Naran Valley: A Paradise in the Mountains
When the ruthless heat of the sun touches the earth with a will to extinguish it in a blaze and the mercury hits highs of 110, it is appropriate time to depart from the confines of the plains and head towards the mountains in search of a reprieve. The weather in Lahore has been repetitive in its anger and starts to hit hard by the start of June every year. This year was particularly hard as the weather had taken a turn for the worse quite unexpectedly, having camouflaged its intentions under the veil of cool clouds and refreshing winds for a few weeks prior. In order to discover the soft touch of life again, we set off towards the mountains, on the eve of Friday the 16th of June. Our destination was Naran Valley.
Located in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, Naran Valley is home to lush green mountains, snow-covered peaks, a bustling bazar that cuts through the centre of the city and Riven Kunhar that flows beside the city, bestowing calm and serenity with its soothing sounds during the nights. The travel time from Lahore to Naran takes about 12 hours with a few stops in between for refreshments, but the actual delight is not in reaching the destination but rather finding the places hidden between the mountains on the way to the Valley. Hidden above the clouds in the comfort of mountains is Siri Paye and Shogran, meadows located at about 7,500 ft elevation from the sea level.
View from Siri Paye, as the majestic slope station overlooks mountain peaks at an altitude of more than 7,500 feet
The track to these points is not an easy one, and definitely not for the weak of heart, but when you stand there at the top of the world looking ahead into the distance at the snow-covered peaks in the distance, the journey and the troubles all seem to be worth it. The trek to Siri Paye is covered on jeeps available for rent near Kiwai Waterfall, which is a marvel in itself. Kiwai is a waterfall restaurant where seating arrangements have been made in the flowing water. so, just take of your shoes and immerse your feet in the cool water as you munch on fries and other local fried delicacies. The journey from Kiwai to Siri Paye is covered on rocky ground in the later half hence it is quite jolty, so it would be ideal to not be too full of food (or drinks) before getting on the ride. The jeep ride takes you right to the top of the mountain in about a hour and a half after which you are free to explore the meadows yourself or ride a hors accompanied by guide to the far end of the meadows. There are hotels available in Shogran, located halfway between the peak and the Kiwai Waterfall below where you can rest for a night before continuing onwards to Naran.
Muhammad Ali Abad is a 4th year MBBS student at King Edward Medical University, Pakistan. He describes himself as “a writer at heart and medic by profession, I strive to find a perfect balance between scalpel and pen that will help me heal others and myself, as well.”