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Khanpur Lake: A haven for water sports lovers

Khanpur Lake is a perfect picnic spot offering everything from waters sports to trekking and cultural heritage sites

By Sajid Mehmood Qazi |
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PUBLISHED July 09, 2023

If you are looking for some outdoor fun and adventure head over to Khanpur Lake. Located just an hour and a half drive away from Islamabad, on the Taxila-Haripur road, the holiday destination offers not only breathtaking views of natural beauty but also a wide range of outdoor activities for adventure enthusiasts and relics for history lovers to explore. Nestled amidst majestic hills and lush greenery, this picturesque destination provides a perfect setting for trekkers and holidaymakers alike. There are a number of budget hotels as well as several high-end resorts offering food and residential facilities in the area. The lake was formed with the construction of Khanpur Dam in 1984.

In addition, the vicinity of Khanpur Lake is home to historic treasures, including an old Mughal-era mosque and the Bhamala Buddha stupa, adding cultural and historical richness to the region. Unfortunately, the stupa site is closed for some conservation work currently.

Most of all, the lake is a haven for water lovers. Visitors can enjoy boating on the pristine waters, whether it's a leisurely ride on a paddleboat, a thrilling speedboat adventure, or a serene journey on a shikara. However, parasailing is the most popular activity. As you soar through the air, attached to a colourful parachute, you’ll witness panoramic views of the lake’s azure waters and the surrounding landscapes. Other water sports options include jet-skiing, boating, kayaking, and cliff diving. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or seeking a languid relaxing time in the water, Khanpur Lake has something for everyone.

The hills surrounding the lake offer numerous hiking and trekking trails, catering to all levels of expertise from gentle walks to more challenging climbs, there are options for everyone. Trekking is a wonderful way to embark on a scenic journey through the wilderness, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and witness the beauty of nature up close.

Khanpur’s historical significance is intertwined with its cultural heritage, evident in the presence of ancient Buddhist stupas and relics dating back centuries. The area around the lake is known to have been a part of the Gandhara civilization, which flourished during the reign of the Kushan Empire. Exploring the region allows you to witness the remnants of this remarkable ancient civilization, including well-preserved stupas, statues, and rock carvings scattered between Taxila and Khanpur. These relics serve as a testament to the rich Buddhist heritage that once thrived in the area.

Adding to the cultural richness of Khanpur Lake are remnants from the time of Alexander the Great — as it lay on the route of Alexander’s invasion of the Indian subcontinent — and the subsequent Muslim rule,. Ancient fortifications, ruins, and artifacts provide a glimpse into this remarkable era. Moreover, the area is dotted with old mosques and mausoleums that showcase exquisite Islamic architecture, reflecting the rich heritage of the region. These architectural relics, though in a state of disrepair, stand as testament to the influence of the Muslim civilization in the area.

With thrilling water sports, awe-inspiring trekking trails, and abundant cultural heritage, this destination promises a fulfilling and memorable experience.

The writer is a career civil servant with a passion for landscape photography