Exploring Lake Saiful Malook

Dr. Muhammad Shahbaz

The writer is research fellow at University of Cambrdige, UK and Professor at Biejing Institue of Technlogy China.

Pakistan is blessed with the most beautiful sceneries around the world. There is a worth seeing place known as Kaghan valley with wonderful weather, sceneries, fruits, lakes, rivers, mountains, etc. Lake Saiful Malook is named after a legendary prince of Persia who fell in love with a princess named Badi-ul-Jamal.

To reach this marvelous lake, one has to reach the beautiful capital city Islamabad and then Mansehra. On the Karakoram Highway, the Babusar top road will lead straight towards the Naran Kaghan Valley. Tourists can visit the Lake Saiful Malook by hike or jeeps. It is 10,580 feet high and it takes almost one hour to reach there.

The lake is the source of River Kunhar. Further, it provides a great view of the peak of Malika Parbat mountain. There is a vast amount of rain in this area each year so some trails will be washed away. As you reach near Saiful Malook, food stalls like pakoras, tea, and other general items like snacks, sweets can be seen there.

Lake Saif-ul-Malook is ranked as the fifth-best tourist destination in Pakistan and seems like heaven on earth.

The lake is kind of a bowl where multiple glacial waters accumulate. It has large eco-diversity which includes a rare brown trout fish, a bulk amount of blue-green algae and a variety of water-plants and phytoplankton.

Trout fishing is quite popular in Kaghan and Naran as well. The weather at Saif-ul-Malook remains quite pleasant during the summer season making it the best summer destination for a peaceful time away from urban life. The Malika Parbat peak is in the east of this lake, forming a mirror image in the lake.

Lalazar and Lake Saiful Malook are not the only attractions that Naran and Kaghan valleys offer. Only seven kilometers from Lake Saiful Malook, there is another tear-shaped lake known as Aansoo Lake. Apart from the Satsar Mala Lakes (Chain of Seven Lakes), there are other beautiful lakes in the region such as Lulusar Lake, Ratti-Galli Lake, Dudipatsar Lake and Saral Lake.

Babusar top and Noori top are two high-altitude trekking destinations in the area. At an elevation of 5,290 metres, Malika Parbat (Queen of Mountains) is the highest peak of Kaghan valley and is considered one of the most technical peaks above 5,000 metres. In recent years, it has caught the attention of domestic and foreign climbers.

The legendary story of Lake Saif-ul-Malook is penned by the Sufi poet Mian Muhammad Bakhsh in the form of poetry. Prince Saif-ul-Malook was the only child of the great Egyptian king Asim bin Sufwan. His father once gifted a sovereign stamp to his son. The prince used to look at the two pictures that were inscribed on it. The stamp happened to be a family heritage as the Prophet Suleiman.

Later, the prince noticed the two pictures as one of him and the other was the beautiful dame who were eternal gorgeous. Saiful Malook falls in love with that maiden at first sight. When father came to know about that maiden and his love for her, he sent his guards and knights in search of her but all return unsuccessful.

Later one night, the prince saw that maiden in his dream and she introduced herself as the Queen of Fairies Badi-u-Jamal and the prince at once set out in search of her. He met a saint who told him how he could find the fairy and the hurdles he would face before because she was a fairy and the prince was a human.

The prince started the journey with courage and valiance and his journey turned into spiritual explorations. He saw a lake surrounded by sky-high mountains that they seemed to touch the sky and the shimmering water of the lake looked emerald-green in the silvery moonlight.

Prince Saif-ul-Malook felt himself in the heavens after undaunted and tiring struggle for consecutive six years. After talking to her, Saif came to know that she was trapped in a castle at Koh Qaf by Safaid Deyo (white giant) for the past ten years. The white giant was also in love with the fairy. After listening to the story of the fairy queen, Saif tried to escape from this valley with her. When the white giant came to know, he created turbulences out of anger in this lake resulting in a flood in Kaghan Valley.

They hid in a cemetery a few miles away from Naran, but due to the flood both took shelter in a cave near the lake. Legend has it that the Ansoo Lake was created out of the tears of the white giant when he found out that the fairy was gone. According to the classic fable, the prince and the fairy queen still live in that cave and dance above the water’s surface on the 14th night of every lunar month.

Rezwanullah, School of Management and Economics, at Beijing Institute of Technology also contributed to this article.

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