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Swat District is one of the districts in Malakand Division of KP Province in Pakistan. Swat Valley is full of fascinating landscapes, crystal white waters and mesmerizing flora and fauna.  Centred upon the upper portions of the Swat River, Swat was a major centre of early Buddhist thought as part of the Gandhara kingdom, and today is littered with ruins from that era. Swat was home to the last isolated pockets of Gandharan Buddhism, which lasted until the 11th century.

Swat’s capital is Saidu Sharif, though the largest city and main commercial centre  is the nearby city of Mingora.  In fact, both Saidu Sharif and Mingora are twin cities.   Other important places include Kalam, Madyun, Malam Jabba and Bahrain. The region is inhabited largely by Pashtuns except in the valley’s uppermost reaches, where the Kohistani  and Gujjar  tribes dominate.

Swat is link by air through Saidu Sharif airport where regular flights come from Peshawar and Islamabad.  In addition to that, Swat is link by road through excellent motorway and national highway with the rest of the country.  Through motorway, journey of about 300 kilometers takes just 3 hours to reach Swat from Islamabad.   Hundreds of hotels and rest houses spread all over the valley eagerly await tourists.  People of Swat are peaceful, respectful and law abiding.  Crime rate in Swat is almost zero.    

Swat’s average elevation is 980 meters resulting in a considerably cooler and wetter climate compared to most of Pakistan. With lush forests, verdant alpine meadows, and snow-capped mountains, Swat is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations.

Mingora City and Surroundings

Mingora is major town and Mingora is the largest city and the epicentre of social, cultural, and economic activities of Swat Valley.  It is located at the elevation of  984 meters just next to the town of Saidu Sharif which is District Capital.   Kunhar River flows through the city of Mingora. Fiza Ghat is a tourist spot on the back of the river a few kilometers on Raod Mingora Kalam.

About 13 kilometers away from Mingora, the hamlet of Marghzar is located which is worth visiting place to witness the sheer beauty of White Palace of last ruler of Swat State.  . The name was given to the palace as it was built of white marble. The palace now serves as a hotel and is an attraction for tourists.  

Another important place in Mingora is Swat Museum  that contains Gandharan statuettes and friezes depicting the lives of the Buddha along with seals, small reliquaries and other treasures, mostly from Butkara No 1 and Udegram. Additionally, there are pre-Buddhist artefacts, and an ethnographic gallery with traditional carved Swati furniture, jewellery and embroideries.  A recent discovery, includes a stone ‘board’ game found at the Buddhist Complex of Amluk-Dara, of a sort still played in the valley today.


Kalam  is a valley located at distance of 99 kilometres   from Mingora in the northern upper reaches of Swat valley along the bank of Swat River.    Kalam is surrounded by lush green hills, thick forests and bestowed with mesmeric lakes, meadows and waterfalls which are worth seen features of the landscape. It is the birthplace of Swat river which forms with confluence of two major tributaries of Gabral river and Ushu river.  Stunningly beautiful  town of Kalam is essentially visited by every tourist who enters in Swat Valley.  Plenty of hotels and resorts are available for staying at affordable price.  

It is a spacious sub-valley of Swat, at an elevation of about 2,000 meters   above sea level, and providing rooms for a small but fertile plateau above the river for farming.    Here, the metalled road ends and shingle road leads to the Usho and Utror valleys.   From Matiltan some snow-capped mountains are visible including Mount Falaksar 5,918 meters, and another unnamed peak 6,096 meters.


Malam Jabba

Malam Jabba, at 2636 meters elevation,   is a Hill Station in the Hindu Kush mountain range nearly 40 km from Saidu Sharif in Swat Valley. It is 314 km from Islamabad and 51 km from Saidu Sharif Airport.  Malam Jabba is home to one of the two major ski resorts in Pakistan.  Besides, this place, the other is at Naltar Valley close to Gilgit City.      On the main Madyan-Kalam road, the road turns to the right at Manglor town (12 kilometers from Saidu Sahrif), for the Malam-Jabba Dara which has a series of small villages and settlements like Salanda, Jehanabad, Talegraam, Badar, Ser, Malam, Kishora, Spine Oba, and finally Jabba.    Malam is a small village on the hilltop which comes prior to Kishora village on the main Malam-Jabba road.   Malam Jabba  is nearly 17 km from Manglor.     The Malam Jabba Ski Resort, owned by the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation, had a ski slope of about 800m with the highest point of the slope 2804 m   above sea level. Malam Jabba Ski Resort was the joint effort of the Pakistan with its Austrian counterpart. The resort was equipped with modern facilities including roller/ice-skating rinks, chair lifts, skiing platforms, telephones and snow clearing equipment.


Madyan   is a popular hill station, located at a distance of about 55 kilometres   from Mingora. It is a popular tourist destination  and thousands of tourists from all over Pakistan & abroad visit this town each year especially in summer enjoying the cold breeze of Swat River.     

Madyan is famous for its trout fish.     Agriculture and tourism related businesses like handicrafts outlets, restaurants and hotels are the main sources of income for people of the area.  Madyan valley is known all over the district because of its natural beauty and perfect weather condition.     Tourists are attracted by the transparent and colorless water flows in a stream through the middle of the town.

According to most of the tourists, evening at Madyan is a unforgettable experience one must  have at least once in one’s lifetime. 

Mahodand Lake

It is one of the largest & scenic lake in the Swat valley, located at a distance of about 40 km from Kalam, in the Usho Sub-valley of Kalam which is laid out in the foothills of Hindu Kush mountains. It is accessible with a four-wheel drive vehicle, and is a good resort for fishing, boating and camping. It is surrounded by snow clad mountains, lush green meadows and thick forests which hypnotize one to its centre. While travelling towards the lake one comes across many view points, small lakes and waterfalls. 

While visiting Mahodand lake, one cannot omit to watch towering Mount Falak Ser, the highest mountain of the valley with its peak at the  height of  5,918 metres. It was quite an experience to observe this distinct gigantic snow-covered mountain.  

Piece of land which is known as Swat Valley – and commonly referred to as the ‘Switzerland of the East’ – is famous for its abundance of unimaginable natural beauty.  Every year thousands of tourists visit this valley to enjoy one of the wonders of the nature.