Chitta Katha Lake

Chitta Katha Lake is an amazingly beautiful lake in Upper Neelum Valley. The word Chitta Katha comes from two separate words which are chitta which means white and katha which is used for water source or stream in the local language. The trek for this lake starts from Upper Domail (referred as Utli Domail by some local people and maps) village which can be reached through a two hours jeep ride from Kel. Regular jeeps take Rs 100-120 per person for a one way ride while whole jeep can be booked in Rs 2000 – 3000 (as of 2009).

The actual trek starts from a small village with the same name i.e. Chitta Katha. If you are coming from Kel, you can get dropped at the main road a couple of kilometers short of Upper Domail village.  However, if you intend to hire guide/porters or even need a cup of refreshing tea before kicking off the trek, Upper Domail is the place. There is a small shop and a couple of restaurants where food and other items of local need are available. At least one of the two restaurant owner is planning to expand the facilities it has which will include accommodation. From Upper Domail, the gentle walk up to the Chitta Katha village takes around thirty minutes. From the village, there are two options to reach lake. One goes along the Chitta Katha Nullah and is pretty steep as well as narrow at certain points. The other one takes a bit longer round and is used by the Gujjars when their livestock has to be moved with them. To use this trek, cross the foot bridge on Nullah and follow the trail ascending up and remaining at the right side of the rocky face of mountain.  This rocky face is one of the places around Domail where ruby gemstone is found and used to be extracted from. There is a steep ascend for about a couple of hours after which the track opens up in a wide valley at the base of HariParbat peak. There are a couple of settlements here at the starting and ending points of this open valley. From the settlement at the end of this valley, the path ascends again steeply. This is a nice place to camp for the night if you do not want to return in the same day. After a tough ascend of another hour or two one comes across a flat surface from where Chitta Katha lake can be reached in half an hour. The look of the lake with turquoise colored water and snow covered mountains the background makes this lake  extremely fascinating.

Chitta Katha Lake (Photo Credit: Ehsan Gilani)


If you are willing to hire a guide for the trek, ask for Luqman or Mushtaq from main Upper Domail village. I found Luqman more competent and caring. As this area doesn’t see regular trekkers, rates are not fixed compared to the Northern areas and thus would have to be negotiated.


14 thoughts on “Chitta Katha Lake

  1. This is probably the only article which gives complete knowledge base about the lake. Even Wikipedia doesnt have such a detailed account. I have been to kel but unfortunately, I was already too late so I came back without visiting this paradise. I will plan inshAllah and will go to see it very soon.
    Thank you for the info. Really a great article of the place.
    Keep posting.

  2. very nice location. just wow. pls explain in the article how arrived there with more explanation pl. goood

  3. Very helpful information !!

    We are planning to go up to the lake in July 2011. May Allah make this easy for us.
    Is it possible to come back to KEL in the same day?

  4. Hi, it is not possible to come back same day, i suggest to camp there & enjoy the night camp there…try to capture the sun rise from there.

  5. please will u guide me if i want to do this trek in the october end… will it be feasable….. and how many days will it take from isb to isb… ASAP

  6. @farzoq: Yes, this is generally doable till October end. However, do keep in mind that Neelum valley has already got the first snowfall of the year and it will be extremely cold out there. From Isb-Isb it will be 3-4 days.

  7. Aoa,my name is samad and i’m from and my 9 colleagues went to the lake on sunday 7th october 2012.on,unfortunately only 2 other friends alongside me made it to the lake and the rest turned back & we went back to kel on the same day.But to do that strong will power is highly recommended.But this lake is one to watch 4 sure.It surely looks like a piece of paradise

  8. Assalam Alaikum Umair. I hope you are doing great! I would like to know if it is recommended to do this trek during Mid August? Concern for me are rains that can make this trek really difficult. So need your advice on that!

  9. Walaikumassalam Sufyan. Generally the trek is well accessible in August. Rains might delay the journey but unless it’s a flood like situation you won’t get struck for more than few hours at one place during landsliding.

  10. Aoa,

    Will this lake be accessible in Mid May? What route should we take from Isbd to visit this lake. Should it be from Naran –> Jalkhad –> Nooritop or from Muzaffarabad?

    Please also guide about Ratti gali lake. Is it accessible in Mid May? How many days will it requirefrom Isbd to Isbd if we want to visit both lakes in one trip. Where should we camp? What will be the approx cost?

    Thank you

  11. Haris, no it will still be frozen in mid May. The route from Jalkhad side will most likely be closed too. Pretty much same is the case with Ratti Gali. Mid June to Mid September are best times to visit these places. You can still pursue your trip if you don’d mind walking on snow near the lake. You should take the Neelum Valley route for both.

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