As tourists, we traveled to Soon Sakesar valley in Central Punjab of Pakistan, one summer morning. Sakesar is the highest mountain of the Soon Valley
Weather at Soon Sakesar
During the peak summer month, Soon Sakesar Top is a cool 25 Degree Celsius.
Summers start in May and last till July with temperatures ranging from +28 Deg C to + 40 Deg C.
Winters are from December to February, with temperatures ranging from occasional -1 Deg C to Max 22 Deg C.
July and August are Monsoon Rain periods.
It sometimes even snows at the Top.
Distance to Soon Sakesar from Lahore and Islamabad
From Lahore, Soon Sakesar is nearly 7 hours and 339 Kilometers
From Islamabad, Soon Sakesar is 6 hours and 231 Kilometers
Route Map to Wadi e Soon Sakesar
We took off from Rawalpindi and took the more winding route to Soon Sakesar valley.
It took us 6 hours to get there on the Balkassar -Talagang – Ban Hafiz Jee – Sakesar route.
The road is fine but it’s much uninhabited at night, especially the road climbing from Ban Hafiz Jee turn towards Soon Sakesar valley top.
So leave early in the morning so that you can enjoy the scenery and avoid would-be trouble makers.
The weather at Soon Sakesar top was cloudy and cool, whereas, at the valley floor, it was very hot. The temperature at Soon Sakesar valley floor reaches 35 Deg C easily in summers.
From Lahore, Soon Sakesar is a 6 hours drive.
Things to see in Soon Sakesar Valley
- Namal Lake
- Lawa British Commissioner’s cottage
- The massive Ucchli Lake,
- Khabeki Lake,
- Various reserve forest clusters,
- Amb Sharif hindu temple complex
- Kanhatti Gardens is visible in this satellite map.
- Nur Singh Powar Hindu Temple
- Ucchali Lake
- Jahlar Lake
Ucchali Lake was probably 20 times the size it is now, a few centuries back.
First up comes Numl Lake at the side of the road along with Ban Hafiz Jee.
We couldn’t see it as it was getting dark and I didn’t want any trouble.
The last half hour is a steady climb towards PAF Sakesar on a wide enough road. There are no lights on the road and it gets a little scary at night. I just followed the lights on top of the mountain and breathed a sigh of relief when I got there.
Pictures, photos, and videos of Soon Sakesar valley Khushab don’t do justice to the place.
Close to Numl Lake is the run-down summer camp of British Commissioner of Attock, Mianwali, and Sargodha, on top of Lawa plains.
It is a little off route, so we didn’t go there. It would have been another 2 hours to get here.
In the old days, Gora Sahab would sit pretty on his throne (paalki) while natives would carry the pompous b*stard up to his cooler summer home, the Sakesar top.
Soon Sakesar Wadi
Sakesar top at 1530 meters is the highest point of Salt Range Mountains and is the only place wherein central Punjab where it snows every alternate year.
The same snow feeds the five water lakes in the vicinity, including Numl.
The highest point at Soon Sakesar top is at 5010 feet, where the summer office of the Deputy commissioner was located.
Sakesar top was a cool 20 Degrees Celsius in peak summers, covered in cool fog, and had the most wonderful Sun Rise.
Jungles of Soon Sakesar, Khushab
Soon Sakesar valley is probably the only place in Pakistan where I have seen natural jungle for animals and birds to flourish.
Wildlife at Sakesar Khushab
That’s why I saw the local Urial, and a reindeer-type deer, hubara bustard, and several exotic birds.
I heard there are red foxes there as well.
Hotels in Soon Sakesar Valley, Khushab
There are no private rest houses on Sakesar top except
- One of the Deputy Commissioner,
- Accountant General,
- the water department,
- forest department and
- of course PAF as well.
So, you’d have to find a connected sponsor to get there.
Pictures and Views from Soon Sakesar Top
The views from the top were absolutely breathtaking. We got to see the local Hindu temple as well, quite well preserved. AG’s house has the best view of the valley.
Ucchali Lake Sakesar
The next day we descended Sakesar top and caught a glimpse of Uchhali Lake from high above.
I never knew it was so massive. The lake has a broad walk and boats on hire take you around. I have heard it looks beautiful in the monsoon season when the lake swells up about 5 feet higher, from catchment water.
At one spot the lake is pink from some specific algae somewhat like the pink lakes of Australia
Jahlar Lake, Sakesar
We moved on towards Jahlar Lake on the Karodhi-Jahlar road which is a 1.5 hours’ drive on a rocky track.
If you take the Sabral -suraki – Jahlar road, it takes one hour more, but the road is metaled.
Jahlar is a beautiful freshwater lake in the middle of green mountains. The people around the place are a little annoying though, maybe out of courtesy.
Khabeki Lake Soon Sakesar, Khushab
We then moved on the Suraki-khabeki road to touch the main Soon Sakesar Khushab road and turned right towards the Khabeki Lake.
It is a 1.5 hours’ drive on a metaled road. This lake is quite wide and has its own broad walk.
There were very few ladies on the roads, this goes to show that the place is still quite conservative.
I am not sure whether the lake is freshwater or not, but the cows were certainly having a good time bathing in the pool.
Boat ride at Soon Sakesar Lake
There is a motorboat available for rides.
Across the lake was a beautiful summer home overlooking the lake that was abandoned by Hindu residents. I bet the ones that took over the place, rechristened themselves as Chowdary.
Lunch at Sakesar Hotel
By the time we left Khabeki Lake, we were quite hungry and settled down to have a charcoal lunch of Daal-Chapati on a roadside restaurant.
I have never tasted anything more delicious in my life. I must have eaten a dozen chapattis that day.
The charcoal smell, fresh salad, and hot tandoori roti just brought out the animal in me. While having our fresh lunch, we enjoyed a traditional Soon Sakesar valley song too.
The place is a short drive on the Nowshera-Jabba road while traveling towards Kanhatti Gardens.
Kanhatti Gardens, Soon Sakesar, Khushab
Kanhatti Gardens were designed by a British officer Major Who Cares (Whet Burns, district engineer).
He closed off several acres of land that was pinched between towering rocks and had natural springs flowing thorough and wala! you have paradise.
Best Hotels in Soon Sakesar Wadi
The only downer about going to Soon Sakesar valley is that there are no quality guest houses or hotels.
The TDCP resorts available at Kanhatti Gardens and Khabeki Lake are usually difficult to book.
Email for booking firstname.lastname@example.org and call +92 (42) 111 111 042
You’d have to find some local and pay them to stay overnight.
Soon Sakesar does not have any worthwhile hotels to stay in but it is probably the most unappreciated hill stations of Punjab.