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Explore Pakistan | Cities | Abbottabad

History | Geography | Topography | Climate | Demographics | Government | Tourism | Places of Interest | Economy | Education | Public Transport | Automotive |

AbbottabadAbbottabad is a city located in the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan and is the third-largest city in the province after Peshawar and Mardan. The city is situated in the Orash Valley, 150 km north of Islamabad and 200 km east of Peshawar at an altitude of 4,120 feet (1,260 m). The city is well-known throughout Pakistan for its pleasant weather,high standard educational institutions and military establishments. It remains a major hub for tourism of the Northern Areas in the summer.



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Sikh Invasion

In 1818, Sikh Emperor Ranjit Singh invaded and annexed Hazara however in 1820 his generals were defeated by the Muslims. In 1821, during another attempt at conquest by the Sikhs, Amar Singh was killed at Harroh. Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa, the governor of Kashmir, then went to Hazara to battle against the Muslim tribes, but it took him three years to subdue the warlike mountaineers of the outer hills. It was not until 1836 that the Gakhars of Khanpur were finally defeated. Painda Khan was the tribal chief of the Tanoli tribe at the time of the invasion of Hazara by the Sikhs. Mir Painda Khan is famed for his staunch rebellion against Maharaja Ranjit Singh's Governors of Hazara.

He was the son of Mir Nawab Khan, who defeated the Durranis and freed his kingdom from their influence. From about 1813, he spent a life long rebellion against the Sikhs. Mir Painda Khan relentless rebellion against the Sikh empire, cost him a major portion of his Kingdom, leaving only his twin capitals Amb and Darband. However, this deterred him less and appeared to increase his resistance against the Sikh government. The District Gazetteer of the North-West Frontier Province (p138) confirms, "Painda Khan, played a considerable part in the history of his time and vigorously opposed the Sikhs." General Abbott commented that "During the first period of Painda Khan's carrer, he was far too vigorous and powerfull to be molested by any neighbouring tribe, and when he began to fail before the armies and purse of the Sikh Government, he was interested in keeping upon the best terms with his northern neighbours of the Black Mountains." He is further described as a Chief renowned on the Border, a wild and energetic man who was never subjugated by the Sikhs. His son Jehandad Khan also followed his footsteps. "Of all the tribal chiefs of Hazara, the most powerful said to be Jehandad Khan of the Tanoli, whose land straddled both banks of the Indus and whose fellow-tribesmen were brave and hardy and accounted for the best swordsmen in Hazara". There was a long history of conflict between Jehandad Khan's family and the Sikhs, and the name of his father Painda Khan, was said to be "magic to the ears of  the people of Hazara" because of the struggles he fought on behalf of his "poor circumscribed and rugged principality" against the Sikhs. When Sikh power was on the fall in 1845, Jehandad Khan blockaded the garrisons of no less than 22 Sikh posts in Upper Tanawal and when they surrendered at discretion, he spared their lives, as the servants of a fallen Empire. However in 1845 the local populace, taking advantage of the problems in Lahore (the capital of the Sikh Empire), rose up in rebellion. They drove the governor of Hazara, Diwan Mulraj, to Hasan Abdal in 1846. However, with the conclusion of the first Sikh War, Hazara along with Kashmir was given to Raja Gulab Singh. But in 1847 the Raja gave back Hazara to the Lahore Darbar in exchange for land near Jammu, and Hazara passed into British control.

British Era

Abbottabad 1907Abbottabad in British India was the headquarters of Hazara Division, and named after Major James Abbott who settled this district in 1848 after the annexation of the Punjab. tHe soon after became the first Deputy Commissioner of the district between 1849 until 1853. Major Abbott is noted for having written a poem titled "Abbottabad", prior to his departure back to Britain, in which he wrote of his fondness for the town and his sadness at having to leave it. Abbottabad became and is still an important military cantonment and sanatorium, being the headquarters of a brigade in the Second Division of the Northern Army Corps. The garrison consisted of four battalions of native infantry (Gurkhas) and four native mountain batteries In 1901 the population of the town and cantonment was 7764 and the income averaged around Rs. 14,900. This increased to Rs. 22,300 in 1903, chiefly derived from octroi. During this time chief public institutions were built such as the Albert Victor unaided Anglo-Vernacular High School, the Municipal Anglo-Vernacular High School and the Government dispensary. In 1911 the population had risen to 11,506and the town also contained four battalions of Gurkhas In June 1948, the British Red Cross opened a hospital in Abbottabad to deal with thousands of patients who were being rought in from the Kashmir fighting areas.

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The city is bounded at all four sides by the Sarban hills, from which residents and tourists can see breathtaking views of the region and city. The location of the city and the hills allows Abbottabad to experience pleasant weather in the summer, and cold winters. The most of the people enters to Abbotabad using the Karakoram highway which passes through a small town named Salhad. Neighbouring districts are Mansehra to the north, Muzaffarabad to the east, Haripur to the west and Rawalpindi to the south. Tarbela Dam is situated just west of Abbottabad.

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Abbottabad is situated in the Orash Valley lying between 3409'N latitude and 7313'E longitude at an altitude of 1250m.

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Abbottabad's climate is cold during winters and mild during summers with humid temperatures during June and July. During the winter, the temperature may drop to below 0C and snowfall is common, especially in January. Most rainfall occurs during the monsoon season in summer,stretching from May to August, and can sometimes cause flooding.

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According to the 1998 Census, of the 81,000 who resided in Abbottabad, Hindko was spoken by 94.26% of the population, followed by Potohari at 2.30%, Pashto at 2.22% and Urdu at 1.05%. Although the first language of most people in Abbottabad is Hindko, Urdu is understood and spoken fluently by majority of the residents and commonly used in the markets, offices and formal functions. English is widely used in business and education.


The majority of the residents identify themselves as either Awans,Tanolis, Jadoons,Sattis, Qazis, Karlals, Sadozai, Kashmiris,Mughals,Abbasis, Qureshis, Utmanzai, Syeds and Gujjars.

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Abbottabad is the headquarter (capital) of Hazara Division and Abbottabad District. The District Nazim, Commissioner, Inspector General, Forest Conservator all reside in Abbottabad. Abbottabad is divided into localities, towns, colonies and neighbourhoods.

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Abbottabad has been attracting tourists to the city since the colonial era, as it is a major transit point to all major tourist regions of Pakistan such as Nathiagali and Naran. According to the Imperial Gazetteer of India, "the town is picturesquely situated at the southern corner of the Rash (Orash) plain, 4,120 feet (1,260 m) above the sea"Like much of the mountainous Northern Areas, tourism is one of the important sources of income in Abbottabad. In the summer when temperatures rise to well above 45 degrees Celsius in Punjab and NWFP, a large number of tourists travel north to Abbottabad. The Karakoram Highway, which traces one of the paths of the ancient Silk Road, starts from Hasan Abdal on the N5 and heads north passing through the city eventually reaching Khunjerab Pass. The Karakorum Highway is a major attraction itself for its views. The Karakoram, Himalayas and the Hindu Kush ranges can be approached from Abbottabad and it continues to be a transit city for tourists, serving as a base for visiting numerous nearby places, such as Hunza, Gilgit, Skardu and Indus Kohistan, of the Karakoram Range.

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Places of Interest

  • Mera jani (highest peak of Hazara)

  • Banda Phugwarian & Dobather (Beautiful villages surrounded by Shimla Hill)

  • Namli Maira

  • Nathia Gali

  • Ayubia

  • Thandiani

  • Ilyasi Masjid

  • Shimla Pahari

  • Lady Garden

  • Harnow (Harnoi)

  • Bagnotar

  • Khanka Mahboobabad Shareef Havelian

  • Jhangi Khoja

  • Paswal

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The economy of Abbottabad mainly relies on tourism as well as income generated from the various military and educational institutes.

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Abbottabad attracts people from all over Pakistan to its high standard educational institutions. Abbottabad is sometimes referred to "The City of Schools" and is home to a number of schools, colleges and training institutes.

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Public Transport

Abbottabad's main public transport consists of modified Suzukis, which can accommodate anywhere from 8 to 13 people at one time. Taxis are also available as well as wagons which connect Abbottabad to the surrounding cities and towns (ex. Nathiagali, Sherwan, Dhamtour, Haripur, Mansehra) in the region. Abbottabad is also served by Daewoo Express, a national bus service which connects over 50 cities in Pakistan.


Railway service is not available in Abbottabad city. The nearest railway station Hawalian Railway Station is situated in District Abbottabad. This Railway station is about thirty minutes drive from Abbottabad city. One railway reservation office is situated in Abbottabad near to Fwara Chok to facilitate the people of Abbottabad for advance booking of railway tickets.

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Automotive at Ayub Medical College"Automotive 2008" at Ayub Medical College Apart from its cultural, educational and military importance, this city also has the credit of holding the popular "Automotive" car exhibition and car racing event which promotes professional racing, safe driving and charity in Pakistan. The most recent event was held on 14 August 2008 at Ayub Medical College where more than 2000 people came to see the custom designed and modified from many parts of Pakistan. Dr. Ehsen Naveed Irfan, organizer of the event, called it "a positive effort in progression in the field of car racing in Pakistan". The local press called it a good and safe effort which provided the best entertainment on the Independence day of Pakistan. There are many sports clubs that are working to promote their respective sports. One of them is District Badminton Association of Abbottabad. In the month of June, the same Association arranged the provincial championship

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