Babusar Pass: Discover the Mesmerizing Beauty of the Himalayas
Babusar Pass, also known as Babusar Top, sits majestically at an elevation of 4,170 m (13,690 ft) as a captivating mountain pass in the Diamer District of Gilgit-Baltistan. Located about 70 km from Naran on the Naran-Gilgit road, this pass marks the southern boundaries of Chilas and is accessible from the Karakoram Highway by a 40km uphill paved road through Thak Nullah. It, therefore, forms a crucial link between the northernmost edge of the scenic Kaghan Valley in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province of Pakistan and the Karakoram Highway in the Gilgit-Baltistan region and serves as a gateway to unparalleled beauty.
Historical Significance of Babusar Top
In the annals of history, Babusar Top held immense importance as it was a part of the ancient summer route that provided access to the Gilgit-Baltistan area long before the construction of the all-weather Karakoram Highway. This route was a lifeline from 1947 to 1978, connecting Gilgit-Baltistan with British India and subsequently with Pakistan. Even before the existence of Babusar Pass, the Burzil Pass (4,100m) served as the caravan route from Srinagar to Gilgit through Astore. Notably, the Kaghan Valley runs almost parallel to the Neelum Valley of Azad Kashmir, separated only by a mountain ridge.
Accessible Yet Challenging
While the Kaghan road through Babusar Pass offers a shorter and more picturesque path to Gilgit-Baltistan compared to the Karakoram Highway, its accessibility is limited. The pass remains open only for a brief period from early June to early November, subject to unpredictable weather patterns. The rest of the year, it becomes inaccessible due to heavy snowfall, rendering the Kaghan Valley a winter wonderland.
Exploring the Enchanting Beauty
The journey from Naran to Babusar Top is a mesmerizing experience, offering travelers a plethora of scenic vistas. Frozen peaks stand tall in the background, complementing panoramic valleys, vibrant waterways, lush forests, picturesque pastures, and green terraced fields. One of the prime attractions is the serene Lulusar Lake, a location that demands a peaceful stopover.
Babusar Pass, with its magnetic charm, draws thousands of tourists on a daily basis during summer. For those visiting Naran, Babusar Top is an essential destination and a preferred day excursion and is always bustling with lively tourists, captivated by the awe-inspiring views of the surrounding mountains. It remains snow-capped during early summers, making it a delightful spot for tourists embarking on an excursion from Naran or heading towards Gilgit-Baltistan. The site is a photographer’s paradise, offering a splendid view from the top. On a clear day, the summit of Nanga Parbat, also known as the “killer mountain,” and the majestic peak of Malika Parbat (17,000 feet), the highest peak in the KPK district, are visible. Additionally, the snow-covered peaks of Kashmir present striking views on sunny days.
The Source of Life: Melting Waters from the Mountains Surrounding Babusar Top
Numerous streams and creeks converge into the Kunhar River, ultimately flowing into the Jhelum River in Kashmir. One of the most significant attractions is the stunning Lulusar Lake, the largest lake in the region, nourished by the waters of the Kunhar River. The Kunhar River gracefully flows through the length of Kaghan Valley, offering tourists the opportunity to experience rafting in this idyllic setting.
Looking Ahead: Tourism Development
Besides zip lines, there are a few decent restaurants on the top, and new hotels and restaurants are in the works. These facilities will undoubtedly enhance the appeal of Babusar Top, attracting more tourists to this enchanting destination.
Traveler Tips: Enjoying Babusar Top to the Fullest
Travelers planning to visit or pass through Babusar Top should ensure they have an adequate supply of food, warm clothing, necessary medicines, and a photography kit for capturing the beauty.
Check the Weather:
The weather can be unpredictable, so it’s essential to check the forecast before embarking on the journey.
Individuals prone to altitude sickness should avoid prolonged stays at the top to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
Avoid Off-Season Travel:
Due to extreme weather conditions, it’s best to avoid traveling during the off-season when the pass is closed.
Make sure your vehicle is in top condition, and have enough fuel for a hassle-free trip.
Be aware that the top lacks cellular network coverage, making it impossible to make phone calls.
Babusar Pass stands tall as an emblem of natural beauty, offering an unforgettable experience for adventurous souls and nature enthusiasts. As you venture through this captivating region, be prepared to be mesmerized by the grandeur of the Himalayas and the enchanting landscapes that unfold before your eyes. Whether you seek solace in the serene surroundings or embark on thrilling adventures, Babusar Top has something special for every traveler seeking the allure of the mountains. So, plan your journey wisely, and let the majestic Babusar Pass leave an indelible mark on your heart and soul.