The mesmerizing scenes of snow-covered Saiful Malook and Anso lakes in Upper Kaghan valleys have lured flocks of tourists and snowfall lovers here on Thursday. Known for the fairytale of Prince Saiful Malook and fairy princess Badre Jamala, the oval shape famous Saiful Malook lake mostly covered by snow especially during the winter season attracted influx of domestic tourists and snowfall lovers in last two days. “Saiful Malook lake is my ideal tourist destination due to its unique feature of peace and serenity besides snowfall of high intensity,” Qaiser Khan, a retired employee of Wapda, arrived here to enjoy snowfall with his family told APP. With children playing around him with snowballs and skiing at Naran-Kaghan after returning from Saiful Malook lake, the Nowshera born-tourist said the famous oval shape lake known for crystal greenish-blue water in world was almost covered by the recent heavy snowfall. “Saiful Malook Lake’s natural beauty is beyond my imagination,” Qisar said who was wearing a Chitrali woolen cap and overcoat. Named after Persian Prince Saiful Malook, the lake’s waterfall emanating from nearby glaciers of Malaka Parbath on its northeast during summer leaves enduring effects on minds and souls of hundreds of thousands of tourists and nature lovers every year. Mian Muhammad Bakhash, a noted historian and poet in his book ‘Fairytale of Saiful Malook’ narrated the story of Prince Saiful Malook and fairy princes Badriul Jamala. He explained about the epic romance of Prince Malook when he fell in love with fairy princess Badriul Jamala during his visit to this famous lake of Pakistan. “Saiful Malook Lake is my ideal tourist place due to its fairytales, unique natural beauty and better road connectivity than other lakes of KP,” said Engr Khushal Khan, a resident of Dir Lower. “It is my fourth trip to Saiful Malook and first one during winter.” He said families can easily come here to spend some time in its relaxed environment before exploring the nearby snow covered Anso and Dudipatsar lakes in Upper Kaghan through jeeps and horse riding with great fun and excitement during winter season. He advised families and tourists to bring warm clothes and sweaters keeping in view the increased cold weather conditions in Naran and Kaghan valleys. Besides Saiful Malook, the natural beauty of tear-shaped Anso lake which is considered the highest lake of Hamalya region with 4,126 meter height of the sea level, Payala lake with 2,895 meters elevation, Pyala lake with 3410 meters height, Siri lake with 2,590 meters altitude, Dudipatsar lake with 3,800 meters elevation and Dudibach Star lake in Kaghan valley captivate adventure sports enthusiasts and snow sports lovers. “Saiful Malook is the identity of Pakistan. I am disappointed to see garbage and polythene bags thrown by visitors at the premises of these picturesque lakes,” Engr Khushal said, adding it was the collective responsibility of Kaghan Development Authority (KDA), Wildlife Department and District Administration to ensure and maintain its cleanliness besides making it pollution-free. “As per international practice, vehicles are parked outside of lakes’ premises to maintain its ecology and protect it from plastic pollution. There are a need for construction of parking areas outside the premises of Saiful Malook, Mahudhand and others national lakes to protect it from plastic pollution,” he reiterated. He said Pakistan is home to many natural and manmade lakes and reservoirs including South Asia’s largest Manchar lake spread on 260 square kilometers in Sindh province besides the country’s biggest Paristan lake in Skardu and Shimshal lake in Hunza Gigiit Baltistan with 4,272 meters height draw domestic tourists throughout the year. Likewise, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is blessed with around 100 small and big natural, manmade and reservoirs and lakes including the world’s 33rd highest natural Lake of Karambar with 4,272 meters height above sea level and 3.9 kilometer length that could be accessed through Broghal valley in Chitral. He said Swat is going to become the tourism capital of the country due to its seven unique features including snow-clad mountain peaks, trout fish, river, snowfall, Swat Motorway, waterfalls and lakes. Swat’s Mahodand Lake with 2,900 meters height at Ushu Valley Kalam carried unique features including brown and rainbow trout and camping besides Spin Khwar and Kundal lakes take tourists into lap of serenity. Khanpoor Lake in Haripur is most suitable for water sports and paragliding, Tanda dam lake Kohat for ecotourism and Turbella lake Haripur for adventure sports. The lakes of small dams including Tanda Kohat, Jalozai Nowshera, Kundal Swabi, Chatri Haripur and Jangza Abbottabad have been selected for the development of recreational spots to promote ecotourism, said Saad Khan, spokesman of KP Tourism and Culture Authority. He said a road from Maidan to Bishigram lake would be constructed while a jeep track at Kandal lake has been built. Likewise, Mahudhand lake would be converted into a model ecotourism resort with the provision of enhanced facilities to tourists there, and a mega project worth Rs99 million was being launched to construct walking tracks, wood boats, huts, parking areas, camping pods, and others facilitation services at Mahudhand lake. The small and medium lakes in the premises of Mohudhand would be interconnected after the construction of small arch bridges that would enhance its natural outlook. It is a three years project with the allocation of Rs94 million for the fiscal year 2021-22 and practical work would soon start on the Mahodhand project. Besides developing four Integrated Tourism Zones (ITZ) at Mankiyal Swat, Thandyani Abbottabad, Ganol Manshera and Madaklasht Lower Chitral with USD 70 million in financial assistance from the World Bank in the next three years, the provincial government has decided to construct two roads to connect ITZs Mankiyal and Thandyani onward with Swat and Hazara Motorway that would open up these lakes for tourists. Jeep tracks in 16 districts mostly in Malakand and Hazara divisions would be constructed with an allocation of Rs500 million to make these lakes accessible for families throughout the year. Similarly, 10 new camping pods in tourist sites would be established where tourists coming to explore these lakes would be provided accommodation. Saiful Malook lake spreading over 12,026 acres had been brought under the national park established under the preservation, protection, and management Act 1975 passed in 2003. A Rs188 million project for Saiful Malook national park has been approved under which a parking complex and gate would be constructed besides the purchase of machinery and equipment for its cleanliness, maintenance, and establishment of offices for wildlife staff there. Under the government’s protected areas initiative, national parks services were being provided to people in the province and all concerned developments as well as administrative affairs of the national parks would be looked after by separate divisional forest officers wildlife to protect its ecology, alpine ecosystem, and wildlife habitats. An Rs238 million project was prepared for organizing different winter sports and tourism events in northern KP. Besides the winter gala at Kalam, the tour-de-cycle race and first-ever sports rafting at River Swat and an international paragliding event at Saidu Sharif and a youth leadership conference and skiing event at Malam Jabba were planned in January-February this year. Likewise, a mega project worth Rs365 million for the identification of new tourist spots was planned in Khyber Pakthunkhwa, he concluded.