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Swat, Pakistan

Swat, Pakistan


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Swat (Pashto: سوات, Urdu: سوات) is a valley and an administrative district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan located 160 kilometres (99 mi) from Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. It is the upper valley of the Swat River, which rises in the Hindu Kush range. The capital of Swat is Saidu Sharif, but the main town in the Swat valley is Mingora.[1] It was a princely state (see Swat (princely state)) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa until it was dissolved in 1969. With high mountains, green meadows, and clear lakes, it is a place of great natural beauty that used to be popular with tourists as “the Switzerland of Pakistan

As mentioned above, Swat is lying in the lap of Mountainous Ranges, which are the offshoots of Hindukush, so the larger part of Swat is covered with high mountains and hills, the crests of which is hidden by everlasting snow. Though these gigantic Ranges run irregularly: some to the west while the others to the east, but the general direction is North-South. These ranges enclose small but very enchanting valleys.

Eastern Ranges: In Kohistan-e-Swat the chief knot of eastern ranges is Mankial. Its northern branches separate Kohistan-e-Swat from Abasin Kohistan. These ranges form a barrier between Gilgit and Swat, and between Chitral and Swat. The southern extension of Mankial ranges reaches proper Swat. There they join Shangla ranges. Shangla ranges separate proper Swat from Shangla Par area (Shangla Par district). In Shangla district, there are Karora Ranges, which separate Puran from Kanra and Ghurband. The continuation of Shangla ranges joins Dwasaray. On the one hand Dwasaray separates lower Swat from Puran, on the other, it set aside the Buner from Puran. Now the general Direction of the ranges turns westward. Here it is called Elum. Elum Ranges is a big wall between the proper Swat and Buner. The Elum ranges at last join mountains of Malakand.
The Western Ranges: Western ranges start from the mountain and hills of Gabral, Kohistan-e-Swat. It joins the hills of Kundal (Utror). There these ranges meet Daral Ranges. These ranges form a border with Dir district. They run west ward and are named according to the locality. For example Lalko ranges Manrai and Chaprai etc. at last they join the hills of Adenzee and Shamozee. Manrai ranges send off some off shoots southward. They the hills separate Arnoyay valley from the widest valley of Nekpikheil valley.

Marghazar 16 km away from Saidu Sharif is famous for its “Sufed Mahal” the white marble palace of the former Wali (Ruler) of Swat.

[edit] Malam Jabba

PTDC Motel at Malam Jabba Ski Resort

Malam Jabba (also Maalam Jabba, Urdu: مالم جبہ) is a Hill Station in the Karakoram mountain range nearly 40 km from Saidu Sharif in Swat Valley, Peshawar, Pakistan. It is 314 km from Islamabad and 51 km from Saidu Sharif Airport.Malam Jabba is home to the largest ski resort in Pakistan.The Malam Jabba Ski Resort, owned by the Pakistani Tourism Development Corporation, had a ski slope of about 800m with the highest point of the slope 2804 m (9200 ft) above sea level. Malam Jabba Ski Resort was the joint effort of the Pakistan government with its Austrian counterpart. The resort was equipped with modern facilities including roller/ice-skating rinks, chair lifts, skiing platforms, telephones and snow clearing equipment.

Swat Museum

Swat Museum is on the east side of the street, halfway between Mingora and Saidu. Japanese aid has given a facelift to its seven galleries which now contain an excellent collection of Gandhara sculptures taken from some of the Buddhist sites in Swat, rearranged and labelled to illustrate the Buddha’s life story. Terracotta figurines and utensils, beads, precious stones, coins, weapons and various metal objects illustrate daily life in Gandhara. The ethnographic section displays the finest examples of local embroidery, carved wood and tribal jewellery.

Miandam

Miandam is a small summer resort ten kilometres (six miles) up a steep side valley and 56 kilometers (35 miles) from Saidu Sharif, making it an hour’s drive. The metaled road passes small villages stacked up the hillside, the roofs of one row of houses forming the street for the row of houses above. Tiny terraced fields march up the hillside right to the top. Miandam is a good place for walkers. Paths follow the stream, past houses with behives set into the walls and good-luck charms whitewashed around the doors. In the graveyards are carved wooden grave posts with floral designs, like those used by Buddhists 1,000 years ago.

Madyan

By the time you reach this small town at 1320 m and about 60 km from Mingora, the mountains have closed in and the valley is almost snug. Here one senses why Swat is so popular among the tourists. There are a lot of embroidered shawls in the Bazars of Madyan.At 1,321 metres (4,335 feet) above sea level,but it is a larger town and has many hotels in all price ranges and some good tourist shopping. Antique and modern shawls, traditional embroidery, tribal jewellery, carved wood and antique or reproduced coins are sold along the main street. This is the last Swati village, offering interesting two-and three-day walks up to the mountain villages… ask in the bazaar in Muambar Khan’s shop for a guide. North of Madyan is Swat Kohistan where walking is not recommended without an armed guard. The central mosque at Madyan has carved wooden pillars with elegant scroll capitals, and its mud-plastered west wall is covered with relief designs in floral motifs. Both bespeak the Swati’s love of decoration.For forieng tourest on can help from the link http://www.madyanguesthouse.com which is owned by Murad Ali Khan

Behrain

A quarter of an hour past Madyan, the road squeezes through Bahrain. Tourists stop to shop or have a look around for beautiful carved wood chairs and tables and other handicrafts. Behrainis are a mix of Pashtuns and Kohistanis.Bahrain is ten kilometres north of Madyan and only slightly higher, at about 1,400 metres (4,500 feet). It is another popular riverside tourist resort, with bazaars worth exploring for their handicrafts. Some of the houses have carved wooden doors, pillars and balconies. These show a remarkable variety of decorative motifs, including floral scrolls and bands of ornamental diaper patterns almost identical to those seen on Buddhist shrines and quite different from the usual Muslim designs.

Kalam

2070 m high and 100 km from Mingora, it was the centre of an independent state in the 19th century. It was later taken by Chitral then given to Swat after partition.Kalam, 29 kilometres (18 miles) from Bahrain and about 2,000 metres (6,800 feet) above sea level, the valley opens out, providing rooms for a small but fertile plateau above the river. In Kalam the Ushu and Utrot rivers join to form the Swat river. Here, the metalled road ends and shingle road leads to the Ushu and Utrot valleys. From Matiltan one gets a breath-taking view of the snow-capped Mount Falaksir 5918 metres (19,415 ft.), and another un-named peak 6096 metres (20,000 ft.) high.

Usho

Usho 3 km from Kalam Valley and 117 km from Saidu Sharif

Utror

Utror 16 km from Kalam Valley and 120 km from Saidu Sharif.Utror valley is situated between 35° 20′ to 35° 48′ N latitudes and 72° 12′ and 72° 32′ E longitudes. The population of Utror is 6888 and the area of the valley is about 47400 hectares. Utror valley is surrounded by Gabral and Bhan valleys on the east, upper Dir district on the west, Kalam valley on the south and Gabral valley on the north. It is 15 km from Kalam, the centre of Swat Kohistan. The altitude of the valley at Utror proper is 2300 meters and reaches to 2900 meters at Kandol Lake.

Ghabral

Gabral valley lies between 35° 20′ to 35° 48′ N latitudes and 72° 12′ and 72° 32′ E longitudes over an area of about 38733 hectares. The population of Gabral is 3238. The valley is surrounded by Chitral District in the north, Utror valley in the south and south west, upper Dir district in the west and Bhan and Mahodand valleys in the east. It is 5 km distant from Utror proper and 20 km from Kalam. The altitude of the valley ranges from 2580 metres at Baila to 5160 metres at Karkaray Lake top.In Utror and Gabral, 44 medicinal plants are collected during the months of May, June, July and August. Only 14 of them are traded to National and International markets while the rest are used locally. A survey by Pakistan Forest Institute concludes that 75 crude herbal drugs are extensively exported and more than 200 are locally traded in Pakistan. Indigenous people, who have no training in sustainable harvesting, post-harvesting care and storing of medicinal plants, collect 85 percent of these crude herbs from the wild.

[edit] Mahudan

Mahodand valley, which lies in the North of Kalam, is famous not only among nature lovers, and escapists but also the exotic trout fish hunters. The valley can be accessed through an un-metalled road from Kalam in a four by four (4×4) vehicle. The road is bumpy and tricky but the surrounding landscapes engrosses you so severely that you wish for more and expect to discover new panoramas. The small hamlets that are scattered in the mountains and the bellowing smoke that spirals into the sky from the houses are some, which lives in the memory forever. Swat River, which is born here, is shackled by the tall mountains, which has turned its water into a roaring monster trying to release itself from its fetters, but there are some places where the river is calm and silent without showing any sign of rebellion.

On the way to shahi bagh Lake Swat valley

Kundol Lake Swat valley

Pari(Khapiro) lake

Pari Lake is one of the lakes in Swat region which is located at a very high altitude in the foot of the tallest peak in the range with a considerable depth. The name Pari or Khapiro is given to the lake due to the widespread belief that the lake is the abode of fairies where they live and bathe in the cool, pure and clear water of the lake. It is located to North-east of Utror valley and can be accessed only by trekking. Trekking to the lake needs endurance and love for nature as the trail is exasperating as well as dangerous therefore, utmost care should be taken while trekking on the narrow bends and turns leading to the lake. The lake is accessible from both Izmis and Kundal lakes. Two ascending tracks lead to this lake from Kundal and Izmis lakes taking almost five hours to reach this roof top of Swat. The trail is very steep from both sides but the surrounding beauty and eye-cooling green pastures and exotic flowers not only boost the trekker’s stamina but compel him to explore further.

Kundol Lake

The pastoral valley of Swat has abundance of precious resorts of nature where one can find solace and respite from the never-ending struggle of life. Kundal or Kandolo Lake is one such place here upon which the Maestro of nature has spent extra time and effort to paint. Kundal Lake is situated in the north of Utror valley. One can easily access it from Kalam via Utror from where a link road ends in a green valley called Ladu in the foothills of the lake. You can either hike to Ladu from Utror or take a four-wheeler to ease and minimize your journey. It consumes almost two hours to reach the beautiful valley of Ladu. For the adventurous kind, a walk in the romantic valley will unravel several new mysteries. The people who take temporary residency over here during summer plow the open land and harvest potatoes and turnips, which are famous all over the country for its exotic taste. There is also a small hut in Ladu where you can take tea and get something for eating. From Ladu it takes almost four hours to reach the lake. Some locals can guide you and even take your luggage if properly paid. The mountains around this small valley are covered with tall cedar and pine trees and meandered by different streams and torrents. The people are friendly and provide you guidance if required.

Bashigram Lake

Bashigram Lake is situated to the east of Bashigram valley near Madyan. The road to this valley is partly metaled and can be plied by a four by four or any ordinary vehicle. It takes almost forty to fifty minutes to reach this picturesque valley inhibited by simple and hospitable folk. From here, trekking of four to five hours, depending on professionalism and enthusiasm of the trekkers lands you in the realm of a serene and enchanting lake of Bashigram.

Spin Khwar (White Stream) Lake

Spin Khwar is a beautiful lake hidden in the lap of mountains towards the north of Kundal Lake and east of Utror valley. The name Spin Khwar has a clear significance as a small white stream in the east flows down to the lake from the surrounding mountains and is a major source of water for the lake. The lake is accessible through two tracks, one from Kundal and the other from Ladu valley. The track from Ladu is comparatively easy to walk and less tiring while the track from Kundal is not only difficult but alarmingly dangerous although it is short and links Kundal and Spin Khwar. Its steepness and dangerous bends needs an experienced trekker and unending physical strength. The grazers in the area have built small huts and a mosque where one can stay but a personal tent is more recommendable as these huts are in a poor condition due to lack of maintenance.

Daral Lake

Daral lake is situated to the northeast of Sidgai Lake and can be accessed through Saidgai after two three hours rigorous trekking. The trail to Daral is full of fun and amusement because it runs over sky touching heights of the mountains provides spectacular sights and panoramas for the beauty hungry eyes of nature lovers. A close look towards the south will reveal the long and winding sellouts of river Swat in the horizon.After walking and trekking for about two and a half hours on bare and naked mountains, the trail start descending towards the East where Daral Lake is located.

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5 Responses to “Swat, Pakistan”

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