Swat is the valley of lakes in true sense because there are numerous beautiful lakes scatter all around it. Some are quite famous in the world, like lake Saif-ul-Malook which is . Only a few are accessible through a metal road, rest are only approachable through hiking and trekking. Since most of them are hidden in the far-flung areas, that’s why tourists reach there by great efforts and continuous struggle. The natural beauty and charm of the lakes of the valley always say welcome to the trekkers, hikers and nature lovers. There is a brief description of some of the lakes of Swat valley.
1. Pari I Lake Swat:
Utror Valley, Swat
The lake is accessible from Izmis lake and Kandol lake. Both the treks are in ascending which lead to the lake and take almost five hours of trekking to reach there. Though the trek is very steep from the both sides yet the beauty and eye-catching scenery with green pastures and exotic flowers compel the trekkers to explore more.
Sharp jagged rocks and grassy peaks with flowers surrounds the lake. Pari Lake I is comparatively a smaller lake which feeds the bigger “Pari” Khapiro lake located below it. The shape of the lake is triangular. Several waterfalls and streams, from the surrounding peaks and glaciers feed the lake with their crystal clear water. The lake remains frozen almost all the year round, except in the months of August and September. Pari Lake I is significant because it the water source of the Pari Khapiro lake. The emerald green water of the lake shines in the green highlands with the sky-high mountain peaks.
2. Pari–Khapiro Lake Swat:
14,442 Feet (4,402 Metres)
Utror Valley, Swat
Pari II lake is in the North-Eastern side of Utror valley. It is a high altitude lake in the Hindu-Kush Mountain Range. It is a beautiful lake and naturally fed by the gushing water from the nearby mountain peaks. Pari means fairy and it is the belief of the locals that the beauty of the lake is due to the abode of fairies who come to live there and take bath in the cool, pure and clear water of the lake. Trekkers need endurance and passion for nature exploration because the trail is exasperating and dangerous. Therefore, while trekking on the narrow path, leading to the lake, it needs the cautious efforts.
It remains open from July to September. The western face of the lake is open and its water flows down to the gigantic Kandol lake in the foothills of the mountains. The surrounding mountains of the lake are haven for the bulky Snow-Cock and colourful Monal pheasants. Since the place around the lake is rough and weather is quite chilly, so the grazers do not erect any type of construction around the lake. They mainly rely on the natural caves for stay. Therefore the tourists are advised to carry a tent if they want an over-night stay there. Because it’s an high altitude lake, no fire-wood could available there, hence a gas cylinder and stove must include the luggage.
The length of the lake is almost a quarter of kilometer. There are steep grassy pastures around it, where the grazers bring their livestock in the summers when fodder gets scarce in the plains. Due to its high altitude and uncertain weather, the lake remains is not easily accessible like Kandol lake. Pari lake II provides a huge share of water to Kandol lake and is a safe feeding ground for the indigenous as well as migratory birds.
The lake is approachable only by trekking. It needs strength and quite a good stamina for climbing over the steep hilly-slopes which ultimately turns out exhausting and tiresome activity. There are two treks to access the lake;
i) The first trek starts from Kandol lake; and
ii) The second trek is from Izmis lake.
It takes almost five hours of trekking to reach on the top of the lake from either side.
9,950 Feet (3,032.7 Metres)
The beautiful Kandol lake or Kandol Danda, with all its glorifying charm, lies in the North of Utror valley. After crossing the Kalam valley from Utror valley; there is a link road, which leads to the hill-top towards the lake. It is in a valley which is called “Ladu” valley. It takes about two hours of trekking, to reach to the Ladu valley. On the contrary the journey takes quite a short time on a four-wheel vehicle.
The trek is quite a safe place for the tourists who can freely enjoy the natural scenery around them. Nomads usually descend down from the hills in the winters because of the harsh weather conditions. The valley is a stop-over for the tourists, for relaxation, enjoyment and refreshments. The lake is on the distance of four-hour of trekking from the Ladu valley. Hiring of a guide is recommended, who could lead safely to the top of the lake.
4. Bashigram Lake Swat:
11,499 Feet (3,505 Metres)
Bashigram lake is another beautiful lake of the Swat valley. It is surrounded by the mountain peaks and awesome and breathe-taking scenery. The lake is in the East of the Bashigram valley near Madyan and it is approachable through trekking of seven hours, from the Bashigram village. The lake is enliven by green hilly-slopes, alpine trees and wild flowers all around it. The guide could lead the tourists towards the true splendour of the mystic lake.
5. Spin Khwar (White Stream) Lake Swat:
Utror Valley, Swat
This lake is a formation of the rain and snowy water, flowing from the nearby mountain peaks. The water flows downwards and take a shape of a clear water stream, the Spin Khwar stream which is the main source of the lake. The Spin Khwar lake is in the North of Kandol Dand (lake) in the Utror valley.
The trek begins from Ladu valley, which is quite safe and an easy climbing. It is the best place for camping and for the relaxation in leisure. The tourists can stay there and enjoy the natural beauty, hiking, trekking and camping.
6. Daral Lake Swat:
11,500 Feet (3,505.2 Metres)
The Daral lake or Daral Danda is a high altitude alpine glacial lake, where one can even touch the clouds. It is in the North-Eastern side of Sidgai lake. It takes about fourteen hours of continuous trekking from Lalkoo to the Daral lake. The trek is a bit rough because firstly it ascends to the hill-top and then starts descending which ends up near the lake.
Daral lake is in Bahrain of Swat valley. The lake looks like giant amoeba in shape which stretches over a huge area. There is an ancient mosque near the lake, where shepherds and visitors may offer their prayers and even use it place for an over-night.
Daral lake lies on the western upper side which touches to Bahrain, in the foothills of Spinsar mountain. It is in the North-East of Saidgai lake, at an elevation of 3,505.2 metres (11,500 feet) above sea level. Lush green grassy slopes, snow-clad mountains and colourful flowery beds surround the lake. The water source of the lake is nearby glaciers which flows to the Daral Khwar. Daral Khwar is also the main tributary of the Swat river.
It is accessible from Bahrain in three to four hours of trekking on the bare mountains while the trek descends down towards East where Daral lake exists. Another alternate trek is from Gabina Jabba, which is the most beautiful and charming trek. A jeepable track ends amid of a beautiful and lush green valley of Gabina Jabba, from where the trekking begins. It is a continuous trekking for almost four to five hours up to the lake.
7. Andrab Lake Swat:
10,840 Feet (3,304 Metres)
Anakar Valley, Kalam
Anakar lake also Andrab lake, is in the Anakar valley of Kalam. It is less a explored lake of Swat valley. The trek starts from the Anakar village, which becomes a popular tourist hub now, on the way to Utror valley. From the Utror valley, a 10 kilometres trek leads to the lush green forests up to the lake at the altitude of 10,840 feet above sea level.
8. Katora Lake Swat:
11,499 Feet (3,505 Metres)
Kumrat Valley, Upper Dir
Katora is a Pashto word, which means ‘a bowl’. Since its shape is like a bowl, hence it is called as ‘Katora’ lake. It is an alpine glacial lake in Jahaz Banda valley of the Kumrat valley in Upper Dir. Katora lake or Jahaz Dand is actually lies in the Lamoti Region of Kumrat valley.
It is at an elevation of 11,499 feet above sea level. Snow-capped mountains surround the lake whereas its water source is the glacier water. It is one of the most beautiful lakes of the region and accessible through trekking of nearly five hours to the Jandrai (also Zhandrai), the base-camp of the lake.
Thal is the last small town where most of the tourists prefer to stay, in a small roadside hotel. Jeeps are available from Thal to Jandrai, which is the starting point to the Katora lake. Jandrai is at a distance of forty minute-drive from Thal. Porters are readily available from Thal with the help of Raja Taj, owner of a local Museum in Jandrai. It takes five to six hours to reach Jahaz Banda, the next destination from jandrai, depends upon stamina and weather conditions.
The first hour of trekking is quite an easy ascending n descending along the local huts. After an hour, the trekking turns out a bit difficult for the beginners because of steep Ascent. Yet the trek is full of trees, after crossing the stream. After Ascent of two hours, the trek opens into a scenic and beautiful meadow where a single Shepherd Hut serves the tourists. Remaining trek is quite easy. There is a tent kiosk at the end of the meadow where tea and snacks are available. A small hotel with two rooms, is available in Jahaz banda. Tents are also available on rent yet it is better to take own tents alongwith, to avoid any inconvinience.
From Jahaz banda, Katora lake is at a distance of about three hours, depending on fitness level. Though there is a shortcut, through the huge rocks boulders with ascending and descending but it is not commendable for the beginners.
9. Saidgai Lake Swat:
11,482 Feet (3,500 Metres)
Dir, Swat Valley
Saidgai lake is in Dir, Swat valley. It is on an elevation of 11,482 feet (3,500 metres) above sea level, in the Hindu-Kush Mountain Range. It lies between Swat and Dir. Its water source is Ushirai Khwar (stream) in Upper Dir, which ultimately falls into Panjkora river.
Saidgai Lake is one of the largest lakes in the Swat valley. Adventure loving people visit the area to rediscover and explore the spectacular gift of mother-nature. Since the lake is hidden in the mist of clouds; because of its remoteness and long journey, a few tourists dare to visit the area.
On the way to the lake, deep green forest loaded with pine, conifer and cedar trees provide cool and shady spots for taking rest while trekking. Cool springs with sweet water disperse everywhere along the trek which could quench of thirst.
The Lalko Gabina Jabba trail to the lake is the most fabulous one. A metallic road ends in the beautiful and exotic valley of Lalko from where the trekking will commence, passing through Gabina Jabba. Continuous trekking from Gabina Jabba almost 6–8 hours will lead to the lake.
The lake is accessible through three different treks;
i. Ushirai Valley, Upper Dir,
ii. Sulatanr Village, Roringar Swat, and
iii. Gabina Jabba Village, Lalkoo Swat.
Author: Fehmeeda Farid Khan