Irritated from severe heat wave that gripped the plain areas of the country for the last couple of days, the hot weather-stricken people have started arriving to Pakistan’s most scenic Naran and Kaghan valleys in Mansehra district in droves to enjoy rest in the lap of snow-clad mountains of Malika Parbath. With the start of pre-monsoon season in Pakistan, the clouds have started hovering over Kaghan, Naran valleys, the world famous Saiful Malook and Anso lakes besides Malika Parbath hills with moderate to erratic rainfalls that takes tourists’ in the lap of serene. From Charpai to five stars hotels, restaurants to inns and camping pods to private rooms, all accommodation facilities are jam-packed with tourists, mountaineers, trekkers and adventure sports lovers mostly arrived from KP and Punjab to enjoy pleasant weather, waterfalls and mesmerizing natural beauty of Naran and Kaghan with families. Being a gateway to Gilgit-Baltistan in summer through famous Babusar Pass, Naran is the first stopover of tourists to enjoy River Kunhar’s trout fish, boating in crystal clear blue water of world famous Saiful Malook lake spread over 1.06 square miles, horse riding around Ansoo lake and cool breeze around snow-clad Malika Parbat’s mountains on the East of Kaghan in a day long trip. Talking to APP, Commissioner Hazara Division, Riaz Khan Mehsud said, “Naran’s natural beauty is beyond one’s imagination. Once a tourist enters, Naran and Kaghan take him in lap of its astonishing sereneness, besides leaving inerasable imprints on visitors’ minds.” Following lifting of COVID-19 travelling restrictions, he said, the number of domestic tourists have significantly enhanced in Naran where about 390,000 tourists’ vehicles per month including 13,000 daily were entering to explore these tourists’ destinations. “Naran and Kaghan are my favorite tourists’ places and whenever I get some extra time come here to enjoy its natural beauty and River Kunhar’s trout fish,” said Manzoorul Haq, former Ambassador of Pakistan while talking to the news agency. “My visit to Naran and Kaghan remains incomplete without visiting Saiful Malook and Anso lakes,” he said, adding road infrastructure leading to these famous tourist destinations and sanitation services need marked improvement besides exorbitant hotels’ fare needed to be checked. He said establishment of chairlift, cable car and catch fish sports at River Kunhar would help make Naran a hub of adventure sports. Latifur Rehman, Spokesman of Tourism Department told APP that over 2.681 million tourists had visited KP during August 13, 2020 to September 30, 2020 including over 1.718 million tourists to Nathiagali, Thandiani, Kaghan, Naran, Saiful Malook lake and 6,64,000 to Swat. He said an influx of tourists reached Naran and Kaghan, Nathia Gali, Thandiani in Hazara and Kalam, Malam Jabba, Madain Swat and Kumrat Dir Upper these days, enjoying its pleasant weather. Muhammad Ali Syed, General Manager, KP Culture and Tourism Authority (KPCTA) said the government has initiated work on a number of tourist projects under KP Integrated Tourism Development Project (KPTDP) amounting to Rs 2,667.428 million, KP Integrated Tourism Development Project (KITE) amounting Rs 3,000 million and Rs 500 million for development package for Galiyat Development Authority (GDA). Three new ski resorts, one each in Kaghan, Chitral and Swat would be developed to promote adventure, snowboarding, ice hockey and sports competition besides reducing load on the country’s lone Malam Jabba ski resort during winter, he said. The authority is working on development of walking tracks on hilly stations for youth including Nathia Gali to Thandiani, Thandiani to Satto and Mahnoor valley in Kaghan to Ansoo and Saiful Malook lakes. All these tracks would have rest areas, sitting desks and other facilities for tourists besides information centres to be set up alongside the main roads in Shangal and Hazara divisions. He said the authority was also planning to develop four hilly stations this year out of a total 20 where accommodation, walking tracks, huts, horse-riding and other facilities would be made available for tourists. This year, he said, one each hill station in Chitral, Abbottabad and two in Kaghan valley would be developed besides tourists’ police force be made operational in all hilly stations including Naran and Kaghan. He said 140 rest houses would be leased out this year with a purpose to provide better accommodation facilities to tourists in far flung tourists areas besides Rs 4655.134 million are being spent on construction of access roads in Hazara division, Rs 320 million on development of camping pods, Rs 3044.553 million for construction of approach road to Sheikh Badin tourist resort, Rs 4812 million for construction of approach roads to tourist sites at Malakand division and Rs 2,200 million of tourists spots in the province. Riaz Khan said Kaghan Development Authority (KDA) established in 1996, has been reactivated and building rules for Naran approved. Besides placing of dustbins between Balakot and Babusar top, the use of polythene bags was banned in Naran to curb plastic and water pollution in River Kunhar. He said a ban on illegal trout fishing in River Kunhar was also imposed for two years and the community river rangers were being provided with motorbikes to patrol along Kunhar River from Balakot to Babusar Top to check illegal fishing, tree cutting and mining in the area. “Tout jumping out of water and then vanishing back into green waters of River Kunhar would be added as a new feature of adventure sports in Naran and hopefully work on the project would start in 2022,” the Commissioner said, adding a separate place would be introduced for the release and catch of trout in Kunhar River. Besides completion of master planning for uplift of Naran, he said Rescue-1222 service has been started and skiing training school at Shogran on pattern of Malam Jabba Swat would be established soon. “The climate of Naran and Kaghan is most suitable for tulip gardening that would begin in Naran next month where the growers are likely to earn Rs 60,000 from one kanal produce.” He said the Batakundi-Lalazar chairlift project was under consideration. The Commissioner said Rs 500 million would be spent on construction of jeepable tracks in tourists’ areas and a seven kilometers long pony track between Saiful Malook and Anso lakes would be constructed to facilitate tourists.