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Muzaffarabad is the capital of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan. It is located in Muzaffarabad District on the banks of the Jhelum and Neelum rivers. The district is bounded by Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in the west, by the Kupwara and Baramulla districts of Indian-administered

territory of Jammu and Kashmir in the east, and the Neelum District of Azad Kashmir in the north.

Early history

The original name of Muzaffarabad was Udabhanda.

Hieun tsang, the celebrated Buddhist pilgrim who is said to have visited the valley in 633 A.D mentions Pan-nu-tso, i.e., modern day Punch, Ho-lo-she-pu-to i.e. modern day Rajauri. He entered India from Udabhanda, Urasa (present Muzafrabad and Uskara) entered the valley via Baramula gorge.

Udabhanda was the capital of the Shahi dynasty. The Shahi (Devanagari), also called Shahiya, dynasties ruled portions of the Kabul Valley (in eastern Afghanistan) and the old province of Gandhara (northern Pakistan and Kashmir) from the decline of the Kushan Empire in third century to the early ninth century. The kingdom was known as Kabul-shahan or Ratbel-shahan from (565 – 670 CE) when they had their capitals in Kapisa and Kabul, and later Udabhandapura (also known as Hund) for its new capital.

The term Shahi is the title of the rulers, likely related to the Kushan form Shao or Persian form Shah and refers to a series of 60 rulers probably descended from the Kushans or Turks (Turshkas).

Modern history

The capital of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir, is situated at the confluence of the Jhelum and Neelum rivers. It is 138 km from Rawalpindi and about 76 km from Abbottabad. The present name of Muzaffarabad has been given to it after the name of Sultan Muzaffar Khan, a chief of Bomba Dynasty (1652). There are two forts, namely, Red and Black Fort, situated on the opposite sides of river Neelum. The Neelum river streams through the town, joins the river Jhelum at Domel and plays a dominant role in the micro-climate of Muzaffarabad.

On October 8, 2005, the city was struck by an earthquake measuring a magnitude of 7.6 on the Richter Scale.

Transport

The closest railway stations are Murree in Pakistan and Baramulla in Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Jammu and Kashmir ex-chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said that he intended to extend the Kashmir railway to Muzaffarabad, to facilitate movement of people and goods much easier across the LoC Line of Control.

 

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