A boat ride in Chakwal is a wonderful addition to the splendor of vast open spaces just beyond the city.
I have seen Chakwal downtown grow from a blip far away from any major city to a bustling bazaar in two decades.
This time drove past the city to see the artificial lakes created by damming the perennial streams of Chakwal.
Just beyond the ridge South of Chakwal city on the Choa Saidan Shah road, a valley opens up with several lakes, ponds, and Dams spread out before you.
Route and Distance of Dhok Thalian from Islamabad
Dhok Thalian Dam is 2.15 hrs. and 150 km from Islamabad. You must exit the Kallar Kahar Interchange on the Islamabad Lahore motorway to reach Chakwal city and then on to Thallian town.
The Dam is about two decades old but has recently been renovated and motor boats were introduced by the tourism corporation of Pakistan.
A dirt track goes right up to Dhok Thalian Dam and there is plenty of signage showing you the way.
Where to stay at Chakwal?
Chakwal city has quite a few good hotels to stay, but at the Dam site, the Tourism Development Corporation of Pakistan (TDCP) has leased out the local guest houses that you can book for Rs 3500 per night from this number +923002041742.
Where to eat at Chakwal?
You must bring your food and drink as there is nothing close to it. The town has a local restaurant, but it is usually closed even during the daytime.
Dhok Thalian Dam
I parked my car and walked down to the huge water reservoir, which is a lot more stretched out compared to its depth.
There are a few islands at the center and an artificial jetty where you can park your boats.
The mountains on the side give a beautiful view of the glistening water, although the water is muddy.
There are many fish in the Dam but you need special permission from the Irrigation Department to fish there.
I took a round off the edges of the Dam and even climbed off onto the island just to get a feel of adventure.
The boat was brand new and the guide was very courteous Ph. +923465930234.
Best Picnic spot
The best thing about Thalian Dam is that lots of families and couples come there to enjoy a quiet lunch away from prying eyes, in peace.
Kot Raja Dam
Driving back towards Chakwal, before the mountain crest comes the Kot Raja Dam, on the right side of the road.
It is a drive of 15 min on a metaled road to reach Dhok Raja Dam, but I stopped for lunch at a local restaurant before.
From Islamabad, it’s about the same 150 km and 2.15 h.
The local kitchen is run by Pashtun guys from Waziristan, trust the Pathan to be the most enterprising people around.
The food was piping hot and I burnt my pallet while gulping it down, but it was worth it.
Dhok Raja is another stretched-out water storage area that is more elongated, rather than deep. I had to walk for about half an hour to get a panoramic view of the whole place.
There is a government-owned fish farm there that is quite interesting to see.
I didn’t see any tourism boats there but the local fishermen take you out for a ride in their rickety boats, while you hang on to dear life, for a nominal fee.
The guest rooms at Dhok Raja have probably not been leased out because they are fully functional, but no one can book them due to the impossible bureaucracy.
Ban Ameer Khatoon Thirpal Dam
Returning from Dhok Raja, just a few km further towards Chakwal, a road branch off to the village of Ban Ameer Khatoon Dam also called the Thirpal Dam.
It is a 20 minutes drive off the main road on a metalled track.
The Dam is the most recent one made and is huge, compared to the other Dams
It was evening time by then and the golden sun rays bounced off the water’s surface, giving off a glow all over.
There is nothing to eat at Ban Ameer Khatun, so bring your food.
The drive back to Islamabad was calm and quiet, through endless rows of yellow and green saffron fields.
I am told that Dharab Dam also has new boat rides arranged by TDCP, but I don’t have their contact. If you have any information on boat rides, do share down with everyone.
The Chakwal valley amazes me every time I go there.
A boat ride in Chakwal is for the quiet Sunday in spring, when you just don’t want to talk to anyone and enjoy a peaceful picnic.