Kaghan valley is regarded as one of the most mesmerizing and spellbinding valleys of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It is a middle-sized valley and a popular holiday resort for local and foreigner tourists. It is a highland climate valley. Due to its dense vegetation, it is also called ‘the botanists paradise’. It is situated at an approximate distance of two hundred fifty km from Islamabad. You have to pass through different cities and towns like Abbottabad, Mansehra, Balakot, and Taxila to reach there. Balakot is the last station before you reach the Kaghan valley. You can avail of the opportunity to visit here with some tour planners. The average package for 3-4 days starts from 60 thousand rupees.
The popular languages of the valley are Gojri, Hindko, and Urdu. This valley is known for honey vendors, Gujar Nomads, potato farms and of course Trout fish. River Kunhar is the Main River and attraction of the valley. You can enjoy boating and fishing, camping, and exhilarating jeep rides. For enjoying your trip you should carry your personal joggers or trekking boots, water bottle, sanitizers, sunglasses, and sunblock, etc.
You can enjoy a great variety of traditional as well as fast food in the Kaghan valley. But mostly, visitors prefer to enjoy different flavors of biryani at different food spots. You can relish your taste buds with Mutton/Chicken Karahi, chicken roast, Mutton/Chicken Handi and mouthwatering scrumptious Trout Fish.
Naran is a mesmerizing average-sized valley, 155 km long town, situated in upper Kaghan Valley in the province Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Located at the altitude of 7,904 ft. (2,409 m) it is situated at a distance of sixty-five km from Babusar Top. It is a great tourist attraction due to its picturesque beauty. Most of the visitors of the Kaghan valley stay at Naran. It is the tourists’ hub of the valley. There are a large number of tent villages, restaurants, and hotels. Despite being the nucleus of the valley, Naran has no bank.
Naran receives a good amount of rainfalls and snowfalls in summers and winters respectively. Naran offera a huge variety of scenic beauty in the form of mesmerizing mountains and glacial lakes, Himalayan peaks covered by snow or clouds, lush green meadows, and towering trees as if protecting the town.
You can reach Naran by a meandering road from Abbottabad. This road keeps winding on one side or the other of River Kunhar. Except for the first state near the stream bank, most of it is on the base of the valley. You need to drive almost seventy-two km from Abbottabad to Balakot; the entrance to the Kaghan Valley.
Other than relishing the scenic beauty of forest areas and pastures, you have the opportunity to exciting hiking and trekking.
Shogran is a tranquil holiday spot in the Kaghan valley. It is situated at a distance of thirty-four km from Balakot through Kawai. A smaller number of hotels and markets are the reason for its serenity. Due to its higher altitude, it is cooler and fresher than other valleys of Pakistan. It is surrounded by thick forestation. You can travel here through jeeps only and enjoy the spellbinding views around and below on a 212 km long metalled road. It is a forty-five minutes’ drive with a magnificent pine forest.
You will be enamored by its lush green laws and spectacular sight of snow-covered hilltops. You can easily find motels as well as hotels at a very reasonable rate. The local residents of this valley are very caring and friendly.
From Shogran onwards you can hike, ride a horse or travel by jeep to picturesque valleys like Siri, Paey, and Makra Peak. It is situated on a lush green plane at an elevation of 2.362 m above the sea surface. The distance between Siri and Kawai village and Balakot is seven km only and twenty-seven km respectively.
Paye Shogran is another breathtaking village at a distance of ten km and thirty-four km from Kiwai and Balakot respectively. A beautiful lake Paey Lake is situated in the middle of the field in Paey. It is encircled by Malika Parbat, Makra peak, and Musa ka Musala. You can reach here through passing Kiwai by riding a jeep. You may have breathing problem here due to its height, you should avoid taking along any patients here.
Lake Saiful Muluk
Famous Lake Saiful Muluk surrounded by mountains is situated at the Kaghan valley, eight km from Naran in the Saiful Muluk National Park. It is situated at an altitude of 10, 578 feet (3,224m) above sea-level. It is one of the highest lakes in Pakistan.
It is a famous resort of tourists, and famous for it being associated with a tale of a Persian prince Saiful Muluk. Its mesmerizing and majestic natural appeal and association with a fairy tale attract hundreds and thousands of sightseers and tourists every year from different parts of the country and the world.
This lake is renowned for its huge sized Brown Trout Fish with an approximate weight of seven kg. You can enjoy the awe-inspiring view of the wonderful Malika Parbat from Saiful Muluk Lake. It snows heavily during winters; therefore, the most suitable time to visit is from May by the end of July.
There have been different controversies about its depth. According to a recent survey, its depth is fifty feet and it sounds quite realistic for a lake situated at the height of three km from the sea-level.
This lake is also situated in the Kaghan Valley of Mansehra District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It is situated at an altitude of 4245 m (13,927 feet) above sea level. It is regarded as one of the highest lakes of Himalayas. It is also associated with the story of Saiful Muluk. It is named so because its shape looks like a tear. It is a great attraction for tourists. It is regarded as nature’s bounty.
You can access this lake through two treks, first from Saiful Muluk Lake and secondly from Mahandri through Manoor Village. It would take you from 7-9 hours of trekking from Saiful Muluk Lake to Aansu Lake. It is better to start at dawn to keep the trek divided into two parts.
It is very rare that you can enjoy its mesmerizing beauty because most of the time during the year it cannot be viewed due to rain or fog. You would be spellbound to view amazing tracks to Aansu Lake. Still, you can choose the most suitable time of July and August to experience the fascinating and hypnotic view of the lake without rain or fog. Otherwise, in other months there is also a possibility that you take all the pain to reach Aaansu Lake and find it engulfed in rain or fog. Except for July and August, it remains covered with snow.
You should prepare well for trekking. You should have your
- Sleeping bags,
- Hire some horses and a guide (you can arrange on from Saiful Muluk Lake)
- Easy to carry foods like burgers or sandwiches and enough water
- Warm clothes, raincoats, and comfortable joggers or shoes
- Last but not the least; carry a map of your trek to help you understand your location.