Also known as the ‘Queen of the hills’, Murree is the first place that comes to mind when you say ‘hill station’. Once the place to be in summer for the privileged classes, it is now a very popular retreat from the heat for people in the Islamabad area.
First established by the British in 1853, it served as the Raj’s Punjab government headquarters and then continued to be a popular site for the British during the Empires rule. Today the town communicates its colonial beginnings through the British architecture of many of its buildings and its 200-year-old church. Now tourists can get there from Rawalpindi in just under an hour, Lucky them! Much like in the days of the Raj though, it is still Punjab’s most accessible hill station. This has had the side effect of huge crowds in the summer, and the main town is somewhat clogged, congested, and dirty.
The notable difference in temperature from Islamabad and the plains still make it worth visiting, however. So do the nearby hikes and opportunities for outdoor activities and photography. The winter season from Dec to February provides a coolly beautiful view of hills crowned with freshly fallen snow. The snow-capped peaks blend with the clouds so it becomes difficult to tell where sky stops and soil begins. If you can avoid the crush of the crowd on the stations’ main passages, Mall road, and GPO Chowk, it’s a trip worth making for the relief from the heat and the views.