Murree (Punjabi, Urdu: مری) is a mountain resort city, located in the Galyat region of the Pir Panjal Range, within the Muree District of Punjab, Pakistan. It forms the outskirts of the Islamabad-Rawalpindi metropolitan area, and is about 30 km (19 mi) northeast of Islamabad. It has average altitude of 2,291 metres (7,516 ft). The British built this town during their rule to escape the scorching heat in the plains of Punjab during the summer.[2][3]

Murree
مری
Sunset in hills - Holy Trinity Church, Murree.jpg
Murree Mall.jpg
GPO Mall Road Murree.jpg
Murree city.jpg
Clockwise from top: Sunset over Murree's Holy Tri General Post Office, view of valley and Mall Road, colonial-era Mall in central Murree, Patriata's Gondola Lift
Nickname(s): 
The Depot (British Raj), The White City
Murree is located in Punjab, Pakistan
Murree
Murree
Location in Punjab
Murree is located in Pakistan
Murree
Murree
Location in Pakistan
Coordinates: 33°54′15″N 73°23′25″E / 33.90417°N 73.39028°E / 33.90417; 73.39028Coordinates: 33°54′15″N 73°23′25″E / 33.90417°N 73.39028°E / 33.90417; 73.39028
Country Pakistan
ProvincePunjab, Pakistan Punjab
DistrictMurree
TehsilMurree
Government
 • MNA (NA-57)Sadaqat Ali Abbasi PTI (PTI)
 • MPA (PP-6)Muhammad Latasab Satti
Elevation
2,291.2 m (7,517.1 ft)
Population
 • Total25,816
Time zoneUTC+5 (PKT)
Union Councils8

Construction of the town was started in 1851 on the hill of Murree as a sanatorium for British troops. The permanent town of Murree was constructed in 1853 and the church was consecrated shortly thereafter. One main road was established, commonly referred to even in modern times, as the mall. Murree was the summer headquarters of the colonial Punjab Government until 1876 when it was moved to Shimla.[4][3]

Murree became a popular tourist station for British citizens of the British Raj. Several prominent Britons were born here including Bruce Bairnsfather, Francis Younghusband, Reginald Dyer[5] and Joanna Kelley.[6] During the colonial era, access to commercial establishments was restricted for non-Europeans. Such establishments included Lawrence College, Murree.

Since the Independence of Pakistan in 1947, Murree has retained its position as a popular hill station, noted for its pleasant summer weather. Many tourists visit the town from the Islamabad-Rawalpindi area.[7] The town also serves as a transit point for tourists visiting Azad Kashmir and Abbottabad.[8][9] The town is noted for its Tudorbethan and neo-gothic architecture. The Government of Pakistan owns a summer retreat in Murree, where foreign dignitaries including heads of state often visit.[10][11]

HistoryEdit

Murree, or Marhee as it was then called, was first identified as a potential hill station by Major James Abbott in 1847.[a]

The town's early development was in 1851 by President of the Punjab Administrative Board, Sir Henry Lawrence.[a] It was originally established as a sanatorium for British troops garrisoned on the Afghan frontier.[4] Officially, the municipality was created in 1850.[12][3]

The permanent town of Murree was constructed at Sunnybank in 1853. The church was sanctified in May 1857, and the main road, Jinnah Road, originally known as Mall Road and still commonly referred to as "The Mall"), 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 Mall Road was restricted for "natives" (non-Europeans).

In the summer of 1857, a rebellion against the British broke out. The local tribes of Murree and Hazara, including the Dhund Abbasis and others, attacked the depleted British Army garrison in Murree; however, the tribes were ultimately overcome by the British and capitulated.[13] From 1873 to 1875, Murree was the summer headquarters of the Punjab local government;[12] after 1876 the headquarters were moved to Shimla.[4]

The railway connection with Lahore, the capital of the Punjab Province, via Rawalpindi, 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. The houses crowned the summit and sides of an irregular ridge, the neighbouring hills were covered during the summer with encampments of British troops, while the station itself was filled with European visitors from the plains and travellers to Kashmir. It was connected with Rawalpindi by a service tangas.[12]

It was described in the Gazetteer of Rawalpindi District, 1893–94 as follows:[citation needed]

The sanatorium of Murree lies in north latitude 33° 54′ 30″ and east longitude 73° 26′ 30″, at an elevation of 7,517 feet (2,291 m) 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.

In 1901, the permanent population of the town was 1,844; if summer visitors had been included this could have been as high as 10,000.[4]

In early January 2022, over 20 people died trying to reach the town during a snowstorm.

ClimateEdit

Murree features a monsoon influenced subtropical highland climate (Cwb) under the Köppen climate classification. It is situated in the outer Himalayas, retaining high altitude. This type of area has cold, snowy winters, relatively cool summers with drastically escalated rain, in relation with lower altitudes, and frequent fog. Precipitation is received year round, with two maxima, first one during winter and second one at summer, July–August. Total mean precipitation annually is 1,904 mm (75.0 in).[14] Murree receives around 62.6 inches (1,590 mm) of snow per year according to a 13-year data. Heavy snowfall starts in January and February.[15]

Climate data for Muree
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 17.2
(63.0)
19.8
(67.6)
23.0
(73.4)
26.0
(78.8)
32.0
(89.6)
32.2
(90.0)
31.7
(89.1)
27.2
(81.0)
25.6
(78.1)
25.0
(77.0)
22.3
(72.1)
21.1
(70.0)
32.2
(90.0)
Average high °C (°F) 7.2
(45.0)
7.5
(45.5)
11.6
(52.9)
17.2
(63.0)
21.7
(71.1)
25.1
(77.2)
22.4
(72.3)
21.4
(70.5)
20.9
(69.6)
18.6
(65.5)
14.5
(58.1)
10.2
(50.4)
16.5
(61.8)
Daily mean °C (°F) 3.7
(38.7)
4.0
(39.2)
8.0
(46.4)
13.2
(55.8)
17.3
(63.1)
20.6
(69.1)
19.1
(66.4)
18.4
(65.1)
17.2
(63.0)
14.3
(57.7)
10.3
(50.5)
6.3
(43.3)
12.7
(54.9)
Average low °C (°F) 0.1
(32.2)
0.5
(32.9)
4.3
(39.7)
9.1
(48.4)
12.8
(55.0)
16.1
(61.0)
15.7
(60.3)
15.4
(59.7)
13.4
(56.1)
10.1
(50.2)
6.2
(43.2)
2.4
(36.3)
8.8
(47.9)
Record low °C (°F) −8.4
(16.9)
−10.6
(12.9)
−7
(19)
−3.3
(26.1)
0.6
(33.1)
3.6
(38.5)
8.9
(48.0)
10.0
(50.0)
6.0
(42.8)
1.1
(34.0)
−3.3
(26.1)
−10.5
(13.1)
−10.6
(12.9)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 126.5
(4.98)
145.0
(5.71)
176.8
(6.96)
133.0
(5.24)
91.9
(3.62)
142.0
(5.59)
418.3
(16.47)
336.3
(13.24)
161.5
(6.36)
70.2
(2.76)
32.5
(1.28)
70.3
(2.77)
1,904.3
(74.98)
Source: NOAA (1961–1990)[16]

AdministrationEdit

 
Location of the Union Council within the Murree region.

Murree is the municipal capital of Murree Tehsil, an administrative division of the Rawalpindi District. As well as being tehsil headquarters, Murree is also a Union Council, bounded to the north by Darya Gali and Rawat, to the west by Ghora Gali and Tret, to the south by Numbal and Mussiari, and to the east by Ghel and Angoori.

Localities and Union Councils of the Murree area:

MilitaryEdit

For administrative purposes, the military areas of Murree are divided into two separate cantonments, Murree Gali Cantonment and Murree Hills Cantonment.[3] Murree houses the headquarters of the 12th Infantry Division of the Pakistan Army, several educational and training institutions, and a combined military hospital established to serve Murree and adjoining garrisons.

The Pakistan Air Force also maintains a base at Lower Topa, near Patriata, with its own military boarding school for boys, PAF Public School Lower Topa.

During the British Raj, in the hot season Murree 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 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 regular garrison generally consisted of two mountain batteries and one battalion of infantry.

Notable residentsEdit

CurrentEdit

DeceasedEdit

Sister CitiesEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ a b The earliest British discovery of Murree, like many of the adjacent hill resorts in the Galyat range of the Hazara region, was first made by Major James Abbott in 1847. Please see Charles Allen Soldier Sahibs: The Men who made the North West Frontier London: Abacus Books, 2001 p. 141, ISBN 0-349-11456-0; and Journals of Honoria Lawrence eds. J.Lawrence and A. Widdiwis, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1980 edition. For an account of Abbott's early time in Hazara and founding of Abbottabad, see Omer Tarin and SD Najumddin, "Five Early Military Graves in the Old Christian Cemetery, Abbottabad, Pakistan, 1853–1888", in The Kipling Journal (ISSN 0023-1738) Vol 84, No 339, p.35-52

CitationsEdit

  1. ^ "Punjāb (Pakistan): Province, Major Cities, Municipalites [sic] & Towns - Population Statistics, Maps, Charts, Weather and Web Information". www.citypopulation.de.
  2. ^ "A British town in the hills: Book on Murree launched". The Express Tribune (newspaper). 12 November 2013. Retrieved 16 October 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d Murree Hills Cantonment GlobalSecurity.org website, Retrieved 16 October 2021
  4. ^ a b c d Chisholm (1911).
  5. ^ "Murree Culture | Murree History". www.world66.com. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  6. ^ "Kelley [née Beadon], Joanna Elizabeth (1910–2003), prison administrator". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. 2004. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/89897. Retrieved 25 June 2020. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  7. ^ a b "Rain, tourists cause traffic jams in Murree". Dawn (newspaper). 10 July 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2021.
  8. ^ "Independence Day: Festivity plans finalised for Murree". The Express Tribune (newspaper). 4 August 2014. Retrieved 16 October 2021.
  9. ^ Asghar, Mohammad (14 August 2015). "Pakistanis not free to go to Murree on Independence Day". Dawn (newspaper). Retrieved 16 October 2021.
  10. ^ "Nawaz, Tajikistan President meet in Murree". Dunya TV News website. Retrieved 16 October 2021.
  11. ^ "PM House rejects Imran's Murree 'home renovation' claim". Pakistan Today (newspaper). 9 May 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2021.
  12. ^ a b c Imperial Gazetteer of India (1909).
  13. ^ Lee (2001).
  14. ^ World Weather Information Service (2021).
  15. ^ "Murree Weather Forecast Snowfall Season Today Tomorrow and Weekly". Skardu.pk. Retrieved 21 December 2021.
  16. ^ "Murree Climate Normals 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 16 October 2021.

ReferencesEdit

Attribution:

Further readingEdit