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Chitta Katha Lake – Kashmir’s Glacial Jewel

Chitta Katha Lake, or Turtle Lake, glistens in an emerald hue of glacial meltwater that spills down the mountains into the Lake. This rare Lake in the Himalayas can be found in Kashmir’s Ganderbal district and is one of the most beautiful lakes in the region. As well as being aesthetically impressive, Chitta Katha Lake holds historical significance as it was visited by Emperor Jehangir and the poet Baba Waris Shah and Surdas during their vacations to Kashmir centuries ago.

What is the Best Time to Visit Chitta Katha Lake?

The best time to visit Chitta Katha Lake in Azad Kashmir is during the spring and summer months, between July and the end of September. Temperatures at this time of the year will be moderate, making it more pleasant for travelers to explore the landscape around it. However, the spring season is also a great time to see water lilies on the surface of Chitta Katha lake, which is in bloom from May through June.

Why is it Called Chitta Katha Lake?

The name of the Lake derives from the words chit and Katha, which translates to the Lake which has yet to tell its story. Because of its milky white hue, Chitta Katha’s name translates to “White Stream.” This stream, which pours down the revered mountain of Hari Parbat, originates near Chitta Katha Sar. For centuries, this azure jewel lay dormant, dotted with snow-capped peaks. Legend has it that in times of drought, people would wait patiently for Chitta Katha to melt so they could fill their bowls and quench their thirst. But that wait is over.

Chitta Katha Lake

Recommend Gear for Chitta Katha

Having the right gear will make your adventure safer and more comfortable. Here are my recommendations for what to bring when you visit Chitta Katha Lake in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan. 

– Keep things handy with a backpack that can carry what you need comfortably. 

– Dress in layers to manage warmth and avoid having too much water on your skin if it rains.

Main Attraction During Trek to Chitta Katha Lake

You woke up to a white world. Just like the night before, everything was covered in snow that had fallen in the night. You bundled up and trekked through waist-high snow until you reached the top of a hill. The Lake looks stunning with its shimmering blue water deep inside snowy mountains. It is Kashmir’s glacial jewel! You can take off your jacket on a cold winter day and feel warm in the sunshine. Or, if you are lucky enough to have a sunny summer day, you can cool off by swimming in its calm waters. In short, it has something for everyone! The main attractions to explore during the trek to Chitta Katha lake are:

A Paradise for Adventure Lover

When it comes to unspoiled landscapes, not many can beat this Lake. Nestled in the mountainous Valley of Rasoolabad, Chitta Katha is an absolute destination for anyone interested in camping, fishing, boating, or just spending time at a stunningly beautiful location. Plus, the scenic views are breathtaking! 

Chitta Katha Lake

Families looking for something more traditional might want to explore the nearby lakes like Dara Wala and Sukhrali.

Lush Green Surroundings

Chitta Katha is one of the most beautiful lakes in Azad Kashmir. It stands at about 13,500 feet (4,100m) and remains frozen mainly around the year. The Lake provides an idyllic backdrop for pilgrims who visit annually to spend time by its shores.

Wildflowers grow all around the Lake, giving it a dramatic look that contrasts with the white snow. A visit to this site would be incomplete without walking on the ice and enjoying a picnic near the banks of this naturally formed beauty. For those looking for adventure, the area surrounding Chitta Katha Lake offers skiing and treks on some pretty rugged terrains. 

Difficult and Steep Trekking

Many other treks can take you to some of the region’s most stunning lakes and peaks. These routes, though challenging, offer great rewards for those willing to venture off the beaten path. One such route is the trek to Chitta Katha Lake. This glacial Lake is a jewel tucked away in the corner of Azad Kashmir, where tourists seldom go. The best time to visit is from July to the end of September when the weather is clear and crisp.

Peaceful and Secluded Vibe at Chitta Katha

The remote and peaceful beauty of Chitta Katha is the perfect place to find serenity, connect with nature, and enjoy tranquillity. If you love nature walks and photo safaris, exploring this lakeside paradise will not disappoint. Chitta Katha lake is 210km away from k2 and Nanga Parbat. The view is so stunning that even campsites are located along the Lake’s shoreline. 

Chitta Katha Lake

Several Waterfalls 

Pristine blue waters sparkle in the light, and numerous majestic waterfalls make this spot special. Whether you’re looking for a quiet outing or an adrenaline-pumping adventure, it has something for everyone. The most transparent freshwater streams weave through lush meadows and fields to feed into the Lake and bring life to its clear blue waters. With only one hour of walking from the parking lot, this hike is for all ages and can be done at your own pace to admire the natural beauty on offer. Located at a height of around 4100 meters above sea level. 

Snow Capped Lake at Chitta Katha

Deep within the mountains of Azad Kashmir, Pakistan lies a beautiful lake called Chitta Katha. The snow-capped Sarwali peaks are at 6326 meters above sea level. In the summer & spring seasons, when the sun sets and the temperature of the atmosphere becomes more soothing, the views are incredible as you can see the beauty of this mountain range lit up by various colors of blue, pink, and purple!

Beautiful and Scenic Views

Aptly named for its bright green water, this Lake is a gem among Kashmir lakes. Its refreshing emerald color distinguishes it from the other lakes, which are all blue in hue. The 10-acre Lake is often referred to as the most beautiful Lake of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and the most striking in this region.

What attracts many visitors is the Lake’s beauty and how hard it is to get there. Beautiful, scenic, and teeming with life, Chitta Katha is a hidden gem in the Valley of Azad Kashmir. Situated at an altitude of 13,500 feet (4115 meters) above sea level, it is home to flora and fauna and can be visited all year round. The Lake was formed by massive landslides of ice on high mountains, filling up the valleys. Visitors are greeted by breathtaking views that never get old to behold.

Whitish Streams at Chitta Katha

The local inhabitants call this beautiful place Chitta Katha, which means ‘white water. It is fed by snow melting from the glaciers of the Pir Panjal mountain range. In addition to its flowing streams are two lakes created due to glacial rocks and soil. These reservoirs are called Kalapani and Barah khula. Another fantastic feature is that Hindus revere this Lake because they believe Shiva resides there, which has the charm of its offerings made by visitors on its premises. The most important attractions at the site are three small islands in the middle of Chitta Katha Lake. One of the islands hosts a sacred place for Hindus, and devotees often pray here for peace of mind. 

Chitta Katha Lake

Forest and Beautiful Flowers

There are a lot of sights to see in the Valley, with some of the most picturesque being found at Chitta Katha Lake. Lying on the banks of River Jhelum, surrounded by lush green forests and beautiful flowers, this Lake is the jewel in Kashmir’s crown. It is accessible via a narrow winding road that weaves through lakeside villages. The natural beauty all around you will leave you stunned and breathless. Visitors can avail themselves of local cottages or camping facilities that dot the scenic landscape around Chitta Katha Lake, providing mesmerizing views of the waterbody while remaining close enough for easy access to its beauty.

Camping at Chitta Katha

Nature enthusiasts rejoice! The Lake has finally been opened for camping again. Nestled at over 13,500 feet (4,100m) in Kashmir’s Neelum Valley, this is a place for those seeking adventure, serenity, and solitude. Camping facilities have been recently inaugurated here after several years. There are two tents with beds and blankets for rent, accommodating up to four people. Many travel guides are arranging tours to Chitta Katha lake. The packages are per stay per night, including residence, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can choose the package accordingly. What could be better than spending your weekend camped out by the Lake?

Chitta Katha Lake

Best Place to Spend Vacations 

Suppose you will have the opportunity to visit Chitta Katha Lake in Jammu and Kashmir. To get there, You hopped on jeeps that maneuvered up a long winding mountain road with drastic turns and heavy traffic. After about an hour of bumpy rides and breathtaking views, You will finally arrive at the Lake. Your vacation plans will be at their best if you spend time here.

It will make you feel more connected to your surroundings. It will be refreshing and calming, even though there is always cold outside!

How to Reach Chitta Katha Lake?

To get to the lush green town of Kel, you must drive 155 kilometers on a decent road from Muzaffarabad. A challenging 4-hour jeep road will contact you to Domel, the base camp hamlet of Chitta Katha Lake.

Food Facilities

Like most lakes in Kashmir, there are few facilities for tourists to eat or drink while enjoying the Lake’s beauty and surroundings. One way to make the experience of visiting this beautiful Lake more pleasurable would be to offer food, drinks, and souvenirs on the site.

Chitta Katha Lake

Location of Chitta Katha Lake Kashmir

The Chitta Katha Lake is situated in the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas. It is 13,500 feet (4,100m) above sea level and covers a total area of 3.5 sq km with an elevation varying from 12,890 ft to 17,690 ft. You can also trek up to this destination if you have ample time on your hands! 

Is Chitta Katha Lake Worth it?

It is an awe-inspiring view that leaves you enchanted by its views at the base of the Valley—standing on its banks and feeling the breeze all around you will leave you with a deep sense of peace. This was one of my favorite places in Pakistan for those looking for a break from the rest of the world, who want to explore something off the beaten path, or who want to take in some natural beauty. Visiting this Lake is worth it.

Can we camp at Chitta Katha Lake?

Definitely! Many tourists are Camping at Chitta Katha Lake Azad Kashmir. It is a gorgeous area that attracts tourists from all over the world. Unlike many lakes, Chitta Katha has a high water level year-round which maintains its location for visitors.

Conclusion

A gem of a place with amazing views, Chitta Katha Lake is one of the less visited places in Azad Kashmir. This Lake is serene and provides scenic surroundings, calming atmosphere, and excellent fishing opportunities. It can be reached via Islamabad by driving either Muzaffarabad or Rawalakot by Murree, Battagram, and Thari Mirpur. It is best accessed from Muzaffarabad. You can visit this place most likely throughout the year. But the best time to visit this area would be from July till the end of September because the moderate temperature makes it more enjoyable for sightseeing.