Sharda Valley – Most Beautiful Spot of Neelum Valley, Pakistan
Sharda Valley, also known as Shardi Valley is a small town in Neelam District in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan. It is one of the two tehsils of Neelum district, and is reputed to be the most beautiful spot of the Neelum valley. It is located on the banks of the Neelum river at an altitude of 1981m and about 136 kilometers Northeast of Muzaffarabad.
Sharda Valley is a breath-taking green spot valley and has a captivating landscape with numerous springs and hill-sides covered with trees. On the right bank, opposite Sharda, the Neelum is joined by the Surgan Nallah along which a track leads to Nurinar Pass and through it to the Kaghan Valley.
Sharda is accessible by Neelam road from Muzaffarabad. Buses run daily between Muzaffarabad and Sharda in good weather. Few private hotels are also located here.
Sharda was a place of great learning for centuries. A great seat of learning was started during the Buddhist rule and continued through Hindu and Muslim rule. It went into decline during the Dogra rule and subsequent period. The temple is said to be Sharda Devi, a Hindu goddess revered especially by the Kashmir Pandit community.
Ruins of an old Buddhist University, Sharda Peeth, commonly known as University of Sharda at a approximate distance of 50 miles from Muzaffarabad can also be found in Sharda. This lost treasure is often overshadowed by the awe-inspiring beauty of Neelum Valley and therefore often overlooked by tourists. The ruins of the famous temple and Hindu pilgrimage site Sharada Peeth, dedicated to the goddess Sharada who represents learning, is situated in this town. Other historical sites in the town include the Sharda fort, and Kishan Ghaati. Shardi and Nardi are two mountain peaks overlooking Sharda in the valley. It was a Buddhist and Hindu place of learning for centuries.