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To the Babusar Pass/Pakistan

Introducing To the Babusar Pass

The Kaghan Valley’s most dramatic scenery is beyond Naran. Travel here is by 4WD, mountain bike, pony or on foot. Although there are efforts to upgrade the road, most progress has been made on the Chilas side. You should definitely get local advice before crossing the Babusar Pass. The PTDC in Naran is a good source; in Chilas, try field officers at the Northern Areas Public Works Department (NAPWD) executive engineer office, or Natco drivers on the Babusar village run.

At Battakundi, 16km up the valley, you can detour 5km up to summer pastures on Lalazar Plateau. There are resthouses in Battakundi and 15km up the valley at Burawai. There is occasional basic (charpoy) accommodation at Battakundi and Besal, though you may find the latter deserted.

The road degenerates to a barely jeepable track 20km beyond Burawai, at Besal. From there you can detour about 15km east to beautiful green Lake Dudipat, or stay on the main track for about 3km to Lake Lulusar, the biggest natural lake in Hazara and the source of the Kunhar River. Here you may see Gujar encampments in the summer.

Gittidas, about 6km north of Lake Lulusar, is the southernmost Kohistani village in the region, and not a particularly friendly place to stay the night without a local guide. Cyclists report stone-throwing kids, too. From Gittidas, it’s about 8km to Babusar ‘top’. If the weather is clear, you can walk about 1km east from the pass for views of the Kaghan Valley behind you and Nanga Parbat to the northeast.

Babusar village is 13km north of the pass on the track, or about half that far on a short-cut footpath. In summer there are a few shops and serais open, and a spartan resthouse, which you can only book at the Chilas NAPWD. Camping is not recommended.

It’s 39km from Babusar village to Chilas on a jeep track that is being rapidly improved along Thak Nala. The new road meets the KKH 3km east of Chilas. Natco makes this trip daily in summer.