Saidgai Lake: A Himalayan Gem in the Upper Dir District, Pakistan

Nestled within the breathtaking Ushirai Dara of Upper Dir District in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, Saidgai Lake, also known as Saidgai Dand, is a hidden alpine wonder. At an elevation of 11,500 feet (3,500 meters) above sea level, this lake is a jewel in the highlands. During the hot months, the temperature hovers around 5°C to 10°C, making it a haven for tourists from Dir and other regions, particularly during June, July, and August. For the rest of the year, the lake remains shrouded in a pristine blanket of snow.

Saidgai Lake marks the boundary of Dir Upper and Swat. It stands as one of the most enchanting lakes in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, drawing adventurers who are captivated by its astounding beauty. Nestled amidst towering mountains that separate Dir and Swat valleys, the lake can be reached from both valleys through various access routes.

Location of Sadgai:

Saidgai Lake is situated in the hilly expanses of Usherai Dara in Upper Dir. It’s reachable by foot, about 7-8 hours away from Usherai Darra. Geopolitically, the area falls under Dir Upper’s administration, claimed by residents of both Dir and Swat. Surrounded by snowy mountains and pastures, the lake measures approximately 1 kilometer in length and half a kilometer in width. Its waters flow into streams, ultimately joining the Panjkora River of Dir.

As one of Pakistan’s highest lakes, it is fed by glacier water and spans about 1.5 kilometers in length and 1 kilometer in width, with an average elevation of about 10,000 feet. The lake is enveloped by towering mountains on three sides, while the Usherai Khwar, a small torrent stream, rushes down the valley on the fourth side.

Access to Sadgai Lake

Access to Saidgai Lake is possible via three different trails and sides: Hushirai Valley in Dir, Sulatanr in Upper Swat, and Lalko in Upper Swat. The Lalko trail, leading through a village of the same name, stands out as the easiest and most picturesque route in terms of accessibility and natural beauty. An unmetalled road concludes in the stunning Lalko valley, where your trekking adventure begins.

Over the course of seven to eight hours, you’ll trek through dark green pine, conifer, and cedar forests, with small streams quenching your thirst. Along the way, you’ll encounter the breathtaking Gabina Jaba (Honey Marshes) – a highland of pastures and grasslands. During April and May, this area is blanketed in countless varieties of colorful flowers, attracting diverse species of birds and insects.

The ascent to Saidgai Lake is challenging but rewards trekkers with stunning landscapes and panoramas that soothe tired nerves and bodies. Lalko Spring, found on the way to Saidgai, adds an extra layer of allure with its therapeutic effects. The spring, located at the base of tall rugged mountains, is a gathering place for patients seeking relief in its cool and healing waters.

Saidgai Lake, situated at a high altitude, is best explored during the months of July to September when the surrounding snow has melted, revealing its pristine beauty. During other times, it remains concealed under a thick snow cover.

Considered one of the largest lakes in the area, Saidgai attracts adventure enthusiasts seeking to uncover the natural marvel. The splendid company and availability of essential trekking gear enhance the joy of this extraordinary journey. Unspoiled nature accompanies you at every step, and the glistening water of the lake, stirred by cool gusts of wind, etches precious memories that will soothe your senses for eternity.

Hiking Routes to Saigai Lake:

Saidgai Lake can be reached through three different trails and sides: Ushirai Dara, Upper Dir (the shortest route, approximately 6 hours by foot), Sulatanr (Roringar Valley), Upper Swat, and Lalko (Gabina Jabba), which takes about 10 to 12 hours by foot. From Chitkarai, the distance on foot is roughly 4-5 hours.

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