"Gurez is a lovely valley five miles in length lying at an elevation of about 8000 feet above the sea. The Kishenganga river flows through it, and on either side are mountains. The climate is dry and mild, excellent English vegetables can be grown, and the wild raspberries and currants are delicious."
- Walter R. Lawrence
Gurez Valley is located in the high Himalayas about 86 kilometers (53 mi) from Bandipora and 123 kilometers (76 mi) from Srinagar in northern Kashmir. As a crowning glory of Kashmir at about 8,000 feet, Gurez Valley is replete with beautiful sights, such as the roaring Kishanganga River, flora, and fauna including the Himalayan Brown Bear and the Snow Leopard, and is surrounded by snow-capped mountains of poetic beauty. This is what makes the valley such a tranquil and striking place to visit.
This feast-for-the-eyes destination has been around forever, but has never been on the tourism map due to its remoteness. And, we are sure, anyone will lose track of time while absorbing everything that Gurez has to offer- rafting opportunities by the Kishanganga River from Gurez and Tulail; the trekking routes; mountain climbing; trout fishing; and more. For people fond of remote locales and who want to enjoy a peaceful holiday without the hustle and bustle of the big crowded cities, Gurez Valley is a magic match for them.
Gurez besides being a unique adventure destination in Northern Kashmir, it also serves as an entry point to the renowned silk route across central Asia- which connected the Kashmir Valley with Gilgit. Historically, Gurez was part of ancient Dardistan, stretching between Sharda Peeth in the west, Minimarg in the north, Drass in the east, and Bagtore in the south. Being situated very close to the Burzil Pass, which leads into Astore District of Gilgit-Baltistan, the inhabitants are ethnic Dards/Shins. They speak the Shina language and have the same styles of dress and culture as their kinsmen in Pakistani-administered Gilgit-Baltistan.
Prior to the partition of Kashmir, Gurez had been a destination for foreign tourists. Even in 1895, the British author Sir Walter Lawrence called the Gurez Valley “one of the most beautiful scenes in all of Kashmir,” where the tourmaline waters of the Kishenganga River are framed by “mountain scarps of indescribable grandeur.” In the book he wrote after traveling throughout the princely state, Lawrence predicted that Gurez would soon become one of Kashmir’s most popular Himalayan tourist destinations. For reasons he never could have foreseen, 126 years later, Gurez is still waiting.