Mukshpuri is a 9200 ft high mountain peak situated in the North of Pakistan in the Nathia Gali Hills of Abbottabad district, in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It is the second-highest summit in the Galiyat Region between Abbottabad and Murree after Miranjani Peak, which is a 9,816 ft. high summit. Mukshpuri Tops attracts a large number of hikers and trekkers all throughout the year, especially in the tourist season between April and September.
If you plan to hike the lofty Mukshpuri Top, in this blog I will explore some handy tips to plan your hike and use some precautions to make this trip enjoyable for the entire team.
History of Mukshpuri Tops
Mukshpuri, alternately named Mukeshpuri, is the second-highest hilltop in the Galiyat Region. Mukeshpuri is derived from the Sanskrit words ‘Moksha’, which means liberation and ‘Puri’, which stands for city. Hence, Mukshpuri is known as “The Place of liberation”.
Mukeshpuri or Mukshpuri has its origins deeply embedded in the 18th Century as a place that holds great importance for the Hindus. The legends relate Mukeshpuri to the five heroes of the Mahabharata known as Pandavas. The Pandavas were the treasured objects of worship for the Hindus in the East, and they called these Pandavas the Panj Pirs, which means Five Saints.
The prime significance of Pandavas as holy and sacred entities gave a high stature to the Mukeshpuri hilltops. However, after the Indo-Pak Partition, this mountain top became one of the most visited tourist attractions. A place with the legendary tale of the Pandavas alive in the hearts and minds of the people who visited it.
More recently the area was developed during the colonial occupation and has stayed as a popular tourist hill resort for over the last 100 years. Controlled development and conservation efforts have maintained the natural beauty of this amazing park of the Galiyat region.
How to Get to Mukshpuri Tops
Are you wondering which paths and ways are the best and ideal routes to get to Mukshpuri Tops?
Well, we have it all sorted out for you!
The base of the Mukshpuri Tops trek lies in Donga Gali which can be reached both from Islamabad and Abbottabad area. If you plan to drive from Islamabad or catch public transport, the road leading to Murree continues on to the Galiyat area reaching Ayubia and Donga Gali.
From Abbottabad, Donga Gali is accessible quite easily as the total drive to Donga Gali is approximately 30km which can be covered in an hour by driving or using public transport (mini Suzuki vans)
I normally visit Amore Hotel in Donga Gali for a cup of coffee and snacks before starting a midday hike to Mukshpuri Tops.
Planning your day hike to mukshpuri tops
You can get to the Mukshpuri Tops through the two tracks from Donga Gali and Nathia Gali, respectively, leading to the summit. The first track starts from Donga Gali, which is a 2.5 kilometers adventurous track and is much steeper. The trekking on this track takes almost 3 hours.
On the other hand, the most availed and relatively more straightforward trek begins from Nathia Gali. The trekking on this track is steady but lengthy, and it takes a little more than 3 hours to reach the summit through this trail.
Pipeline track in Donga gali
Another beautiful 4-km long flat walking track connects Donga Gali with Ayubia. If you are looking for a less hectic activity and still want to enjoy the amazing views of Galiyat, I suggest exploring the Pipeline track.
Essential Tips for Planning a Hike
No matter which route you choose, you got to etch these tips in your mind whenever you plan to trek the Mukeshpuri Tops:
- Plan your trip in advance and arrive on time to ensure that you can come back in time. Any easy ascent will take approximately 3 hours and 2.5 hours to descent. Therefore, starting around 9am will be ideal to make it back on time
- Carry water bottle and snacks
- Carry warm layers and a water-proof jacket in case of rain. The temperature can drop substantially as the sun goes does
- Carry basic first aid kit if hiking with a group
- Wear proper hiking boots and carry a hiking stick
- Get good rest before you start your hike
You can even ride horseback and cover the track if you tire during your hike. The horse riders are available at multiple points throughout the route to Mukshpuri. If you take these necessary precautions, your hike to Mukshpuri will be worth remembering.
Various Activities and Attractions at Mukshpuri Tops
The trip to Mukshpuri Tops is rich with several attractions and activities. You can witness and even take a short detour to the famously vast Ayubia National Park along the tracks of Mukshpuri from the Donga Gali route.
Moreover, the green meadows and beautiful natural pine forests engulfing the summit from all around are incredible sights of amusement for tourists.
Additionally, from the eastern side of the tracks, you can have a bird’s eye view of the Circle Bakote, Abbottabad University of Science and Technology, Jhelum River, the Bagh District of Azad Kashmir, the city Murree, as well as the capital Islamabad.
On a clear day, from the Mukshpuri Tops, you can enjoy the view of Nanga Parbat in the background, which is a beautiful attraction for visitors.
Horseback riding and having a bonfire (with the permission of the administration) at the Mukshpuri Tops, absorbing the serenity and fresh air, are some of the most significant activities for the tourists of the Mukshpuri summit.
Camping at the Mountain Top is not a very recommended activity. Mukshpuri is surrounded by a wildlife sanctuary, especially the hill leopards. Therefore, camping is not considered safe at this summit.
If you are coming from Lahore or other cities in Pakistan, you can drive the car, ride the bus, or even take an aeroplane flight to reach Islamabad.
About 90 kilometres north of Islamabad, you can further drive in your car or share the ride on the Murree Expressway to reach the Galis Road on the Abbottabad side.
Once you have reached the Donga Gali or Nathia Gali, considering which trail to Mukshpuri you are planning to follow, you hike, trek or take horse rides to the Mukshpuri tops.
Best Time to Travel to mukshpuri tops
If you plan to trek, hike or ride to the Mukshpuri Tops, the best time for you to travel is from in spring and summer season starting from March to September. Winter climb can be challenging and is not encouraged because of unpredictable weather.
The visit to the Mukshpuri Top is a one-day trekking trip and the winter months are the most adventurous yet awe-inspiring times to plan your visit. You can see the mountain tops blanketed with snow and enjoy the snowfall on the top of the mountain.
From December to February, the Mukeshpuri Tops are covered with snow. The temperature goes as high as -5 degree Celsius. It snows throughout these months.
However, throughout all the other months of the year, the weather remains pleasant and keeps hovering between 3 to 11 degree Celsius. It rains occasionally.
Otherwise, the sun shines brightly, and it is lovely at the summit of Mukshpuri.
Flora & Fauna of Mukshpuri Tops
Mukshpuri Tops is known for its various species of beautiful flowering plants. The Western Himalayan Sub-Alpine Conifer Forests cover the Mukshpuri Top. The beautiful fragrance of local flora can be experienced during the climb.
Moreover, the path to the mountaintop and the green meadow regions at the hilltop is all carpeted with daisies. Occasional groups of monkeys can be spotted in the distance that climbs down to roads and trails. However, the animals are harmless.
In addition, the Mukshpuri Tops are known to be the habitats of different animals and birds. It is called a home of butterflies. There are also monkeys around and cattle grazing in the meadows. At the Donga Gali side of the hilltop, closer to the Ayubia National Park, a bird sanctuary is established with the help of the European Union.
Personal Hike Experience
After reaching Galis Road, my friends and I decided to take the Donga Gali Hiking Trail for extra adventure and enjoyment for our hiking trip to Mukshpuri Top.
As I started climbing, the track got steeper and steeper. At first, it was challenging to manage our breathing, my heart was pounding, and I thought I would not be able to continue the hike. However, it did not last long. We took short and frequent rests during the hike and kept ourselves sufficiently hydrated to balance the oxygen levels.
All in all, hiking towards the Mukshpuri Top was a wonderful experience. With the deep ravines on one side and the clusters of conifer forests on the other, I was mesmerized by the beauty of Nature.
Additionally, my mind was constantly on the green meadows of fluttering daisies at the Mukshpuri Top. After a three hours hike, we finally reached the Mukshpuri summit and lo and beheld! The sight was worth the long and a bit arduous hike.
mORE PLACES TO HIKE IN PAKISTAN
There are many other stunning places to hike and camp in Pakistan where you can experience the true colors and beauty of the country.
Moreover, if you want a guide on how to do camping in Northern Pakistan, make sure to check this link out!!
Hence, the Mukshpuri Tops in KPK Province, in the north of Pakistan, is a must-see for anyone visiting Pakistan with a mind of having an adventurous trip.
The facility of luxurious yet affordable hotels close to the Mukshpuri Tops for night stays makes it a unique place for planning a memorable hiking trip. Additionally, the panoramic views throughout the tracks of the Mukshpuri climb make it an even more unique place to visit.