Alpine lakes

Those who have taken the chance to brave the unruly mountainous terrain in the Northern Areas must have seen at least a few of the Alpine lakes in the area.

Two-hour away from Gilgit, situated in surprisingly cool and green meadow, Nultar is at 2,880 meters and heavily wooded. A one-hour jeep ride from Nultar village takes to a mysterious Nultar Lake, the colour of which emanates from the bottom. Few visitors realize that Nultar Lake is just the beginning of the wonderful Nultar highlands.

There are four more lakes of different colours above Nultar Lake: one cobalt-blue, one emerald, one turquoise and the last one at the highest altitude (3,550 meters) is grey and turbid due to glacial melt. The five lakes are connected underground, and the originally turbid water is naturally filtered and becomes clean, successively supplying the other lakes from the highest to the lowest.

Two lakes are situated near Dalsangpa – idyllic place at 4,150 meters that reflect a spectacular view of the dominating Masherbrum (7,821 meters). Translated as “an island of flowers” in Balti language, Dalsangpa is filled with alpine flowers in early August. Literally every grass blooms with its own flower. Among them, biebersteinia odora, called Horoos in Balti, is the most famous because of its strong fragrance.

Lack Shaucer is situated near Deosai. The deep blue Shaucer Lake, nestled in the pass, offers picture-book scenery. The view looking northward is of the endless series of peaks of the Karakoram Range, and to the south stands the 8,000 meters plus giant Nanga Parbat. Shaucer Lake is the most impressive part of the Deosai.

Off the beaten track, up in the upper Hunza Valley, is another lake Sheosar. This place offers beautiful views of distant peaks and a panoramic view of Deosai Plains. At Bara Pani, one may spend hours in a hope to watch a Bear.

North of Pasu glacier are Pasughar and Borit Lakes. Incredible peaks poked up from behind ridges, allowing sightseers to see nearly a dozen of the 100 tallest mountains in the course of one day.

Beyond Babusar Pass near Gittidas is the 11,000 feet high Lulusar Lake out of which river Kunhar issues anew with redoubled strength to flow down the valley first as placid blue stream and then a roaring torrent until it joins the River Jhelum. Lulusar has very enchanting beauty and its view remains in the mind of any one for a long time. Mohodand Lake is another beautiful lake about fifty kilometres from Kalam, the heart of the Swat valley.

And then there is a lake Saiful Muluk we are more familiar with; the Crown Prince of Persia hears about the beauty of the fairy Princess Badar Jamal – the daughter of king of Caucasus – and falls in love. The prince after wandering and hardships succeeds in winning the heart of Badar Jamal. The lake becomes the rendezvous where the lovers meet: contemplating matters of heart and their future together, hence the name.

With increase in tourism, lakes in the Northern Areas are becoming home to growing human activities: camping grounds and grazing fields. Visitors leave heaps of trash. Environmentalists think that carelessly growing human activities are destroying the environs of these heavenly spots on earth.

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