Azad Kashmir is one beautiful place with its gleaming waters and wildflower meadows. One trendy destination there is the glacial lake of Ratti Gali. Nestled within the wilderness, this Lake is fed by the glacial melt of the surrounding mountains, especially the Karakoram Mountain Range.
It is named so due to the red shades of these adjacent slopes and plateaus (‘ratta’ means ‘red’ in Punjabi). The locals in this area call it Dowarian Lake. It is also referred to as the ‘jewel of Neelum Valley’.
Ratti Gali: A tour Guide
|Ratti Gali: Location and How to Get There|
|Things to do in Ratti Gali|
|Ratti Gali Hotel|
Location and How to Get There
This alpine glacial lake is located in Neelum Valley, Azad Kashmir, at 3,683 meters (12,083 feet). It is considered to be one of the best places to visit in Neelum Valley. The only major city nearby is Muzaffarabad, the administrative capital of Azad Kashmir, at a distance of 75 km. Depending on the traffic and weather conditions, the journey from Muzaffarabad to Ratti Gali may take around 4-6 hours.
After passing by the village of Keran, which is 45 km away from Ratti Gali, the next stop is at another village called Dowarian, which is only 19 km away from the lake. This is where you would be required to shift to a jeep (several travel services can arrange one for your ride) to continue your journey to Ratti Gali.
The jeep ride usually costs around Rs. 5,500 for same-day return and Rs. 7,500 for next-day return. It is important to note that jeeps in this area tend to hurtle around the corners at high speeds and fly close to the cliff edges due to the rough terrain.
After this 2-hour journey, you will reach the base camp area. You must trek for another 2 hours to reach Ratti Galli. You can also go on a horse ride for this trail at the cheap price of Rs. 300 per person. Halfway through the trek, you can spot a small lake formed by water flowing downwards from the lake.
On the other hand, the distance from Naran to Ratti Gali is about 200 km via the Muzaffarabad Gary Habibullah Road. Whereas, from Islamabad, the distance is 157 km, and it takes about 3 hours to reach. In short, it is considered one of the most famous Tourist Destinations in the Northern Areas of Pakistan.
The weather conditions in this area are highly changeable, with each season bringing in a fresh influx of colour. The spring season extends from March to May, while the summer stretches from May to August. Summers see the bulk of tourist activity in the area, as it is primed for walking, hiking, or just simply basking in the sun.
The crowds thin significantly as the temperature dips (it can drop as low as 0 degrees Celsius). The lake remains completely frozen from November to April. As the weather can take a dodgy turn, pack multiple layers of warm clothes.
The following is a list of items that you should ideally pack when you are planning to travel to Ratti Gali.
- Warm clothes
- Hiking/trekking shoes
- Rain coat
- Hiking stick (if you think you would need it)
- Water bottle
Things to Do in Ratti Gali
There are plenty of activities here to keep you engaged — and awestruck, for that matter. For instance, the surrounding areas are laced with hiking trails where you can walk easily to take in the pristine beauty of the place. Otherwise, you can stroll next to the Ratti Gali Lake.
There are also many organized walks or tours that you can participate in. This is especially helpful for those traveling alone as you get to interact with a larger group. You can also choose to go fishing or camping in the base camp area, prices of which range from Rs. 500-1200 per night.
Ratti Gali Hotels
Ratti Gali, one of the most beautiful places in Pakistan, has plenty of hotel options, ranging from low-range to mid-range packages. The following is a list of the most highly-rated ones:
- Sharda Resort
- Wadi Resort
- Neelum Star River Guest House
- State Continental Sharda
- Park River House Sharda
Many of these hotels are located just beside the Neelum River, thus attracting a steady stream of visitors throughout the year. The guest rooms are also carefully designed, brimming with traditional details, to provide the tourists with an authentic experience.
There are also different tour packages you can check out, which arrange transportation, accommodation, food, etc., so you don’t have to deal with the trouble of planning the whole tour. Costs may vary according to the duration of the trip and the type and number of services they provide.
Among the many scenic places to visit in Azad Kashmir, from its quaint towns to wild, azure rivers, Ratti Gali is a worthy stop on your itinerary. For more informative tour guides on the most popular Azad Kashmir tourist places – or in any other area of Pakistan – visit Graana.com.
Why is Ratti Gali called Ratti Gali?
Ratti Gali is named after the nearby village called Ratti, and “Gali” means “valley” in the local language. The name “Ratti Gali” refers to the valley and lake located in the region.
How far is Ratti Gali from Islamabad?
The distance between Ratti Gali and Islamabad is approximately 170 kilometers (105 miles) in a straight line. However, the actual distance and travel time may vary depending on the route taken and the mode of transportation used.
How long is the travel from Lahore to Ratti Gali?
The travel time from Lahore to Ratti Gali can vary significantly depending on the route chosen and the mode of transportation. There is no direct road connection between Lahore and Ratti Gali, so it requires multiple modes of transportation.
Typically, one would travel by road from Lahore to Muzaffarabad in Azad Kashmir, which takes around 6-7 hours. From Muzaffarabad, one would then have to travel to the Neelum Valley, where Ratti Gali is located. The travel time from Muzaffarabad to Ratti Gali is approximately 4-5 hours by road.