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The Kaghan Valley (Urdu: وادی کاغان ) is a valley in the north-east of Mansehra District of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan. It attracts many tourists from around the world. The inhabitants were affected by the earthquake disaster on 8 October 2005.
The Kaghan valley is named after the town of Kaghan rather than for the Kunhar River which flows through the length of the valley. The valley extends 155 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). Popular languages are Hindko and Gojri, while Urdu, Pakistan's national language is also familiar among the locals. The region is Alpine in geography and climate, with forests and meadows dominating the landscape below peaks that reach over 17,000 feet.
The road beyond Balakot was once fit only for four wheel drive vehicles. Visitors would have to leave their cars in Balakot and rent jeeps for the onward journey. Today, the road is suitable for vehicles, up to Naran, Adding a little flavor of the old days however, are a couple of glaciers that have not yet lost their snowpack in the early tourist season, and are difficult to cross with cars. From mid-June onward the road to Naran is open for regular cars, vans and coaches. If you are driving, always start early in the morning to safely reach your destination well before dark. To plan your trip, you can find some useful itineraries in “Plan your trip” section.
Trekking and Hill Walking Kaghan is an excellent destination for trekking and hill walking. There are a number of trekking routes all along the valley. Brief descriptions of some famous trekking routes  are given in Annexure-IV. Naran, Shogran and Sharan are ideal base camps for one to three days outings. There are also good opportunities for those interested in more leisurely day trips, hill walking or nature study walks.
River Rafting River Rafting and kayaking are new sports currently under development along the Kunhar River. As the lifeline of Kaghan Valley, Kunhar River is excellent for rafting. Some sections between Naran are quite technical and suitable only for experienced white water paddlers. Other sections of the river, above Naran and below Balakot, are fun for beginners and are of relatively easy grade. Adventure Foundation Pakistan offers basic and advanced training courses in river running during October and April.
Jeep Safari In addition to short duration jeep rides to Sri Paya, Saiful Muluk, Lalazar and Sharan, Kaghan Valley also ideal for thrilling jeep rides from Naran to Babusar Pass and Nori Top. All these places are unique in landscape and their details are given in the Introduction section. While going on a longer duration jeep ride make sure you have selected a good local driver and jeep for a safe journey on the rough roads.
Fishing Trout fishing is a popular activity in the Kaghan Valley. Fishing for brown and rainbow trout in the crystal clear water of the valley lakes and in the Kunhar River is favorite pastime for many. A fishing permit can be obtained from the Fisheries Department at Shinu or at Naran. Bringing your own angling gear is optional as you can rent equipment fro shopkeepers in Naran Bazaar. Please remember that the use of fishing nets and explosive materials for fishing in rivers and lakes are illegal as they are harmful for the healthy and sustainable growth of trout fish and other wildlife.
The Kaghan Valley's remote mountains, dales, lakes, waterfalls, streams, and glaciers remain in a pristine state, with some within Lulusar-Dudipatsar National Park. The valley is a prime destination during summer, from May through September. 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 to the end of September the Naran-Babusar road beyond Naran is open through Kaghan Valley and over Babusar Pass. Access is restricted during the monsoon and winter seasons. The Kaghan area can be reached by roads via the towns of Balakot, Abbottabad, and Mansehra on the Karakoram Highway. In Balakot, one may find buses and other transports to reach Naran and the valley.
The road from Balakot ascends along the Kunhar River through beautiful forests and the villages of Paras, Shinu, Jared and Mahandri. The valley narrows along this part and the views are intimate scenery until ascending the pass when the surrounding peaks come into expansive view. One locale surrounded by peaks and forests and famous for its view is Shogran village, east of the main Kunhar River. The scenic Payee Lake, and Malika Parbat, Siri Payee, and Makra Peaks are nearby.
Kaghan Valley is home to many a tourist attractions, especially its lakes. There are more than a dozen big and small lakes in the valley, but three are more popular among the tourists: Saiful Muluk Lake, Dudipatsar Lake and Lulusar Lake.
Saiful Muluk, named in a folktale—the Qissa Saiful Muluk—about a romance between a Persia prince and a fairy princess. In the folktale. The lake is mentioned as the meeting site of the lovers in the folktale. lake Saiful Muluk is 10,578 feet (3,224 m) above the sea level, it is one of the highest and most beautiful lakes in Pakistan. The water of this over a mile in diameter oval shaped lake is spectacularly clear with a slight green tone.
It is accessible by a jeep road during the summer months or can be reached by tracking from the nearest town Naran, some 10 kilometers away in four to five hours. The clarity of the water comes from the multiple glaciers all around the high basin feeding the lake.
Dudipat Lake is enclosed with high peaks. It is one of the hardest places to reach in the valley, requiring a tough hike lasting four to seven hours. The hike is rewarding, as tourists are greeted with green pastures and the lake's blue-green waters.
Lulusar Lake is approximately 48 kilometers away from Naran and has an altitude of 10,910 feet (3,330 m). Surrounded by wildflowers in almost all colors imaginable, this lake is the main source for the Kunhar River. Lake Lulusar is said to be one of the most tranquil spots on the Kaghan Valley, the lake is fenced by snow capped mountains whose image is reflected on the standstill blue-green waters of this approximately three kilometers long "L" shaped lake.
There are many hotels in the Naran.
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.
Onwards a 3 hour drive away from Shogran is Naran. It is a town open only during the tourist season of May to September. The rest of the time it is covered with snow. All visitors come to Naran to pay a visit to the Saiful Muluk Lake (10,500 feet) 6 miles east of town. If the road is open transportation by jeep can be arranged. If the road is closed, it is an easy, gradual three-hour walk, and the lake is a lovely spot for a picnic.
If you are walking directly up-valley from Naran to Babusar "Top" the loveliest spots to camp on this trail is at "Lulusar Lake". Located just before the final grade to Babusar Top and surrounded by tall peaks, Lulusar is just one many high elevation lakes that sit along the crest of the ridge. it is living in only two places one in knhar river 7 in America
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. The Kaghan valley is one of their most popular destinations in Pakistan. 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.
- "Groups | Rafting at Kohnar River Kaghan | Flickr - Photo Sharing!". Flickr. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
- "Jeeps and Kaghan valley in background as seen from Payee, small siri lake is also visible in background - Fine Art Prints by Awais Yaqub | Order online | Ships to USA, UK, Pakistan and rest of world!". Awaisyaqub.com. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
- "Fishing in Kaghan". Tour-pakistan.com. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
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