Soon Valley is like a cup surrounded by rolling unsymmetrical green hills presenting a breathtaking vista. Known for its natural beauty, the valley provides a unique sanctuary to a host of migratory birds in winter. It is a valley of lakes and springs, lush green fertile fields, versatile mountains, amazing landscape, dense mixed forests, sanctuaries of wildlife, brave peoples of high traditions, rich archaeology, pre-historic sites and ancient history. It’s situated in the north west of District Khushab, Punjab
Picture Gallery Soon valley
Attractions in soon valley
Uchali Lake is the most popular tourist attraction in the valley. This lake is formed due to the absence of drainage in the range. Sakaser, the highest mountain in the Salt Range at 1,522 metres (4,993 ft), looms over the lake. Due to its saline water the lake is lifeless, but offers picturesque scenery. The water of Lake Uchali is brackish and saline in nature and taking a bath in such water is not healthy, but the people who have certain skin conditions may recover. Boats are also available for boating. Uchali Lake attracts hundreds of migratory birds each year and is ideal haven for the bird watchers.
Khabeki Lake is located near the village Khabeki. Its area is 1421 acres. It is a perennial lake and its water is suitable for fishery farms. The department of fisheries had also developed a fishery farm here in the past. Its route include from Naushera to Khabeki or from Rawalpindi /Islamabad /Lahore to Khabeki through Kallar Kahar or Talagang.
Kanhatti Garden, located in Soon Valley of District Khushab, is accessible from Islamabad (M2 Balkasar Interchange), Lahore (M2 KallarKahar Interchange) Sargodha, Khushab and Mainwali. The distance from Islamabad is 290 km, from Lahore is 300-km and from Sargodha is 120 km.
Kanhatti Garden was established by Major W Whet Burn, District Engineer, and District Board Shahpur on 18th August 1933. Kanhatti sub village of Khabeki has been derived from Kanhat, a special rock found at natural water spring. The area of orchard was transferred to the District Board on Nov 2, 1934. The plantation in the garden was started in December 1934 and completed in January-February 1935. The plant inventory includes Almond, Apricot, Pine apple, Nagpurisangtara, Valencia late and Washington Navel. The Garden was transferred to Horticulture Research Station Soon Valley under the administrative control of Director Horticulture Research Institute, AARI-Faisalabad (1984 to 1991).In the year 1999, it was again given under the control of District Council Khushab. However being maintained under the supervision of the Khusab Agriculture Department, the Kanhatti Rest House and Camping Site was taken over by the Punjab Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) on 29th Nov, 2014.
Kanhatti Garden is like a square, three sides are bounded by reserve forest (5,014 acres) while in North private lands of the Kanhatti settlement are located. Garden is home of the indigenous flora and fauna. More than 15 species of tall trees, 60 herbs, 20 shrubs and 15 types of grasses have been recorded from the garden. Kanhatti Garden is home to the largest birds population in the Punjab Salt Range. Punjab Urial, Grey and Black partridges, golden orioles, woodpeckers while 6 different endemic fish species have been found in the garden water springs. Irrigation sources are three – spring water, rainwater and tube well. Kanhati Garden is famous for its delicious sweet juicy late Valentia citrus variety (brought from Florida, the US in 1932) which fully ripe in the month of May-June and no other place in Punjab share this uniqueness. Kanhat rock is abundantly found in this area due to which the place is named as Kanhatti. Limestone and sandstone layers are present in the area where as red marl is also exposed at several places. The main mountain ridges of the area consist of the sand stone which are 120 million years old.The climate of the garden is generally dry with hot summer and cold winter. The average minimum temperature in the area is 02 c while average maximum temperature is 36 c. Average annual precipitation is 600 mm, a major portion of which received during rainy season. Garden is visited by 10 to 1,000 tourists annually both local as well as from other adjoining cities. These tourists include common citizens, university/college/school students and youth generation of the area.
According to the PTDC Managing Director, project “Development of Eco-Tourism in Soon Valley at Kanhatti Garden, Khabekhi and Uchali Lake – Khushab’, has been approved and initiated under Annual Development Program (ADP) which hopefully would be completed within 18 months. However, soft interventions at Kanhatti Garden will be completed within couple of months. The components of development at Kanhatti Garden include Campsite and Camping facility, Garden view point, Rest House, Caravan Park, Camel riding, Hiking trails, bird watching and sighting of several other wildlife species, Natural water springs, waterfalls, water mills and water pools. Moreover the installation of signage has been completed to facilitate the visiting tourists.
The fort and temples of Anmb Shareef are located in tehsil Quaidabad. Most of the people consider these temples as a part of the area of Soon Valley because of its contiguity to the dhoks of Mahoriyaan but officially, it is designated in tehsil Quaidabad rather than tehsil Khushab.
These buildings hold a special interest for the archaeologists. Originally, the whole of this area was a fort in which there was one palace and two temples. Nowadays, only the palace and one temple exist. There used to be different statues in this fort but nothing is left of them now. The architecture of the temple is of Kashmiri style. The palace comprises of three floors but one can only approach the ground and the first floor. Each floor has a central hall.
This temple and palace is in ruins now. Government should endeavor to renovate and revive it just like they did with the temples of Katas Raj. This place holds immense archaeological importance and can be even termed as world heritage site by UN. Excavations have been going on here since many years and many precious and priceless artifacts and statues have been taken away by the smugglers and local people. This place still possesses invaluable treasure underneath it in the form of artifacts, statues and coins etc. If robust efforts have not been made by the archaeological department officials, it will be devoid of its treasure by the smugglers and people with selfish minds.