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Swat valley's Mastij Lake is a piece right out of heaven

The lake is famous for its serene environment and how it seems to change form when viewed from different angles.
Updated Oct 12, 2019 09:34am

Nestled in between gigantic mountains and overlooked by ice-capped peaks at the back and a lush green meadow in the foreground, the Mastij Lake in Swat is a sight to behold.

Located in the far-flung mountains above the scenic Janshai meadows in Kalam valley, the lake is one of the hundreds of glacial lakes located at 13,081 feet above sea level and can be accessed through a scenic trek.

The Mastij Lake, in particular, is famous for its serene environment, turquoise water and how it seems to change form when viewed from different angles.

A lush green view of a hamlet in Janshai meadows.
A lush green view of a hamlet in Janshai meadows.

Tourists pose for photos in front of Mastij waterfall.
Tourists pose for photos in front of Mastij waterfall.

A stunning view of Mastij Lake beyond Janshai meadows.
A stunning view of Mastij Lake beyond Janshai meadows.

An enchanting view in Janshai meadows in Anakar valley.
An enchanting view in Janshai meadows in Anakar valley.

“This is a unique lake as it not only changes its shape from different angles but also changes the colour of its water. From some angles the water is clear blue, from the top it changes to a mirror-like reflection while from the front the water appears a turquoise blue,” said Faisal Saeed, a young trekker and medical student who recently visited the lake with a group of trekkers.

The lake can be reached after 10 hours of a tiresome trek but according to trekkers and tourists, the path is scenic and once one gets to the lake and sees it, it all seems worth the effort put in.

A stunning view of Mastij Lake beyond Janshai meadows in Anakar valley, Kalam.
A stunning view of Mastij Lake beyond Janshai meadows in Anakar valley, Kalam.

Trekkers and tourists pass through Anakar forest towards Mastij Lake.
Trekkers and tourists pass through Anakar forest towards Mastij Lake.

A stunning view of blue water river in Anakar valley, the starting point of the trek to Mastij Lake.
A stunning view of blue water river in Anakar valley, the starting point of the trek to Mastij Lake.

Trekkers and tourists are taking a break in Janshai meadows.
Trekkers and tourists are taking a break in Janshai meadows.

Trekkers and tourist pass through Janshai meadows towards Mastij Lake.
Trekkers and tourist pass through Janshai meadows towards Mastij Lake.

“Though the trek is very tough because of its long distance and steep terrain, it is a tourists’ paradise where nature lovers can enjoy lush green meadows with water running through them, thick forests with the sounds of birds chirping and some tall and gushing waterfalls,” says trekker Naseer Khan, adding that those who intended to visit the lake must be well-prepared.

Visitors to the lake say one must have proper camping and trekking equipment, food and a proper guide if they want to travel to the lake.

“I have visited about 10 lakes in the alpine zone of Swat valley and each lake has a different shape and colour. Mastij is one lake which seems to have a different shape from different angles as from one angle it looks square, from another it seems to be rectangular while my favourite is a heart shape which can also be seen from one angle,” Ziaullah Khan, another visitor to the lake, told Dawn.

Trekkers stay in local huts at Gujar Banr towards Mastij Lake.
Trekkers stay in local huts at Gujar Banr towards Mastij Lake.

Trekkers and tourists on the way to Mastij Lake.
Trekkers and tourists on the way to Mastij Lake.

Trekkers and tourists on the way to Mastij Lake.
Trekkers and tourists on the way to Mastij Lake.

Trekkers and tourists rest in scenic Janshai meadows.
Trekkers and tourists rest in scenic Janshai meadows.

Trekkers and tourists pass the scenic Janshai meadows towards Mastij Lake.
Trekkers and tourists pass the scenic Janshai meadows towards Mastij Lake.

Visitors enjoy the scenic beauty and serenity of Mastij Lake.
Visitors enjoy the scenic beauty and serenity of Mastij Lake.

An enchanting view of the serene Mastij Lake.
An enchanting view of the serene Mastij Lake.

Jubilant trekkers pose for a photo after reaching Mastij Lake.
Jubilant trekkers pose for a photo after reaching Mastij Lake.


All photos by author.