The splendor of Kaghan Valley: Story of a lost paradise Part-3
Khanian is a small but attractive, peaceful village on the right bank of the Kunhar. It is the starting point for a trip to Kamal Ban Forest and Dana Meadows. A ten kilometer jeep track winds up the hillside to picturesque Dana Meadows which are located at
an altitude of 10,000 feet with a view of a number of snow covered peaks over 15,000 feet. It takes an hour to reach there by jeep (as this trek was also destroyed by the earth quake so Dana is no more Jeep able), and about three hours on foot.
Another jeep track to the south from Khanian climbs up the ridge to the Kamal Ban Forest. The forest rest house at Kamal Ban is at an altitude of 6500 feet and was built in 1924, being one of the oldest in the area. It also offers a beautiful view of surrounding
The Pine Park Hotel chain operates a small but comfortable hotel at Khanian. Some other budget hotels are also located on the main road.
Kaghan is the town which gives the valley its name. It is a permanent settlement and is located at a distance of 61 kilometers from Balakot. Kaghan has a hospital, post office, police station and a small bazaar where items of daily use are available in the
shops. There are a few budget hotels and restaurants which provide accommodation and meals to visitors passing through, on their way to Naran. Especially, during the early tourist season, when reaching Naran on normal vehicles is not possible, visitors leave
their cars in Kaghan and hire jeeps for the onward journey to Naran. Local hotels offer parking facility to tourists.
There is also a hydro power station and a potato research station. Kaghan offers several short hikes for those who have some time to spend here.
At 7,888 feet above sea level, Naran is the main centre of tourism in the Kaghan Valley. It is located 82 kilometers from Balakot. The town is situated on the bank of the Kunhar River at a point where the valley widens. The river is also quite smooth here and
ideal for trout fishing and easy grade river rafting.
With more than 100 hotels, Naran is without doubt the main base for most tourists. There is one simple bazaar where all the shops, restaurants and hotels are situated. Naran becomes alive only in summer starting in late May, when the snow melts and the road
to Naran become passable. In winter, a majority of the population descends to the warmer climates of Balakot and Mansehra. Most visitors stay in Naran for a few days while enjoying the various day excursions to Lake Saiful Muluk, Lalazar, Lake Lulusar and
Babusar Pass. There are also several short walks and treks around Naran.
To be continued….