Daral Lake: A Hidden Gem in the Swat Valley, Pakistan

Daral Lake, also known as Daral Dand, is a picturesque alpine lake situated in the Bahrain region of the Swat Valley, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. This lake, with a distinctive giant amoeba shape, offers a tranquil and breathtaking environment for travelers and shepherds. There’s even an ancient mosque near the lake, serving as a place of prayer and rest for visitors and locals alike.

Location and Features: Daral Lake, nestled in the western upper reaches of Bahrain, is surrounded by the Spinsar Mountain foothills and is located to the northeast of Saidgai Dand, at an elevation of 3,505.2 meters (11,500 feet). It is primarily fed by the melting glaciers from the surrounding mountains and gives rise to the Daral Khwar, a significant left tributary of the Swat River.

Access: Access to Daral Lake is limited to the summer season due to winter trail closures caused by heavy snowfall. During the summer, you can reach the lake by embarking on a three to four-hour trek from Bahrain, crossing barren mountains before descending eastward to reach Daral Lake. Alternatively, you can approach the lake from the Gabina Jabba hilltop, the preferred trail for many. The journey begins at Gabina Jabba, where an unmetalled and jeepable road ends, and then you’ll trek for approximately 4-5 hours to reach the lake.

The trail to Daral offers breathtaking views and panoramas as it traverses the towering mountain heights, providing a visual feast for nature lovers. Looking to the south reveals the meandering Swat River in the distance.

The Lake and Surroundings: As you approach Daral Lake, the sight of this magnificent water body nestled amidst jagged boulders is a sight to behold. Lush green grass and vibrant flowers adorn the lake’s edges, and the presence of leaping and swimming frogs adds to the enchantment.

The blue, wavy water of the lake contrasts beautifully with the rugged mountain cliffs in the background. The vast pasture and grasslands surrounding the lake come alive during the summer, as various nomadic communities inhabit the area.

Daral Lake is ensconced by towering mountains on all sides, and not a drop of water escapes this expansive lake. While it may seem that Daral Lake is the source of the Daral river, the lake is, in fact, landlocked, making this notion appear implausible.

Trekking for about an hour from Daral Lake takes you to a small lakelet called Dand Ghara (Lake Edge), where nomads reside. A small mosque built by the nomads offers solace to trekkers, providing a place to rest and relish the serene surroundings.

A small stream flows from Dand Ghara to the roaring Daral river, and the journey back to Bahrain valley takes you through a deep gorge covered with lush conifer, pine, and cedar forests. The trail winds its way down to Bahrain valley, taking approximately eight to nine hours of relentless trekking. The picturesque landscapes and sights encountered on the way down will leave a lasting impression in your memory, offering moments of reflection and tranquility.

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