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 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.
At an altitude of 3800 meters, the ice melt Rama Lake is one of the famous and high altitude lakes situated right above Rama Meadows in Astore district of Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan. The lake is surrounded by mountain peaks ye the immediate surroundings of the lake are treeless due to illegal logging but the Rama Meadows at 3300m are thickly forested with huge trees including pine, cedar, fir, and juniper.
Rama Lake is one of the key attractions drawing a significant number of domestic and international tourists every season. Located in the backdrop of the southern ridge of Nanga Parbat (the Killer Mountain – 8126 m, the 2nd highest in Pakistan after K2) in the westernmost Himalayas, the lake displays a beautiful inverted image as a reflection of the snow-crowned ridge of the killer mountain on a clear day.
From Rama Lake, one can trek to the east side of the Nanga Parbat. The surroundings of the lake are home to a variety of flora including the medicinal plants and fauna including the golden marmot, ibex, musk deer, snow leopard and rock partridge. On the way from Rama meadows to the lake, there are three small lakes called Sarot in local Shina language.
Rama valley/meadow and Rama Lake are the must-visit tourist attractions for the visitors travelling to or from Deosai. The lake can be visited as a day excursion from Gilgit. An ideal itinerary usually includes Fairy Meadows, Rama, Deosai and Skardu for a week-long tour. To make it even more tasteful, Gilgit and Hunza can be added in the program.
The meadow is snowbound during winters and turns lush green in summers making Rama an ideal camping spot. The lake, likewise, is frozen in winters and one can swim on a warm day in summers. Rama Lake makes up a perfect half-day hike from Rama Meadows.
Rama is one of the several valleys and a key tourist destination of Astore in Gilgit-Baltistan. Astore itself is connected to Gilgit which is well linked by air with Islamabad( subject to weather) and by road with Islamabad/Rawalpindi via the Karakoram Highway (KKH) round the year and via the Kaghan valley in summers. One can take a flight to Gilgit from Islamabad and drive to Astore from Gilgit by road.
From Islamabad keep driving to Gilgit along the KKH all the way to Raikot Bridge and proceed for another 20 minutes from the exit to Fairy Meadows, take the right turn at the sign displaying the direction to Astore and the journey of another 45 km (about 2 hrs) will lead you to Astore Bazar. Another 9 km uphill drive will take you to Rama Lake through Rama Meadows where locates the main campsite.