Srinagar: Gurez, also spelt as Gurais, is a valley located in the high Himalayas, about 86 kilometres from Bandipore and at a distance of about 123 kilometres from Srinagar in northern Kashmir and southern Gilgit-Baltistan. At about 2,400 metres above sea level, the valley is surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Due to its proximity to the border, tourist movement in the region was not allowed until a few years ago.
But now, Indian nationals can travel to Gurez Valley as long as they are carrying valid government-issued identity proof (Aadhar card). Foreign nationals are required to obtain a permit from either Srinagar or Bandipora.
At an average altitude of 8,000 feet (2,400 meters), the valley is surrounded by snow-capped mountains. It has diverse fauna and wildlife including the Himalayan brown bear and the snow leopard.
The Kishanganga River flows through the valley before merging into the Jhelum River near Muzaffarabad in Pakistan. Razdan Pass is the only high-altitude pass between Srinagar and Gurez. Due to heavy snowfall in winter, the road remains blocked for about 5-6 months a year.
Gurez Valley can be reached by road between April to October. From November to March, when the road gets blocked, the only way to get in and out is by the helicopter service from either Srinagar or Bandipora.
For both these choices, you will first have to reach Srinagar. If you were traveling by your own vehicle, then you can drive to Srinagar by either the regular Jammu – Srinagar highway or by the Mughal Road.
Of the two, the Jammu-Srinagar highway is the better maintained and most used road but is also the more crowded one. Mughal road is the more scenic of the two and there is hardly any traffic on this.