Natural disasters cause catastrophe and irrevocable damage that makes inhabitants of a region suffer badly and sometimes it is just impossible to make up for the loss occurred. A similar incident occurred in Gojal, North of Pakistan in 2010. Nevertheless, damage occurred but what the disaster left behind is a peaceful memory of it which is recalled in good terms. Since it has provided natural beauty and helped the region to boost tourism and attract local and international tourists the lake that formed is well known in the country.
Attabad Lake, located in Gojal, Hunza Valley (North of Pakistan) was formed in Attabad Village in January 2010. Before it was just a mountainous terrain and village with residents living their lives within their community with less or no tourists from all over the country. Attabad Lake was formed due to massive landslide 14km upstream of Karimabad. At the time of its formation, the local residents had no idea that there would be a lake formed that would hold so much beauty and would become a famous destination for tourists. The lake connects the Hunza Valley to Sost Village. The beauty of this region is unique and one can easily guess this the moment you enter this region, the vegetation, the smell in the air, it’s all different. On who travels often can sense it easily. This lake, too, has a view that one of its kind. Unique, surreal, and mind blowing.
The Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA’S Earth Observing-1 (EO-1), satellite captured this natural color image of the landslide lake and its newly functioning spillway on July, 2010.
According to news reports, the lake displaced a lot of people and caused casualties too, but, with the passage of time, the inhabitants of this region started settling well. Presently, it is one of the very famous tourist destinations in Pakistan. Since then, a lot of revenue has been generated in this region due to the presence of this lake. There is also no doubt about the beauty of Hunza and Attabad Lake. The picturesque is amazing and one cannot get tired of admiring its exquisiteness.
Having shared the historical details of the lake, let me guide about the journey and share my story too. It is a 12 hours and 25 minutes journey by road from Islamabad, covering a distance of approximately 580km. The nearest airport is of Gilgit. From Gilgit airport, you can travel to Hunza by road. While traveling by road from Islamabad, the preferable route is using the Karakoram Highway via Mansehra- Naran- Jalkhad and Chilas Road. Quite often, there are multiple landslides during the journey that could add on the traveling time.
We started our journey from Lahore and it took us 36 hours to reach Hunza with a night stay at Chilas. On reaching Hunza, we stayed at Hotel Hill Top which is in the very famous area of Karimabad. The very next day, we left to visit some historical sites and go to Passu whereas on the way had a stopover at Attabad Lake. After seeing the lake, I believe it is too less time to visit this lake within a single day. To actually experience the beauty of this lake, you need to experience and observe it through diverse weathers. For instance, while the sun is shining, when it is raining, when it is cloudy, when it thunderstorms above the lake, in moonlight, at dawn, at dusk. I’m sure the lake would present a unique picture during every weather condition and time of the day. The blue shade of the lake is so clear and clean that it clearly shows reflection of the sky in the water.
This view point is from where you see the widespread view of the lake. Due to its expansive nature, one cannot view the lake completely standing at one point. You cannot even capture a picture of the lake completely while standing near to it because it is its hugeness and wideness that spreads over several kilometers. During winters, the lake is frozen, whereas in summers, its teal blue color gives a beautiful picturesque for travelers. The boat ride over the lake is something that you should do when vising Hunza. Since Attabad Tunnel has been constructed over the Attabad Lake by China, boating over the lake has been reduced.This is the huge sign that has been created by painting on the wall of the mountain from where the tunnel begins. It says “Long Live Pak China Friendship”.
We were visiting during March when the tourist season is off and the weather is quite cold, boating over the lake was discontinued and we had to cross the Attabad tunnel in order to cross the lake and go to the other side. The seven kilometers long five tunnels provide easy access to cross the lake through KKH. An interesting fact about boating over Attabad is that, they not only carry people and their belongings only, they could even bear the weight of heavy vehicles, enabling people to cross the lake and reach the other side of the Attabad Village.
Amidst the enormous mountainous terrain and under the clear blue sky, Attabad Lake offers a magical feeling of peace, serenity and calmness. Away from the city life, this site can soothe the mind and provide a sense of composure. Waterfalls can clearly be seen in the towering mountains surrounding the Lake. If you want to experience nature’s blessing to a region, do plan a visit to this lake and you will surely not regret. For me, visiting this lake is like a milestone achieved since I can feel the effect it has had on me. A sense of fulfilment and serenity.