Nestled in the heart of the picturesque Soon Valley, Kanhatti Garden is a hidden treasure that has been captivating the hearts of tourists for decades. With its stunning waterfalls, lush orchards, and diverse flora and fauna, this garden is a testament to nature’s beauty and the legacy of Major W Whet Burn, the District Engineer, and District Board Shahpur, who established this enchanting paradise on August 18, 1933.
Location and Accessibility
Kanhatti Garden is conveniently accessible from major cities like Islamabad, Lahore, Sargodha, Khushab, and Mainwali. It’s situated approximately 290 kilometers from Islamabad, 300 kilometers from Lahore, and 120 kilometers from Sargodha. The garden’s accessibility from different urban centers makes it a prime destination for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers.
A Historical Legacy
The history of Kanhatti Garden is as rich as its natural beauty. It was Major W Whet Burn who initiated the establishment of this garden, starting with the transfer of the orchard area to the District Board on November 2, 1934. Plantation work began in December 1934 and concluded in January-February 1935. Today, the garden boasts an impressive array of plant species, including Almond, Apricot, Pineapple, Nagpurisangtara, Valencia late, and Washington Navel.
Over the years, Kanhatti Garden has seen administrative changes, from being under the control of the Horticulture Research Station in Soon Valley to the District Council Khushab. In 2014, the Punjab Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) took over the management of the Kanhatti Rest House and Camping Site, ensuring that visitors have access to comfortable accommodations and facilities.
Biodiversity and Natural Beauty
Kanhatti Garden is more than just an orchard; it’s a sanctuary for indigenous flora and fauna. Within its boundaries, you can find over 15 species of tall trees, 60 herbs, 20 shrubs, and 15 types of grasses. Notably, Kanhatti Garden is home to the largest bird population in the Punjab Salt Range, making it a birdwatcher’s paradise. Visitors can spot Punjab Urial, Grey and Black partridges, golden orioles, woodpeckers, and even six different endemic fish species in the garden’s water springs.
The garden’s unique microclimate allows it to cultivate the deliciously sweet and juicy late Valencia citrus variety, a fruit brought from the United States in 1932. These citrus fruits fully ripen during May and June, offering a delectable treat for visitors.
Kanhatti Garden’s geological wonders are equally captivating. The area is abundant in Kanhat rock, from which it derives its name. Limestone and sandstone layers are prevalent, and red marl can be observed at several locations. The primary mountain ridges in the region consist of sandstone, which dates back 120 million years.
Climate and Visitor Experience
The garden experiences a generally dry climate, characterized by hot summers and cold winters. The average minimum temperature hovers around 02°C, while the average maximum temperature reaches 36°C. The region receives an average annual precipitation of 600 mm, with most rainfall occurring during the rainy season.
Kanhatti Garden welcomes a diverse range of tourists, from common citizens to university, college, and school students, as well as the youth from the area and adjoining cities. It draws between 10 to 1,000 visitors annually, all seeking a taste of its natural beauty and tranquility.
Kanhatti Garden in Soon Valley is a testament to the beauty of nature, human endeavor, and the importance of preserving biodiversity. Its stunning waterfalls, lush orchards, and unique geological features make it a destination worth exploring for anyone seeking a break from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Whether you are a nature lover, a birdwatcher, or simply looking for a peaceful retreat, Kanhatti Garden offers an enchanting escape into the heart of the Soon Valley’s natural wonders. So, pack your bags and embark on a journey to discover this oasis of tranquility and biodiversity.