Chitta Katha lake is a wonderful lake in the Shounter valley of Azad Kashmir. Its altitude is 13,500 feet (4,115 meters) above sea level. Chitta Katha is a regional name which means “White Stream”. The inception of the lake Chita Katha Sar is Chitta Katha stream which is flowing from the Mount Harri Parbat. This Mountain is a religious place for the Hindu followers who relate it to the Lord Shiva and the eternal santuary of their Lord “The Kailash. Chita Katha lake is accessible through a rough but beautiful and scenic trek.
After reaching there, bewitching beauty and supernatural charm mesmerizes the tourists. The jeep track starts from Kel to Domail Bala. It is a rough shingle road of 20 kilometers (12 miles) in length. The hiking trek starts along-with a 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) long lush green beautiful patch. Kel is the base-camp for the lake. The lake is accessible from Kel by a 20 kilometres (12 mi) jeep track and then 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) hiking trek. Kel is the base camp to this lake.
Main attraction during trek to Chitta Katha Lake
- Dhani waterfall
- Dhani Waterfall also known as Dhani Noseri Waterfall is located in Neelum Valley, Muzaffarabad District of Azad Kashmir in Pakistan. It is 38 kilometres (24 mi) from Muzaffarabad District. It is the highest waterfall in Neelum Valley.
- Kutton is a village and a tourist resort in Neelam Valley of Azad Kashmir administered by Pakistan. It is located about 98 kilometres from Muzaffarabad. Kutton is accessible by Neelam road from Muzaffarabad branches off from Kundal Shahi.
- Jagraan Resort
- Keran is a village and tourist resort in Neelum Valley, Azad Kashmir, Pakistan. It is located 93 kilometers from Muzaffarabad on the bank of Neelum River at the altitude of 1,524 meters.
- Shounter Lake
- Shounter Lake is a scenic lake located in Shounter Valley, a sub valley of Neelam Valley, Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, at the elevation of 3,100 meters. The lake is fed by the surrounding mountains glacial waters.
- Sapoon lake
- Chita Khatha lake
Chitta Katha Lake Trek
Chitta Katha Lake, isn’t easy to see, as it’s about a 20 km jeep track from Kel to Upper Domail & than (16 to 18 km) 8 to 10 hours arduous hike, but it’s gorgeous and completely worth it. Moreover, the fact that it isn’t easy to access maintains this picturesque lake’s peaceful and secluded vibe.
When to Visit?
The lake is accessible from July to September, but if you go in August, you’ll catch the amazing abundance of wildflowers during the hike.
Location: Chitta Katha Lake, Shounter Valley – a sub valley of Neelam Valley, Azad Kashmir
Route: Islamabad to Kel around 300-km via Muzaffarabad, Kundal Shahi, Keran, Dowarian & Sharda.
Elevation: 13500 feet – 4100 meters
Kel to Domail Bala (Shounter Valley) 20 km in 3 hours
Trek Distance: 16 to 18 km approx (calculated through Samsung Health App)
Time: 8 to 10 hours
Where to Stay: Camping only
Best time to go: July till September
- Domail Bala village – Dek 1 – Dek 2 – Hari Parbat Waterfall & the Lake
- Houz village – Dek 1 – Dek 2 – Hari Parbat Waterfall & the Lake
The Ultimate 3-Day Itinerary:
Day-1: Leave from Kel at 8:00 am & reach Domail Bala at 11:30 am, Visit Shounter Lake & Waterfall that are 4 km from Domail Bala (the base camp). Afterwards, return back to Domail Bala & hire a porter / guide to carry extra luggage. Start your trek at 2:00 pm & reach Dek-1 well before 5:30 pm. Set up your camp on the bank of Chitta Katha Nullah & enjoy this one of a kind atmosphere.
Day-2: Leave for the Lake at 9:00 am, enjoy the breathtakingly beautiful sites on the route, stay for some time at Dek-2, than move towards Hari Parbat Waterfall & stay there for an hour, than move forward & reach at the Lake by or before 5 pm. Set up camps & start enjoying the sunset at the Lake.
Note: The best time for photography at the Lake is 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm, never miss this opportunity as I did.
Day-3: After packing leave at 9:00 am, you’ll reach Domail Bala on or before 1:00 pm. Than leave for Kel & stay at Arang Kel & enjoy the sunset.
Access to lake is accessible from Kel by a jeep trek of 2hrs to Shounter valley. And then hike of 7 to 8hrs upto lake. This lake is sacred for Hindus, as they consider this lake an abode of Shiva.
Caution: Must bring your NIC with you at any place in Kashmir, Especially in Neelum Valley, because there is a border of Jammu and Kashmir at sundry places, where there is a rigorous checking. In Neelum Valley at bridge, Check post and army camps it is restricted to take pictures, no cameras are sanctioned, afore taking pictures you should attest from the locals and any army officer.