Mirpur is a city of 125,000 people (2017) in Pakistan. Mirpur is known for its grand buildings and large bungalows, primarily funded through its expatriate community. Most of the surrounding area remains agricultural.
Also known as New Mirpur City, Mirpur has gone through military and hydrologic transitions over the years.
Prior to the Kashmir War of 1947, many Hindu refugees had settled in and around Mirpur, but then on November 25th of that year, the Pakistani Army arrived and killed or drove them out, ultimately to be resettled in Jammu or parts of India.
In 1960, the Mangla Dam project came, and old Mirpur city was submerged in the resulting reservoir while nearby Mangla was razed for construction of dam structures. During March and April, when the lake level subsides a little, portions of the old city, including a Hindu mandir from the pre-Independence time when ethnic groups coexisted peacefully, come into view.
A large percentage of Pakistanis who emigrated to the UK originated from Mirpur, the city is often referred to as ‘Little England’ and many British products are available in the city.
New Mirpur was well planned, and modern buildings and ample roads serve each part of city. The affluence from emigration is reflected by the structure and grandiose of the residential houses. There are telltale signs of inward investment by the expatriate community living in the United Kingdom, Europe, North America and the Middle East. There are good hotels, restaurants, shopping malls and other urban facilities.
Buses to Mirpur are available from different parts of the country and also Islamabad Airport.
Mirpur is 230 km north of Lahore.
Mirpur has the busiest bus network in Azad Kashmir, running from early hours of the morning to late night. Daily routes includes Bhimber District, Dina, Gujrat, Jhelum, Kharian & Kotli District.
By auto rickshaw
Auto rickshaws are very popular mode of transport for routes within the city. Many of the new rickshaws in the city use compressed natural gas (CNG).
Also by car hire.
- 1 Khari Sharif Darbar (Darbar Sharif Hazrat Pir Shah Ghazi R.A.), Darbaar Main St, خاص دربار کھڑی شریف (9 km south of Mirpur on Chechiyan Rd, then east on Darbaar Main St), ☏ . it is a place of religious importance. This place is well known due to the shrines of Sufi Baba Peer-e-Shah Ghazi and Mian Mohammad Buksh.
- 2 Mangla Fort (take Mangla/Mirpur Rd about 11 km west, then turn north onto Powerhouse Rd (restricted access point).). M-Sa 9AM-5PM, closed Su. Reportedly you need special permission from the Pak Army or Mangla Special Authority to visit, it consists of a historic Gakkar fort and one-room museum, monument to Pres Sharif, and overlook of Mangla Dam Lake. Nearby are the massive dam (which is the 6th largest in the world) and bridge that connects Punjab Province to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir with a sign denoting such and where Alexander the Great is claimed to have crossed the Jhelum River. Might make for an interesting photo-op if it doesn't draw attention from police/military.
- 3 Ramkot Fort. Fort built over the site of an old Hindu temple. Three sides of this hill top are surrounded by River Jhelum (Mangla Lake). During excavations relics of the 5th - 9th century AD have been discovered. It is on the opposite side of the lake from Mirpur. A 10-minute trip by road from Mirpur leads to Sukhian and nearby Mangla View Resort/Army Water Sports Club from where boats are available to access Ramkot Fort. It takes 45 minutes to reach there.
- 4 Baghsar Lake and Fort (last portion probably will require motorbike or else hiking). A picturesque lake in the Samahni Valley often inhabited by migratory fowl and lilies, with an old Mughal fort from the mid-18th Century overlooking it. It is said that the Emperor Jahangir fell ill on his way back from the Kashmir Valley and died here. But this area is supposedly closed due to its proximity to the Line of Control.
- 5 Bhutto Park, Bhutto Park Rd (on western edge of town), ☏ . If you just want some downtime by the lake or some views of the dam, this is a good place.
- Basharat Shaheed Monument
- Ragu Nath Temple
- Shivala Temple
- 1 Mangla View Resort, ☏ . A lakeside resort offering parasailing and jet skiing and other water sports on Mangla Dam Lake. It is designed for both Pakistani military personnel and civilian use.
- 2 Jari Kas, Kotli Rd, Khalaqabad (east of Mirpur by a few kilometres). Amusement centre with boat and kiddie rides, though the safety of some might be questionable. Also views of the lake.
In April, the Saif Ul Malook Festival takes place in the city center celebrating the spiritual teacher of a local Sufi saint (Mian Muhammad Bakhsh). Pahari Mushahira is another festival, literary in nature, where poetry reading takes place. During the summer, the Rathoa Mela festival takes place near the dam to celebrate culture and tolerance.
Mirpur is also known as the shopping capital of Azad Kashmir, Mirpur has a large and diverse shopping area, centred around Chowk Shaheeda & Mian Mohammed Road. There are many stores, plazas, shopping malls & markets in these thoroughfares, selling everything from hand made pottery to international brands.
- 1 Nafees Quality Food, Allama Iqbal Rd, ☏ . Pakistani eatery with salad, samosas, and a large selection of bakery items.
Also there is Dera Restaurant inside the Crown Plaza mall if you want kind of a more formal Pakistani eating experience.
There are various guest houses, rest houses, motels and hotels at most of the tourist spots which can be booked in advance from their offices in Muzaffarabad. (Tel: 058810-32625).
- 1 Grand Regency Hotel Mirpur, Allama Iqbal Rd (next to Crown Plaza mall, in the center of town), ☏ . 6-storey established hotel with pool, restaurant, bar, wifi. ~$64.
- 2 Holidays In Kashmir, Allama Iqbal Rd (on west side of town), ☏ . Moderately-priced hotel with restaurant and wifi and good views of the dam.
- 3 Undrah Inn Hotel, Allama Iqbal Rd (on the other side of Crown Plaza mall from the Grand Regency). Semi-modern looking hotel with WiFi.
- 4 Hotel Jabeer, Allama Iqbal Rd, ☏ . Hotel with restaurant, bar, and wifi, right next to the Grand Regency Mirpur. It has kind of gone downhill over the years.
The deadly earthquake in September 2019 caused significant damage to infrastructure in the region, most notably road infrastructure and electrical distribution networks. When driving, be aware of these hazards and reduce speed.