Phander Lake is a striking Lake situated in the majestic Phander Valley of Ghizer district in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. The Lake is an important source of fresh water and trout fish, fed by the Ghizer River and located on the Gilgit-Chitral Road.
Locally known as Nango Chatt, the 44 meters deep crystal clear water of the lake is filled with grass and plants easily visible from a distance. The lake is surrounded by poplar trees that further add to the entire beauty. The curvy lake is sandwiched between two ridges that create a scenic view of the entire valley and the lake itself. One end of the lake is closed and the other is the major source of water passage from the river that keeps the lake water fresh.
The lake showcases panoramic views in four distinct seasons and is a major source of tourists’ attraction in the region. The western ridge of the lake has a government rest house while the eastern ridge has a small unit of PTDC motels offering best views of the lake and the valleys downstream.
Both for day excursionists and for overnight staying visitors, the valley has much to offer. Besides scenic views, the food, particularly the local trout fish, and fruits or various kinds are some of the other attractions of the region.
The lake is situated on the crossroads between Gilgit and Chitral and can be easily accessed from both sides. From Gilgit, it is about 173 km taking around 5 hours.
The Lulusar Lake is a gorgeous lake and a major tourist attraction located in the Kaghan valley of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan. The lake is situated at an elevation of 11,200 ft (3,410 m) above sea level on the main Naran-Babusar road. Lulusar basically is the name of a mountain and the lake was therefore named after it. The term Lulusar is the combination of two words Lulu and Sar where the word “Sur” means top or peak in Pashtu language.
Lulusar is prominently located about 48 km north of Naran reachable in an hour or so. Tourists traveling around Naran usually plan a half/full day excursion to the Babusar Pass and Lulusar being 15km short of the pass becomes the part of the trip on the way. The road is asphalted and suitable for any type of vehicle. Besides Lulusar Lake; there are several other attractions on and off the way. The soft top trendy Willis Jeeps in Naran are available for day excursions.
The entire Kaghan Valley remains inaccessible during winters – roughly from November till June – almost for the most part of the year due to heavy snowfall in the region. As soon as the snow melts and Babusar Pass becomes accessible, domestic and international tourists visit the region in thousands each day.
Lulusar Lake is larger than any other lakes found in the Kaghan valley. The 3,400m long lake is fed by the Kunhar River originating from the mountains surrounding the Babusar Top and flows southwards through the length of the Kaghan valley via Jalkhand, Naran vale, Kaghan, Jared, Paras, and Balakot till it meets the Jhelum River.
The crystal clear water reflection of the Lulusar Lake contains peaks topped by dense white layers of snow. During summers, the lake is surrounded by local herds of cattle as the lower parts of the mountain surrounding the lake are clustered with grass and wildflowers.
Lulusar Lake serves as a bird sanctuary and offers a splendid opportunity for fishing. The lake also has a historical significance and marks the arrest place of the 55 participants of the 1857 war of independence.
The Naran-Gilgit road is the ultimate choice of tourists traveling up Gilgit-Baltistan during summers being it comparatively 100 km shorter and scenic. Most tourists making their way onwards to Fairy Meadows, Gilgit, Hunza & Nagar, and Skardu via Babusar Pass during summers make a must stopover at Lulusar Lake on the way. Its scenery and serenity make it an ideal spot for relaxation. For the best view of the lake, there are several elevated spots along the roadside.
At an altitude of 4,694 meters (15,400 ft), the Rush Lake in the Nagar Valley of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan, is one of the highest alpine lakes surrounded by majestic snow-crowned. The high altitude lake is located remotely in the Karakoram Mountains and is accessible through a rewarding trek, starting from the Hoper village of the Nagar valley, called the “Rush Lake trek”.
The lake is called “Rush Phari” by the local residents where the word “Rush” signifies “shining” while the name “Phari” actually referred to a “water reservoir” or a pond. Thus the term “Rush Phari” suggests a title “Shining Lake”. An obvious reason for calling it Rush Phari might be that most time of the year the lake is crusted with crystal clear snow and the rays of the sun directly hit the ice crust to produce shine and shades. However, even on a clear day in summers when the ice-covered lake is melt, one can see the beautiful shadows of the surrounding mountain peaks as a reflection in the crystal blue water of the lake. During the peak summers, the surroundings of the lake go green and present an imposing view.
The lake is located on a fairly high altitude ridge making a divide between the Hisper valley and Barpu Glacier. The 360-degree view of the surrounding mountains from the ridge is simply gorgeous. One can have magnificent views of Spantik (Golden Peak 7027m), Mair peak (6824m), and summit of Diran (7257m) and Rakaposhi (7788m) in the Nagar Region as well as Lady Finger, Ultar peak (7388m), and Batura series in Hunza valley. On a clear day, it is easy to sight the summit of K-2 (8611 m; the second highest mountain located in Skardu), broad peak, and hidden peak, from the lake.
There stands a nearby prominent peak called “Rush Peak”, and obviously, the name is linked to the lake itself. Rush Peak is located at an altitude of 5,098 m (16,726 ft) on a ridge at easy access from the lake. A short visit to the peak is usually part of this beautiful trek and can be done in a couple of hours from the campsite near the lake.
The Rush Lake trek is a beautiful medium size trek customarily famous among international trekkers. The trek begins from the Hoper village in the Nagar valley, located right across the Hunza Valley, accessible by a metalled road. The launching point of the trek is the eastern end of the village that provides magnificent views of the entire trekking route and the surrounding mountains.
Rush Lake can be reached via a trekking route running parallel to the Hopar Glacier (Bualtar Glacier) and Miar Glacier, which rise from Miar and Phuparash peaks. Starting from the Hoper valley with a downhill trail to the Hoper Glacier and then crossing of Barpu Glacier through the junction of the two leads to a smooth pasture trail. Most section of the trail is smooth and enchanting with stunning views all the way to Baricho Kor, an overnight campsite. The uphill trek of about 3 to 4 hours from Baricho Kor to Chidin Harai really tests the determination of trekkers and stands tough for those who are not well acclimatized. During this uphill hike, one can enjoy the scenic views of the glacier and the overshadowing mountains of the majestic Nagar Valley. Another short hike of an hour will further lead to the lake.
International tourists and Pakistani tourists traveling from down cities can take car/bus to Gilgit by the Karakoram Highway or by Naran-Gilgit road. There is a 55 min flight from Islamabad but all flights to Gilgit are subject to weather condition. From Gilgit, it is about 100 km (2.5 hrs journey) to Hunza valley and then another 2 hrs jeep ride takes to Hoper valley.
Best time to Visit:
The best time to visit the lake is the summer season from June to September. One can still see the patches of ice in June while in late summer the plants have already flowered and withered. The ice crust usually melts in July and August while the alpine vegetation is filled along the route and around the lake to provide the ultimate beauty.
If you plan a trip to Rush lake, you need to be well planned and well prepared. Following guidelines may help you in preplanning.
- A personal backpack to pack belongings and a stick
- Warm layers of clothing and a raincoat
- Trekking trousers or tracksuit with extra t-shirt/sweatshirt
- Trekking shoes/Joggers up to ankle high, a pair of flippers, and worm pairs of gloves & socks
- Sun-block, Sunglasses, and cap
- Camera if you are into photography
- Rechargeable flashlight/torches
- Personal medications
- Towel handkerchief and shampoo/soap
- Sleeping tent, sleeping bag, and mattress (optional)
International and Pakistani tourists wishing to do Rush Lake must seek services of a licensed tour operator who can provide necessary staff, food, equipment, guide, and support during unforeseen emergency services.
The Attabad Lake in Hunza, on the main Karakoram Highway, is a gorgeous lake and a major tourist attraction. It was created as a result of a massive landslide on January 04, 2010. The incidence claimed precious human lives and properties appearing a doomsday at the time of occurrence, but the entire scenario changed over the time and unlocked a range of opportunities in the region. The lake has earned a great reputation and already placed itself as a leading tourist hotspot drawing a multitude of visitors on daily basis.
The Attabad Lake is located about 19 km east of Karimabad, Hunza, in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. It is located on the Karakoram highway, the main trade artery connecting China with Pakistan. The lake is about 120 km from Gilgit and can be accessed in about 3 hours.
The name “Attabad” to the lake was labelled because of the devastated valley of “Attabad” that created the lake. It was the time of peak winter season when a massive chunk of the valley slid directly down to the Hunza River killing 20 residents, hundreds of livestock, and resulted in the loss of productive land and valuable property. The mudslide then created a solid, more than a kilometre long, barrier on the Hunza River and completely blocked the flow of the river right below the valley. The routine movement on the Karakoram Highway was disrupted like never before.
Due to the barrier created by a mudslide, the river gradually swelled and began to create a water reservoir which ultimately submerged the annexing valleys upstream. Ayeenabad was completely sunk, some 40 per cent of the Shishkat Valley went under water and productive land including houses, shops, and hotels along the 19 km section of the KKH from Attabad to Hussani Village immersed completely. As a result, more than 6000 people displaced, trade and travel along the KKH disrupted, and a population of more than 25,000 residents of Gojal region was badly affected.
The Hunza River began to overflow on the main barrier in June 2010, after some five months since it was created and an immediate spillway was created with the help of FWO (Frontier Works Organization) of Pakistan Army to reduce the water level. It was the time when the length of the lake was 21 km and depth at the deeper end was about 358 ft. It was a new hope for the residents when the water receded from the lake and much of the land and valuable property began to reveal.
The incident disrupted the entire communication system and the people of the region remained stranded for several months. For the business community, it was equally damaging while a grave concern for tourists. Winters turned out to be oppressive for commuters, either travelling in a topless ferry or by foot, during the freezing windy season when the unbearable currents directly hit the face. The supply of basic food items and medicine, travelling with elderly people and patients, getting across with personal vehicles, or transporting mass trade goods would always be a risky job.
Most of the residents of the affected region would make their living by selling local produce including crops, fresh fruit, and dry fruit. On one hand, the productive land that yielded crops and fruit was lost and at the same time whatever gained from the remaining land could not be transported to the market in a timely manner. This also resulted in a huge financial loss for the residents.
Immediately following the incident, NDMA provided helicopter service for the locals to tackle the emergency yet it was not possible to continue the same. As an alternative, manual boats were introduced which remained in service until the broken connection of the KKH was reestablished in August 2015 by pushing the solid rock through 5 long tunnels.
Speedboats were launched to cater tourists and several camping sites were also established by residents at various sites on the bank of the lake. Almost every year a new development took place, ever since the lake was created, allowing tourists to have more fun than ever before.
Today, Attabad Lake is a favourite tourist attraction. It makes a close border along a 19 km section of the KKH allowing tourists to have multi-dimensional views of the lake from several well-organized viewpoints on the highway, particularly, of its deep blue water surrounded by the Rocky Mountains and valleys. The series of long tunnels, bridges with scenic views, and speedboats and ferries providing tourists with water sports opportunities are the major attractions and giving ever passerby a joyous experience.
Local people have now started to reestablish houses and businesses while investments are also being made to build new infrastructure to attract and to cater to tourists. There are several stunning views of the surroundings, particularly of Passu Cones, from the Lake while the view of Lake from the top of surrounding valleys and mountains are simply outstanding.
Attabad Lake is accessible year-round as it is situated on the main KKH which always remains open. New developments each year make it further attractive and draw more tourists than ever before.
Named after the alluring village of Khalti, located on the bank of Ghizer River, the Khalti Lake in Ghizer District of Gilgit-Baltistan is a prominent lake at 2,217 m above sea level. The lake is a famous tourist attraction partly surrounded by lush green terraced fields and a tree line, and partly bordered by the Rocky Mountains.
The westernmost part of Gilgit-Baltistan makes up the Ghizer district and the road through Ghizer leads to the well-known Shandur polo ground and further to Chitral district of KPK. The Ghizer district is made up of tiny independent villages inhabited by people from different cultural backgrounds. Khuwar, Wakhi, and dialects of Burushaski and Shina are spoken in the region.
Khalti Lake is located about 116 km from main Gilgit town taking about 3 to 4 hours by car. The lake is accessible by a tapered asphalt road running parallel to Ghizer River – almost half the way through a scenic gorge leading to Shandur Pass. Khalti Lake, Phander Lake and the Phunder valley are major hotspots also famous for a day excursion from Gilgit. The scenery along the road is simply amazing to feast eyes with.
Khalti Lake was formed due to the stretch of river near the village of Khalti. It portrays picturesque views in all four seasons. During the spring season, the Khalti village, making the western bank of the lake, all magnificently blooms; summers, the lake and surroundings are a great retreat and awe-inspiring with lush green surroundings, fall is the most colorful and romantic season around the lake; and in winters the hard crest on the lake serves as a playground for local youth to play and celebrate cultural events.
The turquoise colored lake is an important source of fresh water. Khalti Lake is abundant in local trout fish and so is the entire Ghizer River. Originally, the trout was injected into the river near the westernmost Golaghmuli Village. It increases in numbers and reaches almost every part of Gupis Valley. Hence, fishing can be a great pastime for tourists visiting the area.
The lake has great potential for water sports. The local people and the tourism department of Gilgit-Baltistan organize different sports activities most of the year for the local community. Moreover, there is great potential for private investors to invest in water sports activities. There are some places for eating out and accommodation but there are still ample opportunities to invest in standard boarding and lodging in the region. PTDC has a limited accommodation facility near the lake.
Summers are quite pleasant to visit Ghizer district. Temperature remains reasonably good from May until October until the end of fall season. Winters, however, are harsh with the temperature plummeting 10 degrees below freezing point on average which freezes virtually everything in and surrounding the lake. It snows quite often in the region.
The Sheosar Lake in Deosai National Park in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan, is a nature’s marvel located at an elevation of 13,589 feet and known as the heart of Deosai. It is ranked as one of the highest altitude lakes in the world. With changing seasons the surroundings of the lake are adorned in alluring natural colours. The lake is surrounded by a range of natural attractions including rare flora and fauna.
The word Sheosar is a combination of two words Sheo (Blind) and Sar (water) in local Shina language and therefore is referred to as “Blind Lake”. The lake measures 2.3 km (1.4 miles), width 1.8 km (1.2 miles) and average depth 40 m (131 feet). The lake is beamed with fish which in winters is a great source of food for the brown bear.
Sheosar Lake is a famous tourists spot situated almost at the Karakoram-Himalaya border. The lake is surrounded by beautiful flat mountain peaks which can easily be hiked up. On a clear day, one can spot Nanga Parbat (the killer mountain), the second highest in Pakistan having the height of 8,126 m above sea level. Moreover, one can also view the far surrounding snow-clad mountains and plains in the region.
Camping sites are well-designated and one can camp on the north side of the lake. There is ample space for parking of vehicles by the campsite for those who wish to pitch personal tents. The lake water is not recommended for drinking, there is a spring adjacent to the campsite as a source of clean water.
Sunrises and sunsets are always amazing at Deosai. On a clear day, the weather remains quite pleasant and the views for far surrounding mountain peaks guarding the meadows are striking. The view of the lake itself is just superb during summers. The silent blue lake bordered by lush green grassy path and the slopes of mountains patched with snow is just as beautiful as a paradise for photographers who wish to capture the ultimate beauty.
Weather in Deosai is always unpredictable. July and August are the pleasant months of the year and the meadow looks lush green and strikingly beautiful. However, it sometimes snows even in July and August. The lake displays diverse colour patterns in different seasons and weather conditions. During summers the lake appears strikingly beautiful with crystal blue water surrounded by lush green grassland and flowers which also reflects spring during the summers. The grass turns brown during the fall and in winters the whole region is coated with heavy snow.
Sheosar Lake in Deosai National Park is accessible through two major routes – via Astore valley and via Skardu. Sheosar falls closer to Astore and the single lane partially metaled road through Asotre is comparatively better. Almost most of the road up till the lake is metaled and the work is under construction. However, still, a 4wd is recommended for a stress-free journey.
The journey from Astore to the lake is the captivating experience as road always passes through beautiful valleys, along with crystal blue waters, lush green meadows decked with a variety of alpine flowers, streams feeding the grasslands, glaciers, and beautiful green mountain peaks crowned with snow which always emanate cool breezes. The warmth and hospitality of local people is an added beauty.
While travelling via Skardu one has to take comparatively a longer and rough route. However, while traversing the meadow one has a great deal of beauty to feast eyes with. The uphill journey starts right from the Skardu town to Sadpara Lake and then all the way to the top. The flat yet fascinating drive through the wilderness full of alpine flowers and with glimpses of snow-topped mountains engages the eyes constantly. There are must stopovers at Bara Pani and Kala Pani before one makes it to the lake.