Shangla district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is known for many things, including its scenic tourist destinations, lush meadows, thick forests and its association with the Gandhara civilisation.
Last year, the provincial tourism department had declared three points in the mountainous region, namely Pir Sar, Takht Behram Khan and Kapar Banda, tourist attractions which attracted many a traveler.
However, there are still numerous areas in the region which remain unexplored.
One of the hidden treasures buried deep within the valley is Jenako Maidan, located a few miles from Pir Sar which is speculated to be the last site for Alexander’s last siege which took place in April 326 BC.
Jenako Maidan, and the forests surrounding the area, are located at a height of 8,200 feet above sea level on the right side of the bank of River Indus, opposite Thakot. The site is only accessible via jeep through a road from Chakesar.
It is only after bearing three hours of travel in a 4x4 jeep that one manages to finally manage to reach close to Jenako Maidan. From there, the elusive site calls for a two hour-journey winding between thick forests.
Speaking to Dawn.com, local Muhammad Tahir says that the name Jenako Maidan is Pashto for a playground used by young girls.
“It is truly a sight to behold during summer. Residents of Shangla district come to the area in droves for picnics and cricket matches,” he says.
Further, a large number of groups visit the area from Chakesar to hold Iftar parties during Ramazan, he adds.
Fazal Mabood, a nature lover, says that he is visiting Jenako Maidan for the very first time.
"I am in awe. I was not expecting such beauty and breathtaking scenery as well as the hospitality of locals,” he says.
But while locals are welcoming, hospitable and cooperative, they are of the opinion that the government should extend the Pir Sar road project to include Jenako Maidan which would in turn help in alleviating their miseries.
Currently, Jenako Maidan and Pir Sar can be accessed by hiking from Dandai and Cherh in Bisham tehsil.
Header image: The view from Jenako Maidan. — Photo by author