Swat is the flourishing land of beauty and naiveté. It is eminent and notable throughout the world as the sacred land of Buddhist practice, education, and piety. Swat acquired its fame being a place of Buddhist pilgrimage. Buddhist background and custom state Swat as the place Guatama Buddha himself visited during his final reincarnation and preached his teachings and findings to the people residing there at that time. It is said that Swat was chock-full of 1400 daunting and beautiful stupas and monasteries, which housed as many as 6,000 gold images of the Buddhist pantheon for worship and education. There are now more than 400 Buddhist sites occupying and inhabiting the area of about 160 Km in Swat valley merely. Among the most significant Buddhist excavations and archeological sites in Swat Butkarha-I is the most important that contains the original relics of the Buddha.
The green carpeted valley of Swat, with its gushing torrents, ice cold-lakes, fruit-laden orchards, and flower-decked slopes is sublime for vacationers. It has a rich historical background.
It is where Alexander of Macedonia fought and won some of his major battles before crossing over to the delta of the Indus River. This is the ‘valley of hanging chairs’, as described by the famous Chinese pilgrim-chroniclers, Huaen Tsang and Fa-Hian in the fifth and sixth centuries. Swat was once the foundation of Buddhism. It was the home of the famous Gandhara School of Sculpture that was a manifestation of Greco-Roman form in the local Buddhist tradition. Swat was also the historical land where the Muslim conquerors, Mahmud of Ghazni, Babur of Ferghana, and Akbar fought their battles preparatory to the conquest of South Asia. The valley of Swat stretches over 10,360 sq. km at an average elevation of 875 meters. The maximum temperature in July over there is 38 C and the minimum during January is 1 C. The normal temperature is a maximum of 21 C and a minimum of 7 C. The tourist season is year-round.
Places to visit in Swat valley
Mengora is a district of KPK with an estimated population of about 231,370 and an elevation of 984 meters, this city is a major tourist destination with a hefty number of hotels. The most eye-catching places to visit in Mengora are Fizaghat and Saidu Sharif within 2 kilometers of each other. It is famous for Buddhist remnants and engravings.
2. Malam Jabba
Malam Jabba is 9200ft above sea level and a renowned Ski resort and high chair lift spot. The Ski resort is leased by the Simson group of companies that currently own it. Every year thousands of tourists rush to explore Malam Jabba due to its chilly weather and skiing adventure.
3. Kalam River
Kalam River is Swat’s magic which flows right in the veins of district from mountains of Kalam to Mingora adding the natural splendor to the valley.
4. Mahudand Lake
Mahudand lake is accessible to tourists throughout the summer season where families, business group trips, and students go to enjoy boating and horse rides.
5. Kalam Valley
Kalam Valley is about 100 kilometers from Mengora with unpaved roads from Behrain to Kalam 65,65 ft above sea level, there are plenty of hotels that add the deluxe factor to vacation during the summer season. Kalam Valley is a central point for visiting Mahudand Lake, Utror Valley, Matitan, and Ushu forests.
6. Kandol Lake
Kandol lake is a glacial lake in the north of Utror valley at about a distance of 19 kilometers from Kalam. It is an 8-hour hike from a village named Ladu. Kundol Lake is reachable only during the summers because, during the winters, the roads are padlocked due to heavy snowfall. It can be accessed from Kalam up towards Utror in a four-wheel self-propelled automotive where a link road ends in a green valley called Ladu in the foothills of the mountain. The mountains around this small valley are covered with tall cedar and pine trees.
7. Swat Cave Waterfall
Cave Waterfall is located in the Swat Valley, a Dawn news column unveiled the beauty and guide to this kalam cave waterfall best.
8. Pari/Khapiro Lake
It is situated in the North-East of Utror Valley, located at a high altitude on the highest mountain range. It is a deep and beautiful lake, naturally made by flowing from the mountains. In urdu (Pakistan’s national language) ‘Pari’ means ‘a fairy’ so, it is believed that the lake is beautified by the fairies flying above from heavens and bathing.
The only way to reach the lake is by trekking. Trekking needs stamina, as climbing on steep turns and slopes is quite an exhausting task and a treacherous activity. There are two tracks from where you can approach the lake; first track starts from Kundol Dand Lake and the second from Izmis Lake. It takes almost five hours walk to reach the lake from either side.
9.Kundol Dand Lake
It is located in the North of Utror valley. It is transitory through Kalam via Utror Valley; a link-road leads to the foothills of the lake into the valley called “Ladu”. It takes two hours by foot, to reach the Ladu Valley. By taking a four-wheeled Jeep, the journey will takes much less time. Trekking area is safe and tourists can enjoy the picturesque landscapes around them. The locals and native people walk barefoot down from the hills in the winter season, because the weather gets very tough to use roads. People stop here for some leisure time and enjoy tea and other beverages with snacks. The lake is four hours far from the Ladu Valley. It is a good place for trekking. It is recommended to take a guide along, who can lead tourists to the top of the lake.
It is another striking beauty in the form of a lake nature gifted Swat. It is surrounded by mountains and breathtaking scenery. It is situated in the East of the Bashigram Valley, near Madyan. The lake is at a walking distance of four to five hours from Bashigram Valley. The people of the Valley are very hospitable and kind towards the tourists. They use their knowledge of the area by helping and extending any kind of services needed.
11.Spin Khwar (White Stream) Lake
This Lake is formed by rainfall and water from the melted snow of the mountains, flowing downwards to shape like a clear water stream. The spin Khwar Lake is situated in the North of Kundol Dand Lake which is in the North of Utror Valley. Trekking from Ladu Valley is safe and easier. It is the best camping spot in case you are looking for one, and for those people who want to stay here to get mesmerized in the miracle of nature for leisure.
12. Daral Lake
It is situated at an altitude where one can touch and feel the clouds. It is in the North-East of Sidgai Lake. It takes three to four hours to reach Daral Lake by foot through an irregular trail, which first leads towards the top of the hill and then towards the bottom closing near the Daral lake.