A Walk through Ayubia National Park

by Tayyab Mir / Jan 26, 2013 / 0 comments

Starting point of Ayubia National Park near Donga Gali

Ayubia National Park is a protected area of 3,312 hectares located in Abbottabad District, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. It has been developed as a resort complex from a combination of four hill stations of Khaira Gali, Changla Gali, Khanspur and Ghora Dhaka in Galyat area. An ideal place to have a quiet holiday away from the sweltering heat of summer plains, Ayubia is located at 76 km (around 2 hours drive) from Pakistan's Capital, Islamabad. Located at approximately 2,800 m above sea level, Ayubia National Park is one of the best representative areas of Himalayan Moist Temperate Forest, a sub-category of Montane Forests. Ayubia National Park is surrounded by seven major villages and four small towns of Thandiani, Nathiagali, Ayubia and Khanspur. It provides superb scenery of huge subtropical pine forest covering the hills and providing shelter.  It was declared a national park in 1984. Ayubia was named after the late Muhammad Ayub Khan (1958–1969), second President of Pakistan. It is managed by the Wildife and Parks Department of Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa under the 1975 Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Wildlife Act. The Park Office is at Dunga Gali, which is situated at a distance of 34 km from Abbottabad and 30 km from Murree.
Office of the Ayubia National Park at Donga Gali

The area supports temperate coniferous forest and temperate broadleaf and mixed forest ecoregion habitats, with an average elevation of 2,400 m above the sea level. The Park limit starts from the behind of Ayubia Chair lift. In National Park walk track near about distance 4 km from Ayubia Chair lift to Dong Gali. Threre are so many beautiful places. There are rest and sitting places on the way when you start from walk Ayubia to Donga Gali (Pipeline trek).

Park Entry gate at Donga Gali

Standing at some 26 kilometers from the tourist hotbed of Murree Hill Station, over 100,000 tourists flock to Ayubia National Park and the places around every year. It is well known for its picnic spots. There are many hotels and restaurants around the park. In addition to riding trails, hiking places, picnic spots and motels, the chairlift in the central place of Ayubia takes tourists to a nearby summit for a view of the forested hills. The park holds 104 species of plants. The main floral species are Cedrus deodara, Blue Pine, Yew, Silver Fir, Horse Chestnut and Oak. Twenty one important herbs belonging to 19 families are found in this park which are used medicinally by the local inhabitants. Many of these are used in treatment of jaundice, stomach ulcers, snake bites, internal infections, diabetes, chambal and more. Some plants are known to have anti-caricogenic effect as well. Also, some are used as biological insecticides and pesticides, mostly due to their insect-repellant nature.

Monkey in the natural environment at Ayubia National Park

The World Wide Fund for Nature has launched an ethno-botanical initiative here "to demonstrate the sustainable use of plant resources as a means for protecting biodiversity.For bird watchers, the park harbors up to 203 species of birds. Many species of birds, including the Golden Eagle, the Griffon Vulture, Eurasian Sparrow hawk, Honey buzzard, falcon, Kestrel, Spotted dove, Collared doveand the Hill Pigeon among others can be found here. It is also home to some of the rarer Himalayan pheasant species like the Kalij and Koklass Pheasants. Ayubia National Park supports 31 species of mammals. Animals such as the Asiatic Leopard, Asiatic Black Bear, Yellow throated marten hill Fox, Himalayan palm civet, Masked civet and Rhesus Macaque and Red Flying Squirrel can be found here.

Pine Forest along the Pipeline Trek, Ayubia National ParkAt Ghora Daka a chair-lift operates during summer months. Situated on a spur, projecting towards the River Jhelum, they provide all the thrill of a holiday in green, wooded mountains. There are steep precipices on one side and tall, majestic pines on the other.
Ayubia Chairlift
From Ayubia visitors return to Murree - Nathiagali Road and climb further for about five kilometers and then jumps in view Dunga Gali, a small resort picturesquely situated on the slopes of the Mushkpuri hill (2377m above sea level). It commands a charming view of a series of wooded spurs projecting towards the River Jhelum on the west. From Dunga Gali one can climb the 2814m peak of Mushkpuri which is the highest point in the range.Walking Trek through Nature, Ayubia National Park

Natural springs abound on the slopes and their water is stored in reservoirs to provide water supply for Murree and adjoining areas. Only about three kilometers further up and 14 kms from Murree on the main Abbottabad-Murree road, is Changla Gali, splendidly situated at an altitude of 2560 m above sea level amidst thick pine forest. The 2743 m Changle peak commands, on the one side a fine view of the Jhelum Valley, on the other side it presents a strikingly panoramic view of the Murree hills, the southern portion of the Hazara district and the distant plains of Rawalpindi. From Nathiagali to Abbottabad the road runs down from about 9000 ft. to 4500 ft. About three miles down there lies Baragali a small hill station, located at an altitude of 2408m. The last of the chain of the Galis it is only 24 kms. The last of the chain of the Galis it is only 24 kms from Abbottabad on the road to Nathiagali.Nathiagali Pines Hotel

The most centrally placed and the most well known of the Galis is Nathiagali. It lies mid-way between Murree and Abbottabad, at an altitude of 2,545 m and commands a fine view of the snow-capped peaks of Kashmir and Kohistan on one side and the Pothwar Plain on the other. In the foreground, to the north-east rise the green slopes of Miran Jani, about 2,743 m while in the far distance , on a clear day, may be seen the towering heights of the Nanga Parbat, with all its snow-crowed majesty.

Miranjani Peak  (2,743 m) near Nathiagali

Distances & Heights (from Murree)

Name        Distances    Height in m

Murree       0 km          2,133-2,438

Khaira Gali  9 km         2,347

Kuza Gali    11 km       2,362

Ayubia        26 km       2,347 to 2,591

Dunga Gali  29 km       2,591

Nathia Gali  32 km       2,545

Bara Gali    36 km       2,407

Abbottabad 64 km       1,295
PTDC Motel Ayubia

Accommodation: PTDC Motel Ayubia (Tel:0992-359004, 359200) is located on a plateau above Ayubia bazaar. Surrounded by magnificent green hills, meadows and Pine forests, the motel overlooks Khanaspur Valley. Famous chairlifts of Ayubia can be seen moving up and down the hill from the lush green lawns of the motel.

PTDC Motel Ayubia

Facilities: PTDC Motel Ayubia has 25 comfortable rooms with attached bathrooms, telephone, satellite TV, laundry, parking and rent-a-car/airport-hotel-airport transfer facility. A spacious restaurant and a conference hall make it an ideal place for executive meetings and mini-conferences. Booking: Advance reservation in summer season is highly recommended. It can be done through main reservation office in Islamabad (PTDC Motels Reservation, Tourist Information Centre, Agha Khan Road, Super Market, Islamabad Tel: 051-9203223, 9208949 Fax: 051-9218233) or any of PTDC’s 18 Tourist Information Centres located throughout Pakistan.