Gurez, or Gurais (Guráai in the local Shina language), is a valley located in the high Himalayas, about 86 kilometres (53 mi) from Bandipore and 123 kilometres (76 mi) from Srinagar, to the north of the Kashmir valley. At about 2,400 metres (8,000 ft) above sea level, the valley is surrounded by snow-capped mountains. It has diverse fauna and wildlife including the Himalayan brown bear and the snow leopard. The Kishanganga River flows through the valley. The valley lies near the Line of Control, which separates it from the Astore and Neelum districts of Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Being situated very close to the Burzil Pass, which leads into Astore, the inhabitants are ethnic Dards/Shins. They speak the Shina language and have the same styles of dress and culture as their kinsmen in Pakistani-administered Gilgit-Baltistan. Dawar is the central township in the area. The population of the area is estimated to be about 30,000, and is scattered among fifteen villages. Tourism industry is emerging , hotels like Gurez knights, kaka Palace, woodvibes provide service to tourists. Due to heavy snowfall (around 2 metres (7 ft)) and closure of Razdan Pass in winter, the valley remains cut off for six months of the year.
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