The Kaghan Valley
The Kaghan Valley is located in Northern Pakistan northeast of Hazara, NWFP. It’s one of the valleys that are relatively easy to reach from Rawalpindi / Islamabad. The mountain scenery, the dales, lakes, water-falls, streams and glaciers are the main reason to come here. The Valley extends for 155 km rising from an elevation of 2,134 meters to its highest point, the Babusar Pass, at 4,145 meters. Further north from from Babusar Pass, a jeep track leads to Chilas, which is now on Karakoram Highway (the road that connects Islamabad to Xinjiang province of China via Gilgit, Hunza and Khunjerab Pass). Before Karakoram Highway was opened in 1978, the only road access to Gilgit was through Kaghan Valley.
Naran is the best base for treks and walks in the valley. There are some options for accommodation here and some restaurants. Naran is best reached by jeep from Balakot some 200 km north of Rawalpindi / Islamabad. The best time to visit Kaghan is in summer months (May to September). From the middle of July up to the end of September, the road beyond Naran, snow-bound throughout the winter, is open right up to Babusar Pass. Movement may be restricted during the monsoon season due to heavy rains and landslides.
A Visit to Kaghan Valley will leave you enchanted by the spectacular beauty of its Mountains, Glaciers and Lush Greenery. Kaghan Valley includes Naran, Kaghan, Shogran and its surrounding areas. The way to Kaghan valley starts with two hour drive to Abbottabad. At Abbottabad you can refresh yourself with a cup of tea before driving to Mansehra, Balakot and onwards to Kawai. Kawai onwards is a steep climb to the Shogran plateau which offers a splendid view of a fabulous array of mountains, amid pine trees and lush green meadows.
Most of the tourists especially come to visit lake Lake Saiful Maluk lying 10,600 feet above sea level with its natural tranquility in the foot hills of Himalayas. Saiful Maluk is one of the most beautiful lakes of the world. To sit beside the lake is to be in the fairy world. Camping at Saiful Maluk is an experience of life time. You can find nice and comfortable hotel accomodation at Shogran and after a day’s rest consider moving on to Sri Paya. But be prepared for the extra bumpy ride. You can also plan a hiking trip to Sri Paia from Shogran. It will take around two and half hour to reach at peaks of Sri Paia. (In local language, Sri means Lake, Paia means Peak) Once you reach Sri Paia the discomfort of the journey is forgotten as you find yourself surrounded by a spectacular view of the Makra Hills and the Malika Parbat peak. Malka Parbat in english means “Queen of Mountains”.
The next stop Khanian offers the best Trout Fish one can taste in the north. The dazzling greens of Dana Meadows and the slippery glaciers at tarmac, on the way to Naran, are quite an experience. Malka Parbat, can be best approached by hiking or driving 10 KM from Naran to the legendary Saiful Maluk nesting in the shadows of The Malka Parbat. On a clear day, you can behold the majesty of the Malka Parbat’s peaks reflected in the lake’s deep blue icy waters. The road from Mansehra to Naran is excellently built. The workers of Frontier Works Organization are always busy in repairing the road and clearing the way of eroded mountains to ensure smooth flow of traffic. Naran is one of most popular tourist spots of Pakistan at distance of 160 KM from Abbottabad. Travelers from Pakistan as well as many foreign countries rush in summer to the lush green valley surrounded by snowy mountains.
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