magnificent Swat Valley, popularly called as Switzerland
of Pakistan, is situated north of Peshawar. In ancient
times it remained center of then flourishing Buddhist
civilization, still having its marks found at various
places. Its old name was Udyana that means the land of
gardens. The archeological sites and monasteries dating
back to Buddhist era add to its historical charm. Surrounded
by majestic mountains, Swat Valley is full of screaming
rivers, lush green forests and snow-covered peaks adding
to its natural attraction.
Green fruit orchards, beautiful lakes, gushing streams
and a fascinating landscape make it a place worth seeing.
7 km from Landakai, a road goes towards Nimogram, which
is further at a distance of 21 km. Nimogram is famous
for its monastery on the top of a hill overlooking the
whole area. Three main stupas with several other ones
are also found here. These archeological sites revive
the Buddhist period of this place. These structures have
been built with dress stones, a mastery by the old artisans.
They resemble Andan Dhery monastery situated in Dir district.
Buddhist stupa, just three km from Barikot, unfolds its
attractive glimpses on the right side of the road. It
was approximately built between the third and the fourth
centuries AD, perhaps being the only relic with its original
dome still intact. On the right side of the road, nearly
one and half kilometer from the stupa, large figures of
Buddha carved on a rock revive memories of that once glorious
period of Buddhism in this region.
being lifeline of trade and business activity is the main
central city of Swat valley adjacent to Saidu Sharif.
It offers food outlets, restaurants and hotels. Locally
produced items beautifully displayed at its main bazaar,
shops, show rooms etc. include semi precious stones, embroidered
dresses, hand woven ladies shawls, bed sheets and woodwork.
Traditional ornaments and antiques are available at shops.
Visitors on trips to Swat valley usually stroll its bazaars
for shopping at the end of their journey. You can find
emerald mines in hills northward of the town, famous worldwide
for their expensive and valuable emeralds.
capital city of picturesque Swat valley, Saidu Sharif
is the principal seat of administration for looking
after and managing regional government affairs. Several
colleges, schools, government offices are situated here.
A museum reflecting Buddhist era history, the tomb of
Akhund of Swat are sited here along with archeological
sites of Butkara Buddhist stupa.
Saidu Sharif has a small airport from which air service
is regularly operating connecting it with Peshawar and
museum full of Swat’s old heritage is situated between
Mingora and Saidu Sharif.
Gandhara Buddhist artifacts,
antiques and similar articles are beautifully showcased
telling the tale of once glorious era. Ancient life
of this region is portrayed in shape of samples of local
embroidery, jewelry, and carved wooden articles. The
museum is closed on Wednesdays.
13 km from Saidu Sharif, is sited the serene small town
of Marghzar at the foot of Mount llam. Its White Marble
Palace, built by ruler of Swat in the early 1940s, adds
to the grandeur of this peaceful town. The palace has
now been converted into a top class hotel with excellent
lodging and boarding facilities. While journeying towards
Swat, you can see a road turning towards Islampur, a small
village famous for its medicinal plants. Wildlife is found
in its forest.
trip to Swat is incomplete without seeing Malam- Jaba,
about 44 km from Mingora, a modern hill resort with surrounding
mountains raising its natural attraction and beautiful
landscape. Both outdoor and indoor recreation facilities
are available. It is a newly developed resort having a
four star hotel and chairlift. During peak summer, it
is flocked by visitors taking respite from mid summer
scorching heat in plains. A hotel complex with a mini
golf course and a ski run provide good entertainment.
At a height of about 2743 m above sea level, Malam-Jaba
offers beautiful landscape of mountain peaks full of snow,
green valleys and sprawling forests refreshing minds in
a cool and more serene atmosphere generously gifted by
by mountains the picturesque tourist resort of Miandam
is at a distance of about 57 km from Saidu Sharif. Surrounding
mountains during the summer do not allow the sun to cast
its shadows on this attractive resort making it the coolest
place. A PTDC motel, few hotels and official guest houses
keep this beautiful place alive in summer seasons. It
provides a refreshing view of large forests, fruit orchards
and flowing streams.
on the banks of surging Swat river, Madyan (1312 m above
sea level) is at a distance of 57 km from Saidu Sharif.
Its riverside location and cool climate make it an attractive
spot with rows of shops, hotels and restaurants queued
along the road. A trout hatchery adds to its fascination.
Local handicrafts, embroidery and antiques are displayed
at roadside shops.
You can make a trip to nearby valleys from here.
riverside small town, at a distance of 66 km from Saidu
sharif and just 10 km from Madyan, is most frequently
visited resort because of its location on the road leading
to other beautiful resorts. A humming bazaar with shops,
eateries and hotels make it a popular place.
Household traditional decoration items are available at
Architectural beauty is fully evident in wood-made pillars
and fixtures of mosques and buildings arousing interest
of visitors. Nearby valleys full of lushgreen thick
jungles offer hiking on narrow mountainous paths.
home town of Kohistani inhabitants, Kalam is like an earthly
paradise in Swat Valley. Located at a distance of 40 km
from Bahrain, Kalam is the main town of this region presenting
one of the most panoramic natural beauty. The people known
as Kohistanis are its original inhabitants proud of their
own language and still unchanged traditions.
view of 6471m Falaksair Peak with its melting snow even
during summers from Matiltan (3000m) is ecstatic. The
journey is incomplete without seeing and going to Mahodand,
a famous lake, about 23 km beyond Matiltan.
The picturesque Kalam provides road access to reach
magnificent valleys of Ushu (2286m), Utrot (2225m) and
Gabral (2286m) above sea level, where journey through
green forests and beautiful view of landscape is mesmerizing.
Rivers and lakes at Kalam offer good trout fishing after
getting permits obtainable from the Fisheries Department.
At a distance of 35 km from Kalam, Lake Mahodand is a
natural lake charm -wise the most attractive all over
Swat region. A metalled road leads to this treasure of
natural beauty and onward is a jeep track treacherously
running along the edges of exceptionally green waters
of swat river. The overall view is magical. Trout fishing
in the lake is a favorite pastime.
|Famous Lakes Of
|Swat valley has
several other natural lakes of which Kundol Dand, Khapero
Dand, Dara Dand and Bisigram are the famous ones.
|The best season
to visit Swat is from March till October amidst pleasant
weather. It is the time when the valley wakes up for tourists
gracefully welcoming them amidst its magnificent mountains,
meadows, forests and streams providing them perfect retreat.
|Pashto and Kohistani
are the commonly spoken local languages, while Urdu and
English are also spoken by the people.
articles and colorful embroidered items are trademark
of Swat valley. Embroidered table cloth, ladies shawls,
mats, handicrafts, caps, wood furniture, honey are the
popular items. Swat’s is famous for its precious
and semi precious stones particularly its emerald.
|How To Get There
|Linked with Peshawar,
Islamabad and Rawalpindi by road, Swat can be reached
from all these three main cities. Its distance from Peshawar
is 151 km. The distance from Rawalpindi via Nowshera-Mardan
and Malakand Pass is 270 km. It can be reached by road
from Gilgit via Besham, the main town located on Karakoram
Highway passing through mighty Himalayan mountains.