Saif ul Malook is generally referred to as an allegory from the Hazara region of Pakistan. It is a story of love between a prince and a fairy articulated by mystic poet Mian Muhammad Baksh.
Lake Saif-ul-Malook – ranked by The Guardian as the fifth-best tourist destination in Pakistan – seems like heaven on earth. The greenish-blue crystal clear and freezing water, surrounded by giant glaciers, including Malika Parbat, reflects the beauty of Saif-ul-Malook. Even the trail leading to the lake mesmerizes you with its greenery, wildflowers, and brooks. A fragrance of fresh flowers and a cool breeze surrounds the area. Preserving large eco-diversity, which includes a rare brown trout fish, a bulk amount of blue-green algae, and a variety of water-plants and phytoplankton, the lake is a bowl where multiple glacial water accumulates.
The divine lake lies at the northern end of the Kaghan Valley near Naran, and in the northeast of Mansehra district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It is the highest alpine lake in Pakistan at an altitude of 3,224 meters and 10,578 feet above sea level.
The weather in saif ul malook mostly remains cool and chilly throughout the year. However, there are certain fluctuations pertaining to seasonal changes. A very pleasant weather welcomes visitors at Saif ul Malook Lake even during the summer season. A maximum of 15C in July – August under the sun whereas the temperature drops to 3C at night. During the winter season, the lake is capped with snow, and roads leading to the lake are mostly closed Only trekkers can access the lake in the snow because the road denies any transportation.
Many rumors are ubiquitous about the depth of the lake. However, some research and studies have shown the depth to be around 34 meters. The transparent water of the lake supplements the beauty of the overall lake. The view of the sunlight falling on clear water is captivating and pleasant.
The history of this exquisite lake is much famous and attracts tourists from all over the world. The story is about a prince, Saif-ul-Malook, who fell in love with a fairy princess, Badi-ul-Jamal.
The tale was transformed into a poem by Sufi saint and Punjabi Hindko poet, Mian Muhammad Bakhsh. The same poem was translated into the Urdu language by a resident of Balakot, Ahmed Hussain Mujahid. According to the locals, it is a place of fairies and demons, who through the extremity of weather display their anger. A storyteller narrated: “I have not seen the fairy, but I’ve seen the glory of God. Every month, on the 14th night of the lunar month, the lake is like a mirror – cradling the mountains, the sky, the innumerable twinkling stars, the glowing orb of the moon – so still, so clear, you can scarcely tell the between reality and reflection. It is a sight to behold! Many a night I have also seen lights, floating lights, a thousand floating lights, here on the slope, watched them disappear under the rocks. I have not seen the Fairy, Badi-ul-Jamal, but I have witnessed the glory of God.”
Saif-ul-Malook was a prince of Egypt. He had a handsome amount of treasure which he inherited from his forefathers. Inscribed on the treasure were two seals; one bearing the image of Said and the other one being that of Badi-ul-Jamal. When Saif saw the picture of the fairy he immediately fell in love with her. He then left his home to search for her, a journey that took six years to complete. One day a saint met Saif in a street of Egypt and gave him a Sulemani cap, telling him that it will take the prince to his desired place. The saint told the prince that he would find the fairy in a lake but he had to pass several daunting exams and also pray in order to achieve her, as she was a fairy queen and the prince was human. A human eye can never see a demon or fairy as they are “fire borne”.
Saif reached the place and started a Chilla (pray for 40 consecutive days). Day by day his health gets worst but he didn’t give up and prayed. After praying for 40 consecutive days without food and rest he became exhausted and weak. It was the 14th night of that month and he thought, “Maybe tonight I’ll see her.” Then suddenly he saw the fairy queen coming along with her maids towards the lake for a bath. She was extremely beautiful with dark black hair and radiant eyes. She was truly a sight to behold.
After talking to Badi-ul-Jamal, Saif came to know that she was trapped in a castle at Koh Qaf by Safaid Deyo (white giant) for the past 10 years. The white giant was also in love with the fairy. After listening to the story of the fairy queen, Saif took her and tried to escape from this valley. When the white giant came to know of this he created turbulences out of anger in this lake, as a result of which flood came in Kaghan Valley. They (the fairy and the prince) hid in a cemetery a few miles away from Naran, but due to the flood, Saif and Badi-ul-Jamal took shelter in a cave near the lake.
Legend has it that the Ansoo Lake in Kaghan Valley, a few miles away from Saif-ul-Malook, was created out of the tears of the white giant when he found out that the fairy was gone. According to the classic fable, the prince and the fairy queen still live, to this day, in that cave and dance above the water surface on the 14th night of every lunar month.
At night, as the twilight recedes, the moon rises in the sky above the lake. The moonlight washes the snow-covered mountains and the lake white. Brightness spreads everywhere as if the lake and the mountains had clad themselves in a single large piece of white cloth. For those who love a night-out, camping at the time of the full moon is like sitting in a fairyland. It is highly recommended for those who want to see the moon shining at its brightest.
One can engage in multiple leisure activities to relish at this magnificent natural place. The entertaining activities include camping adventure, ambling around the lake, boating, horse and pony riding, snow sliding, and food adventures.
A boating facility is also available for adventurers while others who like to camp and enjoy bonfire may opt for this. Some love to enjoy the ride of the horse while others amble along the lake to feel nature more closely and relieve themselves of daily anxieties.
The trip to Said ul Malook is worthwhile to be planned once in a life. It offers you the real beauty of nature and makes your time memorable.