Waterfall peaks of Naran

And no official development worth speaking of

 

It is located 119 kilometers (74m) from Mansehra city at the altitude of 8,202 feet (2,500m). Naran is one of the most scenic towns in Pakistan, attracting thousands of tourists, trekkers, photographers and nature-enthusiasts every year

 

A fairy tale called Saif-ul-Muluk, written by the Sufi poet Mian Muhammad Bakhsh, tells the story of the prince of Persia named Shahzada Saif Ul Malook, who fell in love with a fairy princess named Shehzadi Badri Jamala, at the lake. According to the classic fable, the prince and the fairy queen are still live, to this day, in that cave, and dance above the water surface on the 14th night of every lunar month. According to the locals it is a place of fairies and demons who, through the extremity of weather, display their anger. This is just one point in Naran, about which I am writing today.

Ranked as the fifth best tourist destination in Pakistan by The Guardianthis place seems like heaven on earth. The greenish-blue crystal clear and freezing waters, surrounded by giant glaciers, including Malika Parbat (queen of mountains), gazing cattle and animals, the lively natives and the colourful culture, reflect the beauty heaven on earth.Naran is a medium sized town in upper Kaghan Valley in Mansehra District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of the Pakistan. It is located 119 kilometers (74m) from Mansehra city at the altitude of 8,202 feet (2,500m). Naran is one of the most scenic towns in Pakistan, attracting thousands of tourists, trekkers, photographers and nature-enthusiasts every year. The valley features pine forests, alpine meadows, crystal clear lakes and cool mountain streams. Kunhar River, the main feature of the valley, is famous for its trout, a kind of fish. Nestled along the banks of the river are the towns of Balakot, Paras, Mahandari, Kaghan and Naran. The Kunhar River, swollen by glacial melt, passes through this town as it meanders its way through the valley. Naran is considered as base station to scenic destinations like Lake Saif-ul-Malook, Lalazar Babusar, Noori Valley and Purbi Valley.

Let me first tell you a little about the climate, which will shake you away.In Naran, the climate is cold in winters and cool in summers. Like in my recent visit to Naran in May the weather was almost 10 degrees centigrade. The snow was still there on the mountain peaks and the waterfalls were numerous. There is significant rainfall in summers and heavy snowfall in winters. Even the driest month still has a lot of rainfall. The average annual temperature in Naran is 10.1 C. The region is Alpine in geography and climate, with forests and meadows dominating the landscape below peaks that reach over 17,000 feet.

Naran should be promoted as the land of waterfalls. On every turn you will see a waterfall flowing down from the peak of a mountain. This is because all the mountain peaks are covered with snow till now and by the team the snow will melt, it will again be the winters, so the waterfalls never dry there.

Naran has many hotels and resorts of various types ranging from high-end luxury hotels to very low priced motels. The locals told me that most of the hotels damaged or destroyed during the disastrous earthquake in 2005 and are rebuilt now. The construction style has improved and now it is much safe. The number of these hotels is not high but yes, they serve the purpose of the tourists visiting the place. The only drawback is the lack of electricity which makes it uncomfortable to stay there in cold seasons as Sui gas is not available and the heaters are mostly on electricity.

I was slightly disappointed after visiting the place. Yes, the roads are good enough but the availability of tourist services is poor. I saw many foreigners visiting Naran while I was there but I thought that what impression of this heaven on earth they were taking along

A market also exists there where all basic necessities of life are available. This is a small market with some crafts and grocery shops. The main items of Naran valley are dry fruits and handicrafts. One of the handicrafts you should buy are the artistically carved walnuts and another famous thing is the namdas, the woolen felt rugs while woolen shawls, embroidered shawls and shirts are also available. Handmade articles are displaced in the shops at the main market.

There is no permanent trade inside Naran and neither people live there. All the shopkeepers and hotel owners come from Kaghan, Abottabad and Mansehra to run their businesses in tourist season and then go back. The locals there say that it is hard for them to set up houses in Naran as there is no electricity, Sui gas and yes the infrastructure. Though the road to Naran is newly built and does not make you frightened of the height but incase if snowfall there is no authority to clean up the roads and remove the blockages caused by the snow heaps. The locals say all the cleaning of roads and making them available for the tourists is done by the Rangers. The local people are friendly and simple. Gujar nomads are one of the most interesting features of the Valley. They take their herds of cattle to the high pastures of the upper valley in spring and bring them down again in autumn. While going to you will find them camped along the road in their traditional tents or moving up and down the valley with their herds of pack animals, sheep and goats. The local languages of Naran Valley are Hindko and Gojri but every individual there can speak and understand Urdu.

I was slightly disappointed after visiting the place. Yes, the roads are good enough but the availability of tourist services is poor. I saw many foreigners visiting Naran while I was there but I thought that what impression of this heaven on earth they were taking along. I could not see the government tourist centers functional, not even the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation is very active there. Proper signs are missing. I could not find a tourist guide to assist me, the locals work as tourist guides. I think the government should pay heed to this part as it can be a good addition to the tourism, soft image of Pakistan and yes the economy of Pakistan. If God has given this heaven to Pakistan, the government is bound to maintain it. The locals said that the tourists are stuck there if there is a snowfall and then wait for the Rangers, why can’t a local body be setup there for looking after the infrastructure? Electricity is a main problem, trust me it’s needed as it is too cold there and gas supply to the region is also needed. Tourist spots with huts and arrangements for BBQ are must at this site. I am amazed that the government is not looking after this place and tries to turn it into the largest tourist spot of Pakistan, the locals and government need to work on creating this a tourist hub and generate funds for maintaining it. I hope this is heard.

 

 

Tania Qureshi

The writer is a media professional and can be reached at [email protected]



2 Comments

  1. Peter said:

    All the good roads and amenities is due to the role of Federal Govt. Imran Khan’s Govt. has done simply nothing with regard to development of such spots.

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