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Swat valley is genuinely blessed with natural beauty. History says the Greeks put up a good fight intending to capture the beauty of Swat while the Buddhists populated this valley because they felt captivated by its lasting beauty and peace. The Mughals were spellbound to see the lush green fields of the valley. Nowadays, the Pathans, the Kohistanies, and the Gujars have an ordinate ambition to possess this valley. More than a thousand years back continuously thriving valley of Swat was home to such people who were well-established and used to live in spectacular towns of Swat valley.
In 327 B.C., Alexander of Macedonia made a forceful attack on this region, causing defeat to the Hindu King, and did not stop there. Still, he incessantly did away with guerrilla resistance at that time. He assaulted the fortress at Ora or Aornos, now known as Udegram, thought impenetrable in those days. He wanted to teach them a lesson and make other kingdoms believe that it was the best policy to stop resisting opponents.
History of Buddhism in the Valley:
It is believed that Buddhism reached its topmost point in the valley during the Kushan era in the second century A.D. Many workmates, churches, and stupas were built in the valley, and then it became like Texila, a holy place for pilgrims from China and Tibet. During this time, the whole area was already experiencing a decline.
It saw a dark age due to constant attacks of uncivilized crowds initiated in the 5th century. These assaults had a long-lasting effect on the whole area for an extended period. Buddhism surrendered to Hinduism, which got transformed into Islam in the tenth century. Babar failed in establishing his hold over this land, and Sikhs, after the Babar rule, could only manage to lead the area with much difficulty. When British people came there to rule the area, peace was witnessed by the site.
Ashes of Buddha:
As a reward for his right supporting role, the Akhund of Swat got the upper half of the valley, Kohistan, to administer it. It remained an independent political agency until July 1969. We also like to tell you about Butkara Stupa Excursion, having been built in the second century B.C. by Mauryan Emperor Ashoka to the house of some of the ashes of Buddha.
It was enlarged five times later by adding new shells around the original stupa, with each stupa completely enclosing the old one inside it. Later on, almost 215 stupas were built around the main stupa, furnished with schist columns, loins with curly manes, eagles, lilies, cupids, and lotus flowers. Simultaneously, some of the best stone carvings were removed from museums around the world.
Mingora Bazar is 1030 meters above sea level. It is a large town with paved streets, rows of bazaars, shops, banks, hotels, restaurants, and an airport. It is a business and commercial center. The town of Mingora is famous for hunting handicrafts such as gemstones, jewelry, waistcoats, belts, embroideries, and weapons.
A Trip To Madyan and Bahrain
If you go towards Kalam and drive along the Swat River, you will find the valley continuing green fields on your journey. The road is not difficult with traces of efforts to block it.
The former name of the upper Swat is Kohistan. You will find many tribes in this area, including Utrot, Ushu, and Kalam, who are Bushkaris and the Torwalis living in far-off regions of the south part of the region. The latter has sufficient ability to use the sling. The people of the tribe of Bushkaris did not have forts, but they made their villages, so that was enough to give them security and protection from the enemy. Their buildings have flat rooftops built on the same level as the floor of one above it. There was a maze of passages inside the villages through which a stream would run. Those were the houses made of wood, and enclosed villages were built without parapets, perhaps for their security.
Torwalis and Bushkaris:
Torwalis and Bushkaris had the same belief as alike ancient Persians and the Minions of Crete, according to which the world rested on a cow’s horns that caused earthquakes when it shook its head from time to time because of the sins of its dwellers. The fact is that they are still a believer in such stories that contain the power of prophecy on specific human beings. It is also a belief that people of upper northern highlands hold too.
This region was known as the land of fugitives in the middle ages. Gujar nomads were used to shuffling the north part of the area while being loaded with pots and pans, cattle, sheep, goats, chickens, dogs, and horses. Women carry large baskets over their heads while lifting their babies in their arms. They get dressed in fanciful fabrics. They also use heavy jewelry. Their bodies are usually powerful, and they look gorgeous.
You will find it alongside the road, diverging it into different paths, including Kabul, where you will see 18 whole gulf courses at 870 meters open throughout the year. Further on, another road gets cut east to Malam Jabba, 2600 meters above sea level. Australia’s government expressed willingness to offer help in setting up a ski resort here.
Malam Jabba emerged as one of the world famous ski resort:
Now Malam Jabba is on the way to get transformed into a hill station for travelers, diplomats, and government officials for their paying visits to those areas. Experts thought that was very small for a ski resort, but the mountains were not sufficiently high. The snow was also not in an adequate amount to be visible to people touring the valley.
Khwazakhela is an important town, 26 kilometers away from it. You will find a road from this town to Beshum, which is a small village eastward. The main route continues to Madian 26 Kilometers away. Still, ahead of reaching the latter, you come across another road branching east to Miandam that is almost ten kilometers away from the main route.
Madam is a charming village and is considered a very eye-catching area of Swat. In this beautiful area, you find very super hikes up the mountains, which are in reality along the stream there. At Miandam, the valley becomes very beautiful, and at the loftiness of 1320 meters, Madian is a famous town because of its beautiful areas. It is good news for you that you will get a good variety of hotels giving you accommodations in line with your desires with many facilities. These accommodations will be alongside streams, slopes and ridges, and high-ups into the mountains. It would help if you observed care while boiling water from Bahrain and Kalam to be away from a troubling situation.
Bahrain is a very developed area which you can find almost at a distance of ten kilometers. You will be particularly aware of the fact that it is there that you will begin to find the road significantly rougher. On the banks of your route, you see many mountains to the side of the river. We would tell you that this is a beautiful area for tourists who are fond of significant archaeological finds. You will get to see one trail cutting off to the left, 13 kilometers away from Bahrain. You will see a rock carving of the Buddha on the cliff on the area’s high-ups. It would be best if you went up to see it. Kohistan is an area ahead of Bahrain where Bushtun tribes give way to Torwalis and Bushkaris.
The valley gets widened when you are close to the area of Kalam when you are 26 kilometers away from Bahrain. Kalam is at 2100 meters, and it is portioned into two sections. The upper one contains offices of administrative bodies and police stations. This area has expensive dwelling places. This area slopes down gradually while terminating in a sharp drop to the main roadway and river.
Cultural changes from south to north parts:
Because of its cultural terms, the upper area of Swat belongs to the northern region because of the architecture of the old mosques and carvings of wooden pillars, window frames, and doorjambs indicate. You will not find any road from there to Chitral or Gilgit. The strong northern cultural influence must have filtered in along the food trails. This region is called a boundary marker for the cultural changes from its south to north parts.
Kalam is an area of Swat that has a serene atmosphere all day. You will experience cold during the time of night. If there is a clear day and you are in this area, we would tell you that you have the opportunity to see the high mountain, the name of which is Falaksair, and the loftiness of which is 5978 meters. You will observe snowy upper slopes in the northern parts of the valley while the peak is above the area’s green forests. You will see the river flowing just across the old mosque of this town.
When the Swat River gets spilt, the route goes west to the Utrot 2225 meters and east to Ushu. Grabal valley is to be found to the northwest of Utrot which is a very beneficial point for fishing. Towards the northwest, you will find the valley of Ushu which is at 2286 meters. This valley also has fishing streams. Going upwards from Ushu, you can catch a glimpse of the mountain Falaksair. Trekking trails begin from right here, leading you to Dir, Chitral, and Gilgit.
You should bear this point in your mind that police and other authorities do not allow you to start trekking until such time that you do not have a guide with you. You will get a bus service between 8 am and 2 pm. There are some hotels in this area, but many of them are deficient in many facilities. We would tell you that this would be just a futile exercise bearing positive results if you started trekking alone. Because, if you do that, you will have to come back while facing a lot of disappointment.
Things to Do, While You are in the Valley Of Swat
If you have not gone to Swat ever, then we must assume that you are a person who has not seen the spellbinding area of Pakistan as yet. Perhaps you are not aware that Swat valley is such an area of Pakistan that people depict it as Switzerland of the East.
The Valley of Swat is a pleasure for tourists in the real sense of the word. This valley is gifted with many beautiful areas to hold all admirers of natural scenes in the world. Bustling rivers, waterfalls, winding streams, glacial lakes, pine forests, alpines meadows, snowy peaks of Mankial and Falksair, fruit-filled orchards, enormously green fields, and water-filled mountain slopes in addition to friendly people full of hospitality for every Tom, Dick, and Harry.
Streams & Waterfalls of the Valley:
There are many attractions for people in Swat valley, especially Kalam, Mohodand Lake, Malam Jabba, Takht-i-Bahi, Saidu Sharif, White Palace, Ushu Forest, Mingora, and Buddha Stupas are some picnic points holding primary importance in the sight of travelers all over the world.
The Swat Valley with the Swat River is found in the area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. There is a green forest around this valley. Not only this, but you will also get to see a massive group of Hindu Kush with many streams and waterfalls. Mingora and Saidu Sharif are significant districts in Swat. It would help if you also were mindful that it is the third-largest city in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Most popular places to visit in Swat
There are various places you must visit when you are in the Valley of Swat. Fiza Gart Park is also the most popular picnic site of the Swat Valley to offer you a lot of amusement. The foods provided to you in Fiza Gart Park are very delicious, and you would admire their taste. Milton is also an excellent picnic point in the area to hold your attention. It is 11 kilometers away from the Kalam Valley.
You must prepare yourself to pay a visit to some important points of beauty for real amusement. We suggest to you a list of famous places in Swat so that you visit them preferably.
Kalam valley is an important visiting point in the valley of Swat. We suggest that you make up your mind to visit this valley to amuse yourself in a precise manner. Kalam is 99 kilometers north of Mingora, and travelers term it as paradise. Profuse and copious green hills, thick forests, natural lakes, and grasslands generally surround the valley of Kalam. The birthplace of the Swat River is Kalam valley, while two major rivers are Gabriel and Ushu. You will find a good number of hotels in this valley to spend your nighttime. It is here that you can get the opportunity to enjoy the cold weather in the neighborhood of Swat River.
One more eye-catching site of Swat is Malam Jabba. It is the only Ski resort in Pakistan. If you want to go to Malam Jabba from Islamabad, you would have to cover 314 kilometers, and if you are desirous to go there from the airport of Saidu Sharif, then it is a must for you to cover 51 kilometers. Malam Jabba is a top-rated hill station in the Hindukush area. The spellbinding mountains of Malam Jabba are a great attraction for tourists in addition to its amazing skiers. Malam Jabba Alpine Ski World Cup is the annual activity of the area. A good number of skiers participate from all over the world.
The road leading to Malam Jabba is covered with many beautiful scenes. When you are in Malam Jabba, many facilities in your area are at your disposal, and it is for this reason, we suggest you visit this area on a priority basis.
Bahrain is one more attractive point of interest for tourists when they are in the valley of Swat. This area is named Bahrain because of the mingling of the Daral and Swat Rivers. It is famous for its riverside resorts, local handicrafts, and Daral and Saidgai Lakes’ views. The travelers usually feel drawn to this place just because there are many fantastic lakes in this area of Bahrain. In addition to the numerous lakes, its weather is delightful. The winter in Bahrain is enormously cold.
You will find the incredible Kundole Lake in the vast mountains of Hindu Kush. It is a lake that captivates thousands of backpackers. There are many snow-capped mountains around Kundol Lake in the northern Utror Valley, a copious green forest. Tourists have a lot of fun due to the fabulous weather when they camp by the lake due to the many trees’ presence. They put the lens to use to capture the night scenes.
Kendal Lake is said to be 9,950 feet above sea level. We would suggest to you that you should visit this area in the summer because it is just in summer that you will enjoy yourself here a lot and have the option to fish and sail. In winter, the road going to this lake is closed because of the enormous snow.