SWAT (Agencies): Swat, often referred to as the Switzerland of Pakistan, has seen a surge of tourists and sports enthusiasts, along with families, flocking to its mesmerizing natural beauty, skiing facilities, and trout fish offerings amidst the winter snowfall.

Following the Met Office’s forecast of heavy rains and snowfalls over the hills in upper/central parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, including Swat, Dir, Chitral, Abbottabad, and Mansehra from February 17-21, snowfall and skiing lovers from across the country, especially Northern Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, thronged to Kalam, Bahrain, and Malam Jabba on Sunday.

Despite the chilly weather, the snowy mountain peaks of Gabin Jabba, Miandam, Matiltan, Kalam, Utror, Gabral, Matiltan, Mahodand, and Loye Sar resorts also drew an influx of snowfall lovers along with families and children.

Ehtisham Qaiser, a lecturer from Wapda Town Peshawar, shared his excitement about the snowfall and the reasonably priced brown trout fish in Swat. He advised tourists to bring warm clothes due to the increased chill in Upper Swat.

Tourists from various cities were seen in large numbers at Kalam, Malam Jabba, and Bahrian on Sunday, enjoying the snowfall, trekking, and brown trout fish, which are found in abundance following successful government projects in the fishery sector.

Swat, known for its seven distinctive features including snowfall, is also home to the primitive Gandhara civilization and ice skiing at Malam Jabba. The Swat motorway has made it an ideal destination for winter tourism and adventure sports in Pakistan.

Former Ambassador Manzoorul Haq praised Swat’s unique features and highlighted the potential of the 150-kilometer long freshwater of the River Swat for adventure and snow sports. He suggested that areas like Fazagut, Fatehpur, Barikot, and Chakdara could attract a large number of tourists for water rafting if developed on modern lines.

Swat’s Mahodand lake, with more than 50 high-altitude small and big lakes, is an exceptional source of attraction for tourists enjoying its blue waters and boat rides amid cold breezes and snowfalls.

Misal Khan, a retired government employee, expressed his joy at experiencing the snowfall in Kalam, the trout fish of River Swat, and Mahudhand lake. He mentioned the unique charm and clean air of Mahudand and Gabrial lakes and the serenity offered by the nearby bird-chanting valleys.

Swat’s famous Deodar trees, precious wildlife, and snow-clad tall mountain ranges of Falakser, Mankial, and Elum peaks offer great challenges to mountaineers and trekkers, especially during winter. Its extensive plains and orchards that bear fruits add to the region’s allure.

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