Ghazi Barotha Dam, close to Attock city, has a huge lake behind it to store water. This lake looks beautiful in the evening Sun.
The difficult part is getting to enjoy it.
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Ghazi Barotha Hydropower project
Ghazi Barotha Dam project is a run-of-the-river hydroelectric power plant.
The project pinches water of the Indus River, 7 km downstream of Tarbela Dam at Ghazi.
This water is transported 50 km on an open 100 m-wide drain channel and dropped onto power turbines at Barotha, Attock.
The water from the exit is joined poured back into the Indus River at
Ghazi Barotha Dam location Map
This dam is a few kilometers from Attock City in Punjab, on the border with Swabi district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, across the River Indus.
How to get to Ghazi Barotha Dam
You will have to drive on the motorway toward Peshawar and exit from Burhan Interchange and join the GT road.
Exit the GT road from the board that reads “Sanjwal,” just before Lawrencepur.
Cross Attock City from the outside and drive toward Barotha.
You will see the lake all on your right side.
- Also, see 150 Dams of Pakistan
Trip to Ghazi Barotha Dam site
As the lake is at Barotha, Attock, I took off on Sunday morning on my trusted 4×4 steed from Islamabad.
It took me 2 h and 100 km to get to Barotha Lake.
Woe is me! It was a war zone at the Powerhouse and Lake.
Gun totting guards of WAPDA with fingers on the trigger looked more menacing than WWF champion fighters.
I thought I had ended up on the India-Pakistan border.
I did not know whether to ask to be allowed to visit the lake or run for my life.
Overwhelming Security deter visitors
It seems a little odd that the public is not allowed to enjoy a simple lake built with their money.
I mean, what is the point of paying hundreds of guards to protect water from the Pakistani public who only want to have a good time?
Boat ride at Ghazi Barotha Powerhouse
As I did not have formal permission from WAPDA HQ, I had to look for entertainment outside the powerhouse.
I drove past the Ghazi Barotha powerhouse and reached the bridge that crosses over the downstream channel.
Right before entering the bridge, a kutcha track runs straight toward the confluence point of Barotha exit stream and Indus River.
This also looks like a giant lake and has excellent views of the powerhouse from a distance.
It also has a lovely boat riding crew always on standby.
The boat crew is fisherfolk by day and tour guides by afternoon.
I took their motorboat to the turn on the Indus River where the water is deep and the fish is plenty.
The fishermen showed me Masheer, China, Turkey, Palwa, Khagga, Saanp Machli (snake fish) that they had snagged.
Boat craftspersons of Jehangira Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa
The fishermen said that there are expert wood craftsmen in Jehangira town that build motorboats for them for Rs 0.6 Million each.
I think I might get myself one and sail to Thatta in Sindh.
PRO TIP 1
The water at Barotha quiets down a bit, but gets vicious when it rains upstream – so be careful.
While I was in the center of the Indus River, the sputtering motor died.
My boatmen casually poured petrol in the tank, while the boat twisted and turned, at the mercy of the rapids.
The boat structure was built to be low profile, but no one thought it could die on you in the center of a raging river.
Some splashing of water later, I was pulling at the motor chain to restart the motor myself.
Before you judge me – you would have done the same.
Island in the center of the Indus River
The boat miraculously started up and then it docked onto an island in the center of the River Indus.
I got off the boat, roamed around the island with migratory birds flying past me and the river coming right at my position – it was a different experience.
I paid the boat crew Rs 500 for a half-hour ride and drove off to find a good Tandoori Restaurant – the highlight of the day
I could see the top of Cherat Mountain in Nowshehra from here.
Desi Restaurant at Ghazi Barotha Power Plant
I found a good Desi Restaurant called “Bismillah Hotel,” at a 10 min’ drive over the Ghazi Barotha Dam Bridge.
I had my Channay, Karhi Pakora, Tandoori Chapati, and Tea just for Rs 250.
We do not even get a good carbonated drink for Rs 250 in the cities anymore.
How to book a visit to Ghazi Barotha Power Plant?
You would have to place a request to the WAPDA office at least one week in advance to get official permission from the Chief Engineer to see
- the Power House and
- Dam from the inside.
If you do not get to see the inside of the Power Plant, the boat ride on the Indus River is also interesting.
Ghazi Barotha Power Plant and Lake is an excellent one-day trip for families and to inspire kids with engineering marvels. I wish the people in charge had the sagacity to use this precious tourism site to generate revenues and goodwill instead of scaring people off with useless guards and AK-47s. Kalashnikovs
Today’s visitor will be tomorrow’s investor.
- Also see, 35 legit ways to have fun in Pakistan
Is any sane person listening?