Lake Katora, which means bowl-like in shape in Pashto, is named after its appearance. It is an alpine glacial lake located in both headwaters of Jahaz Banda, Kumrat Upper Dir Valley, and Utror Gabral Swat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The lake is fed by the surrounding waters of the melting glacier. It is one of the most beautiful lakes in the region, which is visited by adventure tourists every year in the summer season.
Katora Lake Elevation
Katora Lake, positioned at an elevation of 11,500 feet (3,500 meters) above sea level in Kumrat Valley, stands as a frozen high-altitude lake nestled amidst the upper Jahaz Banda Ranges within the Dir, KPK district. Its elevated location ensures a stunningly clear, greenish hue to the lake’s climate.
The name “Katora” derives from the Pashto word for “bowl,” aptly describing its bowl-shaped structure. Many wonder about the location of Katora Lake in Pakistan. To reach it, an initial 4 to 5-hour trek commences from Thal village to Jahaz Banda, where trekkers camp under the vast expanse of stars in Jahaz Banda Meadows. The subsequent day involves a 3 to 4-hour trek each way to reach the lake. A minimum of 4 days is recommended for exploring the lake when journeying from Lahore or Islamabad.
How to reach Katora Lake, Swat
It will take you about 7 hours to reach the Upper Dir, so if you leave the route late, your first stop should be in the Upper Dir. (you can easily find hotels there for a reasonable price of around 2000-3000 a night).
Moreover, from Dir, you have to go back about 8.8 km exactly where you would find “Bab-e-Kumrat” which will take you to Sheringal Town. (Approx. driving time 3:00 hrs.) The road is in relatively good condition, although there are a few bad patches.
From Sheringal it would take about 3-4 hours depending on the condition of your vehicle to reach the Thal (a sort of base camp for everything in this valley). The road condition here is also fine.
Riding Jeeps from Thal to Jahaz Banda Lake:
From Thal jeeps or 4×4 vehicles, you can reach the highest points of Taki Top, from where the actual trek beyond Jahaz Banda begins.
Accommodation or camping on Jahaz Banda Meadows:
You should stay overnight in the meadows of Jahaz Banda, it is a beautiful and peaceful place. Accommodation (tents and wooden rooms) can be easily found in this place.
Jahaz Banda Tariff
You should start early the next morning and if you are not familiar with the area, hire a guide/porter for a very minimal fare. And if you can’t trek, just hire a horse, it will take you pretty close to the lake in about (2000) round trip.
The beauty of the lake is mesmerizing, you will forget all the tiredness and worries.
Katora Lake (Jheel) Track Time:
No matter how strong you feel, you should always take a Jeep to Taki Top. From here the actual trek to Jahaz Banda Katora Lake starts which would take around 4-6 hours. Again, it depends on your own strength and endurance. The trek is steep and not recommended for families and children. You can also hire guides/porters from here if you want.
Temperature and Weather of Katora Lake
The best time to visit the Katora Lake trek is from June to October. Then heavy snowfall covered the entire lake trek from November to May. Check the season before visiting this place. The height or elevation of this lake is 11,500 feet (3,500 m) above sea level.
Jahaz Banda Dir Swat to Katora Lake Distance
You can visit Katora Lake when you are fresh and full of energy. Jahaz Banda to Katora Lake distance is about 4.5 km. In some places, it takes 3 to 4 hours to steep and straight. You will have to pass large and small round stones under your feet.
Distance between Kumrat Valley and Katora Lake:
Katora Lake’s distance from Kumrat Valley is about 22 km.
Kumrat to Takki top 1 to 1.5 hours trek by jeep.
Then 3 to 4 hours trek to Jahaz Banda.
Banda Meadows Boat:
This natural Jahaz Banda Meadows is a lush green and idyllic hill station in the upper reaches of the Kumrat Valley. Upper Dir District KPK, Pakistan at Jahaz Banda 3,100 m above sea level. It can be said the hidden gem of Pakistan. The valley has natural beauty, waterfalls, lakes and forests.
Jahaz Banda Trek:
First, the trek starts from Jandari town. Jandrai can be reached by 4×4 jeeps from Dir in 4-5 hours. In Jandrai, there is the renowned Raja Taj Muhammad, who is the essential contact for all tourists and tourists coming to explore the region.
Fares or jeep charges from Thall to Takki Top Jahaz Banda and back to Thall are between Rs 10,000 to 12,000 with a one or two-night stay at the Top. Takki Top to Jahaz Banda Trekking takes 3 to 4 hours.