Kunhar River: All There Is To Know

overview of Kunhar River

It’s said that “Kunhar River doesn’t just carry water, it carries life”. Sprouting from the beautiful Babusar Pass, the river braids through the North becoming one of the most prominent features of the region.

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In this piece, Graana.com explores this marvel of nature and what role does it play in shaping Kaghan Valley?


Kunhar River: A Digest

At the heart of the mesmerising Kaghan Valley in Pakistan, the Kunhar River stands as a testament to the breathtaking beauty of nature. Flowing gracefully through the lush landscapes of the Himalayan foothills, this river has long been a source of fascination for travellers and nature enthusiasts. 


Origins and Route

The journey of the Kunhar River begins at the serene Lulusar Lake, an enchanting body of water situated at an elevation of over 3,410 metres above sea level. Here, amidst the tranquillity of the Himalayan peaks, the river is born. 

As it descends through the Kaghan Valley, the Kunhar weaves its way through dense forests, alpine meadows, and quaint villages. It creates a picturesque route that captivates all who encounter its waters.

The river’s path is a dance with nature, a choreography of twists and turns that mirrors the rhythm of the surrounding landscapes. It traverses the Kaghan Valley, including the towering peaks of Malika Parbat and Makra Peak. The reflection of these majestic mountains on the river’s surface adds a surreal dimension to the already breathtaking panorama.


Crystal-Clear Waters

One of the defining features of the Kunhar River is the crystal-clear quality of its waters. Fed by the melting glaciers and pristine springs along its course, the river maintains a purity that is a visual feast for those lucky enough to witness it. 


Tourists enjoying Kunhar River


The transparency of the water allows for a mesmerising glimpse into the riverbed, revealing a mosaic of colourful stones beneath the surface. The sensation of standing on the riverbanks and peering into this aquatic kaleidoscope is an experience that etches itself into memory.

The purity of the Kunhar’s waters is not just a visual delight; it is a testament to the river’s role as a guardian of the ecosystem. The river supports diverse aquatic life, and its health reflects the overall well-being of the Kaghan Valley’s ecology.


Breathtaking Landscapes

The Kunhar River serves as the lifeline of the Kaghan Valley, contributing to the creation of some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the region. As the river meanders through the valley, it towers over pine forests, lush meadows, and dramatic cliffs. The juxtaposition of greenery against the snow-capped peaks creates a scene straight out of a fairy tale.

The landscapes along the Kunhar River are dynamic, changing with the seasons. In spring, the valley bursts into a riot of colours as wildflowers bloom along the riverbanks. Summer brings a lush green canopy, while autumn paints the landscape in warm hues. 

Additionally, with the river mirroring the changing colours of the surrounding foliage. Even in winter, when the valley is blanketed in snow, the Kunhar continues its journey, its waters resilient against the cold embrace of the Himalayan winter.


Adventure Along the Banks

For adventure seekers, the Kunhar River offers a plethora of activities that amplify the thrill of exploration. The riverbanks provide an ideal setting for camping, where the soothing sounds of flowing water create a natural lullaby under the starlit sky. 

The crisp mountain air and the gentle hum of the river create an ambiance that is both invigorating and calming. Additionally, the Kunhar River is a playground for thrill-seekers interested in white-water rafting. 

As the river descends through various gradients, it forms rapids of varying intensities, providing an adrenaline-pumping experience against the backdrop of unparalleled natural beauty. Rafting on the Kunhar is not merely a physical adventure; it’s an immersive journey through untamed waters that carve their way through the heart of the Himalayas.


Charismatic Villages

As the Kunhar River meanders through the Kaghan Valley, it passes by charming villages that seem frozen in time. These villages, nestled against the backdrop of the mountains, maintain a symbiotic relationship with the river. 

The river’s waters provide sustenance for the fertile lands, supporting agriculture and the unique way of life of the local communities.Exploring these villages is like stepping into a living museum of culture and tradition. The rhythm of life here is dictated by the seasons, and the Kunhar River plays a central role in this natural symphony.

Villagers, deeply connected to the river, have woven its essence into their daily lives. As a result, they’ve created a harmonious existence that reflects the resilience and adaptability of the human spirit.


Cultural Significance

The Kunhar River isn’t just a geographical marvel; it holds cultural significance for the people of the Kaghan Valley. Legends and folklore are intertwined with its currents, adding a touch of mystique to the already enchanting surroundings. The river is not merely water; it is a symbol of life, resilience, and the timeless connection between humans and nature.


River Kunhar


Local communities celebrate the river through festivals and rituals that honour its life-giving properties. The Kunhar becomes a source of inspiration for artists and poets, its beauty and symbolism permeating the rich cultural tapestry of the Kaghan Valley.


Conservation and Sustainability

In recent years, the importance of preserving the Kunhar River and its surrounding ecosystem has gained prominence. Conservation efforts aim to protect the river from pollution, deforestation, and other threats posed by human activities. 

Sustainable tourism practices are being encouraged to ensure that the natural beauty of the Kunhar and its environs remains unspoiled for future generations.

By promoting responsible tourism and raising awareness about the ecological significance of the river, Kunhar will continue to flow as a life-sustaining force. It will foster biodiversity and support the communities that depend on its resources.


Responsible Tourism Practices for Kunhar River Conservation

By following the following guidelines, you can actively contribute to the conservation of the Kunhar River and help preserve its natural beauty.

  • Avoid Littering: Any you waste you generate needs proper disposal. This is not only beneficial for the environment but also keeps the spot alluring for more tourists. 
  • Use Eco-Friendly Products: Opt for environmentally friendly and biodegradable products. 
  • Support Local Initiatives: Back local projects that focus on sustainable development and conservation efforts.
  • Participate in Clean-Up Events: Join organised clean-up events to help maintain the river’s cleanliness.
  • Respect Natural Habitat: Avoid disturbing wildlife and vegetation, and stay on designated paths.
  • Conserve Water: Use water sparingly, especially in areas where water is scarce.
  • Educate Others: Spread awareness about the importance of conservation and responsible tourism practices.
  • Minimise Carbon Footprint: Use public transportation or carpool to reduce emissions.
  • Follow Regulations: Adhere to any rules or regulations set by local authorities regarding river conservation.
  • Support Local Economy: Purchase goods and services from local businesses to contribute to the community’s economy.


Things to do at Kunhar River

Kunhar River is among the major famous tourist destinations in Northern Areas of Pakistan. Aside from its breathtaking beauty, there are several exciting activities that can enhance visitor’s experience and turn them into unforgettable memories. So let’s look into some of them.


Kunhar Rafting

4 kilometres from Naran City towards Babusar Top, there lies a river rafting point along the Kunhar River. Accessible by jeep, car, or foot, this point offers a surreal beauty that attracts many visitors. The changing climate has led to rising water levels in the Kunhar River, creating ideal conditions for rafting.


The beautiful Kunhar River

Rafting at this point costs 500 PKR per person for a 2-kilometre stretch. Each raft is accompanied by an instructor to ensure safety. Safety measures include wearing a life jacket, along with some specific rules to follow. These may include no shoes allowed in the raft and only the person in the centre is permitted to carry a phone due to the risk of losing it in the river.

Upon reaching the end point of the rafting adventure, you’ll discover a bustling area with food stalls offering fresh trout and various seafood dishes. There are also spots for live BBQ, adding to the overall experience of this adventure. 


Jeep Rides along the Kunhar River

One of the most exhilarating ways to explore the rugged terrain surrounding the Kunhar River is by taking a jeep ride. These rugged vehicles can navigate the challenging terrain, taking you through breathtaking landscapes and offering panoramic views of the river and the surrounding mountains. 

Whether you’re a thrill-seeker looking for an adrenaline rush or a nature lover seeking to immerse yourself in the beauty of the region, a jeep ride along the Kunhar River is sure to be a highlight of your trip.


Chair Lifts

For a more leisurely experience, consider taking a chair lift ride near the Kunhar River. These lifts offer a bird’s eye view of the river and the surrounding valleys, allowing you to soak in the natural beauty of the area while enjoying a relaxing ride. Whether you’re travelling solo, with friends, or with family, a chair lift ride is a great way to unwind and take in the stunning scenery at a leisurely pace.


Hiking Adventures

For those who prefer to explore on foot, the area around the Kunhar River offers a variety of hiking trails that cater to all skill levels. Whether you’re a novice hiker or an experienced trekker, there’s a trail for you. 

Hiking along the Kunhar River allows you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the area, with opportunities to spot local wildlife, explore hidden waterfalls, and discover remote villages tucked away in the mountains.



The Kunhar River is not just a waterway; it is a living, breathing entity that weaves the Kaghan Valley together. Its journey from the lofty heights of Lulusar Lake to the breath-taking meadows and charming villages below is a story of beauty, adventure, and cultural richness.

For anyone seeking solace in nature’s embrace, the Kunhar River stands as an invitation to immerse oneself. From the purity of its crystal-clear waters to the adventure along its banks, the Kunhar River is a testament to the enduring allure of the natural world.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some questions people often ask about the Kunhar, and might interest you. 


What is the name of the river in Naran?

The River that runs through the valley of Kaghan Naran is known as Kunhar River. Best known for its sport (trout) the river blends into Jhelum River. 


Is there any specific reason why Kunhar river is important?

Aside from being the best spot for trips in Pakistan, Kunhar River is a vital water source for Mangla reservoir. 


Is Kunhar River also known as the lifeline of Pakistan?

Even though Kunhar is one of the most important water bodies in Pakistan, the River Indus is actually known as the lifeline of Pakistan. 


Are there any other names for Kunhar River?

Yes, the Kunhar River is also referred to as Chitral River 


Which are the two rivers that meet in Pakistan?

Pakistan is a majestic country when it comes to natural beauty. With plenty of rivers weaving this land there are several points where these rivers meet. River Neelum flows into Jhelum at Muzaffarabad and River Jhelum meets River Chenab near Jhang District. 


What is the best time to visit the Kunhar River?

The best time to visit the Kunhar River depends on personal preferences. Spring (April to June) offers blooming flowers and pleasant weather. Summer (July to August) is ideal for adventure activities and camping. Autumn (September to November) showcases vibrant foliage. Winter (December to March) presents a serene snow-covered landscape.


How can I reach the Kunhar River?

The Kaghan Valley is accessible by road from major cities in Pakistan. The nearest airport is in Islamabad, and the journey to Kaghan can be continued by road. Once in Kaghan, various modes of transportation, including local buses and taxis, are available to reach different points along the Kunhar River.


Are there accommodations along the Kunhar River for tourists?

Yes, there are accommodations ranging from guesthouses to resorts in the towns and villages along the Kunhar River. Graana.com has covered all the major spots for you;


Is white-water rafting suitable for beginners on the Kunhar River?

Yes, there are sections of the Kunhar River that are suitable for beginners in white-water rafting. Professional guides and instructors are available to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. However, it’s essential to check the current conditions and choose an appropriate level of difficulty.


What cultural experiences can I expect along the Kunhar River?

The villages along the Kunhar River provide rich cultural experiences. Local markets offer traditional crafts, and you can witness unique customs and rituals. Engaging with the local communities provides insights into their way of life and the cultural significance of the river.


How can I contribute to the conservation of the Kunhar River?

To contribute to the conservation of the Kunhar River, follow responsible tourism practices. Avoid littering, use eco-friendly products, and support local initiatives that promote sustainable development. Participate in organised clean-up events and respect the natural habitat.


Are there trekking opportunities near the Kunhar River?

Yes, the Kaghan Valley offers various trekking routes for enthusiasts of all levels. Trails lead to scenic viewpoints, alpine meadows, and even higher altitudes for experienced trekkers. Here’s a useful list of destinations: 


Can I fish in the Kunhar River?

Yes, Kunhar River is actually known for its abundance of trout fish. Many visitors solely visit Kunhar for the sake of fishing.  However, it’s essential to obtain the necessary permits and adhere to local regulations. 


What safety precautions should I take while exploring the Kunhar River?

While exploring the Kunhar River, prioritise safety. Follow the guidance of local authorities and experienced guides. Be cautious during adventure activities, wear appropriate gear, and stay informed about weather conditions. Respect the environment and wildlife, and practise responsible tourism.

For more articles like these, visit the Graana blog

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