Balakot is a small town located at the bank of river Kunhar. It is a very beautiful place and a famous tourist resort. Tourists going to Naran do stop by Balakot and are mesmerized by the beauty of this town. It is surrounded by lush green mountains from all sides and that adds more beauty to it.
Balakot is accessible through road and is about a five hour drive from the capital city of Islamabad. Its main attraction is the river Kunhar; people sit on the bank of the river and enjoy their meals. Some adventurous tourists like to take pictures while sitting on the rocks placed in the river. The sound of water creates a more serene scene as if someone is playing a musical instrument. Having a cup of tea on the side of river Kunhar takes you away. The water of the river is crystal clear, yet is extremely cold as it comes from the melted glaciers.
Balakot is a place with rich history. Sultan Mahmud Ghaznave conquered the town in early eleventh century and from here marched his troops into India. Balakot is located in the province of Khyber Pahktunkhwa which has been a dominant Muslim territory in the eleventh century. Later on place was ruled by Mughals and in 1818 Sikhs launched an attack on the region which faced a lot of resistance though they took the territory at last. But the battle that took place between Sikh army and Muslim troops led by Syed Ahmad Shaheed and Shah Ismaeel Shaheed became an inspiration for rebels and will always be remembered as one of the most fearsome battles that this region had seen.
The town has a rich Sufi tradition and therefore has a lot of Dargahs. Also the shrines of various famous Sufi saints are located in the town of Balakot. Since Balakot is a small town tourists sometimes just ignore it and stop only for lunch or dinner. But some lucky ones do opt to stay here and explore more of the town.
One of the most wonderful things is spending a night at Balakot – indeed an unmatched experience. Sitting on a rock beside river Kunhar holding a mug of coffee, with a local musician playing an instrument and a wolf howling just creates a scene that you would have not even come across in the movies. Though the howling may terrify you but still for adventure lovers it’s a great experience. So if you are in the region, don’t forget to enjoy the night venture of Balakot.
This wonderful town has many hotels and there is no issue of food and water. One of the specialties of Balakot is its refreshing green tea and “Kahwa “- traditional coffee.
Balakot was hit by an earthquake in the year 2005 and whole city was turned into rubble in merely 10 seconds. Now a new town has been built, which is twenty kilometer away from the previous one. This town is much safer from earthquakes and most of the hotels and buildings are earth quake proof. It is also note worthy that this new town is the result of mutual efforts between both of Pakistan and UAE government.