Lake Saif-ul-Malook, remains one of the widely visited tourist destinations in the country. Each year, thousands of tourists from across the breadth of the country climb up their way to witness this magical glacial lake in the Kaghan Valley.
Sitting at a height of approximately 10,580 Feet above sea level, Saif-ul-Malook is a close to the tourist resort of Naran in the Kaghan Valley and is located some eight kilometers from the hill station and can only be reached through a sturdy four-wheel-driven jeep or on foot.
The breathtaking view of the emerald green lake with snow clad peaks in the foreground, gives it the unique mystical appearance which has continued to mesmerize tens of thousands of people in the course of its existence.
Lake Saif-ul-Malook is a glacial lake formed by the movement of mammoth glaciers over the period of thousands of centuries. Kaghan Valley is known to have been a part of the greater Pleistocene Period better known as the Ice Age and dates back almost 300,000 years when much of the strata were covered with heavy sheets of ice.
Later, with the rising temperatures and receding glaciers, the large depression under the colossal weight of the glaciers, turned into a lake with substantial amount of fresh water from the melting glaciers. The lake boosts of rich eco diversity and holds large species of blue-green algae and is home of the famous Trout fish.
The Guardian rated Saif-ul-Malook as the top five Tourist destination in Pakistan. Valley’s highest peak, The Malika Parbat is located in the back drop of the lake-a mere few hundred yards and has a height of more than 17,000 feet approx. The Kaghan Valley is part of the western-most off-shoot of Himalayas which is the highest mountain range in the world.
Saif-ul-Malook, due to its breathtaking and mystical appearance, has been a source of numerous fairy tales in the course of time. The lake is known to have been first discovered by a Persian prince Saif-ul-Malook who stumbled on the eye-popping beauty while on his way to adjacent Kashmir.
He immediately fell in love with the place and the lake also derived its name after the prince. Punjab’s famous Sufi Poet and writer, Sufi Muhammad Bakhsh also wrote an account of Prince’s travel to the region and a mythical story of fairies that come down at the lake during full moon.
He also wrote about an incident where the prince actually fell in love with one of the fairies. Sufi’s narration has added the indispensable and unique fantastical atmosphere to the lake thus making it one of the most frequently visited tourist resorts in the country.
The lake can be visited from start of June all through the mid-way September. It takes eight hours to reach Naran from Islamabad on the Mansehra-Balakot and Kaghan road and a further 45 minutes to the reach the lake via four-wheel driven jeeps. For those who would be willing to accept the challenge of trekking all the way to the lake will have to be prepared for a steep hike of at least four hours and can be approached through several shortcuts visible alongside the road.
The lake freezes in winters and gradually starts melting on the onset of spring not later than the start of May. There are several treks beyond the lake which takes one to several other scenic destinations of the valley including Ansoo Lake and Lalazar.