PALAS VALLEY SWAT
Swat Valley is such a majestic and marvellous place that even Queen of England was all praiseworthy of it, during her visit to the valley. She stayed at the White Palace which is popular as Sufaid Mahal. She adored Swat as “Mini Switzerland”. This lush green valley is full of numerous lakes and so many green grassy patches and Palas valley is one of these. The misty Khapiro lake is also located in the same valley. It is a hidden gem of the Swat valley and still uncovered by by the tourists. Its virgin beauty has not been destroyed as yet, by the hands of the commercialization and curse of so-called tourism.
The journey starts from Besham and after 15 kilometres Dobair Bazaar appears, which is a Kohistani settlement along KKH. We will reach Pattan village after 25 kilometres further travelling from Dobair Bazaar. From there upon, a bridge over the Indus leads to the Palas valley through the rough Jeep track.
Lower valley is quite accessible by a Jeep route, while Upper valley is still inaccessible. Lower valley is undoubtedly a magical place with its thick forests, mesmerizing lakes and lush green meadows, but the place “Ledi” located in the Upper valley is par from excellence. The meadows of Ledi and Palas are the two more popular meadows, even among the locals too. The meadows and green pastures of Palas valley belong to the tribes of Allai valley and Palas valley itself, whereas Allai valley is in the East of the valley.
The track leads to Lower Palas valley is in very rough condition and only powerful 4-wheel vehicles can approach it, but to access the Upper valley, a good stamina for the hiking is a must. Locals can properly guide some shortcuts to reach Upper Palas through trekking.
There is lesser accessibility of internal and foreign tourism in Palas valley, that’s why the chance to encounter them is a rare case. Accommodation via Hotels is not available, so the tourists should bring along-with them.
The population of Upper valley is quite less than that of Lower valley; but the number of residents of both of these valleys cannot be compared to the villages of Kaghan valley. Womenfolk of the valley strictly follow the veil and they do not mix-up with males, not to speak of interacting with the strangers, so beware of interrupting the rules. They would not allow taking pictures, so be prepared mentally for this situation; also never directed the camera towards villages, it will cost heavily.
Author: Fehmeeda Farid Khan