In the northern region of Pakistan lies Swat, often likened to the ‘Switzerland of the East‘ for its breathtaking natural beauty. Nestled within this picturesque landscape is Mahodand Lake, a truly unparalleled gem. The climate at Mahodand Lake in Kalam is idyllic for both leisure and travel.
Mahodand Lake, situated in Swat Valley, undeniably ranks among the world’s most stunning lakes. It owes its existence to the meltwater from glaciers and springs in the Hindu Kush mountains, giving rise to the Ushu Khwar, the primary left tributary of the Swat River.
Location of Mahodand Lake Kalam Swat
The lake is located 40 km from Kalam, in the Ushu Valley, which is part of the infamous Hindu Kush mountain range. The lake is 9,400 feet above sea level and extends over a length of 2 km. To reach this magical lake, you have to leave early in the morning as it takes about 3-4 hours to reach the lake.
Mahodand Lake is situated at an elevation of 2,865 meters (9,400 feet), nestled at the base of the Hindu Kush Mountains. It is enveloped by vast meadows, majestic mountains, and lush, dense forests. The lake’s shores are adorned with abundant pine trees and grassy pastures, making them an ideal camping spot during the summer months.
Route to Mahodand Lake
You can reach Mahodand Lake via metalled roads, but the majority of the journey is over rocky and gravel terrain. Access to the lake is typically facilitated by a four-wheel drive vehicle, which is commonly used for fishing and boating activities. It’s advisable not to use your own car for this trip, as the rough terrain can take a toll on it. Instead, it’s recommended to rent a jeep from the local market or ask the receptionist at your lodging in Kalam to arrange one for you.
Despite the less-than-ideal road conditions, the journey offers a multitude of breathtaking vistas that defy imagination. You’ll traverse through dense forests, drive alongside a river, and eventually wind your way through towering mountains, all within a 3-4 hour drive.
After navigating numerous twists and turns, Mahodand Lake suddenly comes into view, and it’s nearly impossible to tear your eyes away from its beauty. Adjacent to the lake, you’ll likely spot horses running gracefully. There is a well-prepared campsite for your convenience, and you can even rent a boat to explore the lake up close or simply relax by its shores.
If you’re fortunate enough and the clouds don’t obstruct your view, you might catch a glimpse of the highest peak in the valley, Falak Sher, standing at an impressive 19,416 feet, visible from the lake.
Weather of Mahodand Lake Kalam
During the winter season, Mahodand Lake is transformed into a frozen wonderland, blanketed by a thick layer of snow. As summer approaches, the lake’s basin becomes adorned with vibrant alpine flowers like geum, blue poppy, potentilla, and gentian. The surrounding area is enriched with diverse species of pinus trees, creating a haven for various wild birds. The lake itself is teeming with trout, providing an excellent fishing opportunity; however, it’s important to note that only licensed anglers are permitted to engage in fishing activities.
Many visitors are drawn to the lake for fishing and camping. The waters of Mahodand Lake are divided into numerous small and large streams that were once abundant with brown and rainbow trout, initially introduced by the former ruler of Swat State. Unfortunately, the fish population has dwindled significantly due to overfishing by locals relying on it for their daily livelihood. Illegal fishing methods, including electrocution, dynamiting, and the use of large nets, have further contributed to the decline in the fish population.
Tourism in Mahodand Lake Kalam
Despite its breathtaking beauty, Mahodand Lake has suffered from the adverse impact of tourism. The serene surroundings of the lake have been marred by the litter left by tourists, and the issue of garbage remains largely unaddressed. Therefore, if you plan to visit the lake, it’s highly recommended to bring a garbage bag with you and refrain from littering. For the more adventurous and responsible traveler, you can even take it upon yourself to collect as much trash as possible.
Furthermore, plans were outlined to transform the renowned Mahodand Lake in upper Swat into an international eco-tourism center, with an investment of 80 million rupees earmarked for this initiative.