Kaghan Valley

Lake Saif-ul-Malook (Naran)

Kaghan is one of the most beautiful valleys of Pakistan. The valley is located in the Mansehra District of the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan. Connected with Islamabad via three routes (Balakot, Abbottabad and Mansehra), Kaghan is offers great images. Its mountains, lakes, water-falls, streams & glaciers are still in an unbelievable pristine state, an un-spoilt paradise. The Kaghan valley is named for the town of Kaghan rather than for the Kunhar River which flows to the length of the valley. The valley extends for 155 kilometres rising from an elevation of 2,133 metres (7,000 ft) to its highest point, the Babusar Pass at 4,173 metres. The local population is friendly and easygoing and speaks Hindko (a language spoken by the hill people in Hazara), Pushto, and/or Urdu. The region is Alpine in geography and climate, with forests and meadows dominating the landscape below peaks that reach over 17,000 feet. Kaghan is at its best in the summers. Except for middle of July up to the end of September, the road beyond Naran remains snow-bound throughout the winter.

The Kaghan valley, is blocked at the end by high mountains but a pass lets the jeep-able road snakes into the Chilas valley through 4,145 metres high Babusar Pass, which commands the whole Kaghan panorama gives on a clear day, glimpses of the Nanga Parbat glistening at 8,125 metres.

Naran, 22 kilometres from Kaghan serves as the base camp for the whole valley. From here one can go to several picturesque lakes, valleys and peaks hiring a jeep or horse. Nestled in the foot steps of 5,190 metres high Malika Parbat (Queen of Mountains) is the awe inspiring "Lake Saiful Malook" at 12,000 feet above sea level is a breathtaking site in the entire valley which has a touch of the unreal about it. The scenic beauty has no parallel in the world. One can go boating on the lake and hear the local legend about Prince Saiful Malook. Moving up to the Babusar Pass, and located just before the final grade to Babusar Top is the breathtaking Lulusar Lake.


Malika Parbat (left) - Lake Saiful Malook (right)

Kaghan is indeed an unspoiled paradise! In May the temperature averages a maximum 11 C and minimum 3 C. From the middle of July up to the end of September the road beyond Naran is open right up to Babusar Pass. But due to landslides and glaciers falling on the road, road movement is restricted during the monsoon and winter seasons. The road from Balakot ascends along the Kunhar River through lovely forests and the villages of Paras, Shinu, Jared and Mahandri. The valley is somewhat narrow along this stretch and the views are limited but as you ascend, the surrounding peaks come into view. One spot that is quite famous for its spectacular view and scenery is 'Shogran', located east of the main Kunhar River. It hosts the famous Siri-Paya mountain with breathtaking views at its top. Fishing is the chief sport in Kaghan. Brown Trout and Mahasheer are stocked in pure silvery waters between Kaghan and Naran. The Kunhar river trout is considered to be the best throughout the sub-continent. Fishing licenses are issued by the 'Fisheries Department at Naran' or by the 'Trout Hatchery' at Shinu.

A vacation in the Kaghan Valley  is an unforgettable experience, since it is one of their most popular destinations in Pakistan. In Balakot, one may find buses and other transports to reach Kaghan or Naran. For those with time and interest, this peaceful, lovely valley offers an interesting and enjoyable destination.

It was tragic that the October 2005 earthquake hit the area very badly and Balakot, which once served as the jump point to the valley was completely destroyed. The road from Balakot to Naran which was recently built also suffered heavily. Efforts are at hand to restore Balakot - but it may take years before all is same again.

This page was created on 28 February 2007

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