Valley A holiday in the Kaghan Valley, the Himalayan hide-away, north-east of the Hazara district of Pakistanís North West Frontier Province, is an unforgettable experience.
Its mountains, dales, lakes, water-falls, streams and glaciers are still in unbelievable pristine state, and unspoiled paradise. That is why it can be such a deeply satisfying experience to spend a few days in Kaghan. The Valley extends for 155 kms. Rising from an elevation of 2,134 metres to its highest point, the Babusar Pass, at 4,173 metres. Kaghan is at its best in the summer months (May to September). In May the temperature is: maximum 11 C and the minimum 3 C. 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 is restricted during the monsoon season also.
How to Get There
The Kaghan Valley is accessible by road from Rawalpindi/Islamabad and Peshawar. You can drive in your own or a rented car, taxi, station-wagon or bus to Abbottabad which is 122 kms. from Rawalpindi and 217 kms. from Peshawar. Abbottabad is a charming town spread out over several low, refreshingly green hills.
From there you drive 72 kms. to Balakot, the gateway to the Kaghan Valley. Balakot has the shrines of Syed Ahmed Shaheed and Ismail Shaheed Brelvi, the South Asia great freedom fighters.
For your drive to Kaghan, you switch over at Balakot to a jeep. Your first stop is 34 kms. away at Shogran at 2,362 metres above sea level. At Kaghan, the little village that gives the valley its name-61 kms. from Balakot- you get down to stretch your legs.
At Naran, 23 kms. From Kaghan you reach the half-way point. Naran also serves as the base for the whole valley. From here you can ride a jeep or horse or hike in excursions to several picturesque lakes, valleys and peaks.
Lake Saiful Maluk:
Lake Saiful Muluk has a touch of the unreal about it, nestling 3,200 metres high in the shadow of the Malika Parbat (Queen of the mountains) 5,291 metres high. You can go boating on the lake and hear the local legend about Prince Saiful Muluk who fell in love with a fairy. Further up are quaint woodland villages; Battakundi, Burawai, Besal Gittidas and Lalazar.
The Kaghan Valley is blocked at the end by high mountains but a pass lets the jeep-able road snake over into the Chilas Valley. This is the 4,173 metres high Babusar Pass which commands the whole Kaghan panorama as well as gives you, on a clear day, glimpses of the Nanga Parbat (The Naked Mountain) glistening at 8, 126 metres.
Fishing is the chief sport in Kaghan. Brown Trout and Mahasher are stocked in the pure silvery waters of Kunhur river between Kaghan and Naran. The Kunhar river trout is considered the best in the South Asia
Fishing licenses are issued by either the Fisheries Department at Naran or the Trout Hatchery at Shinu.
Where to Stay : There is the comfortably furnished PTDC Motel Complex at Naran and Balakot, beside hotels and reasonably priced rest-houses.
What To Buy : Kaghan is noted for its artistically-carved walnut handicrafts, embroidered shawls, shirts, woolen blankets and "namdas" (woolen felt rugs).