Kalam is one of beautiful places whose beauty is still quite intact when compared to Muree and surroundings.
We used the bus service “Sawat Daewoo” from Lahore to Mengora. The bus fare was 900 per head. We used the night time so we picked the time 11 AM for bus departure thus we did reachedMengora early in the morning around 7 AM. We had break fast at Mengora and then we started to look for the journey to Kalam.
We came to know that if we hire private source (Jeep, Wagon) it will cost us from 4 to 8 thousands (PKR). So instead we used the local wagon (Hiace) service. The fare was 250 each, we were 6 boys in the group. During the journey we met another 6-boys groups who were also heading to Kalam. So we did form friendship and both groups benefited from this. It is around 4 hours journey from Mengora to Kalam so we reached there at 1:00 PM in the noon, and had lunch. We enjoyed chapli kabab in lunch.
Then we arranged the hotel room, luckily the other group also joined us in finding the room, so booking of rooms was easy for both groups. We booked two rooms. The weather in the month of June, July is pleasant at Kalam in the noon and in the night it turns cold. So there were no fans in the hotel rooms as it is not required there.
After offering Zuhar prayer and having the lunch, we went on exploring Kalam forest. Its not a typical wild-life forest. However it has awesome sceneries to offer. We used hiking to explore as much as we could on that day.
Along the main road, lies the Sawat river its water is almost freezing cold and the flow pressure is devastating. This river covers the whole Sawat region.
In the night we had dinner that was delicious chicken karahee prepared by the hotel cooks. The rule for chicken is you must order in whole i.e. no 1.5 KG chicken. The reason is, due to recent floods, there was no electricity available so there is no way to preserve food in refrigerators. So either you should order one full chicken, or two chickens. Due to electricity problem almost all of the hotels provided the alternate for some hours in the evening through power generators. This also includes the lucky time you have got to recharge your mobile phones or other appliances needed to be recharged.
Next day we planned to leave the hotel so we only had to pay the room fare for one full day (the checkout time was 12:30 as per hotel rules). We went out for breakfast in the market, the typical break fast from hotels is bread (parathas) prepared with Maida flour, Kabuli Channa, and Omelet. Off course tea is an essential part of the break fast here in Pakistan.
After having the breakfast we returned to our rooms, and only some of us took shower as the water was soo cold that others had no plans of taking shower. We checked out from hotel early and hired a 13 or 14 seater Jeep. Again both groups got benefit that we had arranged the Jeep for 3500 Ks combined, otherwise each group had to spend separate money for the same purpose. The amount is for round trip. Our destination this time around was Mahoodand Lake. The scenery during the whole journey was awesome. We stopped at a waterfall and spend some good 30 minutes or so.
So it took us around 3 Hours to reach the great mahoodand lake. It was one of our best ever experiences for northern areas of Pakistan.
We spend more than half day there, had pakooras, wandered around the meadows. We also had boating (two boats for 500 Rs for half-area sailing of the lake). We ate mangoes after cooling them in the freezing water of the lake. The water of the lake is grayish as there is some grass and green belt beneath the water. It was really one of the GOD’s gifts on the earth. There was a little semi-island around the corner of the lake. We left the boats and enjoyed the natural beauty of the island. We came to know that in the winter season, the whole area of mahoodand lakeis covered with several feet of ice so life is not possible there. Its only the summer season, when the ice melts out, and tourists visit it.
Then we returned to Kalam, and straight away we set for the journey back to Mengora as we intended to visit Malam Jabba on next day. Again it was 4 hours journey back to Mengora. We booked a room in Mengora to spend just one night. The weather in Mengora felt warm as we were moving from a place having lesser temperature (Kalam). We again had chicken dish for dinner, it was around 11:30 PM in the night, so 90% of the market in Mengora was closed already. The food was not prepared well, so that was the only bad experience we had for meal in the whole trip. Next day, we had break fast and then traveled to Malam Jabba, the way to Malam Jabba has good deep scenes of the Sawat valley. We stopped at some places for offering prayer, and also having some drinks.
It took us around 2 hours to reach Malam Jabba, starting from Mengora. We hired a Suzuki Mehran carry dabba, for 2200 for round trip. We hired a chair lift for half way travel on the mountain of Malam Jabba (there is no other source of going up), for the rest of the way up, we had to go on foot. It was a tuff hiking experience for us. On top a good portion of Sawat valley was visible. We also visited the sad place of PC hotel at Malam Jabba, it suffered from the recent war conditions and was completely destroyed though not fallen to ground.
After spending 3 to 4 hours there, we set back to Mengora, after completing the half journey, we stopped at a hotel for lunch. Again it was a most delicisious chicken karahee, there were Char-payees (loosely translates to beds) under the trees. It costed us 1200 for two full chickens (package was 600 for one chicked, 6 rooti, and 1 plate of salad). There was a wonderful drinking-water fall as well.
Overall it was a very nice tour and I don’t think we can forget it in our lives. The people are very friendly. The local language is Pashtoo, but Urdu is also communicated easily. The sources of drinking water are the Sawat river, waterfalls, Chashmaa’s and lakes. The water was soo full of minerals. It was way better than most of the mineral water selling products we have in cities. During stay at Kalam, the ice covered hill tops was the most beautiful scenery.
It costed us 4300 Rs per head so it was quite economical trip for 3 to 4 days.
Tip: You should visit Malam Jabba before Kalam, as Kalam is more beautiful.
Enjoy the Pictures:
Important Contacts and Information:
Bus station is inside the badami bagh bus center near Badshahi Mosque Lahore. There are some other services available there as well, for Lahore to Mengora journey. The contact numbers forSawat Daewoo are:
Contact numbers in Mengora: 0946-729335, 0946-725175
Mehboob Hotel Kalam (4 bed room rent was 700 or 800 Rs)
Tour Sawat Web Site:
This web covers the whole sawat region. A guide is available in both Urdu and English formats: