Visit the ‘Katchura Lake’ along Shangrilla- heaven on earth!

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The Katchura Lakes are two lakes in the Skardu district of Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan. Both lakes have a walking distance of less than an hour in between. Lower Katchura Lake can be accessed without trekking but to see the Upper Katchura you need to trek since there’s no road for any vehicle to reach there.

Lower Katchura Lake is also known as the ‘Shangrilla Lake’, because of its close proximity to the famous Shangrilla Resort in Skardu. Shangri-la is a Tibetan word that means ‘heaven on earth’. So it wouldn’t be wrong if I call Katchura Lake as the lake along heaven on earth!

tibet hotelA lot of people who travel to Skardu usually stay in the Shangrilla Resort for its popularity but less might have experienced the hotels nearby. When I went to explore Skardu and visit this lake with a group in July 2016, I stayed at Tibel Hotel which I would suggest as a really good option to stay at. I wouldn’t recommend their food but for staying the place is good. Because if you stay other than Shangrilla resort, you get the see the night view of the resort which would otherwise not be possible if you stay in the resort. It is a mesmerizing sight during the day and of course at night as well when it’s lit up with their lighting. One can easily get a taxi from Skardu airport and reach this area in approximately 2 hours because it is an hour away from the city of Skardu. While sitting on the chair that you see in the picture above, I just cannot explain in words how beautiful the lake looked like. I sat there and wondered how lovely and attractive nature is and the spell that it creates on the onlooker. This is a view of the lake while sitting at Tibel Motel.

reflection in Katchura Lake

There are so many lakes in Pakistan and each one of them has its own beauty. Normally the lakes are in far-fetched areas where you can only reach after a lot of tiring traveling and physical exertion. What I found interesting about this Lake was the easy access to it. You do not need to hike or trek for long hours. So let me tell you if you are an elderly person who loves traveling or perhaps you’re a parent you has kids with you, you can travel to this place, easily. In fact very conveniently. Take a flight from Islamabad and take a taxi from Skardu airport and you could easily reach this place. Some hotels nearby Katchura Lake also provide pick and drop service. So this could be one of the best places to spend your vacations.

At night, our tour fellows had a mango party besides the lake, some of the fellows were busy capturing the night view of Shangrilla Resort and the lake, what I was doing was simply sitting beside the lake and enjoying the moment. I was kind of living the moment. I didn’t feel like doing anything, neither eating nor photographing. It was like all my senses were active and were experiencing this remarkable thrill and peace that could not let me bother about anything else around me. I achieved such peace of mind while observing the calm waters of the lake at night. I was wondering that the place was a perfect location for meditation and yoga since the serenity around it

In pictures, you cannot differentiate between the lake and the sky because of the clear reflection of the sky in the water. The serene environment around the lake is one experience that everybody could cherish. The lower Katchura is 70m in depth and surrounded by forests and trees of apricots and conifers, this region is famous for its fresh apples and apricots. Along the lake, you see the majestic snow-capped mountains covered with clouds usually. The weather in this region is very pleasant during summers and slightly cold during the night.

Katchura Lake

It is one of the best tourist destinations that I would recommend every traveler to pay a visit to at least once a lifetime. If you see this place for once, it is highly not possible that you wouldn’t crave to go again. The people are welcoming and very hospitable too. The best season or time of the year to see this lake is summer, specifically the months of June and July, when you have flights flying to Skardu. That is also this region’s tourist season when a lot of people from all over Pakistan visiting this area.

In our meals, we also had trout fish, which on should not miss as they have the desi ones cooked right in front of you. The food of the hotel was not really up to the mark, but you can always guide the cooks beforehand to prepare the meal of your choice according to your preferences. That was a mistake on our part. Different places have their unique taste and way of preparing meals, so either you accept their taste or you guide them with your preferences.

Moreover, people enjoy trekking up to the Upper Katchura Lake, which is itself beauty and exquisite in view. If you travel to see this lake, you can also go ahead to see the Deosai National Park which is itself a wonder to explore. A lot of travelers who plan to go to Deosai, come across this area and visit this place also.

Another interesting thing that you shouldn’t miss is boating in the lake. I didn’t opt for boating at Lower Katchura but there are motorboats and paddle boats at the Upper Katchura and boating a good activity at the Lower Kacthura too.

In a nutshell, Kachura Lake is should be a must on your list while you plan your excursion trip to Skardu, Paksitan. Better to plan and research about all the places before you visit. That would help a lot and would stir your interest to desperately see the place.

Saira Ali has graduated in Mass communication, studied photography from NCA and is currently pursuing her MPhil degree…

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