Balakot (Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa)
Balakot is the most important town in the Mansehra district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and is located on the banks of the Kunhar River. The Kunhar River flows in a very clam channel after Balakot instead of narrow and sharp gorges in the Kaghan Valley. Balakot is the gateway of Kaghan Valley, a lush green valley, which is a connection point between Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan.
Mansehra is located at the distance of 221 km from Peshawar on Karakoram Highwary N-35. It is very important location as a gateway to Gilgit-Baltistan through Karakoram Highway or through Babusar Pass in the Kaghan Valley. It has very pleasant weather due to surrounding valleys such as Kaghan and Kashmir.
Mansehra is also a historical city in past dynasties in this area, Ashoka ruled over this area, who was the main ruler in Maurya Dynasty. The city is founded by Mahan Singh Mirpuri, who was the governor during the rule of Ranjit Singh. During the British rule, the town is named in the honour of Mahan Singh Mirpuri.
Due to influence of Hindu in the past, several hindu festivals are held here. The festival of Durgashtami, who was a Hindu Devi, is celebrated by Brahman of Mansehra on ancient site of Bareri Hill in Mansehra. There is also a giant rock at the base of Bareri Hill inscribed with the Edicts of Ashoka.
Mansehra is famous for its lush green valleys, plateaus and number of beautiful lakes. The Kunhar River is one of the main river in the district, flowing from the Kaghan Valley and then finally merges with the Jehlum River. It is the gateway to the Kaghan Valley and the Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir. The Siran is another river in Mansehra, comes from the Musa Da Masalla and ends in the Tarbella Lake.
Mansehra is located on the Karakorum Highway that leads toward the mighty mountian range of Karakorum and Himalayas in the Gilgit-Baltistan. It has boundaries with Abbottabad, Battagram, Kohistan, Torgar, Neelum Valley, Muzaffarabad, and Diamer districts.
Balakot is situated on the right bank of the Kunhar River which confluence with the Jehlum River. It is the main point to travel toward the Kaghan Valley and the Gilgit-Baltistan. Due to the Kaghan Valley pleasant atmosphere, whole Balakot town become pleasant in the summer season, whereas it becomes cold in the winter season.
The Kaghan Valley is the most visiting location in the Mansehra district at a distance of 38 km from the Mansehra city. It is an alpine forest valley covered by the Lower Himalayan mountain range. There are number of lush green pastures, alpine meadows, waterfalls, frosty streams, and beautiful crystal clear water lakes. Lake Saif-ul-Malook, Ansoo Lake, and Lulusar Lake are the most attractive lakes in the Kaghan Valley.
Babusar Top is the highest location in the Kaghan Valley at an elevation of 13,690 feet. The magnificent view of Nanga Parbat can be observed from the top in the clear weather. In the winter season, it is not possible to cross Babusar Top due to heavy snowfall.
Shogran is an attractive hill station in the Kaghan Valley at an elevation of 7,749 feet above sea level. It remains open in summers and winters and always has a fantastic weather and moving clouds around the hill station. In monsoon period, a heavy rains is expected most of time. Hail storms are also much common there. So in monsoon period, tourists have to be careful. Shogran can be accessed from the Kiwai town on the main Mansehra - Kaghan Road. Payee Lake is located in the Shogran and is accessible through a jeep.
Lalazar is located in the Upper Kaghan Valley at an elevation of 10,246 feet above sea level. It contains vast meadows and green pastures within the lush green pine forests.
Malika Parbat is the highest peak in the Kaghan Valley at an elevation of 17,360 feet at a distance of 6 km from the Lake Saif-ul-Maluk. It is clearly seen from the Lake Saif-ul-Maluk in clear weather. It was first scaled by Captain B.W. Battye in 1920. Its summits are difficult to ascent, so only twelve climbers have reached on the top of Malika Parbat.
Musa Ka Musalla is a beautiful peak at an elevation of 13,500 feet between Siran Valley and Kaghan Valley. To access the base camp of this peak, one have take route via Mandagucha village along the Siran River from Shinkiari town. Mandagucha is high mountain village with pleasant and cool climate. The Siran Lake is also located near the Dabar Town while traveling toward Mandagucha village. From this village, the trek leads toward the base camp of the Musa Ka Musalla Peak. Siran Valley and Shinkiari are also important due to tea cultivation in Pakistan. A beautiful waterfall, also known as Manda Gucha Waterfall, is also good place to visit.
Balakot Photo Gallery
Balakot is the break point before or after visiting the Kaghan Valley near the relaxing atmosphere of the Kunhar River flowing toward the Jhelum River.
The Kunhar River has very splendid view near Balakot. It flows in a broader channel here then finally ends in the Jhelum River.