Shahdara is a hidden treasure in Pakistan’s capital city of Islamabad, tucked within the gorgeous Margalla Hills. Shahdara offers a charming retreat from hectic daily life with its stunning vistas, serene surroundings, and rich cultural heritage. This blog will take you on a fascinating tour to Shahdara as we explore its calm landscapes, historical significance, and the wide range of activities available to explorers and nature lovers.
Overview of Shahdara Islamabad
Shahdara Islamabad, also known as Shahdara Picnic Point, is one of the most famous picnic points in Islamabad that is ideal for family visits. It is situated approximately 8 kilometers away from Barakahu and 16 kilometers from the central city.
It has a striking cold-water stream on the valley floor below the Margalla Hills. Moreover, this valley is surrounded by green areas, freshwater streams, mountains, and a rock climbing point. Additionally, the weather is usually pleasant, so people often come here during the summer to escape the scorching heat (mainly since the water provides a refreshing backdrop).
Visiting early morning and departing the area well before dusk is advised. That gives you plenty of time to explore the place and see any surrounding areas. If you want to avoid busy crowds, you can plan a visit during the weekdays instead of the weekends as that is when most tourists come.
There is also a splendid picnic area near Shahdara Valley, which attracts several tourists, particularly on the weekends. You can pack your food and have lunch at this spot or visit the famous Shahdara Valley Restaurant.
These also serve traditional snacks like ‘pakoras’ and ‘samosas’ with tea, which you can enjoy while admiring the view. You can even sit on chairs or ‘charpai’ seated right on the water. Pack some open-toed shoes with you and additional clothing for any children with you.
Location of Shahdara Valley
The village of Shahdara can also be found in close proximity to Quaid-e-Azam University. Hence, it is easily accessible through direct routes from several main areas of the city.
Activities at Shahdara Valley
You can participate in various activities that await you in Shahdara Valley.
- Those aged between 8 and 15 can participate in rock climbing; by utilizing boulders as stepping stones, a steep slope has been scaled and developed for this purpose.
- In addition, a play area for children is equipped with different rides and swings for them to enjoy. Climbing and trekking are popular activities for adults in this area.
- The picnic spot at Shahdara Valley encompasses a large area that comprises green meadows, steep mountainsides, and a glittering stream. You can drive far into the valley in your vehicle to enjoy the beautiful sight. When they are in full bloom, yellow amaltas dot either side of the road, which makes the scenery even more breathtaking.
- Shahdara Valley is a paradise for hiking enthusiasts, with its numerous trails winding through the Margalla Hills. Lace up your hiking boots and embark on an adventurous journey, exploring the diverse flora and fauna, cascading waterfalls, and panoramic views of the valley. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, trails are available for all levels of fitness and expertise.
- Experience the magic of spending a night under the starry sky in Shahdara Valley. Set up your tent amidst the serene surroundings, and let the sounds of nature lull you to sleep. Camping in this picturesque valley offers a unique opportunity to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of daily life while immersing yourself in the tranquility of nature.
- Shahdara Valley is a haven for nature photographers and birdwatchers. Its diverse ecosystem allows you to capture stunning shots of vibrant flora, wildlife, and breathtaking landscapes. Birdwatchers will be delighted to spot a wide array of avian species, including falcons, eagles, and colorful migratory birds that make their way to the valley during different seasons.
How to Visit Shahdara Valley From the Twin Cities
Even though Shahdara Valley is located away from the hustle and bustle of the city, it is in proximity to areas like Bani Gala (just a half hour’s drive away) and Barakahu (just 20 minutes away).
For residents of Rawalpindi, however, it can take up to one hour and fifteen minutes to reach Shahdara. Despite the long distance, the journey is not too difficult due to the well-structured, straightforward routes. Just go there during the day and return before sunset, as navigating the roads at night may be hard.
Restaurants in Shahdara Valley
Apart from the numerous restaurants in Shahdara Valley, there is one unique restaurant named Hidden Terrace. A private seating area is in the middle of the moving river stream. People indulge in mouthwatering meals while dipping their toes in the chilly water simultaneously.
Other Things to Note
The tips listed below can also help you plan your trip to Shahdara Picnic Point:
- You can pack a telescope to observe any wildlife in the area.
- Be sure to wear comfortable shoes like boots or running shoes as a lot of walking is involved, and the rocky path might cause your feet to get injured.
- Use an ice box to store juices and other beverages, especially if you are visiting during the summer season.
- You should always protect yourself from the sun by applying sunscreen.
Because the water is clean and refreshing, the Shahdara Valley Picnic spot in Islamabad is a place that should not be missed, particularly if you are looking to plan a summer getaway. For more guides on popular tourist areas in the capital city, visit the Graana blog.