"The tree may live for a hundred years, while the bird will perch in it for only one night."—Pashto proverb
The winds of winter have not yet left Mingora, but the gradual arrival of spring is palpable; the valley is engulfed in an array of colours, accompanied by a sweet aroma of freshly bloomed flowers.
The arrival of spring has brought with it a blossoming of apricots, plums, peaches and pears, neatly cultivated in lush green orchards and fields for as far as the eye can see. The seasonal bloom of mustard is all around.
Every year, a myriad of colours and its various hues, temporarily frozen in time, attract a multitude of tourists and visitors from around the country.
"Swat valley is unique because it offers different views in different seasons for tourists of different natures. All the four seasons of the valley are gifts as its winter, autumn, summer and spring give a look to soothe mental and spiritual feelings," says Mutasarif Khan, a nature lover and tourist, who was busy capturing photos of the newly blossomed plum trees in the Ghalegey area.
"We came here to see the snow-covered mountains and enjoy snow-related activities in Malam Jabba. But when we saw the charming views of orchards with multi-coloured flowers growing along both side of the roads, we decided to give one day to take in these magical scenes," Anees Ahmad and Tauqeer Khan declared, two tourists from Rawalpindi.
They said that the Swat valley was unique and enchanting, where tourists can find many things to do and see.
A Lahore based tourist, Inam Khalid, who was taking photos of the mustard blooms in the Takhtaband area says, "Photography is my passion and to quench my thirst I frequently visit the northern parts of Pakistan, including Swat, the Manshera region, Hunza and Gilgit Baltistan."
He continues, "But I spent most of my time in Swat valley because I enjoy capturing the snow-filled mountains. Here, I capture the true colours of spring."
Tourists and locals say that each season, with its own weather and scenery, is a visual treat for those who love nature.
"These days the white, pink, blue and yellow flowers silently sit in the forefront of snow covered mountains. The view is guaranteed to invoke a sense of spirituality in any human mind that yearns for the satisfaction of the soul," says Ibrar Khan, a resident of Shingerdar Ghalegey area.
Khan adds, "When people talk about the beautiful landscape of the Swat valley, what automatically comes to mind are not only the stunning views and the pleasant weather. Bur rather, an experience that goes beyond just the two."
Tourists invite others to visit the valley and enjoy the colourful charms of the valley's scenery that will likely capture one's memories forever. For when winter seems too long, the splendour of Swat's bloom makes the wait for spring easier.