Saif ul Malook, the heaven on earth
Ranked by The Guardian as the fifth best tourist destination in Pakistan, it is heaven on earth. The greenish-blue crystal clear and freezing water, surrounded by giant glaciers, including Malika Parbat, reflects the beauty of the pristine lake
Nestled at the northern end of the Kaghan Valley near Naran and in the north east of Mansehra district of Khyber Pakhtunkhuwa, Saif ul Malook is the highest alpine lake of Pakistan at an altitude of 3,224 metres and 10,578 feet above sea level.
Preserving large eco-diversity, which includes a rare brown trout fish, bulk amount of blue-green algae, and a variety of water-plants and phytoplankton, the lake is a bowl where multiple glacial water accumulates.
The ideal time for tourists starts from June to September. The weather around the lake is extremely pleasant during day time (about 15-20 degree centigrade), whereas at night the temperature drops to three degrees centigrade.
Boating facility is also available for adventure enthusiasts. But one should observe extreme precaution because the lake's depth is still unknown, and there aren't rescue equipment. So, boating is your own risk! Ponies and horses are also available if one doesn't want to travel on foot.
Those who love a night-out, camping at the time of the full moon is like sitting in a fairyland. It is highly recommended for those who want to see the moon shining at it brightest.
LEGEND HAS IT
The history of this exquisite lake attracts tourists from all over the world. The story is about a prince, Saif-ul-Malook, who fell in love with a fairy princess, Badi-ul-Jamal.
The tale was chronicled into a poem by Sufi saint and Punjabi Hindko poet, Mian Muhammad Bakhsh. The same poem was translated into Urdu language by Ahmed Hussain Mujahid. According to the locals it is a place of fairies and demons, who, through the extremity of weather, display their anger.
Saif-ul-Malook was a prince of Egypt. He had a handsome amount of treasure which he inherited from his forefathers. Inscribed on the treasure were two seals; one bearing the image of Said and the other one being that of Badi-ul-Jamal.
When Saif saw the picture of the fairy he immediately fell in love with her. He then left his home to search for her, a journey that took six years to complete. One day a saint met Saif. He told the prince that he would find the fairy in a lake but he had to pass several daunting exams and also pray in order to achieve her, as she was a fairy queen and prince was human. A human eye can never see a demon or fairy as they are "fire borne".
Saif reached the place and started a chilla (pray for 40 consecutive days). Day by day his health get worst but he didn't give up and prayed. After praying for 40 consecutive days without food and rest he became exhausted and weak.
It was the 14th night of that month and he thought, "Maybe tonight I'll see her." Then suddenly he saw the fairy queen coming along with her maids towards the lake for bath. She was extremely beautiful with dark black hairs and radiant eyes. She was truly a sight to behold.
After talking to Badi-ul-Jamal, Saif came to know that she was trapped in a castle at Koh Qaf by Safaid Deyo (white giant) for the past 10 years. The white giant was also in love with the fairy. After listening to the story of the fairy queen, Saif took her and tried to escape from this valley.
When the white giant came to know of this he created turbulences out of anger in this lake, as a result of which flood inundated the Kaghan Valley. They (the fairy and the prince) hid in a cemetery few miles away from Naran, but due to the flood Saif and Badi-ul-Jamal took shelter in a cave near the lake.
Legend has it that the Ansoo Lake in Kaghan Valley, a few miles away from Saif-ul-Malook, was created out of the tears of the white giant when he found out that the fairy was gone. According to the classic fable, the prince and the fairy queen still live, to this day, in that cave and dance above the water surface on the 14th night of every lunar month.
The lake with its majestic and mesmerizing natural beauty, pleasant atmosphere and associated tale and history, attracts thousands of tourists each year from all around the country during the summer.