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Day 3: Lalazar (Naran)

Author: Nawab Tanweer Ahmad
Date of Trip: September 2015

Date: 17th September 2015

Yesterday we had a wonderful time at Sauful Muluk Lake and today our destination is Lalazar. At the height of 10,500 feet (3,200 meters), Lalazar is a green meadow situated 21 km from Naran. We wake up early in the morning and had the breakfast at the same restaurant where we had it yesterday. We have already booked the jeep for the Lalazar that is waiting for us on the road. As the surrounding areas of Naran are so beautiful we asked the driver to remove the leather roof that is covering the jeep so that we can fully enjoy the ride and the beauty of the surroundings. The drive started on the same Mansehra-Naran-Babusar-Chillas highway toward Babusar and crossed the Naran Town. The mesmerizing view of River Kunhar on the left and the mountain covered with Alpine Forest is unexplainable. We stopped for photography and video capturing at many stops and at stunning Waterfalls. Drink the fresh water from the fall, washed our face and hands and then continued our drive again. There are many waterfalls on the way toward Babusar, their source is up high on the mountain and falling into the river Kunhar after crossing the highway.

We were having a smooth and comfortable drive as the road is metalled and carpeted, but at Battakundi, our driver took a right turn and our jeep started climbing up on the mountain road, with hills on one side and a deep valley on the other side. This was a rough and dirt route and the only route going toward Lalazar. As we already have face masks with us in our backpacks, we immediately wore them to protect us from the dust. As said by Babs Hoffman “Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and enjoy the journey.” we continued our journey. As the zig zag road keeps on ascending the scenery started changing, at some place you can see the trees on one side and the river Kunhar below the valley on the other and at some places you can see corn and potato farms with the road passing in between the farms. After nearly a drive of 2 hours, we reached the most beautiful meadow of the Kaghan valley The Lalazar. We hopped out of the jeep pick our backpacks and moved toward the ground covered with grass and wildflowers. The Lalazar is surrounded by Fir and Pine Forest, the snow covered mountains and the River Kunhar flowing thousands of miles below in the valley.

Walking some steps in the meadow, we spread out the sheet and sit there to enjoy the beauty of the surrounding. The unpolluted air, the refreshing smell from the surrounding, the quietness and the beauty of the place can make anyone fall in love with this place. While we were having some snacks and tea it starts drizzling, some people moved down the shelter, but my family decided to stay at our place and enjoy this sudden change in weather. At the time when we sit in this place, the sun was shining and the weather was less hot, but now this area is covered with clouds and the weather has become cold. On the nearby mountains we can see two different types of scene, on the mountains in front of us it was snowing and raining, we have seen the color of the rocks changing to white but on the mountains behind us, the sun was shining with full brightness. It was the first time in our life that we have seen such an amazing scene.

Lalazar is filled with attractiveness, not only it has green plains and valleys, but this place also has a forest, so we decided to move and sit some place near the forest. The forest is packed with pine trees, we sit near the forest and children started flowing the butterflies, smelling the flowers and running all around. It’s been more the 3 hours here, but the feel of the fresh air and the smell of the forest making us not to leave this place but we have to go.

We sit back into our jeep again and our journey back to Naran started again on the same rough and dusty road, but we didn’t care about the dust just wore our face masks and started enjoying the beauty of the farms, the plains, the valley and the river and reached the main highway leading us toward Naran, The Mansehra-Naran-Babusar-Chillas highway. There is also a fascinating place “Batakundi” on the way to Naran, we stop there for a while, have some photographs, and then started moving toward Naran.

Before the beginning of the Naran city, there is a spot on the right side of the road where one can do Trout fishing activity along the Kunhar river bank. Fishing for brown and rainbow trout in the crystal clear water of the Kunhar River is the favorite pastime for locals and tourists. But a fishing permit is required that can be obtained easily from the nearby fisheries department and one can also rent the fishing equipment from the shops in Naran Bazaar.

After six hours of an enthralling trip, we reached Naran and went to our room to take some rest. After a couple of hours, we went out to the Naran Bazaar again. My wife and daughter doing the shopping and me and my son having a chat with shopkeepers and locals. While talking with locals, we come to know that the surrounding mountains have different animals, one of which is a Markhoor that belongs to goat family and another animal that exists on these mountains is Leopard (Cheeta) but due to the population they live up high on the mountains and only come down during the winter season when these mountains get covered with snow.

We have been in Naran for two days and we have to leave for Gilgit tomorrow as our main objective of this trip is to reach the Khunjerab Pass (The Pakistan-China Border Crossing). After discussing with the locals and arranging for the jeep for tomorrow, we had dinner (Tikka & Naan) at the local restaurant. After this delectable dinner, we came back to our room, packed our bags for tomorrow’s journey and went to sleep.

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