Attaabad lake is one of the famous and most visited tourist destinations of Pakistan. The magnificent lake stretched over kilometers surrounded by the towering mountains of Karakoram is, in fact, the best place to visit in the upper valleys of Hunza.
A Brief History
This lake was not a natural lake instead it was formed by a massive land sliding which blocked the Hunza River for almost more than 5 months. It was on January 4, 2010, when massive rocks fell in the Hunza River blocking the downflow of the river completely. The debris blocked the flow of the river and its level started rising inundating the valleys upstream. In total, the river inundated 21 kilometers upstream and the depth of the lake was recorded about 100 meters (333ft) before it started flowing over the debris.
The landslide lake destroyed 24 kilometers of Karakoram Highway (KKH) and several villages and hamlets upstream and downstream of the lake. Before the overflow of lake its rising level inundated many villages and hamlets and once it overflowed over the debris it submerged and flooded many settlements.
When the water started flowing over the debris the level of the water started falling and the length of the lake contracted and now it is 13 kilometers long. The water level has also been lowered down from 100 meters to 10 meters (33ft) by blasting the spillways. Initially, when the Karakoram Highway (KKH) was inundated and washed away by the lake there was no land access between the upper and lower valleys of Hunza. In other words, there was no land access between Pakistan and China because the 24 kilometers of KKH was badly destroyed by the lake.
Until 2015 the lake was only the way of crossing and the vehicles were loaded on wooden boats and carried to the shores of the lake. But now the government of Pakistan has constructed tunnels at the Attabad lake and vehicles are no more required to load on the boats. The turquoise water and the towering rocky mountains in the wilderness of Karakoram provide the stunning view and the perfect place for the photography.
How to reach there?
When you are in Gilgit it will be at a distance of 125 kilometers and it will take a maximum of two and half hours. It is at a distance of about 30 kilometers from the Karimabad, administrative center of Hunza. It will take about half an hour to reach there from Hunza.
Other places to visit around Attabad Lake
When you are in Gilgit and you want to visit maximum places in a single visit then you need to be considerate about the possible routes to follow and a sound plan will save your time and money as well. When you want to visit the lake there are many beautiful and spectacular places along the KKH en route to this lake and beyond this lake.
Some 30 kilometers uphill from this lake is the Passu village, a famous village known for the Passu Cones. Passu Cones are a combination of peaks in the Passu village which looks like cones.
Some 200 kilometers uphill is the Khunjerab Pass, the border of China and Pakistan. So, these are the places you can visit along the KKH in a single visit.