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About Gurez

Gurez also spelt Gurais, is a beautiful valley deep in the high himalayas located about 86 km from Baramulla and 123 km of Srinagar in northern Jammu and Kashmir, India. Situated at an altitude of about 8,000 ft above sea level, the valley surrounded by snow capped mountains is rich with natural beauty, diverse fauna and wildlife including the Himalayan Brown Bear and the Snow Leopard. The Neelum River flows through the valley. The road to Gilgit and Kashmir's border with Gilgit runs through Gurez and is also known as the Gurez-Gilgit transport road.Historically, Gurez part of ancient Dardistan, stretches from 'Sharada Peeth' in west to 'Minimarg' in the north and 'Drass' on the east and Baghtor in the south. Presently Gurez is divided into three regions from Baghtor to Sharda Peeth, this part is administered by Pakistan under the name of Neelum District. From Kamri to Minimarg, is part of Astore District Northern Areas, Pakistan and from Baghtor to Abdullae Tulail known as Tehsil Gurez part of district Bandipore, Jammu and Kashmir.Being situated very close to the Burzil pass which leads into Astore District of the Northern Areas, the people of the area, in excess of 25,000, like the people of Northern Areas, are ethnic Dards/Shins. They speak the Shina language and share dress and culture in common with their kinsmen in Pakistan's Northern areas.Archaeological investigation of the Gurez Valley is sure to reveal further insights into the history of the Dard people and the general history of Kashmir. The Gurez Valley is likely to yield many other archaeological discoveries. Significantly, the Gurez Valley falls along the section of the ancient Silk Route, which connected the Kashmir Valley with Gilgit continuing further to Kashgar. Archaeological surveys in valleys north of the Gurez Valley along the Silk Route, particularly in Chilas, have uncovered hundreds of inscriptions recorded in stone. Inscriptions in Kharoshthi, Brahmi, Hebrew, and Tibetan have all been discovered. In particular, the findings reveal insights into the origins of the Kashmiri people and the early history of Buddhism which took a different shape in Kashmir, over a series of Buddhist Councils held between the 1st and 2nd centuries AD; in the 6th Century Buddhism spread across the borders to Tibet by missionaries. Also, the ancient capital of the Dards, Dawar, is located in the Gurez Valley and is an important archaeological site. Other archaeological sites of importance in the Gurez Valley include Kanzilwan where the last council of Buddhism is believed to have been held and, further down stream, the ruins of the ancient Sharada University are preserved along the Kishenganga/Neelum River.
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