The Kaghan Valley
The Kaghan Valley is less than a daysdrive from islamabad, the capital.The favoured route is through Abbottabad the administrative capital of the valley.It takes an hour from Abbottabad to Mansehra, and the road is good.Short of mansehra the roads splits_the left goes on to the shinkiari valley, and onwards to Gilgit_the right goes through the city of Mansehra and then on the balakot, an hour away. Balakot is the gateway to the kaghan valley.
(Video Credits:asad butt via YouTube.com)
Balakot was the epicentre of the devastating earthquake that struck in 2005. It completely destroyed the town of Balakot, killing Thousand of people and also destroying the road to kaghan. Massive amounts of national and international aid was arranged to rehabilitate the effected families and the newly constructed shops and houses are now spreadall over the valley.
Do you think one enjoys the picturesque detail of the area while reading?
Naran is the most popular destination for the tourists. It is located as an altitude of 7000 feet and is therefore cool in summer. The valley is heavily wooded and the kunhar river flows through it. A fishing license can be obtained in Naran that may be used throughout the valley.Rods, tackle and guides can be hired as Well. If you are not up to fishing yourself, you can get a fishing guide to do it for you. He will bring for you the fish he catches by the end of the day. Naran has postal, telephone and medical facilities also, and is a good base for trips to the higher valleys.
The Kaghan and Naran valleys are blessed with plenty of water. There is adequate rainfall to feed its forest and fill the streams and rivers that flow through it. There are a number of lakes in the valley. One of the prettiest and most accessible is the lake Saiful Muluk. It is close to the town of naran and is a must-see for everyone, who visits that area.
On way to Kaghan valley Shogran is the first stop. At over 8000 feet, Shogran is cool even in the middle of summer. The whole ridge is heavily wooded and there are lovely views from the top. The views are picture perfect, the Kaghan valley stretching out in to the hazy blue, fold after fold of mountains interwoven by the kunhar river. There are high pastures above the hotels. At a distance of 500-600 feet one f-gets to the top of the ridge and to open grassy meadows. There are a few giants of fur trees here at makra peak, and a stream of sparkling clean water flowing down the mountain. This is a great campsite. The makra peak is about 2000 feet above this point and an easy day,s climb.
One fine day I decided to attempt it along with my son and two nephews, all about ten years of age. It was the end of April and the peak was covered in snow. After about thirty minute climb we got to a patch of stunted fur trees. They were like bushes but completely covered the ground. The trunks of the trees were like thick ropes rolling on the ground with small branches and leaves sprouting all over. They covered the ground so thickly that it was difficult to walk through these patches. To photograph the alpine flowers and savour the view, we decided to go to the top. I spent some time photographing the alpine flowers growing just below the snowing fileds.
As tourists go whizzing along the metalled orad to Kaghan and Naran, they scarcely spare a glance at the semi-barren ridge across the river to the north-west. Little do they realize that behind the ridge lies one of the most verdant , lush and charming forests in Pakistan. The forest department has done wonderful job for protecting the forests of Sharan, and those of adjoining valleys.