A Journey To Northern Pakistan - Valley Kaghan

That's me in center!  River KunharOn 12th June 2014, I was accompanied along with my wife on a 7 days tour to Valley Kaghan, locally famous as "Wadi-e- Naran Kaghan". Kaghan Valley is 161 Km long covered with snow capped mountains, lush green forests, noisy waterfalls, chilly rivers,  lakes and rhythmic songs of birds and trees all around.  Since it is the 67th Independence day of my homeland Pakistan, I therefore decided to share the beautiful experience  of Naran-Kaghan on this Splendid day of Peace and liberty. This trip was planned just after two months of my wedding ceremony which took place on 12th April 2014. Let me take you straight on a roller coaster ride of this exciting journey!


Meet our Tourist Guide - Ashique Bhai!

Ashique Hussain - tourist GuideAshique Hussain - tourist Guide

tourist car

Going far away alone as a newly wed couple to the snow capped mountains is no less than a risk unless accompanied by a trustworthy Guide. We hired a Guide named "Ashique Hussain" along with a Mehran VXR car for a 24/7 service based on the reference of my close friend "Ahsan Marfani" who had a great past experience with Ashique bhai. Ashique bhai is amongst the best people I have came across so far who was extremely polite, humble and helpful throughout the journey and took us on a fun ride to every corner of the Kaghan valley. 

We took the flight from Karachi airport and flew straight to Islamabad on Air Indus. The bad mishap was that the flight took us first to Quetta and then to Islamabad which cost us a waste of 4 hours (3.5 hours due to late flight take-off and another 30 minutes of stop at Quetta). This was the day when I promised I will never fly on Air Indus again! Our return journey was on Air Blue which went really smooth (No marketing here just sharing the truth! =d) . Ashique bhai picked us from Islamabad Airport and then we moved towards our first destination point - Murree.

First Destination - Murree


After Landing at Islamabad we moved straight to Murree which was a long journey of nearly 7-8 hours but the lush green trees on both sides of the zigzag road was all worth the long travelling hours. Murree is in a subdivision of Rawalpindi District and includes the parts of the Margalla Hills around Islamabad.




The favorite tourists points at Murree are Patriata, Ayubia and Nathiagali. We could not visit Nathiagali due to shortage of time.


Patriata is one of the pivotal attractions of Murree. This place, which is 15 km away from Murree Hills, is famous for its chairlift that gives a bird-eye view of the Kashmir green hills. It is at the highest point of Murree Hills that subsequently makes it the highest point of Punjab as well. We met a young brown Fox here!


Ayubia is my favorite place. Its about 13000 feet above sea level and we could still feel the cool breezes from the snow capped mountains nearby. Its Chairlift is a must try ride.  It was like riding over a big mountain and the earth moves just below your feet! We met so many monkeys here!

monkey eating cornMother Monkey with her babyMonkeys everywhere at my back!IMG_3542Eagles of Ayubia

Eagles of Ayubia

Second Destination - Valley Kaghan

Valley Kaghan is a long mountainous landscape of 161 Km long. Its altitude above sea level starts at 3000 ft. and goes up as high as 13,690 ft. at Babu-Sar. River Kunhar is the heart of this valley which is 11,200 ft. This chilly river starts from lu-lu-sar Lake which eats up the water from giant melting glaciers in north. The river is so beautiful when you look at its snake-like movement along the journey but you can barely stand the water for a minute because of its cold temperature which is close to freezing point. In short you can not swim in Kunhar!

We left Murree to enter Kaghan by taking the route of Abbottabad and Mancera. Both areas were at high altitude but still extremely hot! From Mancera onwards at a distance of 38 Km we reached Balakot which is the first city of the valley Kaghan and the Door to Kaghan. Balakot is located parallel to river Kunhar with homes built on both sides of the river. This is the place where we decided to take some rest and do the Lunch.

My first encounter with water near Arnavi.


Sitting over floating water and a cup of tea on my hand, I missed that even today!IMG_3591


ManceraBalakot Scenic beauty of balakot

The Famous Trout Fish!

Trout Fish is the most popular identity of river Kunhar. It is popular world wide and costs around $40 locally. It floats in the melted chilly water of Glaciers and the amazing thing known about it is that it floats opposite to the water flow i.e. upstream, which shows its immense strength and flexibility. Fishing of trout is not allowed and only locals with a Govt License can hunt them down.  Since tourists can not identify the original trouth fish, locals there often make them fool by selling a fake fish calling it the real Trout. Thanks to Ashique Bhai I saved losing money on this! =d

Fake trout offered to us



Original one looks something similar to this:

Fishing Brown and sea troutFishing-Brown-Trout

Waterfalls For Drinking Water!

Throughout the journey if you ever felt thirsty, you can stop the car near any of those several tiny waterfalls with chilly clean drinking water with an extremely sweet flavor. Personally tested!

The locals use the water to keep Cold Drinks and Meat Fresh.



Melting Glaciers

These are not mountains covered with snow but they are mountains build of snow! The uncle below followed us everywhere we went and Ashique bhai would often try to race with him - calling him Chacha Ji! :)



Deadly Jeep Rides! 

The heart of Kaghan is Naran and Naran is popular for its Jheel Saiful Muluk, which is the most beautiful landscape on earth I have seen so far! Saiful Mulul is 10,550 ft. above sea level and 8 Km rough track which is covered via Jeeps only. This Lake is covered by snow-capped mountains from all four corners and is covered on one side by Malka Parbat which is the highest mountain of Kaghan, approximately 17,355 ft. above sea level.

jeep ride to Lake Saiful Muluk

jeep ride to Lake Saiful Muluk

jeeps at Lake Saiful Muluk

Lake Saiful Muluk

MBT at Malka Parbat!IMG_3861

Boating on outskirts of Naran!

boating at NaranHorse RidingMBT on River KunharMBT at River KunharClimbing a pole!IMG_3929IMG_3952IMG_3982

Third Destination - Shogran

After leaving Naran we moved towards Shogran, which is a village situated on a green plateau in the Kaghan Valley, northern Pakistan at a height of 7,749 feet  above sea level.

Shogran is only 10 km from Kiwai village and 34 km from Balakot. From Shogran, you can ride a jeep or horse or hike to several picturesque places like Siri, Paye. Its again a rough track that can only be covered via a Jeep or by walk.

IMG_4026IMG_4120Sri Paye

Kashmir Highway

Just 180 Km away from Indian border. At Jhelum river.


Take Off Destination - Islamabad

We stayed one day at the capital city and visited the National Monuments and nearby Parks. I was really stunned by looking at the artistic art work present at Monument Hall. Simply remarkable, close to what we call original.

Faisal Mosque

National Monuments

IMG_4244IMG_4267Freedom fighter firing a British SoldierNational Monuments

This marks the end of our memorable journey which we had captured using the camera eye in order to share it with all of you. I wish you all a Happy independence day and pray that Love, peace and freedom may surround us forever.

Note: All photos are courtesy of my wife. She is the original copyright holder! =d

Your Views!

I hope these memories may bring a smile on your face and show the true picture of this spectacular nation which is portrayed differently on media but its beauty is often neglected. I highly recommend that you visit this place once in your life and add an unforgettable experience to your diary. This life is good only when lived with true colors of nature all around.

Do share your views or any interesting experiences of Kaghan valley with all of us buddies. May Peace and blessings of God be on all of us! :)

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  1. Really nice pictures mohammad. Your photographs made me happy. In your entire blogging life i think this is the first time that you shared your private photos on this blog. Thanks for sharing such a nice and happiest moments of your life. I wish you a very happy independence day to all Pakistan and Indian bloggers.

    1. Hi Manohara,

      Thank you dear brother. In fact I love to share the day-to-day activities with MBT readers. We are an open book. Where ever we go, whatever we do, we simply post it! We have several more posts where you will find details of our workshops , presentations and seminars held at different local universities and institutes. You will find all links to them on the Image Gallery on our blog sidebar. Do check them out too! :)

      Happy independence day to India too! :)

  2. Nice photos, I liked the way you shared with us on your blog.

  3. The northern areas of Pakistan are literally heaven on earth! I usually can't go a day or two without the internet, but I spent a whole week without even a cell phone, and loved every moment of it! For a city-dweller like me, such a change in scenery is like opening your eyes in a new realm.

    You might not believe me, but during my one week stay, I must have slept for just 10-15 hours in total! How could I sleep with such scenic beauty around me? It was refreshing, and served as a natural substitute to caffeine. The constantly billowing cool breeze, and the milky sky home to hundreds of thousands of stars made a hundred times more beautiful by the high, snow-peaked mountains - how can one even try to sleep?

    This is nature at it's best, and I am glad you got to take a look at it too. Pakistan is so beautiful - we should make the most it! Everyone should take times out of their lives to visit. People say 'whoever hasn't seen Lahore, hasn't been born yet'. I say 'Whoever hasn't been to our northern areas hasn't lived yet'!

    1. Qasim you explained it so comprehensively! I agree to every word being shared. Trust me, Naran had no electricity and there was light only for 6-7 hours thanks to generators but the cold temperature and the scenic beauty around didn't let us miss our gadgets at all! We really didnt care about what was going around the world, no news, no internet, no phone calls because we were so lost exploring the beauty around. It is surely a Must to visit place and you are so lucky that you went Gilgit and I still have to explore that place now! :)))

    2. Haha yes, I was lucky to have taken such a trip with my great friends. Gilgit is a city, much like Isb/Rwp - so not much use going there. Instead, one should go further than Gilgit, onto Hunza! I forgot to share the pictures with you, and will dot hat soon! it is an amazing place! Celestial peaks such as Rakaposhi and Nanga Parbat define the skyline of the area, and they're simply a wonder to look at! And the people there are so nice and hospitable! I simply couldn't believe that all this is part of Pakistan. Naran/Kaghan and Gilgit/Hunza are a must visit for everybody. I was very little when we went to Naran, gotta try that now :)
      Also, I really want to visit Khunjerab, located on the Pakistan-China border. Maybe a trip after graduation :)
      Mustafa bhaai, if it were upto me, I'd buy a hut in the mountains, and forget the worries of the world forever! :P

    3. Qasim when I was roaming around Murree and looking at those huts built on mountains, I literally wished to have a house right up there! Its a wish that comes naturally when you look at those unbelievable piece of human habitation. I still wonder how do they manage to climb the mountains daily? the paths were so narrow and steeper?

      Gilgit/Hunza are my second targets and inshAllah hope to go there very soon. I need to explore the Agha khani culture and the beautiful locals out there.

      Man I pray that our wishes come true at least on this wish of a hut on a mountain! :D

  4. heaven...of the earth... great... no words to explain.

    1. I wished I could share better Resolution pics but I shared small sized images just to keep page load lighter. :)

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  6. Very beautiful pictures. Nice photography. May Allah bless your brother Mohammad..

    1. May Allah bless you even more dear Faheem. So glad to hear from you! hope you are doing great! :)

  7. Amazing Pictures Mustafa Bhai.......Mustafa rora zuma hayal ke stata ho pashto ya darzi....sta hpal haar cher ta da...Sta paidayesh kum zai she shuwa da....thanks bundles..

    1. Hafeez buddy I do understand pashto as that is my first language but my pashto a little differs from that of KPK so sometimes I dont understand some words in written form thats why often reply in english ;)

      I was born in Quetta, balochistan and I belong to karachi now because I have spend rest of my life here :)

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  9. yes surely......memories of your trip made me smile ...realising the beauty of that beautiful area of Pakistan....especially the calmness of Shogran.....many many wishes for your happy life...and may you have the bliss of partnership with your wife. Be a treasure for her and tell her this.

    1. That was so kind of you dear sarwataj. Thank you for all the kind prayers and yes I would agree shogran is a remarkable place when it comes to peace and serenity :)

  10. When you were in Islamabad did you tried hiking. Trail six is right behind Faisal Mosque it is around 4 km long. You can even hike up to Monal From Trail 3. I thank God daily as i am living in Islamabad. I can hike any time. I can be in wild eating wild berries with in 10 minute of walk and 15 minutes of hiking. These trails are full of monkeys if you are lucky enough you might can spot Leopard on these trails but they don't attack humans [ don't be afraid]. Yesterday most people were is IK and TQ protest while i was on trial 6 enjoying rain :).
    Yeah i went to Saif ul malook the Jeep Ride is very scary next time i will prefer hiking there.

  11. Jahanzeb you are indeed quite fortunate to be blessed with such a natural environment. I visited Daman-e- Koh and I have heard about those wild Pigs, leopards out there. I did see a pig while returning from Daman-e-koh and they did look quite horrifying!! :d

    Not sure of how friendly would leopards be? ;)

  12. MASHA-ALLAH ! Very Beautiful Pics. May Allah be Pleased with you. Muhammad You Are The Man who Impressed me a Lot in Blogging

  13. Great ! Sr you are the man who impressed me a Lot. I am a Pakistani Student and Currently studying in 10th. But you and your Blog made me a Good Blogger.
    Also, I am proud to become a Part Of Pakistan! Stay Blessed ! :)