Kaghan Valley is an alpine-climate valley in Mansehra District of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province ofPakistan. Landslides caused by the devastating 2005 Kashmir earthquake closed the Kaghan Valley road and cut off the valley from the outside.
The road now has been rebuilt.
The valley extends 155 kilometers (96 mi), rising from an elevation of 2,134 feet (650 m) to its highest point, the Babusar Pass, at 13,690 feet (4,170 m).
Kaghan is the town which gives the valley its name. It is a permanent settlement and its located at a distance of 61 kilometers from Balakot. Kaghan has a hospital, post office, police station and a small bazaar where items of daily use are available in the shops. There are a few budget hotels and restaurants which provide accommodation and meals to visitors passing through, on their way to Naran Especially, during the early tourist season, when reaching Naran on normal vehicles is not possible, visitors leave their cars in Kaghan and hire jeeps for the onward journey to Naran. Local hotels offer parking facility to the tourists. There is also a hydro power station and a potato research station. Kaghan offers several short hikes for those who have some time to spend here.This area is also an example of what the natural beauty is. It is at the drive of 5 to 6 hours from Showgran. But you don’t get bore while driving to Kaghan because there are a lot of things to enjoy in the way. The river Kunhar moves along side the road, as you will be moving up it will be going down. When reached Kaghan, you will find a lot of attractive things. This area has special arrangements for the tourists at the cheap rates, Hotels and Restaurants are available. One thing you will obviously enjoy is the TROUT FISH, which is also available in Balakot and Naran. Well this place is also as so very much attractive that needs a visit.
Kaghan Valley – Land of The Fairies
Kaghan Valley is a scenic wonderland. Kaghan is a jewel among the many beautiful valleys in the Mansehra District of Hazara in the North West Frontier Province (Khyber Pakhtoon Khuah) of Pakistan. The valley extends 160 km, rising from an elevation of 2,134 feet (650 m) to its highest point, the Babusar Pass, at 13,690 feet (4,170 m).
Kaghan valley is named after the town of Kaghan rather than for the Kunhar River which flows through the length of the valley. This valley has most popular summer holiday spots for both Pakistanis as well as foreigners. If you love hiking, trekking or fishing, then Kaghan Valley is like heaven.
Lofty peaks crown the mountains ranges on either side like turrets, ranging in height from 12,000 to 17,000 ft and more, with the eastern range higher than the western. The bed of valley slopes up from 3,000 ft at Balakot, which, as it were, the gateway of the valley, to 12,000 ft at Gittidas beyond which the valley crosses at Babusar Pass 14,000 ft.
The road to Kaghan is frightening because on your left are the deep slopes to the river and on your right are the lofty mountains. The first ten miles or so are largely barren, but when the valley raises to about 5,000 ft forests of pine and fir appear, densely overgrown with a variety of plants, which has won for Kaghan the epithets of ‘the botanists paradise’. The forests continue till about Naran 8,000 ft.
The local people are friendly and simple. Popular languages are Hindko and Gojri, while Urdu, Pakistan’s national language is also familiar among the locals.
The road from Balakot ascends along the Kunhar River through lovely forests and the villages of Paras, Shinu, Jared and Mahandri. The valley is somewhat narrow along this stretch and the views are limited but as you ascend, the surrounding peaks come into view.
One spot that is quite famous for its spectacular view and scenery is ‘Shogran’. This village, surrounded by peaks and forests, is east of the main Kunhar River. It hosts the famous Siri Payee Lake mountain with breathtaking views at its top.
The region is Alpine in geography and climate, with pine forests, crystal clear lakes, cool mountain streams and meadows dominating the landscape below peaks that reach over 17,000 feet.
You’ll find the Himalayan peaks hidden with clouds or snow, somewhere you’ll find the beautiful fairy tale lakes, which will attract you toward them, and you might decide not to leave this at any cost. Where Kaghan is full of scenic beauty there it is full of thrill and excitement for the mountaineers and treks. That’s why it is called virtual paradise, unbelievably in pristine state and still unspoiled by the human.
The mountain scenerey, the dales, lakes, water-falls, streams and glaciers are the main reason to come here. Further north 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.
The river Kunhar, originating from Lulusar lake, runs through the city and merges with Jhelum River just outside Muzaffarabad in Pakistan administered Kashmir. The river is muddy in the plains but as you go towards the mountains it becomes clearer. Road goes along the river Kunhar, meandering now to one side and now to the other. But keeping most to the bed of the valley and never too far above the bank of the stream except in the very first state.
If you like climbing this is a place for you because there are mountains all around you. You can explore the scenic and pictorials landscape and valleys by climbing up hiking.
Fishing is the chief sport in Kaghan. Brown Trout and Mahasher are stocked in pure silvery waters in the upper parts of the valley. The Kunhar river trout is considered to be the best throughout the sub-continent. Fishing licenses are issued by the ‘Fisheries Department at Naran’ or by the ‘Trout Hatchery’ at Shinu. Apart from this there are some other private trout fish farms at Kawai (also spelled as Kiwai) and Kahania.
One of the most interesting features of the Kaghan area is the Gujar (herder) families you’ll see along the way bringing their animals up to the summer pastures. On the way up to Naran, you will see so many cattles walking along on the road, a totally new scene to look at such a view, beautiful and happy. You will find them camped along the road in their tents or moving up the valley with their goats, sheep and pack animals around the start of summer and on their way back to lower altitudes around the beginning of winter. this place is worth to see.
Kaghan Valley is a place where you defiantly want to spend few days of your leisure.
In May the temperature ranges between a maximum of 11 °C (52 °F) and a minimum of 3 °C (37 °F). From the middle of July up to the end of September the road beyond Naran Valley is open right up to Babusar Pass. Movement is restricted during the monsoon and winter seasons.
In summer it is possible to continue to Gilgit Valley – one hell of a trip with incredible views – but roads are not always in tiptop condition so it may involve some hard work to get to the other site of the mountains.
The best time to visit Kaghan is in summer months (May to September). From the mid – 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.
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