Introduction to the Dreamlike Place
Swat is also known as Switzerland of our country Pakistan. The Swat River contains clear water beginning from Ushu range of mountains and heading towards Swat valley. It’s on the green valley of Northern Pakistan. The Swat valley is situated in the centre of Hindukush Mountains. The major town of Swat valley is Saidu Sharif and Mingoro. Swat is the favorite place of leisure lovers, archeologist and hikers. There are various comfortable resorts and hotels where one can plan to stay for a week or so. Swat is said to be the garden of Ashoka. It was also a wealthy land in times of the Buddhist. Without exaggeration, there are more than 100 archeological sectors in Valley out of which 10 percent are excavated. One can easily discover those sites within a day trip of Swat. Swat is a historically exciting valley. It’s most intriguing, more fertile and much greener than other valleys in north. This is because it resides with monsoon belt.
Knowing the History
Neelum Valley isn’t the only place worth swooning over, the Swat valley is filled with historical tales and treasures. The past tells that Akbar (Mughal Emperor) lost 8000 of his army men in an unsuccessful attempt to march into Swat somewhere in 1586. The hillsides containing forts around are verification to the area’s strategic importance. The courageous Alexander along with his army walked through Chakdar and the invaders left the mark. This town still comprises of Buddhist monasteries. Inquisitively, the not to be missed place is the valley’s graveyards that are being used for about 3500 years. Numerous monuments mark the valley talking about its vibrant and rich past. A trek to top of mountains brings the visitors to group of huge square blocks made of stone which the archeologists predict were utilized as the ancient altar.
Experience the Archeological Sites of Swat
Lower Swat Valley
This portion has been in use for 3000 years. Area between Saidu Sharif and Chakdara Bridge is cluttered with remains of the Aryan’s pre historic grave culture, buildings of Hindu Shahi era and Buddhist shrines. These archeological areas exist around three main towns: Saidu Sharif, Birkot and Udegram.
At a distance of around 25 km from the bridge of Chakdara, Birkot is the region of Bazira which is an ancient town packed by Alexander the Great in 326 BC. The town is located on the ancient route of Swat River from Nawa Pass. From here, the ancient route takes a turn towards South through the Karakar Pass which further leads to Peshawar Valley.
The stupa is located 9km from Birkot in Kandag valley. Interestingly, this is taken as the best preserved and protected stupas of the Swat valley. It contains a cell of 12 feet square accompanied with windows. It’s surrounded by narrow passage on all the sides intended for walking around the holy images and worshipping as well.
The specialty of Saidu Sharif is White palace or Sufed Mahal which was built next to the Margazar. This palace had been used as Wali’s residence both after and before the inception of Pakistan. The tourist resort consists of 30 rooms and charges costs 5000 to 6000 per day.
The commercial center and district headquarter of Swat is Mingora. Mingora is said to be the most necessary town of Swat valley. It’s located at a length of 2km from the famous Saidu Sharif. One other side of Swat River near the Mingora Airport is a site depicting Gandhara grave tradition which was explored by the Italians in Aligrama. Near Mingora, in the Jambill valley, many Buddhist carvings and remains are found.
The museum is on the eastern end, halfway between Saidu and Mingora. Japanese aid provided facelift to the museum’s seven galleries which consist of a spectacular collection of the Gandhara sculptures. These sculptures were taken from Buddhist sites that existed in Swat. They got rearranged and were labeled to explain the life story of Buddha’s. Terracotta utensils, figurines, coins, precious stones, utensils, many mental objects and weapons illustrate the day to day life in Gandhara. Ethnographic section of the museum displays finest of examples such as carved wood, tribal jewelry and local embroidery.
Upper Region of Swat Valley
Swat valley turns out to be more stunning when you go higher. In the mid winters, it’s sometimes heavily blocked due to snow but in season of summer, one can drive to Kalam and trek north towards the Gilgit or Chitral valley.
Visit these marvelous areas which are above 7000 feet. The visitors can stroll in villages while enjoying the evergreen scenery. It’s an ideal place for activities like skiing and many others.
Miandam is small resort six miles up the valley and 56 km from Saidu Sharif. It’s an amazing place for the ones who are fond of walking. Paths that follow owns streams, beehive past houses settled into walls and the good fortune charms that are whitewashed around doors. Graveyards have wooden carvings with intricate floral designs.
This is a fabulous tourist resort situated on Swat River. Modern and antique shawls, tribal jewelry, traditional embroidery, reproduced coins and carved wood are sold in the central street. Madyan is the very last village of Swat that offers interesting 2-3 day walk up the mountain villages. In the north of this village is Swat Koshistan. Here, walking isn’t suggested without a well equipped guard. The major mosque at Madyan contains wooden and carved pillar with decent scroll capitals along with plastered wall covered with designs of floral motifs.
This place is 10 km north of village Madyan. It’s one another famous riverside resort for the tourists with bazaars which are worth exploring specially for the handicrafts. Some houses posses carved doors made of wood, balconies and pillars. These present applauding variety of fancy motifs that include floral bands and scroll made of ornamental patterns familiar to the ones in Buddhist shrines.
The Ushu valley, Gabral and Utrot beyond Kalam consist of most catchy sectors of swat. There’s enjoyable trout fishing in Utrot. Tourists coming abroad must approach local police at Kalam to proceed in valleys of Gabral, Ushu and Utrot. Swat is an ideal place for mountaineering, trekking and camping.
Kalam is located at a distance of 29 km from Bahrain. In Kalam, Utrot and Ushu rivers get together to form Swat river. The metal road ends here and shingle roads heads towards Utrot and Ushu valleys. Kalam is an exceptionally beautiful region of Swat valley. This sparkling galaxy contains at least 150 hotels, waterfalls, pastures, lakes, sites of glaciers and hiking. All these amusing facilities are readily available even in this modern era. Strikingly, strawberries are the fruit of this area. They are seen everywhere in forests of the fascinating place Kalam.