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Murree city (Punjabi, ) is a popular hill station and a summer resort, especially for the residents of Islamabadmarker, and for the cities of the province of Punjabmarker, Pakistanmarker. Murree is also the administrative centre of Murree Tehsil, which is a sub-division of Rawalpindi Districtmarker and includes the Murree Hills.

Murree is located along Islamabad-Kohala highway N75, some northeast of Islamabadmarker.

The name Murree is derived from 'marhi', "high place""Murree" Concise Dictionary of World Place-Names. John Everett-Heath. Oxford University Press 2005. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Accessed 14 June 2008 /www.oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t209.e5014> although there is a popular belief it is named after the virgin Mary.

Description

The Sindh House.
Reserved for multiple officials.
Murree is one of the largest resort towns in the Galyat area of Pakistan, and is the capital city of Murree Tehsil (which is an administrative division of the Rawalpindi Districtmarker). It is situated on the southern slopes of the Western Himalayan foothills as they ascend to the northeast towards Kashmir. During British Rule in the nineteenth century, its altitude was established at , but its actual altitude has now been determined as above sea level.

Murree is accessible by road from the centre of the Islamabadmarker and Rawalpindimarker areas. It is still associated with Britain; many British fruits (including cherries, raspberries and strawberries) thrive locally. There is a church, built in 1857, located at the centre of the town, which is still used as a place of worship. Many houses around the church are still standing, functioning mostly as hotels. Old traditional restaurants have been replaced by fast food shops and newer restaurants. Some old places of accommodation, such as the Rich Villa Inn and Gulberg Hotel, have completely disappeared. A typical hotel usually provides a motel type accommodation with breakfast and communication access. Newly built hotels are also accessible.

Murree has expanded since 1947 at a rate much greater than that which its infrastructure can sustain. Securing water and electricity has been a constant challenge. The jam-packed bazaar has caught fire a number of times in the last century, and the growth of tourism and a construction boom have had an adverse effect on the local environment.

History

Murree, aftermath of fire in 1875
Murree was founded in 1851 by the Governor of Punjab, Sir Henry Lawrence, and was originally established for the British troops garrisoned on the Afghan frontier as a sanatorium.

The permanent town of Murree was constructed at Sunnybank in 1853. The church was sanctified in May 1857, and the main road, Jinnah Road, formerly known as The Mall (and still commonly referred to as), was built. The most significant commercial establishments, the Post Office, general merchants with European goods, tailors and a millinery, were established opposite the church. Until 1947, access to Jinnah Road was restricted for "natives" (non-Europeans).

Until 1876, Murree was the summer headquarters of the Punjab local government; after 1876 the headquarters were moved to Simlamarker.

The railway connection with Lahoremarker, the capital of the Punjab Province, made Murree a popular resort for Punjab officials, and the villas and other houses erected for the accommodation of English families gave it a European aspect. It was described in the Gazetteer of Rawalpindi District, 1893–94 as follows:

The sanatorium of Murree lied in north latitude 33 54' 30" and east longitude 73 26' 30", at an elevation of above sea level, and contained a standing population of 1,768 inhabitants, which was, however, enormously increased during the [May-November] season by the influx of visitors and their attendant servants and shopkeepers.
It is the most accessible hill station in the Punjab, being distant from Rawalpindi only a five hours' journey by tonga dak.
Magnificent views are to be obtained in the spring and autumn of the snow crowned mountains of Kashmir; and gorgeous sunset and cloud effects seen daily during the rains [July-August].
Part of the station, especially the Kashmir end, are also well wooded and pretty.
Murree also can boast of a world class educational establishment the *Lawrence School, Ghora Gali


In 1901 the population of the town was officially 1844, although if summer visitors had been included this could have been as high as 10,000.

In the hot season it was the headquarters of the 'Lieutenant General of the Northern Command'. The Commissioner of the Rawalpindi Division and the Deputy-Commissioner of Rawalpindi also resided here during part of the hot season, for which period an Assistant Commissioner was placed in charge of the subdivision consisting of Murree Tehsil. The site was selected in 1850 almost immediately after the annexation of the Province, and building operations commenced at once. In 1851 temporary accommodation was provided for a detachment of troops; and in 1853 permanent barracks were erected. The garrison generally consisted of three mountain batteries. In 1873, 1874, and 1875 Murree was the summer headquarters of the Punjab Government. It was connected with Rawalpindi town by a service of tongas.

The houses crown the summit and sides of an irregular ridge, commanding magnificent views over forest-clad hill-sides into deep valleys studded with villages and cultivated fields. The neighbouring hills were covered during the summer with encampments of British troops, while the station itself is filled with European visitors from the plains and travellers to Kashmir. A fine view of the snowy peaks of Kashmir is to be had on a clear day, and the crest of Nanga Parbat (26,182 feet) can sometimes be seen. The municipality was created in 1850.

The income during the ten years ending 1902-3 averaged Rs. 49,500, and the expenditure Rs. 48,200. In 1903-4 the income and expenditure were Rs. 5r,400, chiefly from octroi, and Rs. 54,400 respectively. The income and expenditure of cantonment funds averaged Rs. 10,000 between 1893 and 1903. The chief educational institutions are the Lawrence Military Asylum for soldiers' children, and the St. Denys' and Convent English schools for girls. The station contains the Lady Roberts Home for invalid officers and a branch of the Alliance Bank of Simla. The Murree Brewery was the only industrial concern of any importance.
Dark and Cloudy Murree Landscape


1857 War of Independence

In the summer of 1857, the local tribes of Murree and Hazara, including the Dhond Abbasi and Tanoli, planned to attack the British Army. The campaign was led by the chief of the Dhond Abbasi tribe, Sardar Sherbaz Khan, and by Malik Nawab Bahadur Khan of the Tanoli tribe. They fought respectably against the British Army, giving the British considerable difficulties. The British Army eventually signed an agreement with the local Abbasi tribe, which was refused by the Tanoli tribe, thereby dividing the opposition to the British. The British Army later ignored the agreement to take control of Murree again.

British presence

After the British forces' occupation of Murree and Abbottabadmarker, many English soldiers and administrators opted to spend the summers there because of the cooler climate. The British settled in and raised families. Some prominent people who were born here include:

  • Bruce Bairnsfather - a famous cartoonist during world War I
  • Francis Younghusband - an army officer and explorer. He established the Bible Society in the Christian High School in Geryal Murree. The society did in depth research into the local languages. This society translated a chapter of new testament book Loqas in Dhondi that was noted by the compilers of the "Linguistic Survey Of India".
  • Reginald Dyer - officer responsible for the Amritsar Massacre


Climate

Murree belongs to a sub-tropical continental highlands climatic type, situated in the outer Himalayas. This type of area has cold, snowy winters, relatively cool summer and frequent fog. Precipitation is received year round, with two maximas, first one during winter and second one at summer, July-August. Total mean precipitation annually is

Animals

Many rare animals can be found in Murree. One example is the rare snow leopard, which is said to live here.

Tribes

The main tribe of Murree are the Dhond Abbasi, other tribes are the Kethwal Rajputs, the Dhanyals,Awans, Jasgam and the Satti Baig Mirza Barlas .

Administration

Union Council within Murree.
As well as being tehsil headquarters, Murree is also a Union council, it is bounded to the north by Darya Galimarker and Rawat, to the west by Ghora Galimarker, to the south by Numbal and Mussiari, and to the east by Ghel and Charhanmarker.

Religion in Murree

Mosque in Murree
Islam is the mainly followed religion. However, there is also a significant Christian presence; churches from the British Era can be found in various parts of Murree.

Journalism in Circle Bakote and Murree

The earliest records of newspapers being sold in the Murree Hills are from 1936 during British rule. Today there are five daily newspapers (Daily Ousaf, Daily Musalman, Daily Azkar,daily Hill times and Daily Nawa-i-Hazara) published in Islamabad but edited by people in Murree Hills and Birote.Also two weekly newspapers, the Hill Post and the Qoumi Tshakhus.A magazine DASTAK is publishing from 2006.

  • The Murree Union of Journalists was founded in 1983. The first president of the union was Salim Shwalvi, a well-known and senior journalist from Kashmirmarker.
  • Imtiaz ul Haq is the senior most journalist in Murree, working with leading news papers and tv network founding member of murree press club and president of Murree union of journalists (
  • Raja Afzaal Saleem is the Joint Secretary of Murree Union Of journalists and reporter of ATV.
  • Senior journalist Mohammed Obaidullah Alvi, Ishteaq Abbasi, Talib Abbasi and some other journalists from Circle Bakote are working for local and national media. They constitute a union of journalist a few years ago named GALYAT CIRCLE BAKOTE UNION OF JOURNALISTS. New president of CBGUJ is Ishteaq Abbasi.


New Murree Project

The government of Punjab is at the brim of initiating the “New Murree Project” to promote tourism. The location selected for this project is Patriata after considering the other three, Ban, Barianmarker and Charihanmarker. This project will cover of land, including of the Murree Forest Division and of the Rawalpindi North Forest Division. The water for New Murree City will be supplied from River Jhelummarker.

Famous People

Famous people from Murree include:
  • Maj. Gen(Late) Riaz Abbasi (former DG ISI) from Upper dewal
  • Lt. General(R) Anis Ahmed Abbasi from Upper Dewal
  • Khawaja Abdur Rahman Wani (Renowned Builder and Political Activist)
  • Mirza Mohmmed Sharif Baig (A Political and Social Elder)


Picture gallery

Image:Murree1.jpg|Snowfall in Murree (1865)Image:Murree2.jpg|A bridge in Murree (1865)Image:Murree3.jpg|An old house in Murree (1861)Image:Murree4.jpg|An 18th century churchImage:Murree5.jpg|Jheeka GaliImage:Murree6.jpg|Post office in MurreeImage:Murree7.jpg|Murree after fire in 1875Image:Murree8.jpg|Rifle Brigade Buglers Kuldana (1896)Image:Murree9.jpg|1861Image:Murree10.jpg|Convent of Jesus and Mary

See also



References

External links




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