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View of Azad Kashmir from the top of the Bhurban ridge

View of Azad Kashmir from the top of the Bhurban ridge

valentines-day iconWith endless miles of stunning forests still managing to cling to life in the otherwise over-exploited Bhurban, putting on your walking boots and taking off for a romantic walk, on marked hiking tracks, is a wonderful way of escaping the world. These stately, incredibly dense forests are, in some places, composed of nothing but magically aromatic pine trees ornamented with resinous fir cones, and in others, are a mixture of pine, spruce, and deciduous trees with wild flowers rambling and growing in the rich earth. picture 2Plenty of wildlife… The forests are inhabited by a range of birds including the raucous yellow-billed blue magpie, brilliant emerald green, blue-throated and dark green Himalayan barbets and Kashmiri pied woodpeckers, with hawks and buzzards circling overhead. It is not unusual to spot the russet flash of a fox, hear the yatter-chatter of monkeys, come across porcupine colonies and in out of the way forests, spot leopard spoors too. Unfortunately, wild boars are around and should be avoided at all costs, although they usually choose to stay away from human contact.

Newly built housing options… Bhurban has witnessed rapid commercialisation over the last five years, and several apartment complexes, along with houses, have been constructed during this time. These housing options primarily serve as holiday homes for tourists. Despite the demand though, prices have not increased too substantially over the years.A dhaaba in the popular Kashmiri Bazaar

A dhaaba in the popular Kashmiri Bazaar

A trip to Kashmiri Bazaar… The quaint Kashmiri Bazaar continues to serve as one of Bhurban’s primary commercial hubs, due to the presence of several shops that sell fresh milk, yoghurt, fruits and vegetables, as well as everyday household items. There is an old-fashioned blacksmithshop, as well as a bank, a barber’s shop, a bakery and a dhaaba serving delicious desi food, although the more popular, upscale dining options, are limited to those located at the Pearl Continental Hotel.

In a nutshell… The next time you head to Bhurban, don’t forget to take a romantic walk in Bhurban’s aromatic forests, and make sure you visit the quaint Kashmiri Bazaar.

– B Khan
First Published on February 9, 2014 in the Real Estate Section of the Dawn National Weekend Advertiser.

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