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Perched amidst the glacial alpine hills of the upper gorge of Kalam valley, the emerald green Mahodand Lake is being swarmed by tourists and nature enthusiasts from across the country soon after its access track was opened for transportation this season.
Known for its freezing water and abundance of trout fish, the lake is located in the Ushu Matiltan valley around 40 kilometres above Kalam.
Apart from a paradise-like vista of the 2-km long lake which snakes around the valley, tourists can feast their eyes on hundreds of big and small waterfalls, lush sceneries, meadows, clumps of pine and cedar trees, and snow-capped peaks in the distance.
“This is paradise for adventure seekers and nature lovers. I love the colour and noise of its water; especially the brooks gushing out of the small vales around the lake,” says Jibran Khan, a tourist from Multan who visited the lake with his family.
The beauty of the lush greenery around the lake is further embellished by pink and yellow flowers.
“I was walking around the lake to enjoy the serenity and the wild beauty of the plants when I stumbled across a spot where birds were chirping among small pink flowers. It was magical. Every Pakistani must come and enjoy the unharmed beauty here,” says Mrs Ibrar, a tourist from Peshawar.
There is no hotel or proper building near the lakeside, but local residents of the valley have installed tents to serve tourists. Visitors can also enjoy boat and horse rides at the lake.
You have to put in a lot of effort to reach this beautiful space: tourists have to make their way to the lake in a 2-hour trek in a powerful 4x4 jeep.
“Many other tourists want to visit here but they cannot," says Noor Nawab, a local restaurant owner who has been in business for the last fifteen years.
"Normal vehicles or cars cannot survive the bumpy and rough road. Only those who have 4x4 vehicles or can hire one can reach here. If the government constructs a proper road so that cars and normal vehicles reach here easily, it will really boost the tourism industry,” he says, adding that with the increase of tourists many other locals will also get job opportunities.
On a ten-minute walk above Mahodand Lake, there is another beautiful, but smaller lake known as the Saifullah Lake.