Minimarg – A Heaven on Earth!

 گر فردوس روئے زمیں است

ہمیں است و ہمیں است و ہمیں است

[If there is a heaven on earth – It’s here, it’s here, it’s here]


Out of all the places I have been to in my trekking and outdoor life, If I have quoted above verse for any place it is Minimarg. A heaven on earth it definitely is specially during the season when flowers are on full blossom. Minimarg is the remote valley bordering Line of Control between India and Pakistan. Unfortunately, this is a restricted area because of its sensitivity and close proximity to LOC and cannot be ventured without specially military permission.

Reaching There

The only road access to Minimarg is via 4000 meters high Burzil Pass. This area remains disconnected from rest of the world for 7-8 months because of the snowfall. All army or any emergency civil transportation is done through helicopters. From Astore, the jeep road can take 4-5 hours via Chilam and Burzil top. Burzil pass used to be the old caravan route between Gilgit and Kashmir till the independence of Pakistan.

Minimarg village
Minimarg village

Best season to visit this area is July and August. The whole area is heavily forested and lush green. Locals are friendly and speak Shina language. Their houses are built completely from wood. Minimarg is the headquarter for one of Pakistan’s military brigade and this area remained pretty active during the Indo-Pak Kargil war.

Domel and Chota Deosai

Domel is a small village at approximately 10 kilometers from Minimarg accessible through a jeep road. A small trek that can be done from Domel is that to Chota Deosai. Although there is a jeepable road that goes up to Chota Deosai and onwards to Gultari, it has been damaged due to land slide and is no more in use. At the place of landslide, a difficult patch has to be crossed through careful steps. Chota Deosai is the gateway to main Deosai from this side and one can go further towards Sheosar lake and Barapani.

Chota Deosai
Chota Deosai


Trek to Neelum Valley

From Astore valley, there are three options to enter into the beautiful Neelum valley which are Kalapani Pass, Shounter Pass and the Kamri Pass. Out of these three, Kalapani and shounter passes are open while Kamri pass is restricted because of the army presence and close proximity of LOC. The trek starts from Dudgai village which is at 2-3 hours drive from Minimarg along with the Kamri river. Dudgai is the last village at the border and is the place where Kamri river enters into the Guraiz valley in Indian occupied Kashmir where it becomes Kishinganga before entering back in Azad Kashmir at Taobutt adopting the name Neelum. From dudgai, the trek starts along wit the Kamri stream and ascends steeply for 3-4 hours up to the pass at 3650 meters altitude where an army post is also located. From this top, the trek descends and passes through one of the thicket and untouched forests in Kashmir. The total travel time from Kamri pass to Taobutt village is 8-9 hours therefore a camp is recommended.

Mapnoabad village near Kamri
Mapnoabad village near Kamri

18 thoughts on “Minimarg – A Heaven on Earth!

  1. AOA brother, we want to plan a trip to this beautifull valley can u help me out with budget and days etc?

  2. Great article and beautiful pics must say this place speaks volumes, having seen arang kel this place remind of clear meadows and beautiful streams i saw there !!!

    yehan tou jana banta hai boss !!!

  3. Hi,

    Can I get your contact details somehow? I have a few questions regarding Minimarg.

  4. Hey Brother I am Lucky man to go there in Minimarg. Its Beautiful and breath taking place. I visit there sep 2015. Its very hard to go there because of army restricted area. I and my friend really enjoy this beautiful place. We also stay these wooden houses for a night. People of minimarg are very nice.

  5. Very informative piece of information. Having visited Taobutt in May 2016, I have found it to be one of the most fascinating destinations in Kashmir along with Arang Kel. On the other hand, visiting Minimarg is an elusive dream. Surely, it would be a tough but fascinating adventure to trek from Taobutt to Minimarg or vice versa, considering the beauty of the area.

    However, there is very little information about it from people who have experienced this trek. What I have noticed in Taobutt and read is that this trek is mostly taken by nomads (Bakarwals) and some locals. Moreover, there is no information from where one has to apply for permission to visit Minimarg. It would be helpful if you can shed some light on it. Thanks..

  6. any idea how to reach Minimarg i think there need permission from any Army person
    any one help me

  7. I am planning to go this summer after Ramzan. Kindly guide me about the rout and how to get permission from Army.

  8. hi umair,
    you wrote that shounter and kalapani valleys are open while kamri is prohibited by army. can their be a plan without army trouble to trek taubat-chita katha towards minimarg?

  9. Hi Junaid, besides Kamri, there are multiple options to cross into Astore side from upper Neelum valley including Shounter pass, Chich pass and Kala Pani pass. They are open and can be done without army permission. However, none of them descend into Minimarg directly. You will still need permission to enter into Minimarg area.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s