Pir Chinasi is a well-known hill station in the Muzaffarabad district, the capital city, of Azad Jammu & Kashmir in Pakistan. The hillock is named after a famous saint Pir Syed Hussain Shah Bukhari whose shrine (Ziyarat) is sited on the top of the hill. The summit offers a jaw-dropping view of the surrounding snow-clad mountain peaks and the city of Muzaffarabad with annexing rural valleys. Pir Chinasi is renowned among domestic tourist drawing thousands in numbers.
The hill station is located at an elevation of 2,900 m (9,500 ft) above the sea level accessible by a 30km winding adventurous road from the city of Muzaffarabad. The asphalted road leading to the top of the hill is also named as Pir Chinasi road and usually remains open except during unusual weather conditions or in case of landslides. The typical drive time from Muzaffarabad is an hour and a half or so depending on the leisurely pace being it uphill. The daring journey is coupled with an array of photogenic viewpoints, particularly out of its more than 30 hairpin turns, providing tourists with an exceptional experience. Observing the dramatic sunset view is unique from the top.
For the tourists traveling from the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, Pir Chinasi can be a rewarding day excursion if planned carefully. The 130 km journey from Islamabad to Muzaffarabad can be covered in about 3 to 4 hours and another an hour and a half or so to make it to the top. It is likely to make it to Pir Chinasi in 5 hours directly from Islamabad. Enough time can be spared to explore and enjoy if the excursion is commenced well in time.
Food & Lodging:
Getting timely and hygienic food on the top cannot be guaranteed. Similarly, for tourists willing to stay overnight, finding a comfortable place to stay is sometimes unlikely because of a limited number of places offering accommodation services unless prior arrangements are made. However, for those planning overnight stay, it is recommended to carry personal equipment including tent, mattress, and sleeping bag.
Things to do:
On the top, the souls will be filled with an aura of enthusiasm and tranquility at the same time. The sky touching spot has a 360-degree marvelous view of surrounding mountains at the base of Himalayas and valleys beneath nestled in the ravines around Muzaffarabad city. During summers, Pir Chinasi is lush green covered in the jungle of pine and oak trees presenting breathtaking views and a pleasant weather. And in winters, the whole top ridge is blanketed with a sparkling dense white layer of snow displaying a marvelous contrast of nature. Tourists can carry out several activities in the hill station including:
Trekking: There are a variety of trekking trails for tourists willing to carry out some trekking. Randomly wandering in the alpines may end up in a dangerous endeavor; a prior knowledge about the trekking routes is very important. Pir Asmar at an approximately 4 hours trek time is recommended.
Camping: Tourists visiting Pir Chinasi for an overnight stay are highly recommended to carry the gear including tent, mat, and sleeping bag beside making proper food arrangements.
Paragliding: there are several ideal spots to do take off from Pir Chinasi. It’s not a lay man’s job, only expert gliders can dare to fly.
Photography: Pir Chinasi is a heaven for the photographers. The display of natural colors in the four distinct seasons provide photographers with great choices to capture the beauty of the creator.
Things must carry:
- Computerized national Identification Card (CNIC)
- Altitude sickness medicine.
- Sunburn cream and sunglasses
- Good shoes and a warm layer of clothing in winters.
- Water bottle
- Cookies/dry fruit/fresh fruit/juices
- Camera/cell phone
Climate: The overall weather in summers remain cool and pleasant. Winters are too harsh, particularly between December and January, when snowfall occurs, the temperature falls to -5 °C.
Transportation: Although all kind and types of vehicles including public transport vans can shuttle between Muzaffarabad and Pir Chinasi but 4WD vehicles are highly recommended.
Due to the ongoing geopolitical issues, check with the State Department and CDC websites first. Foreigners are not allowed to travel to Muzaffarabad unless they have a valid No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Ministry of Interior in Islamabad.