- Kaghan Valley
The Kaghan Valley is a valley in the
Mansehra Districtof the North-West Frontier Provinceof Pakistan. It has a reputation as a place of great natural beauty. This valley also suffered from the earthquake disaster on 8 October 2005.
A vacation in the Kaghan Valley, the Himalayan hide-away, located north-east of the Hazara district of Pakistan's
North West Frontier Province, is an unforgettable experience. The Kaghan valley is named for the town of Kaghan rather than for the Kunhar Riverwhich flows through the length of the valley. The Valley extends for 155 km rising from an elevation of 2,134 metres to its highest point, the Babusar Pass, at 4,173 metres. The local population is friendly and easygoing and speaks Pukhto, (a language spoken by the hill people in Hazara), hindko, 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.
Its mountains, dales, lakes, water-falls, streams and glaciers are still in an unbelievable pristine state. It is indeed an unspoiled paradise! This is why it can be a deeply satisfying experience to spend a few days in Kaghan. Kaghan is at its best during summer (months ranging from May to September). In May the temperature is: 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. Movement is restricted during the monsoonand winter seasons. The Kaghan area can reached by road via the towns of Balakot, Abbottabadand Mansehra. In Balakot, one may find buses and other transports to reach Kaghan or Naran.
The road from
Balakotascends 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'. This village, surrounded by peaks and forests, is east of the main Kunhar River. It hosts the famous Siri Payee Lakemountain with breathtaking views at its top.
Fishing is the chief sport in Kaghan. Brown
Troutand Mahasherare 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. Apart from this there are some other private trout fish farms at Kawai (also spelled as Kiwai) and Kahania, these are owned by pine park hotels, a well known hotel chain in Kaghan valley.
Onwards a 3 hour drive away from Shogran is Naran. It is a small tourist village open only during the tourist season of May to September. The rest of the time it is covered with snow. All visitors come to Naran to pay a visit to the
Saiful MulukLake (10,500 feet) 6 miles east of town. If the road is open transportation by jeep can be arranged. If the road is closed, it is an easy, gradual three-hour walk, and the lake is a lovely spot for a picnic.
If you are walking directly up-valley from Naran to Babusar "Top" the loveliest spots to camp on this trail is at "
Lulusar Lake". Located just before the final grade to Babusar Topand surrounded by tall peaks, Lulusar is just one many high elevation lakes that sit along the crest of the ridge.
One of the most interesting features of the Kaghan area is the Gujar (herder) families you'll see along the way bringing their animals up to the summer pastures, while Swatis, and Syeds are the prominent land owning tribes in the valley. The Kaghan valley is one of their most popular destinations in Pakistan, and you'll find them camped along the road in their tents or moving up the valley with their goats, sheep and pack animals.
* [http://www.visitkaghan.com/home.php Promotional Website]
* [http://www.world66.com/asia/southasia/pakistan/kaghanvalley Kaghan Valley]
* [http://www.presidentofpakistan.gov.pk/NewsEventsDetail.aspx?NewsEventID=2751 Tourism Revival plans]
* [http://www.pbase.com/waqas/kaghan_valley_and_lake_saiful_mulook Photos from Kaghan Valley and Lake Saiful Muluk by Waqas Usman]
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