SAIFUL (APP): Arrived in a coaster with hands clapping on national song ‘Sohni Dharti Allah Rakay’ at Saiful Malook lake, the family of Manzoor Khan, a retired civil servant of Nowshera district was over the moon after visiting the famous oval shape lake located in the lap of the snow-clad mountains of Malaka Parbath in the picturesque upper Kaghan valley in Mansehra district during third day of Eidul Azha celebrations.
Impressed by the crystal greenish-blue water of the oval shape Saiful Malook lake, the tourists with a big smile in faces went around the natural wonder after enjoying lunch at ‘Dastarkhwan’ under an open sky amid cold breeze following heavy rainfall, which turned the weather pleasant. Following exploring the historic lake through boats, Manzoor who was accompanied by his wife, son, sisters and others family members said,” Saiful Malook’s gripping natural beautiful with its crystal clean-water eniminating from the lofty glaciers of Malaka Perbath on its northeast was beyond of my imagination.”
“I had visited many lakes in Pakistan and abroad but the fairytales of prince Saiful Malook and princes Badri Jamala associated with the Saiful Malook lake was unique that impressed me the most,” he said. He said Malook-Jamala fairytale leaves mesmerising effects on the minds of hundereds of thousands of visitors every year amid hide and seek between sun and clouds over it almost throughout the year especially during monsoon season. Terming Saiful Malook lake was his ideal tourist place due to its better road connectivity than others lakes of KP, he said that it was his fourth trip to Saiful Malook lake and first with his family that doubled his joy of Eidul Azha.
“Families can easily come here to spend sometimes in its relaxed environment before exploring the nearby Anso and Dudipatsar lakes in Upper Kaghan through jeeps and horse riding with great fun and excitement especially during Eid days,” he added. Like Manzoor’s family, the lake takes thousands of visitors into pipe-dream with fairy world’s thoughts popping up with peace and serenity after entering the natural wonder spreading on 1.06 square miles having 113 feet depth and 3,224 meters height from sea-level following completion of boredom of tedious journey from plain areas of Pakistan to the picturesque Kaghan valley.
Mian Muhammad Bakhash, a noted historian and poet in his book ‘Fairytale of Saiful Malook’ had narrated about prince Saiful Malook and fairy princes Badriul Jamala during his visit to the lake. He explained about the epic romance of Prince Malook when he fell in love with fairy prince Jamala during his visit to this famous lake of Pakistan. Manzoor’s wife said Saiful Malook was the identity of Pakistan and urged visitors to ensure its cleanliness and put all waste in dustbins placed by the government in its vicinity.
“I am disappointed to see garbage and polythene bags thrown by visitors at premises of Saiful Malook despite dustbins,” she said. She said it was the collective responsibility of Kaghan Development Authority (KDA), wildlife department and district administration to ensure and maintain its cleanliness and make it pollution-free. She said the natural beauty of tear-shaped Anso lake being considered the highest lake of Hamalya region with 4,126 meter height of the sea level, Payala lake with 2,895 meters elevation, Pyala lake with 3,410 meters height Siri lake with 2,590 meters altitude, Dudipatsar lake with 3,800 meters elevation and Dudibach Star lake in Kaghan valley captivate adventure sports enthusiasts.In international practice, she said vehicles were parked outside of the lakes’ premises in order to maintain its ecology and protect it from plastic pollution.
She underscored the need for construction of parking areas outside of the premises of Saiful Malook, Mahudhand and other national lakes to protect it from environmental and water pollution.Muhammad Ali Syed, General Manager, KP Culture and Tourism Authority told APP that Pakistan was home to many natural and manmade lakes and reservoirs including South Asia’s largest Manchar lake spread on 260 square kilometers in Sindh besides the country’s biggest Paristan lake in Skardu and Shimshal lake in Hunza Gigiit Baltistan with 4,272 meters height draw domestic tourists in droves throughout the year especially during Eid holidays.
He said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was blessed with around 100 small and big natural, manmade and reservoirs lakes including the world’s 33rd highest natural Lake of Karambar with 4,272 meters height of above sea level and 3.9 kilometer length that could be accessed through Broghal valley in Chitral.Ali Syed said Swat was going to become tourism capital of the country due to its seven unique features including the snow- clad mountains peaks, trout fish, river, snowfall, Swat motorway, waterfalls and lakes. He said Swat’s Mahodand Lake with 2,900 meters height at Ushu valley Kalam carried unique features including brown and rainbow trout and camping besides Spin Khwar and Kundal lakes attracted many tourists during Eid days.
The small and medium lakes in premises of Mohudhand would be interconnected after construction of small arch bridges that would enhance its natural outlook, he added. He said Mahudhand lake would be converted into a model ecotourism resort with provision of enhanced facilities to tourists. “Khanpoor Lake in Haripur is most suitable for water sports and paragliding, Tanda dam lake Kohat for ecotourism and Turbella lake Haripur for adventure sports.” Muhammad Ali Syed said lakes of small dams including Tanda Kohat, Jalozai Nowshera, Kundal Swabi, Chatri Haripur and Jangza Abbottabad have been selected for development of recreational spots to promote ecotourism. A road from Maidan to Bishigram lake would be constructed while jeep track at Kandal lake has been built.
Waterfalls of Lamchar, Sajkot, Noori, Chajjian Haripur, Jarogo Swat, Lanchar Dir and Umbrella Abbottabad would be developed on modern lines to promote ecotourism. A project worth Rs99 million for construction of walking tracks, wood boats, huts, parking area, camping pods and others facilitation services at Mahudhand lake would make it centre of attraction for tourists. Saad Khan, Spokesman of Culture and Tourism Authority (C&TA) told APP that 10 camping pods were established at Thandyani Abbottabad, Sharan Naran Manshera, Bishigram and Gabin Jabba Swat, Yakhtangi Shangla, Sheikh Badin Lakki Marwat, Mahaban and Shaheed e Sar Buner, Bamburat Kalash Chitral and Alai Batagram to facilitate tourists.
He said 10 more new camping pods would be established at Jarogo Asbshar, Sulatar Swat, Lashkargas Broghal and Surlaspur Shandur Upper Chitral, Kumrat Upper Dir, Kalam, Lilowani and Alpuri Shangla, Samani top Hangu/Orakzai, Larham Top Lower Dir and Bin Shahi Lower Dir. At least even sites in merged districts were identified for campings pods, picnic spots, excess roads and rest areas. Development of four historical colonial era tacks are in pipelines including Thandyani-Nathiagali having 8, 200 feet height, 40km length and 1500 old trees belt, Thandyani-Biringali track, Dagri Bangla-Meera Jani-Nathiagali track and Kaghan- Mahnoor track starting from Shinkyari to Kund Bangla and onward to Shaheed Pani-Nadi Bangla to Musa Ka Musallah.
The rest areas would be developed on these tracks besides construction of washrooms and others facilities for the tourists.Four Integrated Tourism Zones (ITZ) at Mankiyal Swat, Thandyani Abbottabad, Ganol Manshera and Madaklasht Lower Chitral would be devoloped with a loan grant of USD 70 million of World Bank for promotion of sustainable tourism. ITZs Mankiyal and Thandyani would be connected with Swat and Hazara Motorways that would open up these lakes for tourists. Jeepable tracks in 16 districts mostly in Malakand and Hazara divisions would be constructed with an allocation of Rs500 million to make these lakes accessible for families throughout the year.According to wildlife officials, Saiful Malook lake spreading on 12,026 acres had been brought under the national park established under the preservation, protection and management act 1975.
The government has approved Rs188 million project for Saiful Malook national park under which a parking complex and gate would be constructed besides purchase of machinery and equipment for its cleanliness and maintenance and establishment offices for wildlife staff there.Under Prime Minister’s Protected Areas initiative, the official said KP was the first province providing national parks services to people. Saad Khan said about 182 constables of the newly raised tourism police deployed in Swat, Chitral, Manshera and Abbottabad have facilitated tourists during Eid holidays. He said the Federal and KP government’s pro-tourism policies had made Pakistan to improve its international tourism position by sixth place ie 83rd from 89th in the International Travel and Tourism Development Index (TTDI), which was a great honour for Pakistan.
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