Despite having gone through a process of modernization, Mirpur City remains an undiscovered gem. The city has numerous tourist attractions, including Hindu temples, forts, and one of the largest Dams in the world. Here is a list of some places to check out when you’re there.
Mirpur’s History: Old and New Mirpur City
Mirpur has a fascinating recent history. It is now known as New Mirpur City after the construction of the Mangla Dam in the 1960s. “Old” Mirpur is now submerged inside the dam and can be visited when the water level is low. There you can see a sunken Hindu temple which is still standing after all these years!
Those who lost their land during this time were given the opportunity to live and work in England. England at the time had a labour shortage. Now the largest population of Pakistanis in England are Mirpuris! An estimated 700,000 Mirpuris live in England – hence Mirpur’s second name, “Little-England.”
Best Places to Visit in Mirpur
Situated on the Jhelum river it is the world’s 3rd largest earth-filled dam. Tourists must see it in action during summertime when the dam is full after the melting of glaciers. There is also an option to try water sports here or you can just hire a boat to enjoy a peaceful ride across the lake.
It is located on the convergence of rivers Jhelum and Poonch. To reach the fort, travellers have to take a boat at the Mangla Dam and after a 10-minute ride you are there. The fort that was built long ago in 1186 stands gloriously tall to this day.
Here you’ll find an ancient Lord Shiva temple and lingam still standing. A private boat ride here costs Rs. 5000 PKR. Fort entry is Rs. 200 PKR.
The fort’s caretaker can be called on +91 03135522557.
It is a historical place from where Alexander crossed the river Jhelum to face the ancient Indian King Porus. The Fort, located on a high hill, was flattened in 1962 for the construction of Mangla Dam. A large part of it, however, serves as a public recreation space.
Today it’s used by the Pakistan Army. You need special permission to visit it. Ask for permission from the entry to Mirpur. After you cross the bridge to Mirpur from Lahore side, you’ll see a tourist welcome post, they may be able to help you.
New Mirpur City
It is the capital city of Mirpur district well known for its grand buildings and large bungalows built by British family members. The city is well planned and its design is largely modern. All the basic amenities of life are available here and if you’re a fan of fast food check out the markets here.
Best Restaurants in Mirpur
Two must-try restaurants are Roopyal Hotel & Restaurant and Nafees Bakers and Restaurant. Roopyal Hotel & Restaurant serves fresh fried fish from the dam. It’s delicious. Nafees serves all sorts of food from desi to continental and is regarded as the best restaurant in Mirpur. Although, Roopyal Hotel & Restaurant is my top pick.
Mazan Miran Mir Sarkar and Old Hindu Temple (Old Mirpur City)
Mazan Miran Mir Sarkar is a shrine of Sufi saint Hazrat Miran Mir Sarkar (famous for being the spiritual guide of Dara Shikoh). Locals repair the shrine every year during the winters before it opens to the public again in March-June. The shrine has a calm, relaxing effect on visitors.
It’s located in Old Mirpur City near the Hindu temple inside the dam. You can see the Temple from Mazan Miran Mir Sarkar. You’ll need to ask your hotel how you can hire a boat to access Old Mirpur.
Check out these pics from my boat trip to the old Hindu temple.
Located about 40 km from Mirpur Chaksawari is a gorgeous fusion of plains and hills. Most tourists prefer to stay here since it’s a commercially active area of the Mirpur district. It is also an ideal destination for purchasing products wholesale.
This is a resting place of Sufi saint Mian Muhammad Bakhsh, who is famous for writing the tale of Saif ul Malook. The story is about a prince who fell in love with a fairy he saw in his dream. The site attracts students of Islam as well as those who seek wisdom.
Got any other favourite spots in Mirpur? Leave them in the comments.