Chitta Katha Lake is a stunning alpine lake located in the Shounter valley of Azad Kashmir, Pakistan. The lake is known for its crystal-clear water, breathtaking mountain scenery, and remote location, which makes it an ideal destination for adventure seekers and nature lovers.
Geography and Location
Chitta Katha Lake is located at an altitude of 13,500 feet in the Shounter valley of Azad Kashmir. The lake is situated in a bowl-shaped valley, surrounded by towering peaks, lush green meadows, and pine forests. The lake itself is approximately 1.5 km long and 80 meters deep, with turquoise blue water that reflects the sky and the surrounding mountains.
How to Get There
To reach Chitta Katha Lake, visitors have to first travel to the town of Kel in Azad Kashmir. From there, they can either hire a jeep or take a local bus to the village of Taobat. From Taobat, the trek to the lake begins, which takes about 4-6 hours depending on the route taken.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Chitta Katha Lake is between May and September, when the weather is relatively mild and the trekking conditions are favorable. However, visitors should be prepared for sudden changes in weather and temperature, as the area is prone to heavy rainfall and sudden snowfall.
The trek to Chitta Katha Lake is considered to be challenging, with steep inclines, rocky terrain, and high altitude posing significant challenges for trekkers. However, the stunning scenery, refreshing streams, and serene environment make the trek worthwhile. The trek takes you through lush green meadows, dense pine forests, and rugged mountains, offering panoramic views of the surrounding peaks and valleys.
Local Culture and Traditions
The area around Chitta Katha Lake is home to several ethnic groups, including the Shina, Gujjars, and Kashmiris. Visitors can experience the local culture and traditions by interacting with the locals, sampling the traditional cuisine, and learning about the local customs and rituals.
Photography and Filming Opportunities
Chitta Katha Lake offers ample opportunities for photography and filming, with its pristine beauty and breathtaking landscapes providing a stunning backdrop for any kind of media. Visitors can capture the stunning reflections of the mountains in the lake’s clear water, the colorful wildflowers that bloom in the meadows, and the towering peaks that surround the lake.
Safety and Precautions
While Chitta Katha Lake is a beautiful and serene destination, visitors should be aware of the potential risks and hazards associated with trekking in high-altitude regions. It is important to stay hydrated, avoid strenuous activity, and acclimatize gradually to the altitude. Visitors should also take precautions against environmental damage, such as carrying their trash back with them and avoiding campfires.
There are several nearby attractions that visitors can explore, including the Taobat and Shounter valleys, the Ratti Gali and Saral lakes, and the Gurez valley. Visitors can also visit the nearby Sharda Peeth, a revered Hindu pilgrimage site.
Chitta Katha Lake is a hidden gem of Pakistan’s northern areas, offering a stunning and unique experience for adventure seekers and nature lovers alike. The challenging trek to the lake is rewarded by the crystal-clear water, panoramic mountain views, and refreshing atmosphere. Visitors can also immerse themselves in the local culture and traditions and explore the nearby attractions, making it a truly unforgettable experience.
Is the trek to Chitta Katha Lake suitable for beginners?
While the trek can be challenging, it is possible for beginners to complete it with the help of a guide and proper preparation.
Can visitors camp near the lake?
Yes, camping is allowed near the lake, but visitors should take precautions against environmental damage and follow Leave No Trace principles.
Is it safe to visit Chitta Katha Lake?
Visitors should take necessary precautions and follow safety guidelines for trekking in high-altitude regions, but the area is generally safe for visitors.
What kind of wildlife can be found in the area?
The area around Chitta Katha Lake is home to several species of wildlife, including snow leopards, Himalayan black bears, and Markhors.
Can visitors hire a guide for the trek?
Yes, there are several local guides and trekking companies that offer guided tours to Chitta Katha Lake. It is recommended to hire a guide for safety and convenience.