The Lush-green valley of Swat, with its rushing **torrent not allowed**s, icy-cold lakes, fruit-laden orchards and flower-decked slopes is ideal for holiday-makers intent on relaxation. It has a rich historical past, too.
This is "Udayana" (the "Garden") of the ancient Hindu epics; "the land of enthralling beauty" where Alexander of Macedonia fought and won some of his major battles before crossing over to the plains of Pakistan. This is "the valley of the hanging chains" described by the famous Chinese pilgrim-chroniclers, Huain Tsang and Fa-Hian in the fifth and sixth centuries.
Swat was once the cradle of Buddhism of all its schools- Little Vehicle, Great Vehicle and the Esoteric sects where once 1,400 monasteries flourished. It was the home of the famous Gandhara School of Sculpture which was an expression of Graeco-Roman form in the local Buddhist tradition. See NWFP Picture Gallery for some beautiful pictures of Swat Valley
Swat was also the historical land where the Muslim conquerors, Mahmud of Ghazni, Babur and Akbar fought their battles preparatory to the conquest of the South Asia. The ruins of great Buddhist stupas, monasteries and statues are found all over Swat.
The valley of Swat sprawls over 10,360 sq. kms at an average elevation of 975 metres. The maximum temperature in July is 38 C and minimum (during January) is 1 C. The normal temperature is maximum 21 C and minimum 7 C. The tourist season is year-round.
Swat Valley is divided into 3 main areas, Saidu Sharif, Mingora and Kalam.
Headquarters of Swat Valley, Saidu Sharif houses the Swat Museum which contains one of the finest collections of Gandhara art in the world.
3 kms From Saidu Sharif, has yielded magnificent pieces of Buddhist sculpture and the ruins of great stupas. Other beauty spots worth visiting are Marghzar, 13kms from Saidu Sharif, famous for its "Sufed Mahal" or White Palace, the white marble palace of the former Wali (ruler) of Swat; Kabl, 16 kms from Saidu Sharif with its excellent golf course, Madyan, 55 kms from Saidu Sharif, Bahrain, Miandam and Kalam. Malam Jabba, at 2,636 metres above sea level and 45 kms north-east of Saidu Sharif is being developed as a ski-cum-summer resort.