Visit to Murree Pakistan
Created on Monday, 14. July 2008.
Murree city (Punjabi, Urdu: مری) is a popular hill station and a summer resort, especially for the residents of Islamabad, and for the cities of the province of Punjab, Pakistan. Murree is also the administrative centre of Murree Tehsil, which is a sub-division of Rawalpindi District and includes the Murree Hills.
Murree is located along Islamabad-Kohala highway N75, some 30 km (19 mi) northeast of Islamabad.
The name Murree is derived from 'marhi', "high place" although there is a popular belief it is named after the virgin Mary.
Murree is one of the largest resort towns in the Galyat area of Pakistan, and is the capital city of Murree Tehsil (which is an administrative division of the Rawalpindi District). It is situated on the southern slopes of the Western Himalayan foothills as they ascend to the northeast towards Kashmir. During British Rule in the nineteenth century, its altitude was established at 7,000 feet (2,100 m), but its actual altitude has now been determined as 2,300 m (7,500 ft) above sea level.
Murree is accessible by road from the centre of the Islamabad and Rawalpindi areas. It is still associated with Britain; many British fruits (including cherries, raspberries and strawberries) thrive locally. There is a church, built in 1857, located at the centre of the town, which is still used as a place of worship. Many houses around the church are still standing, functioning mostly as hotels. Old traditional restaurants have been replaced by fast food shops and newer restaurants. Some old places of accommodation, such as the Rich Villa Inn and Gulberg Hotel, have completely disappeared. A typical hotel usually provides a motel type accommodation with breakfast and communication access. Newly built hotels are also accessible.
Murree has expanded since 1947 at a rate much greater than that which its infrastructure can sustain. Securing water and electricity has been a constant challenge. The jam-packed bazaar has caught fire a number of times in the last century, and the growth of tourism and a construction boom have had an adverse effect on the local environment.
Murree was founded in 1851 by the Governor of Punjab, Sir Henry Lawrence, and was originally established for the British troops garrisoned on the Afghan frontier as a sanatorium.
The permanent town of Murree was constructed at Sunnybank in 1853. The church was sanctified in May 1857, and the main road, Jinnah Road, formerly known as The Mall (and still commonly referred to as), was built. The most significant commercial establishments, the Post Office, general merchants with European goods, tailors and a millinery, were established opposite the church. Until 1947, access to Jinnah Road was restricted for "natives" (non-Europeans).
Until 1876, Murree was the summer headquarters of the Punjab local government; after 1876 the headquarters were moved to Simla.
The railway connection with Lahore, the capital of the Punjab Province, made Murree a popular resort for Punjab officials, and the villas and other houses erected for the accommodation of English families gave it a European aspect. It was described in the Gazetteer of Rawalpindi District, 1893–94 as follows:
The sanatorium of Murree lied in north latitude 33 54' 30" and east longitude 73 26' 30", at an elevation of 7,517 feet (2,291 m) above sea level, and contained a standing population of 1,768 inhabitants, which was, however, enormously increased during the [May-November] season by the influx of visitors and their attendant servants and shopkeepers. It is the most accessible hill station in the Punjab, being distant from Rawalpindi only a five hours' journey by tonga dak. Magnificent views are to be obtained in the spring and autumn of the snow crowned mountains of Kashmir; and gorgeous sunset and cloud effects seen daily during the rains [July-August]. Part of the station, especially the Kashmir end, are also well wooded and pretty. Murree also can boast of a world class educational establishment the *Lawrence School, Ghora Gali
In 1901 the population of the town was officially 1844, although if summer visitors had been included this could have been as high as 10,000.
In the hot season it was the headquarters of the 'Lieutenant General of the Northern Command'. The Commissioner of the Rawalpindi Division and the Deputy-Commissioner of Rawalpindi also resided here during part of the hot season, for which period an Assistant Commissioner was placed in charge of the subdivision consisting of Murree Tehsil. The site was selected in 1850 almost immediately after the annexation of the Province, and building operations commenced at once. In 1851 temporary accommodation was provided for a detachment of troops; and in 1853 permanent barracks were erected. The garrison generally consisted of three mountain batteries. In 1873, 1874, and 1875 Murree was the summer headquarters of the Punjab Government. It was connected with Rawalpindi town by a service of tongas.
The houses crown the summit and sides of an irregular ridge, commanding magnificent views over forest-clad hill-sides into deep valleys studded with villages and cultivated fields. The neighbouring hills were covered during the summer with encampments of British troops, while the station itself is filled with European visitors from the plains and travellers to Kashmir. A fine view of the snowy peaks of Kashmir is to be had on a clear day, and the crest of Nanga Parbat (26,182 feet) can sometimes be seen. The municipality was created in 1850.
The income during the ten years ending 1902-3 averaged Rs. 49,500, and the expenditure Rs. 48,200. In 1903-4 the income and expenditure were Rs. 5r,400, chiefly from octroi, and Rs. 54,400 respectively. The income and expenditure of cantonment funds averaged Rs. 10,000 between 1893 and 1903. The chief educational institutions are the Lawrence Military Asylum for soldiers' children, and the St. Denys' and Convent English schools for girls. The station contains the Lady Roberts Home for invalid officers and a branch of the Alliance Bank of Simla. The Murree Brewery was the only industrial concern of any importance.
Murree belongs to a sub-tropical continental highlands climatic type, situated in the outer Himalayas. This type of area has cold, snowy winters, relatively cool summer and frequent fog. Precipitation is received year round, with two maximas, first one during winter and second one at summer, July-August. Total mean precipitation annually is 1,789 mm (70.4 in)
Many rare animals can be found in Murree. One example is the rare snow leopard, which is said to live here.
The main tribe of Murree are the Dhond Abbasi, other tribes are the Kethwal Rajputs, the Dhanyals,Awans, Jasgam and the Satti.
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