I am at the Kundal Dand Lake, Upper Utror Valley, Suvat.

Beautifully located along the terrain of the Hindukush mountains, the lush valleys in the Khyber Pakhtoon Khwa province of Pakistan, showcases nature’s treasure trove in the forms of meandering ribbons of white-water mountain streams, cascades, waterfalls, turquoise green rivers and dotted with refreshing alpine lakes. These valleys spread from broad to narrow chasm with the highest peak Falak Sar rising 5,957 meters dominating the mountain range, and the sheer Mankial mountain (5,600 meters) with a series of peaks, along with it, other several nameless peaks rising 3000-4000 meters. The peaks display full gamut from upper Suvat valleys of Kalam, Ushu and Utror.

I am by the banks of refreshingly cool Ushu River in upper Ushu valley

Saidu Sharif is the administrative capital of Suvat – a derivative from the ancient river: Suvastu – named after Suvastu River, however the original word is corrupted and widely written as “Swat”. The central vale, from Mingora to Bahrain via Fiza Ghat, once a significant Buddhist pilgrimage places, has its historic importance displayed in the “Swat Museum”. Some of the ruined sites includes the Saidu-Sharif Stupa, Butkara, and Shingerdara stupa, alongside the main road in Kota village and many more.

Mass domestic tourism is taking a toll on Mother Nature with a trail of trash disposed by visitors, polluting the natural trails and rivers, mountain streams and lakes.

The RockCity Resort

Recommended Abodes:

Rock City Resort: A beautiful resort that integrate with nature is a prized abode located uphill with eye-feasting view of the Suvat River valley. The Resort’s key features spell in its spacious rooms, each with attached bath, friendly service, and the ambiance that echoes the regional rich traditions. The restaurant with a refreshing view of the garden dishes out a hearty breakfast with the usual jam-butter and bread and also serves, on the buffet table, local favorites, eggs served in a variety of omelet, fried or scrambled with tea. Conveniently located just off the main Suvat Road at Fiza Ghat, a few kilometers from Saidu Sharif. rockcityresort@gmail.com

Woods Resort, KalamThe newly opened Resort is tucked away on a hillock with great views of Mount Mankial, and the exterior of the resort goes hand in hand with nature. The interior has a warm ambiance, entirely done in wood. Tastefully trimmed rooms with cable TV, each with attached bath and running hot water from the sprig comes in a variety of category with high ceiling and are spacious at a grand scale. The menu has a variety of local favorite including dumpukht (spiced mutton dish) to choose from and I would highly recommend spiced daal (lentil) with nan bread. You my either order your breakfast in your room or enjoy in the balcony or garden area of the Resort. Located on arrival in Kalam valley, the Resort is away from the many hotels in downtown Kalam. Facebook link: Woods Resort

Emaraat Plaza Hotel with a city hotel like mien, the Hotel’s rooms are moderately comfortable with attached bathroom. M:92300-1113735

Bahrain Valley G.H., BahrainThis has come as a surprise. Nicely designed, the new Guest House, located on a small hillock with the view of Bahrain River, owned by a local with a degree in Environmental science. The rooms are basic with comfortable bed and families may opt booking self-catering rooms, particularly during a longer stay. Contact: M+92 341-8504580

Mahodand Tent at Camping Site, Ushu:

On arrival at the Campsite, the spacious tents with the marking of “ÜNHCR” owned by a local, while otherwise offer a quiet and comfortable sleep, some raucous visitors ruin the whole experience playing loud music past midnight and there is no one to stop them to not to disturbing the sleep of others – let alone devastating the calm of mother nature, once in serene wilderness. The Mahodand “lake” is now a sight of a pond and the ground is a mushroom site of hap hazard campsite with heart spraining litter in the entire area. Contact: M+92 345-5103557. At the Czmpsite, there are restaurants and stores, some selling organic honey, recommended Insaf General store.

Kundal Dand Lake, Upper Utror

Ladu (Laadu) Campsite & Restaurant – Kundal Lake, Utror:Located in North Utror, a 4XDrive rocky link road from Utror bazar (no signpost anywhere!) Ask the locals for direction as you run into fork-roads) leads to the end of the road to Kundal Dand Lake. It will be wise to hire a local driver from Ladu, to drive your 4XD on the jeep track on sharp pointed rocky terrain, with slippery sharp bends. Tariq, the owner of tourist facility at Ladu operates a neat and clean kitchen, recommended dishes, daal (lentil), chicken curry and rice-pulau. Ladu is also the staging point for trekkers to acces Khapiru (Fairies) and Spin khwar (white stream) lakes. M: 0341-5297811

Shahi Baagh Camsite, Upper UtrorA 4XD journey drive from Utror Bazar is about 5-6 hours drive to the scenic Shahi Baagh ravine valley. Along the drive by gushing cascading mountain stream, waterfalls, people working in the fields – the road ends by the stream with camping facility and cafes, restaurants. Nearly to the end of the road we get a tent at “Mehmaan Nazaz”. But again overnight comfort is miserably disturbed by some callous camper playing loud music-songs until 0400AM. This facility is owned by Sherzada and Izmatullah. 0344-6298711.

Content & Photos by: Saifuddin IsmailjiFounder-EIC: e-Travelers Club travel update



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