A trip to Naran, Pakistan
Naran is a small town of about 20,000 residents. It is in the north of Pakistan and encircled by mountains. Naran and Kaghan are two top destinations in Pakistan. Numerous lakes and waterfalls in the valley draw visitors from all over the globe. The Naran and Kaghan Valleys have a lot of tourist sites to explore if you’re interested in touring as well as learning about the culture. About 1.5 million people visit Naran every year. About 65 kilometers north of Naran, in the mountains, is Babusar Top. During the scorching summers in Pakistan’s lowland river plains and deserts, a lot of Pakistanis go there to enjoy some cold weather.
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How do you get to Naran Valley and Kaghan Valley?
Naran is in the Mansehra District in the Upper Kaghan Valley. It is 119 kilometers from Mansehra and 2409 meters above sea level. Many people stay the night at Balakot and then spend a few days in Kaghan before going to Naran. But some people might want to go straight to Naran. Most tourists fly to Islamabad and then take the car to Naran and Kaghan.
From Islamabad or Rawalpindi, you can taxi, bus, or van to Abottabad, Mansehra, or straight to Balakot. From Balakot starts the Valley of Kaghan. After passing through Kiwai, Shogran, Jared, Mahandri, Kaghan, and then Naran.
Usually, the fastest route may be Hazara Motorway (M-15) and Mansehra – Naran – Jalkhad – Chilas Road (N-15) to Naran. Others may wish to take an alternate route which may take a somewhat longer time. This is the road to Pir Sohawa, Sangada, Makhniyal, Jabbri, Langrial, Lora Chowk, and then to M-15 Hazara Motorway to Mansehra and Balakot.
These highways are of good quality and go through beautiful valleys. On occasion, when traveling to Naran, you might see really spectacular scenic views.
The best time of year to visit Naran and its weather
The climate in Naran is tropically humid. It gets good summer rains and heavy snowfall in winter. Given the dominance of trees and meadows in the environment, Naran could be considered to have an Alpine climate. Wintertime temperatures may stay below freezing. Summertime temperatures range from 5 to 15.
Naran and Kaghan display varied weather conditions throughout the year. As soon as summer arrives, the whole valley is covered with beautiful, lush green grass. The weather is ideal and delightful, making it the best time to visit Naran and Kaghan. As summer ends, the vibrant green grass in the valley starts to dwindle. When winter comes, the mountains become rocky. The picture is stunning as snow falls over the whole valley. It could be challenging to get there in the winter, but it depends on how daring you are. Before traveling to the region, particularly in the winter, it is essential to receive the most recent weather reports.
Tourist attractions and tour packages in Naran
Natural beauty abounds in Naran, and the surroundings are stunning. You should visit some of the following breathtaking locations, among others:
- Lake Saif-ul-Maluk (Lake Saif ul Malook
- Ansoo Lake
- Lalazar Valley
- Noori Top
- Dudipatsar Lake
- Saral Lake
- Sat Sar Mala Lake
- Babusar Top
- Malika Parbat
- Lulusar Lake
- Gittidas Lake
Let us explore some of these sights in further depth.
This beautiful lake is sometimes spelled as Saiful Malook Jheel, Lake Saif ul Malook, etc. It is situated 9 kilometers from Naran town at a height of 3,224 m above sea level in the northernmost point of the valley. It is without a doubt one of Pakistan’s highest lakes and one of its most picturesque ones. You may visit the lake in the summer, but in the winter, the road to the lake is impassable due to a lot of snowfall.
Saiful Muluk was created as a result of glacial moraines that stopped a stream from flowing through the valley. The magnificent lake in Pakistan was created during the larger Pleistocene Period, around 300,000 years ago, when glaciers were replaced by a sizable depression due to increasing temperatures.
It takes four to six hours to go on foot from Naran to the lake. But you may also rent a vehicle to go there.
The Legend of Saiful Malook
Mian Muhammad Bakhsh, a folk poet, has produced a poem in the Potohari Hindko language about the traditional fairytale of the Hazara area, which tells the tale of Prince Saiful Malook and the fairy Badar Jamal (Badri Jamala). The narrative proceeds as follows:
The Prophet Joseph (Yusuf) is said to have predicted that the most handsome man after him will get his two seals. According to legend, he predicted that the man would become his heir and get both his seals. Thus, Saif ul Malook is given custody of these seals and other priceless items. After some time, when he becomes an adult he explores the seals. On one of them is an image of himself, while on the other is a picture of the lovely fairy princess Badar Jamal.
When Saiful Malook falls in love with her, he embarks on a difficult and drawn-out quest for her. When he does find her, he learns that her soul is imprisoned in the tallest peak near the lake, now known as “Saif ul Malook,”. The mountain is the “Malka Purbat” which is “the Mountain of the Fairies.” According to the legend, he can only get her released after the Jinn has perished since he is holding her captive. The Jinn has hidden his soul inside some kind of amulet, preventing him from being destroyed by ordinary means. Saiful Malook and his soldiers successfully located the talisman and got rid of the jinn. His achievement, however, ignites a 40-year war between the jinn who live on Earth and those who dwell in the spirit world.
A full moon night camping trip!
It’s like being in a fairyland when you go camping with a full moon. It is strongly advised for people who wish to watch the moon gleaming at its brightest amid the vast number of stars in the sky. Every fourteenth night of the lunar month, the lake seems to be a mirror, reflecting the mountains, the sky, the countless twinkling stars, and the dazzling disc of the moon. At night time, it is so calm and clear that it is difficult to distinguish between fact and reflection. The sight is incredible!
If you like boat rides, you can have an exciting time here. Safety concerns: Make sure to wear a life jacket and that the boat you’re on is safe enough to ride. There may not be any life-saving facilities nearby or they may not work. Therefore, check that any life-saving service is operational when you visit.
Near the lake, visitors may ride ponies and horses. Because rates might vary, you may want to review in detail what is included and what is excluded in the money they are charging.
The large, unusual brown trout fish that inhabit this alluring lake is also well-known for weighing up to 7 kilograms.
Despite the fact that the lake’s surrounding region offers fantastic experience activities. However, if you don’t feel like doing anything, you may just sit down and gaze at the green mountains and “Malika Parbat,” the highest peak in the valley.
Ansoo Lake, which translates to “teardrop lake” in English, resembles a tear when seen from above. 13,927 feet (4,245 meters) above sea level. The lake is not distant from the Malika Parbat mountain.
The lake was reportedly discovered in 1993 by Pakistan Air Force pilots who were flying low over the area.
It’s a brief but incredibly dangerous trek. Anyone intending to visit this place should pack some food, drinks, and emergency medications. You can only get to this lake by hiking, or trekking through high mountains, and you may also need to camp. Due to its remoteness and potential for danger, this lake can only be accessed with the help of guards and tour guides.
On occasion, the driver must drive along the extreme edge of the track, with a large mountain on one side and deep depression on the other. The track becomes much more hazardous and slippery when it is raining or drizzling. The area is attractive and worth visiting, with trails for riding mules and hiking, dense woods on the mountain tops, and a lot of meadows. The panoramic view is spectacular and an amazing experience. Only sometimes do people come here, such as when the main Naran Mansehra road is blocked or when very brave people come here since most people prefer to go to Lulusar, Babusar, etc.
Noori Top is a noteworthy mountain summit in the valley with a height of 3,959 meters above sea level. The Noori Top trail begins from Jalkhad (in the Naran Valley) and ends close to Sharda (in the Kashmir Valley).
To reach the summit of Noori Top, a valley-dwelling mountain peak soaring 3,959 meters above sea level, one must navigate a treacherous road. Only a portion of the road has been paved. The gravel-covered land is steep and rocky. With all of the hairpin turns, it’s a narrow path. At each steep turn, mud, gravel, and water streams add to the wildness. If it’s pouring rain, you may be stuck there for many days. There’s also a lake, called Noori Top Lake there.
From months July to September, the track is open to brave and adventure-loving tourists. There are certain days when only one or two jeeps make their way to the top of the Noori mountain range. The route needs more attention and drivers with more experience.
During the Kargil War of 1998, the Pakistani Army built this road to the summit, which it utilized throughout the conflict. This track and peak are now visited by tourists, willing to try some thrilling experiences.
The track is suitable for 4×4 vehicles only. The jeep drivers need to be extra careful in driving. This is a mountainous route with tight twists and sheer cliff drops, so go with caution. Because this route passes through inhospitable terrain, you’ll want to be prepared. Ordinary cars have no place on this route. Driving on this unpaved, rough route is risky; be sure the person behind the wheel is an experienced jeep driver. The views from the top of Mount Noori are just stunning.
Dudipatsar is located at the far northern extremity of the Kaghan-Naran Valley. The Lulusar-Dudipatsar National Park has snow-capped mountains all around it. Its elevation is 3,800 meters above sea level. The lake’s water has an extremely frigid, greenish blue color. The height of the surrounding mountains, which have snow patches in the shaded dales, averages approximately 4,800 meters.
For local wildlife and migrating birds, the lake and its wetlands habitats are of major ecological value. Wildlife in the region includes the Himalayan snowcock, black bear, marmot, weasel, lynx, snow leopard, and snow partridge.
Saral Lake is situated at an elevation of 4,145 meters on the boundary of the valleys of Neelam and Kaghan (4,100 m). A jeepable trail from Sharda goes to Gumot National Park, where it is possible to hike to the lake. It is claimed that the lake is alluring, tempting, and enticing.
From Saral Pass (4100 meters), the first views of this region are extremely breathtaking and enchanting! From the Saral Top, one descends into a lakeside valley that is uninhabited and pristine. Seral Lake, a really breathtaking site to see, astounds with its azure, unearthly waters. In addition, the crystal-clear water reflects the snow-frosted, lush green mountains in the distance, heightening the beauty of the scene.
Jabba-Gali Pass, located in the mountains beyond the lake, seems to be quite steep. When contemplating crossing the Jabba Gali Pass while at the lake, you may experience a wide range of feelings, including happiness, anxiety, excitement, and uncertainty about whether you can do it or not. But experiencing and rekindling these intense feelings is the whole point of hiking in the wilderness!
Sat Sar Mala Lake
Lake Sat Sar Mala is an unusual Upper Kaghan Valley location. Sat Sar Mala refers to a group of seven lakes. Five of these lakes form cascades, with water from the highest lake flowing into the next and so on. Surkhail Lake is the highest lake and also the highest point of the cascade. The elevation is 4,297 meters above sea level.
The lakes are only accessible for a limited time in August and September and are snowbound for the rest of the year. Because these lakes are in isolated and dangerous areas, visitors must be accompanied by a security guard and a tour guide. Certain travel operators in Islamabad provide guided hiking expeditions travel guides and security arrangements.
Lulusar (Lulusir) Lake is located almost 48km away from Naran Bazar, at a height of 3,410 m. It takes 1.5 hours to drive from Naran Bazar. This lake is the primary headwaters of the Kunhar River. Up to its confluence with the Jhelum River, the River Kunhar travels southwest across the whole of the Kaghan Valley, passing through Jalkhand, Naran, Kaghan, Jared, Paras, and Balakot.
Every sort of vehicle can go to Lulusar Lake. People must visit the lake on their way to Babusar Top since Lulusar is a very famous tourist destination in the valley of Naran – Kaghan.
Since there are no hotels close to Lulusir, you may use Naran as your base camp and go from there to Lulusar Lake.
Gittidas is a lake-filled meadow in Kaghan Valley. There are heartfelt natural beauty sceneries. Every visitor who has visited Pakistan’s northern regions is familiar with this location. The lakes in this valley, some of which have already been discussed, are also well-known. Throughout the year, you may see live snowfall on the mountain tops.
Famous foods of the valley
There are several inns and cafés that provide all the necessary foods and drinks in Naran town. However, if you want to go hiking, visit a lake, or go further up to the highlands and meadows there, you must carry your own water, beverages, and snacks.
There are also several delicacies available here that are well-known in other parts of Pakistan too, such as chicken or mutton handi and karahi of chicken or mutton, as well as roasted chicken and chicken and mutton Biryani.
The most well-liked and easily available food in Naran and Kaghan, on the other hand, is trout fish. There are two types of trout in the valley. One is of farmland, while the other is of the river. Due to its authentic taste, river trout is a little more pricey. If you want to go angling, you’ll need a license. Trout fish are prevalent in the icy waters of Kunhar River. Vacationers like fishing and they often flame or roast it. Inns in Kaghan provide a wide range of cuisines to its visitors.
More suggestions and information
- There is significant rainfall in the region, and landslides are frequent. Be ready for delays and barriers.
- Visit Siri Paye Meadows if you opt to spend the night in Shogran. Paye means “high brushing ground” in Hindko. Paye is a lovely green high hilltop. Given how difficult it is to travel there, it is regarded as far remote. The natural splendor of Siri Paye has been preserved because of its rocky landslides, steep slopes, restricted route, and winter snow.
- Although there are modest basic health facilities in towns, there is no major hospital in the valley. Carry your medications with you since, apart from the most essential ones, pharmacies may not carry everything. You would need to go back to Islamabad in the event that your health needed a major hospital visit.
- The cottage industries in the valley manufacture wool shawls of excellent quality. I had purchased a woolen shawl that I wore every winter for a few months on a regular basis and it lasted for 25 years. If you want to get a woolen shawl, do check for locally manufactured, handcrafted versions. On the other hand, stay away from shops that sell shawls that have been imported. A locally made woolen shawl is, in my view, the most well-known item to buy in the valley.
- Travelers may visit Pakistan with confidence now that the country’s safety and security situation has considerably improved. As a tourist, you’re unlikely to experience anything more serious than minor crime in Pakistan. Pakistan may be dangerous in certain areas, but because you would not be able to travel there as a tourist, you need not be concerned.
Like in other countries, getting adequate travel insurance is in your best interests.
Italian climber Fosco Maraini called Concordia “the world’s finest museum of shape and form” in his book the Karakoram. Six peaks over 7925 meters high rise in Concordia, including K2 (8611 meters), the second-highest mountain on Earth. The tour guide transports visitors from Islamabad to Skardu, where they meet colorful expedition porters and strong mountain men before driving to the trailhead. Tourists then hike up to this surreal location. After that, visitors encounter a breathtaking wilderness made of ice, rock, and sky. By the time they get to Paiju Camp at the base of the Baltoro Glacier, they can already hear and feel the glacier’s moaning as it reorganizes its icy rivers and senses the pulse of creation in the melting ice, rolling rocks, and creaking of the camp itself. Once they reach Concordia, they will be treated to the most spectacular views.