This is Usman Khawaja from Sialkot and I want to share an amazing experience of a beautiful trip to northern areas of Pakistan – Kaghan Valley – Naran Valeey - Shogran and Kewai. My friends Usman Munier (Now staying in USA and working for a giant chip-making company as a technology consultant) & Tayyab Mughal (CEO of Indus Motor Wheels) were there with me to make it a trip of my life. Our friends Usman Mughal (now studying in Australia) and Naeem Ibrahim (Working in Bank Al-Mashriq – UAE) could not join us because the financial year was about to end and they had to complete their tasks.
I visited Kaghan, Naran and Shogran last year (2007) in the mid of May. Kaghan valley is naturally equipped with high peak mountains, richly greenish meadows, plateau and thick pine forests. I will definitely prefer you and others to visit this valley and then you will definitely feel that if heaven lies somewhere on earth then it truly lies here.
Well, your journey to Kaghan valley will start from Abbotabad. You will pay just 30 Rs/ person from there to reach Mansehra. There you can easily find Toyota Hiace or busses going to Kewai (A middle place between Shogran and Kaghan-Naran). I prefer you stay in Kewai for a while and do not forget taking breakfast/fast food from its only under-water restaurant. This refreshment meal is a specialty of Kewai.
Actually Kewai is the central hub of Kaghan valley from where a separate road goes to Shogran, Siri and Paye. You can hire a jeep from Kewai to Shogran by paying 300-400 Rs. The road to Shogran is very thrilling because of its extensive steep height. The front wheels of the jeep/car will be 2-4 feet higher than back wheels. But the forest on the way is a real beauty which is un-matchable. After reaching Shogran, you can find a good hotel in just 400-500 Rs (In summer season the prices are high and may range between 1500-2500 Rs). Shogran is yet another central point for these three places (Shogran, Siri,Paye) where hotels, restaurants and all other necessary amenities are available. You must rest there for 1 night at least and then rent a jeep again for going to Siri & Paya which are one of the most peak stations of Kaghan Valley. Usually people do not stay there for night and after enjoying whole day at Siri and Paye mountains they move back to Shogran in their hotels. Then you can proceed to Naran by going down from Shogran to Kewaii again. Take jeep, bus or Hiace from Kewaii chowk leading to Naran via Kaghan Bazar. You will love this journey for sure and it will take 2 hours to reach Naran from Kewai. Fastly moving river Kunhar will be shouting at one side of the road and it will remain your companion until you reach Naran.
Naran is surrounded by very high mountains. You will feel dark in Naran valley in afternoon because these high mountains will stops sun light to reach in the valley. There again you can find a very good hotel in 400-500 Rs but as said earlier that the prices may be higher (between 1500-3000 Rs) in summer season. Naran also has a small bazaar like Murree mall road. You can enjoy fishing there in Kunhar river which flows with Naran road at one side. People go to spend a whole day in Jheel-Saif-AlMaluk and the journey starts from Naran and it takes just 1 hour to reach there. This 1 hour journey will take you to hundreds of feet higher than the ground. What should I say about Jheel Saif-AlMaluk, it is nevertheless the most beautiful lake in the world. You can enjoy horse riding there and the surrounding hills are the highest peaks of whole Naran valley. One of the renowned mountains is Malika Parbat which is placed on the left of the jheel.
Please make sure that traveling distance to Naran is much longer but the hoteling and meal expenses are economical. I have tried to give you a little introductory information of Shogran, Kaghan and Naran. If you have already visited Kagahn Valley then please feel free to share your experience in this blog. But if you are planning to visit some hill stations in Pakistan then I recommend you to visit Kaghan valley this time. I am sure you will find yourself very close to nature.