A Tourist Guide to Katora Lake


Katora Lake is a stunning alpine glacial lake located in the upper reaches of Jahaz Banda in the Kumrat Valley of Pakistan. It is a popular destination for hikers and trekkers, drawn by its breathtaking scenery and challenging terrain.

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In this blog post, Graana.com provides a comprehensive guide to Katora Lake, including information on how to get there, where to stay, and what to expect during your visit. It also includes a list of frequently asked questions to help you plan your trip.

Whether you are an experienced hiker or simply looking for a beautiful place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, Katora Lake is sure to leave you awestruck.


Overview of Katora Lake


katora lake covered with mountains


Katora Lake, situated in the higher elevations of Jahaz Banda within the Kumrat Valley, KP Province, Pakistan, is an alpine glacial lake. It is nourished by the melting waters of the surrounding glaciers. The term “Katora” translates to “bowl” in Pashto, derived from the lake’s distinctive bowl-shaped appearance at an altitude of 11,500 feet.


How to Reach Katora Lake


Katora Lake with the background of mountains covered in snow during winter season


The following are four options available to access access Lake and Jahaz Banda:

  • Opt for our organised group trip to Katora Lake & Kumrat Valley, spanning 4 days and 3 nights at the cost of Rs. 14,500 per person.
  • Drive to THAL, and then you can rent a 4×4 Jeep to continue the journey to Takki Banda.
  • Arrange for public transportation to visit Thal, and from there, transfer to a 4×4 vehicle to reach Takki Banda.
  • You can also ride your own motorcycle to TAKKI BANDA, with ample parking facilities available near the tuckshop.

Please note that vehicles are only permitted to reach Thall, which serves as a base camp for activities in the valley. You can hire a jeep to visit Jahaz Banda or Kumrat Valley. It is advisable to park your vehicle in Thall.


Camping and Accommodation at Jahaz Banda Near Katora Lake

Keep in mind that this adventure journey will take you to a region that is still undeveloped. These destinations cater to those who enjoy hiking, trekking, and seeking solace in nature. Consequently, one should not anticipate the same level of amenities and services found in well-established areas like Shogran, Naran, Nathiagali or Murree, which have been around for over 50 years.

It’s recommended to spend the whole night at the picturesque and serene Jahaz Banda meadows. Affordable accommodation options such as tents and wooden rooms are available here, with prices ranging between Rs. 1000 and Rs. 1500.

If you are not familiar with this area, hire a personal guide for a low fee the following day. Alternatively, if walking long distances is challenging, you can arrange for a horse ride, typically priced at around 2000 PKR for a return trip, to get you closer to the lake. The sheer beauty of the Katora lake is enchanting, and all your fatigue will dissipate once you arrive there.


Jeeps Charge from Thal

Thall’s 4WD vehicles or Jeeps are available to ferry you to the summit of Takki Top, marking the starting point of the trek to Jahaz Banda. For the complete journey from Thall to Takki, then Jahaz Banda Meadows, and eventually returning to Thall, the fare typically ranges from Rs. 12000 to Rs. 14000 for a single or two-night stop at Jahaz Banda.


Food Options Near Katora Lake and Kumrat Valley

Although there are kitchen shacks and tuck shops available in the vicinity, it’s essential to remember that Kumrat (or Jahaz Banda) primarily serves as an adventure and camping destination. As such, one should not anticipate luxurious facilities or a wide array of culinary options.

Nevertheless, the locals will make an effort to provide meals like rice, dal, chicken and other dishes. It is more appropriate to express gratitude to them rather than expressing dissatisfaction or complaining about the taste or hygiene standards.

When embarking on trekking expeditions, we consistently recommend that participants refrain from consuming naan, roti or bread, especially if the subsequent day involves a demanding 9-hour hike to the lake and back. Therefore, carrying some light snacks such as noodles, dried fruits, and other munchies is advisable during your journey.


Katora Lake Weather


Katora lake partially covered with glacier


The weather at Katora Lake can vary significantly throughout the year. During the summer months, the weather is generally pleasant, with mild temperatures during the day and cooler temperatures at night. However, it is essential to be prepared for sudden changes in weather, including rain and occasional storms.

During the winter months, the lake experiences heavy snowfall, leading to extremely cold temperatures and challenging trekking conditions. Travelers should be equipped with appropriate cold-weather gear and be aware of the potential risks associated with trekking in snowy and icy conditions.

Overall, it is advisable to check the weather forecast before planning a trip to the lake and to be prepared for a range of weather conditions, particularly in the winter months.


Electricity Availability

At Jahaz Banda Peak, electricity is unavailable. While solar panels are installed on local huts, they can solely power LED lights, not drone batteries or your mobile phone. If you intend to stay for an extended period, it’s advisable to bring along power banks and spare batteries.

Please note that internet access is impossible, but you can still make calls. Additionally, there are no calling signals at Katora Lake (or Kumrat Valley), rendering your phone unusable in that area.


Distance of Katora Lake from Lahore and Islamabad

The distance between Lahore and Katora Lake is roughly 680 kilometres, and it takes around 13 hours from the city of Lahore. Comparatively, the distance between Islamabad and Katora Lake (or Jahaz Banda) is roughly 460 km, and it requires around 10 hours to reach.


Best Time to Visit Katora Lake

The best time for visiting the lake is from June to October. From November to May, the trek to the lake is typically obstructed by heavy snowfall.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Following are some of the most commonly asked questions about Katora Lake.


Where is Katora Lake located?

The lake is situated in the upper reaches of Jahaz Banda, Kumrat Valley, in the KP Province of Pakistan.


What is the best time to visit Katora Lake?

The optimum time to visit is from June to October.


How can one reach Katora Lake from nearby cities?

Visitors can access Katora Lake by travelling to Thall and then embarking on a trek or hiring a 4×4 vehicle to reach the lake.


Are there any accommodation facilities near Katora Lake?

Accommodation options such as tents and wooden rooms are available in Jahaz Banda at reasonable prices.


What are the trekking requirements for visiting Katora Lake?

Trekking to this lake requires adequate physical fitness and appropriate hiking gear.


Are there any restrictions or regulations for visitors to Katora Lake?

While specific regulations may vary, visitors are generally advised to follow leave-no-trace principles and respect the local environment and culture.


What is the weather like at Katora Lake throughout the year?

The weather can vary, with pleasant temperatures during the summer months and heavy snowfall in the winter.


Are there any safety precautions one should take while visiting Katora Lake?

It is essential to stay hydrated, carry essential supplies, and be aware of the potential risks associated with high-altitude trekking.


Can one swim in Katora Lake?

Swimming in the lake is not recommended due to the cold temperatures and the lake’s glacial nature.


Are there any local guides available for trekking to Katora Lake?

Local guides and porters are often available for hire to assist with trekking to Katora Lake and navigating the surrounding areas.

For more related information, visit Graana Blog.

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