular Mall which sell some wonderful, handcrafted silver jewellery and lapis lazuli pieces, incredibly colourful dresses ornamented with intricate beadwork and embroidery, colourful shoulder bags and a few reproduced antiques.

6. Basket seller.

A basket seller plying his wares

For the foodies… No holiday or day trip is complete without food and the eateries scattered throughout Murree serve up just about everything. Traditionalists can enjoy karahis, pulaos, qormas, tikkas and haleem; those preferring more modern fare can opt for burgers, roast chicken and steaks with all the trimmings.

In a nutshell… Murree, despite its tendency to be overcrowded in the peak months of summer, is still very much the place to be!

– B Khan

murree map

Photos by B Khan

First published in the Real Estate Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on May 19, 2013.