swabi pakistan

Interesting things about Swabi Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa

Kundal dam reservoir

Swabi District has 1.6 million people according to the 2017 census.

The people of Swabi are mostly Mandanyr Yousafzai Pathan, although there are some Gadoon, Tanoli, Khattak, and Utman there as well.

Swabi district has been lucky to get fresh water from the mountains up North and is rich in agriculture.

The major crops of Swabi are

  • Tobacco,
  • Maize,
  • sugar cane

Irrigation Channels in Swabi

Whenever you drive across the Swabi district, you’d find several cemented freshwater canals crisscrossing the country.

That’s why most of the people there are engaged in agriculture.

cemented freshwater canals

History of Swabi

Swabi was not always Pashtun.

Back in BC times, Swabi was the epicenter of Buddhist learning.

In the Gandhara period (2nd century BC to 10th century AD), quite like Taxila, Swabi was in the center of learning in this triangular empire.

Maranantha spread Buddhism to Korea

Guru Maranantha of Chota Lahore, Swabi was the one who spread Buddhism in Korea in the Far East of Asia

Back in those days, this district was inhabited by Hindkowans, now referred to as Hindko people who are now mostly limited to Peshawar city.

Alexander the Great of Macedon passed through Swabi District in 326 BC at a place called Hund.

University in Swabi

Even today, the love for educated has not diminished in this district and it boasts:

  • Swabi University
  • Swabi women’s university
  • Gajju Khan Swabi medical college
  • Ghulam Ishaq khan University GIK, Topi
Beautiful view from a mountain

Dams in Swabi

Due to lack of storage dams, the Swabi district gets water parched in summers, but that is changing now.

A few 50-meter height dams have been constructed that would ease the water table in Swabi.

  • Kundal Dam
  • Bara Dam
  • Pabini Dam
Tobacco fields

Swabi Weather

 It smoldering hot in Swabi during summers and temperatures may rise to 40 0 Celsius and in June / July.

Swabi places to visit

Hund Museum and Fort Archeological Site

Hund was actually “Hind” in ancient history.

This was the only frequently used crossing point on the Indus River toward Hindustan.

Even Alexander of Macedon used this crossing.

Hund town even has a chota lahor “smaller Lahore” town attached to it.

The Gandhara people needed a fort protecting this strategic river crossing, so they built Hund Fort.

Hund fort has only a few walls left over from the last millennium, and the rest has been occupied by people.

It’s a good thing the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Archeological Department now has a museum at Hund dedicated mostly to Buddhist artifacts and Pashtun tradition here.

Hand still has several miles of undiscovered archeological treasures buried underneath this built-up town, as evident from the half-open pit near Hund Museum.

old map in the museum

Hund Indus River Fish point

Hund is a few kilometers from the Swabi Interchange exit of Motorway.

Hund is 1.5 h and 100 km from Islamabad.

During the summer months, the Hund Indus riverbank is full of families enjoying the cool water of the Indus River.

Indus River widens and considerably slows down here.

The fish you get at Hund is incomparable anywhere.

They have even boat on the river where they take you to the island in the middle of the river

Rani ghat

Rani Ghat Buddhist Archeological Site

Rani Ghat is 2500 years old Buddhist temple and monastery complex.

Rani Ghat is 2.5 hours from Islamabad and 122 km.

Rani Ghat Map

Exit Swabi interchange – Swabi Mardan Road- exit toward Rustom at Dheri village – Misri Khan Dhand- Rani Ghat.

Rani Ghat Buddhist monastery ruins are on top of a mountain that miraculously has natural springs flowing from the top.

It once housed a whole town full of people and monks, back in the early 1st millennium AD.

What does Rani Ghat mean?

Rani literally means “Queen Stone.”

It gets its name from the oddly positioned tower-like stone that rises 40 feet into the air, from its narrow base.

This rock has markings that indicate that it was once worshiped by the Buddhists.

The perennial springs and wells of Rani Ghat are also located near this obelisk-like stone.

Rani Ghat is close to Beena Town of Buner.

Queen stone

My trip to Rani Gat Top

It takes 45 minutes for an average fit person to reach the top.

Although the wind blows faster on the top, it is still hot in summers, so bring g your water with you.

The boulders on the Rani Ghat Mountain are rounded and significantly large.

Even while climbing you can see evidence of etching and stone carving on the rocks made by artisans from ancient times.

A stone stairway took me to the top.

Rani Ghat

                                                 PRO-TIP

There is nothing to eat on the way.

I left my car at the foot of the hill as the road going up seemed too steep.

A Japanese university-sponsored archeological work on this site and revealed a masterpiece of construction and artifacts that we see in the Peshawar Museum.

This archeological project was abruptly discontinued due to the spell of terror in Pakistan.

Looking at the landscape, geology, and topography of Rani Ghat and you get a fair idea why early monks chose this site for a massive monastery.

When I reached the top, I found a 50 meters square-fenced area where ruins of a semi reconstructed monastery appeared before me.

The central stupa even had an arched aqueduct with water flowing through the center of the town.

There were concealed water channels and bathhouses in olden times.

Stupa at Rani ghat

Buddhist monks quarters carved in solid Stone

The most revered of monks housed themselves in rooms carved into solid stone.

Water channels flowed down on both sides of the town into the low lands below.

Now, most of the channels have dried out.

I managed to catch a glimpse of the Buddhist figurines carved on the sides of the temples.

A lot of the carvings have been destroyed during the terror years of KPK.

Monk's living quarter

The ghost of Rani Ghat

The guard on the site says that the place is visited by the ghosts of Buddhist monks at night and no one sleeps on top of the ruins alone at night.

Kundal Dam

Kundal Dam is 122 km from Islamabad and it takes 3 h to get there.

Kundal Dam Route and Map

Kundal Dam Route is

Exit Swabi interchange-Swabi city-jhanda-turn left-Panjman-Geela Kandao-Kundal Dam.

Do not depend on Google Maps as you will end up at a dead end.

Ask someone when you missed the turning.

Kundal Dam Swabi was developed as a tourist spot and irrigation dam for the locality that experienced a drought-like situation in the summer months due to erratic rainfall.

Watersports at Kundal Dam

While the irrigation part is working fine, tourism at the site was banned after three girls drowned in the lake when their boat capsized.

I tried to pay for a ride on the jet skis and powerboats parked on the lake, but the contractor’s representative told me only special guests get to ride nowadays.

Damn this VIP Culture!

Anyway, the Kundal dam looks beautiful during the evening time when the orange sunlight bounces of the water surface.

The best view of Kundal is when you drive a few kilometers ahead of the lake and look down.

The road to Kundol is broke

n at places but it is manageable, except for the few kilometers, where the road is atrocious.

Any vehicle can reach Kundal Dam.

Kundal dam
courtesy Google

Kernel Sher Khan Monument

Karnal Sher Khan Monument at Nawan Kalay is a tribute to Pakistan’s gallant hero Captain Kernel Sher Khan, Nishan e Haider, Kargil War.

It is also close to Shera Adda on the Swabi Mardan road.

A visit to offer prayer and gain some inspiration in the process is worth it.

courtesy Google

Lover spot Karamar Mountain

The story of Love birds Yousef Khan and Sherbano whose grave is located in the town of Kalu Khan is worth hearing again from the town folk of Shera Ghund.

This monument to love is located near a vast olive tree garden along Shera Adda.

It is 142 km from Islamabad and 3 hours to get there.

It is closer to Mardan

Karamar Mountain Map

Tarbela Dam Wall View Spot

You can catch a glimpse of the Tarbela Dams massive wall while you exit Swabi District from the Topi side.

If you are lucky, they might let you into the dam site to see the spillways and enjoy water sports.

Swabi
view of tarcella dam

Lessons Rant

I feel WAPDA should allow everyone to visit Tarbela Dam so that people own their country’s assets, for which they are paying through their blood and sweat.

WAPDA security, which is more numerous than the hair on my head only allows “serving the army and WAPDA officers” to use the roads, water sports areas, and bridges over canals – which is a shame.

When will the Pakistani elite get over the snootiness syndrome?

Things to see in Tarbela Dam

There are so many things to see in Tarbela like

  • The water splash from the spillways.
  • Powerhouses
  • Tarbela lake
  • Water sports
  • Tourist viewpoint from the mountain top
  • The Canal road and water ponds.

To get official permission, you must write to WAPDA on their website, and if you are lucky someone will reply.

These are the things I did at Tarbela Dam

courtesy Google

Pehur Steepa Canal Point

This cold water canal was built on a tunnel from the Tarbela Dam reservoir.

During the summer months, thousands of families gather here to enjoy in cool water.

Steepa is 2 hours and 116 km from Islamabad approached from the Swabi Exit of Swabi City.

Waterfalls near Swabi

courtesy Google

This waterfall is located in the mountains on the North of Swabi

courtesy Google

Nihalpur waterfalls is a picnic spot located across the road from the Kund waterpark,

courtesy Google

Kund Family Park, Nowshehra

Kund Water Park is right on the GT road where Kabul and Indus Rivers meet and it has

  • Water boating
  • Animal sanctuary
  • Fish barbecue joints
  • Play area for kids
  • Safe area for Families and women

Kund is the only 200-meter square jungle for several hundred miles.

Mountain Tourist Spots in Swabi

  • Batakhara Mountains
  • Mahaban Mountains
  • Birgali Gadoon Mountain spot

I am told these are lovely mountains, but I haven’t been there myself yet.

courtesy Google

Makha Archery

The most interesting thing about Batakhara Mountains is the people there play the famous archery sport of Makha.

This sport is special to Swabi.

A tournament is held in April every year.

courtesy Google

Asota Sharif Stonehenge like Archeological spot

Asota Sharif is 142 km from Islamabad, and it takes 3 h to get there from Islamabad

This rock arrangement resembles Stonehenge and was probably a valuable assembly hall of sorts with a stone roof that these stone pillars supported.

Where the roof ended up is for archeological investigators to find.

Conclusion

You cannot complete all the fun and interesting things to do in Swabi in one day. I would suggest you break down the archeological, hiking, and Water Park sites in three visits so that you enjoy everyone.

 

تاسو خوند واخلئ

 

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