One of the most beautiful and unique lakes in the magnificent Kaghan Valley is known as the Ansoo lake. This lake has been recently discovered and is the epitome of the word “off the beaten track”. According to reports by the Pakistani Military, one of their air patrols was flying over the area when the pilots saw a sight that was intensely immersing. They saw a lake which was shaped exactly like a tear drop. This happened in 1993 and the lake was named Ansoo Lake at that time and the name has stuck till now. The word “Ansoo” means “teardrop” in the local as well as the national language.
The origin of the name may have been the shape of the lake as tear drop but when visitors go to the lake during the summer months they usually see that the lake is not a teardrop in itself, rather the sight is even more beautiful as the melting snow and ice from the glaciers create a slight elliptical shape in the lake thereby making it appear as if the lake is resembling a human eye and the water flowing out of the lake carves a small outlet which appears as if it is resembling a tear drop which is flowing from the eye.
Ansoo Lake Geography
The graceful and the magnificent Ansoo Lake is located in the northern Manor Valley which in itself is a part of the larger Kaghan Valley. This valley is located in the Mansehra District of the KPK province in northern Pakistan.
The lake is very well situated near the base camp of one of the most beautiful mountains of the world, namely, the Malika Parbat. The lake is at a height of 4,245 meters (13,927 ft.) above the sea level. This lake was one of the places hit by the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and a ridge on the edge of the “bowl” of the lake was brought down thereby marring the perfect beauty of the lake. However, it still remains one of the most fascinating sights to see in the northern parts of Pakistan.
Best Time To Visit Ansoo Lake
Ansoo Lake is not a lake which can be visited throughout the year. It only becomes accessible in a very short window of the year. The best time is, therefore, the middle of summer months. Most hikers will try to do the hiking trip between 20th of July and 20th of August. Before July, the lake will not be accessible or there will be no lake visible on the trip which will be a letdown. Same is the case with the visits after August when heavy snowfall will not only have made the trek extremely treacherous, but it will also have covered the lake with a blanket of snow so no lake will be visible. Therefore, the best time is between July and August when the lake has taken on the shape of a human eye shedding tears and the lake is easily accessible.
For this journey, hikers will need full hiking and trekking gear. This will include weatherproof rucksacks, tents, fly sheets, canvas bags for carrying stoves and edibles and tent pegs made of metal. Personal equipment should include light and sturdy walking sticks, waterproof boots with good grips, and lots of warm clothes as well as hats and gloves, and sunglasses as well because the sun will reflect off from the snow and may dazzle the eyes.
The trek to Ansoo Lake is not an easy one by any means. So, the hikers must be ready to undertake a heavy hiking experience. Given below are the two routes which can be sued to get to the lake. Both routes have almost the same kind of difficulty; however, the route coming from the Dher into the valley will be more treacherous with snow, so hikers must make sure that they are travelling with a guide who has travelled in the area before.
Ansoo Lake Trekking Route NO: 1
Hikers will reach Narran valley after having traveled through the day and they will stay in Narran.
Hikers will start from Narran city and reach the Lake Saif ul Malook. There is special permission needed for hikers to stay and camp at the lake, therefore, this permission must be taken before going to the lake. Hikers will spend the night at the Lake. It is recommended that this trip is undertaken on the 13th of the lunar month so that the hikers can be able to see the dazzling lake in full moonlight.
The Hikers will reach Ansoo Lake through the base camp route. The base camp route is a steep climb from the lake of Saiful Muluk till the Base camp of Malika Parbat, and from then onward the climb is on the slopes and ridges of the mountain range until the hikers reach the Lake. This will be the hardest climb in the entire journey, so extreme care should be taken during this climb.
Hikers will return using the same route, or they can go towards the Town of Mahandri. The town of Mahandri is 40 Kilometers in south of Narran and if hikers return through that path the hiking will take 3 more days on the return journey. So it is up to the group to decide beforehand which kind of trip they are going to undertake.
Ansoo Lake Trekking Route NO: 2
The second route is from the small town of Mahandri located 40 km from then Narran valley. This route takes the hikers through the two “Galis” namely the Manor Gali and Koch Gali. If following this trek, then the Hikers can first travel to the village of Dher and from then onwards to the Lake and then go from the lake directly into the Naran Valley and the city of Naran while passing along the Lake Saif ul Malook.
Hikers should take many precautions in this difficult hike:
- Make sure the entire journey is undertaken in the given time window when the lake is accessible
- Bring along good equipment and make sure it is water proof
- Take local guides with the trip
- Take good care of each hiker, and make sure no one gets injured as rescue efforts are very time consuming
- Make sure the food is taken in adequate amounts, as there will be no contact with the civilization once you get there
- Make sure the hiking is done in a group, and do not let anyone do it solo or away from the group.
Ansoo Lake’s Nature Reserves
The area of the Lake is very harsh and only the toughest of the animals and beasts can survive it. Even in the summer months there will be no birds or other small animals in the lake area in general. However, there have been reports that small fazes and other animals that can take on the low temperatures often venture out into the open area of the lake. There have also been reports that sometimes snow leopards may have migrated into the general area of the lake but there have been no sightings of the said leopards of late.
The lake lies above the tree line so there will be no trees nearby by but on the route towards the lake there is lush vegetation with wild flowers and other species of local flowers and shrubs. Many berry plants also grow along the route from the Dher village onwards, but these should not be eaten without full scrutiny as to whether they’re poisonous or not. Small animals will also be found on the way to the lake. These can include marmots, rodents, wild cats and other local animals. Rest assured that there is plenty to explore and you’ll have great time on the trip.