Picturesque Lakes of Pakistan
Pakistan is one of those God blessed countries where one can travel from sea level through deserts, lush green plains and finally to snow clad mountains like K-2 and many other spectacular glimpses of nature's best. In between the towering mountains are some of the most spectacular lakes, with ice cold water and beautiful reflections of snow covered mountains. Not only this, even one finds equally picturesque lakes in al other provinces of Pakistan, e at Hana Lake near Quetta (Balochistan), Manchar and Kinchar Lakes in Sund province and Kallar Kahar and Rawal lakes in Punjab. This section of Pakistanpaedia brings to its readers the wonderful world of wetlands and lakes which leave an everlasting impression on the tourists who come to Pakistan from around the world.
Let us start the journey from the Arabian Sea in the Sind province and see some of its spectacular lakes:
Manchar Lake: Manchar Lake located at a distance of about 18 kms from Sehwan Sharif, district Dadu, west of the River Indus is by far the largest freshwater lake in Pakistan and one of the largest in Asia. It is a vast natural depression flanked by the Khirthar hills in the west and the Laki hills in the south. The area of the lake fluctuates with the seasons from as little as 350 km² to 520 km². The lake collects water from numerous small streams in the Kirthar Mountains and empties into the Indus River. It provided a livelihood for a large number of fishermen, irrigation water for various crops and aquatic plants including lotus. The lake was created in the 1930's when the Sukkur Barrage was constructed on the river Indus. The lake is fed by two canals , the Aral Wah Canal and the Danister Canal from the river Indus. Until recently the lake supported thousands of fisher folk who depended on the freshwater fish they caught in the lake. However, the lake is now undergoing environmental degradation resulting in the water becoming saline killing off the fish and forcing the fisher folk to look elsewhere for employment. Until recently, the lake was a stop-off on the Indus flyway for Siberian migratory birds, but now the numbers have fallen from 25,000 birds counted in 1988 to just 2800 bird counted in 2002, because the lake no longer provides the birds' main food, the lake fish. In the place of the birds, the lake now hosts a saline water reed.
View of Keenjhar Lake (the shrine of Noori on the right)
Keenjhar Lake: 16 miles from Thatta on left side is located the Keenjhar Lake, also called Kalri Lake. This is also a freshwater lake. It plays a substantial ecological role in the functioning of the Indus River basin. The lake is an internationally important area for breeding, staging and wintering water birds, supporting as many as 140,000 birds, including European Wigeon, Black Coot and Common Pochard. The lake is a major source of drinking water for Karachi and supports an important fishery. One of the folk lores of Sind is thee Jam Tamachi's love for a fisherman's girl. The King Jam Tamachi of the Sammah Dynasty married the girl and a shrine in the middle of the Lake is attributed to Noori, the fisher girl of the Mohana. King jam Tamachi himself is buried in Makli Hills. The shrine is said to be dated around 18th century.
Black necked Stork - Be Wicks Swan - Marsh Crocodile at Haleji Lake
Haleji Lake: Located in Thatta District, 70 km (about 52 miles) from Karachi, the lake is Asia's largest bird sanctuary where every winter, thousand of migratory birds come from as far as Siberia. The migratory birds include Dalmatian Pelican, European Wigeon and Black Coot. Thousands of Black-crowned Night Heron roost in the area. As many as 223 bird species have been recorded in the environs of Haleji lake. For instance, osprey, Pallas's fish eagle, Buzzards, Harriers, falcons, Wigeon, coot, shoveller, pintail, Teals, Mallard, heron, Jacana, flamingos and some times Bewick's swan.
In Punjab province there are a number of man made and natural lakes that are essential for the stopover of the migratory birds beside a source of natural vegetation, fisher and provision of water for the locals. Some of these are as under:
Ucchali Lake Complex: Tucked in the southern periphery of the Salt Range and hemmed in by its higher cliffs, is a cluster of natural lakes — Ucchali, Khabbeki and Jhallar in district Khushab. These lakes are said to be 400 years old, maybe more. The lakes are a prime sanctuary for the migratory birds and were declared a protected sanctuary for the native and migratory avifauna on the appeal of World Wildlife Fund. Nestled at about 800 meters above the sea, lakes have some marsh vegetation and are mostly surrounded by cultivated land, which is picturesquely intersected by hillocks. The lakes are fed by the spring, seepage from adjacent areas, and run off from the neighbouring hills of the historic Salt Range. The lakes are one of the most important wintering areas for the rare white-headed ducks (Oxyura leucocephala) in Pakistan that comes here from Central Asia. Locals believe that there is a volcano hidden beneath the surface of the Ucchali Lake due to which the colour of the water keeps changing. The appearance of a vert broad and brightly coloured rainbow in 1982 for consecutive 15 days is also attributed to this analogy. in 1982, a strange phenomenon was observed in the villages Ucchali and Dhadhar. The lakes’ water is also said to cure gout and skin diseases. People have been taking the water from the lakes as far as Lahore and Karachi. People think that a pure white winged creature called Great egret, from Grus family, found in the area is a symbol of longevity.
Kallar Kahar Lake
Kallar Kahar Lake: The main attraction of the
eastern Salt Range are the shrine of Saidan Shah at Choa Saidan Shah, the lake
and shrine of Abdul Qadir Gilani at Kallar Kahar and the Hindu Temple Complex at
Katas. Kallar Kahar is located about 135 km from Rawalpindi. The TDCP has built
a six-room motel and restaurant overlooking Kallar Kahar (Salt Lake) with
boating facilities. The Temple of Shiva at Katas (10th century AD) and other
temples around Katas are valuable pieces of architecture and history.
Rawal Lake: This glistening man-made lake
covers an area of 8.8 sq. km. The terraced garden and the lake are ideal for
picnic, fishing and boating. The highest point in the garden commands a
panoramic view of the lake, Margallah and Murree hills, Rawalpindi and
Islamabad. The PTDC Jaltarang Restaurant offers snack bar facilities for
Khanpur Lake: This beautiful lake/dam is 48 km
from Islamabad, on Taxila-Haripur Road. It is an ideal place for day
trip/picnic, boating, angling and watching migratory birds during winter.
Simli Lake: About 30 km from Islamabad lies Simli Lake and the Dam. It can be reached via Lehtrar road or via Bhara Kahu. It is fed by the melting snow and natural springs of Murree hills. The water stored in the lake is supplied to Islamabad for drinking purposes. Angling and boating is also allowed in the lake. The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has a Rest House at the Dam, which can be booked through its Head Office in Islamabad.
Hana lake - Quetta
Balochistan province is otherwise a water starved province, hence no big wetlands can be seen. With the coming up of a number of dams, however, the number may increase. Presently Hana Lake near the capital city of Quetta is the life line for inhabitants of Quetta and surrounding areas - located ten kilometres from Quetta at the confluence of Urak Valley. The picturesque lake with its greenish- blue water portrays a rich contrast to the sandy brown of the hills in the back ground. The Lake had its tourist attraction and boats are available to row around the lake. In sever weather conditions, the lake dries up and threatens the very existence of human and animal life.
The Norther Areas and the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan is a Heaven on Earth. It provides spectacular view of some of the beautiful and breathtaking sceneries around the world. Its lakes with crystal clear blue icy waters are wonders of their own kind - no where found anywhere else.
Lake Saif ul Muluk
Saif ul Muluk Lake: The lake is located in the northern end of Kaghan Valley. At an altitude of 3,224 m (10,578 feet) above sea level, it is amongst one of the highest lakes in Pakistan. The lake rests under the foot hills of mighty Malika Parbat mountain, whose reflection shines in the lake and gives an awesome captivation. It is speculated that an underground river empties into the lake; which is why its depth is unknown. Malika Parbat at 5,290 metres (17,356 ft) is the highest mountain in Kaghan valley. The lake is accessible by a 14 km jeep road from Naran (which is accessible by a metalled road from Mansehra via Balakot and Kaghan) during the summer months. On foot, the trek from Naran to the lake takes about 4-6 hours. The water is clear with a slight green tone. The clarity of the water comes from the multiple glaciers all around the high basin feeding the lake which provides a good scenery. The lake also lies on the path of another high altitude lake called Ansoo Lake or Ansoo Jheel. The lake is famous for its fairytale of Saiful Maluk written by the famous poet Mian Muhammad Baksh ( It is the story of prince of Persia who fell in love with a fairy princess at the lake).
Rama Lake - Astore
Rama Lake: One of the most picturesque spots,
nine kilometers away from the beautiful valley of Astore in Northern Area is
Rama Lake. Apart from being a beautiful destination, the Alpine Forest around it
imparts a pleasant atmosphere. The area has many Trekkers/Hikers routes and some
of them are ideal for Jeep Safaris. PTDC’s newly constructed Motel at Rama Lake
is a welcome addition as an important tourist resort. By virtue of its peculiar
location it can conveniently serve as a base camp for trekkers and mountaineers
intending to scale the mighty heights of Nanga Parbat.
Satpara Lake: one of the largest fresh water lakes of the country. By and large, the lake offers ample opportunity for trout fishing, boating and rowing. PTDC’s newly built Motel and furnished is ideally located overlooking at Satpara lake. The Motel is 9 kilometers from Skardu, capital city of Baltistan and takes about 20 minutes by Jeep. Another one hour drive by jeep will take you upto an altitude of 16000 feet on to the second largest plateau of the world popularly known as Deosai Plain.
Kachura Lakes (The Shangrila Restaurant on the foothills on
Kachura Lakes: There are two lakes near Skardu which are famous for deep blue waters and brown trout making them an anglers delight. The Upper Kachura Lake has a depth of around 70 meters. The Lower Kachura Lake or Shangrila Lake is located at a drive of about 20 minutes from Skardu town (nearly 2,500 m or 8,200 feet). Visit to Deosai Plains from here onwards is an experience of a lifetime.
Mohodand Lake, Upper Ushu Valley (Kalam)
Mohodand Lake: One of the most beautiful lakes
around Swat and Kalam is the Mahodand Lake in the upper Ushu valley. The lake is
close to Lake Saifullah and Naseerullah. It is accessible with a four-wheel
drive vehicle, and is a good location for fishing. Those who have gone their
says it was a lifetime's experience.
Dudipatsar Lake: The lake lies in the extreme north of Kaghan Valley at a height of 3,800 meters amid green hills reaching up to 4,800 meters. The Lake sits amid snow clad mountains and presents a heavenly scenery. The word "dudi" means white and "sar" means lake. This name has been given to the lake because of the white color of snow at surrounding peaks. In summer the water of lake reflects like a mirror. Its not easy to visit this lake as there is tough hike. It takes about four to six hours to reach the lake after tough hiking and trekking from the last debussing point. See some of its spectacular pictures. Its water is beautiful greenish blue and very cold too Dudipatsar is also close to another major Lake lulusar which is main contributory to Kunhar river that runs through Kaghan valley. At a distance from the lake lies the Babusar top or the Babusar Pass which is the end of 150 km long Kaghan valley.
Lulusar Lake: Lulusar is located at a height of 11,200 ft (3,410 m) in the Naran Valley, 48 kms away from Naran itself. Wreathed in blue and gold wild flowers, the lake is the main source of the Kunhar River and has a baby lake beside it. Lulusar is the Reminiscent of those 55 participants of 1857 war of independence who had been arrested near Lulusar. One can hire a jeep from Naran to reach this beautiful lake in about four - five hours time. One should leave Naran in the morning so as to be abck in Naran before sunset after a wonder stay at Lulusar Lake.
| Photos of Lake Saiful Muluk and Malika Parbat | Saiful Muluk ( Wikipedia) | Lakes of Skardu Valley | Lulusar Lake (Wikipedia) |
| Dudiptsar lake (Wikipedia) | | Manchar Lake of Dadu | Video Clip - Lake Saif ul Muluk | Lakes & dams in Pakistan |Lakes and Scenery of Pakistan |
This page was created on
20 December 2008