Babusar Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 4.173m (13,691ft) above the sea level. The pass is the highest point in the Kaghan Valley, Pakistan. The pass connects the Kaghan Valley via the Thak Nala with Chilas on the Karakoram Highway. It’s one of the famous hairpinned roads in the world.
From the middle of July up to the end of September the road beyond Naran is open right up to Babusar Pass. However, movement is restricted during the monsoon and winter seasons, but it can be closed anytime when the access is not cleared of snow. The Kaghan Valley is at its best during summer (months ranging from May to September). In May the maximum temperature is 11 C (52 F) and the minimum temperature is 3 C (37 F). The road to the summit was recently asphalted.
Check weather forecasts before leaving home, and remember that it becomes cooler and often more prone to storms at higher elevations. Due to the unavailability of necessary facilities, one should take eatables and necessary items with them. Babusar Pass is at a distance of 80 km from Naran. It is on the way to the pass that the Kaghan valley's scenery becomes most dramatic. Battakundi is at a distance of 16 km from Naran and provides access to Lalazar Plateau, lake Dodiputsar and lake Lulusar which is the biggest natural lake in Hazara and the source of Kunhar river.
Portions of the road may be temporarily closed due to road work or inclement weather. This mountain pass is the highest Place of Kaghan Valley, that’s why it’s always covered with snow but in summer, snow melts so routes are cleared and it mostly rains there. On the top of the pass there is a bridge like stony minaret, that is the symbol of the highest place of the area. At right side, there are snow covered peaks of Kashmir, while the north east gives an interesting view of Nanga Parbat.Only four wheeled cars can go ahead from Jalkhud, that’s why it takes 4 hours from Naran to reach Babusar Pass.
Due its unique location and the climb in elevation over thousands of feet, and passing through remote areas, it is important when driving in these conditions to be prepared. From the pass the whole panorama lies spread out before the visitor. On a clear day the great Nanga Parbat (26,660 ft) can also be seen from here. Although there are efforts to upgrade the road, most progress has been made on the Chilas side. You should definitely get local advice before crossing the Babusar Pass. The PTDC in Naran is a good source; in Chilas, try field officers at the Northern Areas Public Works Department (NAPWD) executive engineer office, or Natco drivers on the Babusar village run. The road is a typical Pakistani mountain road, with hills on one side and a deep khud (valley) on the other side.
Pic: Anwar Swati