Swat valley is such a magnificent piece of heaven on the lovely planet which is located along the River Swat in the province of Khyber Pakthunkhwa, Pakistan. Formerly being a princely state that was dissolved in 1969, Swat valley is known today the home of Pashtuns. This region of Pakistan has been inhabited for more than two thousand years and was known in ancient times as Udyana.
The earliest settlers of the Swat valley were invaded by Alexander the Great in 327 BC. The Buddhists also settled in the Swat valley who occupied Valley Swat around the second century BC. In the fifth century, the same area was come under the domination of the White Huns who ruled the Swat Valley for about four hundred years. In the beginning of the eleventh century AD, Mahmud of Ghazni, a ruler of the Ghaznavid dynasty, marched through Dir and into Swat Valley, and defeated the local ruler, Gira. Later on, mainly the Seat valley remained under the occupation of several Pashtun tribes. After many centuries, in 1926 the Swat Valley became a princely state (a nominally sovereign entity of British rule in India that was not under direct administration of the British, but was managed by an Indian ruler under a form of indirect rule). When the partition of the Indian sub continent took place in 1947, the ruler yielded the Swat Valley state to Pakistan while at the same time keeping significant autonomy. In 1969 the state of Valley Swat was abolished and fell under the civil administration of the government of Pakistan.
Swat lies in the lap of mountain ranges, which are the offshoots of Hindukush, so the larger part of Swat is covered with high mountains and hills. The ranges run irregularly: some to the west while the others to the east, but the general direction is north-south. The ranges enclose small valleys.
Formerly the summer palace of the Wali of Swat, The White Palace of Swat has a peaceful location on a hillside with beautiful ponds and running water. The rooms are comfortable with a good view of beautiful mountain scenery for nature lovers to enjoy. There’s also a walking trail behind the hotel that makes White Palace a quite, tranquil place to enjoy the natural beauty of Swat.
Malam Jabba is situated 314 km from Islamabad and 51 km from Saidu Sharif Airport. Malam Jabba is surrounded by the incredible scenic views. This is truly a fairytale land filled with lush green meadows and amazing slopes. The fragrance of pine trees which are thickly grown here adds to the beauty of this area. The mighty peaks of the Hindu Kush Mountains create a magical atmosphere in Malam Jabba. The ski slope of the Malam Jabba Ski Resort is of about 800 m with the highest point of the slope 2804 m (9200 ft) above sea level.
Swat Museum is located on main Mingora-Saidu Sharif road. Swat museum has a huge collection of Gandhara sculptures from the Buddhist sites in Swat. The original museum was constructed by DOAM with the contribution of the Wali Swat and the Italian Mission in 1958, when a twin Museum was inaugurated in Rome (Museo Naziolae d’Arte Orientale). The present building of the museum was constructed in various phases. The structure was severely damaged both by the 2005 earthquake and by a huge tragic bomb blast that occurred in February 2009. The museum is currently closed for repair and restoration. In other rooms are pre-Buddhist artefacts, and an ethnographic gallery with traditional carved Swati furniture, jewellery and some wonderful embroideries.
Kalam is known for its waterfalls, lakes and lush green hills, and is a 270 km drive from Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. It is a popular destination for tourists. Kalam, is the most beautiful part of the Swat valley. The galaxy of about 150 hotels, land of water falls, lakes, pastures, site of hiking and glaciers, having all the latest facilities of the modren age. Surrounded by lush green mountains, covered with forests and vegetation, diverse and old cultural values to witness and above all, friendly and hospitable people. Strawberries are found every where in the forests of Kalam. Don’t forget to have a treat of it. See you there at the top of the mountains.
Mahodand valley, which lies in the north of Kalam, is famous not only among nature lovers, and escapists but also among trout fishers. The valley can be accessed through an un-metalled road from Kalam in a 4×4 vehicle. The road is bumpy and tricky, with small hamlets scattered in the mountains.
Bahrain lies at a distance of seven miles from Madyan. The meaning of its name is “two waters”. It is situated at the confluence of Daral and Swat rivers. Because of two rivers the atmosphere of Bahrain is always pleasant. The tourists visit here throughout the year.
Madyan is the last village of Swat valley which is also an important tourist destination and located at the height from sea level 1,320 m and about 55 km from Mingora. Antique and modern shawls, traditional embroidery, tribal jewellery, carved wood and antique or reproduced coins are sold in the bazars of Madyan and along the main street.
Swat valley is also home to many waterfalls and natural lakes. Actually, the brilliant and glorious colors of Swat valley are incomplete without mentioning some of the significant lakes of Swat valley. Pari Lake is a lakes which is located at a very high altitude at the foot of the tallest peak in the range and it is located to the north-east of Utror valley and can be accessed only by trekking. Kundal Lake is situated to the north of Utror valley. It can be accessed from Kalam via Utror from where a link road ends in a green valley called Ladu in the foothills of the lake.
Bashigram Lake is situated to the east of Bashigram valley near Madyan. The road to this valley is partly metaled and can be plied by a four by four or any ordinary vehicle. Spin Khwar is a beautiful lake hidden in the lap of mountains towards the north of Kundal Lake and east of Utror valley. Daral lake is situated to the northeast of Sidgai Lake and can be accessed through Saidgai after two three hours rigorous trekking.