Dense with heavy vegetation and 7,957 feet above the sea level, Sharan is a forest reserve in Kaghan Valley that lies adjacent to a lush green plateau named Manshi Top. The forest is a habitat to a variety of flora and fauna, dense mossy formations, mushrooms, wild fruits and water streams. The best thing about this attraction is that it is not saturated by crowds of travelers yet as it hasn’t been commercialized.
Important things to know
- Unless you have your own camping equipment, you must plan your accommodation before you reach Sharan.
- The campsite inside the forest is lined with small huts owned by different forest and tourism departments so one can book their spot if it hasn’t been already reserved for government officials.
- As the pathway to Sharan is narrow at many points, it is recommended to hire a jeep driven by a local driver who’s familiar with the terrain to have a smooth journey ahead.
- If you do not wish to stay overnight in Sharan then transport can be arranged back to Paras or directly to Balakot.
- Since the forest is home to a variety of wildlife, including wild cats and venomous reptiles, you must take precautions accordingly.
- If you are interested in more adventure from Sharan then you would be surprised to know that a trek to Musa Ka Musalla awaits you. This trek takes about 7-8 hours and the best time to embark on this trek is around mid June to mid September.
When to visit?
The best time to visit Sharan Forest is during the summer, since the forest remains covered with snow throughout the rest of the year. However, seasoned travelers and adventurers do visit Sharan for winter survival challenge and adventure.
How to get there?
The track for Sharan Forest begins at the town of Paras which lies at a distance of about 30 kilometers from Balakot on the way to Naran. From Paras, Sharan is mere 10 kilometers away and it takes about one and an half hour to reach the forest. The track from Paras to Sharan is for 4×4 jeeps only as the track is very narrow at many places so the best option is to visit it on a jeep driven by a local driver. From Paras Bazar, you have to take the road passing over River Kunhar on the left and continue on the jeep track when soon you will see different types of vegetation appear ahead of you. Don’t forget to notice the small settlement of Bela while crossing Paras and Sharan.
What to expect?
When you are about to reach Sharan, about half a kilometer down, you will find a youth house, a guesthouse mostly used by young students in large groups. If you would like, you can camp there or even move ahead in the forest to find a perfect spot for yourself.
Food and other private accommodation facilities are not available in Sharan. However, you may bring your own camping equipment or even book the forest department’s guest house if it hasn’t been already reserved for government officials. Moreover, due to Sharan’s remote nature, cell phone networks do not operate in this region so inform your loved ones beforehand.