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February 28, 2021

Exciting day trip to historical salt range

Islamabad

February 28, 2021

Islamabad: The Asian Study Group has organised an exciting day trip to the Salt Range which comprises of two rows of low lying rugged hills that run east to west between the Soan and Jhelum rivers - from the Grand Trunk Road near Jhelum city to the River Indus near Kalabagh. This area is said to record 600 million years of the earth’s history.

The name comes from the vast deposits of rock salt exposed and mined at Khewra. The salt was left behind when the sea, which extended over the Indus plains and the Potohar plateau, evaporated 600 million years ago. The rocks and fossils found around the salt range provide a complete record of the history of the Earth. The Salt Range Wetlands Complex comprises of a series of adjacent lakes - Kallar Kahar, Khabbeki, Ucchali, Jhalar and Namal. These lakes provide an important wintering ground for migratory birds and are the core habitat for the endemic Punjab Urial.

Historically this region is also very rich. Alexander the Great passed through the Salt Range on his way to fight a battle with King Porus on the banks of the Jhelum River in 326 BC. In the 3rd century BC, this area became part of Ashoka’s Buddhist Empire. Towards the end of the Buddhist period, in the 6th century AD, there was a kingdom in the Salt Range called Singhapura, probably centered at Ketas. From the 7th to 10th century the Salt Range was part of the powerful Kashmiri Hindu kingdom. Mahmood Ghazni invaded the region in the early 11th century. The local tribes were converted to Islam at this time.

Departure from Islamabad at 07:30 am sharp. Travel on Motorway M-2 and enjoy the dramatic scenery of Salt Range. Visit Khewra Salt Mines and historical Hindu temples of Ketas Raj. Drive to Kallar Kahar for a short stay (for tea and to enjoy the scenic beauty of this area). Arrive back at Islamabad at around 7:00 pm. Register with the ASG office 051-2802343 (Tuesday-Saturday 11am-2pm) by 9 March, 2021.