Khewra Salt mines of Pind Dadan Khan, Jhelum Administrative Region is the second largest Salt mine in the world with an estimated 89 Mill-600 Mill tons reserves.
History of Khewara Salt Mines
The Khewra mine was first recorded by the cavalry horses of Alexander’s army in 326BC. It was then mined commercially by Mughal Rulers.This mine was identified by Alexander in BC times, passed on to Mogul Akbar then to Gakhar-Rajas, further on to Ranjit-Hari Singh combine and finally to British Sarkar
Khewra meaning and pronunciation
Khewra means “attractive” in Punjabi and is pronounced Kh-ai-w-ra
Himalayan Pink Salt of Khewra Salt Mines
The famous Pink Himalayan salt that is known to cure several ailments including Tuberculosis and Asthma is found in abundance here. In fact, Khewra exports raw pink stones to India, which further grinds it to sell as cure salt in the western world.
Pakistan uses this precious stone to feed buffaloes.
Weather of Khewra Mines
The Khewra weather is hot all year round. Even in winters, December to January, the temperature does not fall below 10 Deg C and it hardly ever rains.
Route to Khewra Salt Mines
There are two ways to drive to Khewra mines,
- One is Islamabad – Kallar Kahar -Khewra and the other is
- Islamabad Toba Interchange – Pind Dadan Khan – Khewra
Khewra salt mines are Just a two and a half hours drive from Rawalpindi.
Khewra salt mines are a one-day trip to an ancient fossil. It’s better to take the Motorway-lillah-khewra route in the morning and return through the Khewra-chakwal-Rawat route. This way you can eat Pehlwan Revri from Chakwal bazar.
Fantastic Things to see in Khewra Salt Mines
This is my collection of the fantastic things about the No.2 salt mine in the world :-
Gang Way Bridge over Salt Lake
Inside the mine, a pul-e-saraat (salt bridge) leads into a figurine chamber.
50 feet down one level below the surface is the Gang way bridge crossing over a 75 ft clear pool of salt water.
This pul (bridge) is a narrow walkway over a 100 ft-deep saltwater pool. Its unique feature is that the pool is crystal clear and you can see actually see rainbow patterns of light bouncing off salt crystals, at the bottom.
It feels like you are walking over thin air.
The Salt Idol Chamber
Then the chamber at the end of this rickety bridge has figurines carved in the salt rock surface. Some say it resembles Allama Iqbal and there is another one that looks like the Great Wall of China.
Pakistan could make a fortune if they allow tourists to float on the high concentration brine pools—as this water doesn’t let people drown—like the dead sea.
Cool and Aseptic Air
It’s a cool 18 Degrees Celsius year round in the 17 stories high, 45 km tunnels. While its blazing hot outside, you can enjoy a cool springtime breeze inside.
The low humidity, salt-laden air really does clear your lungs and you feel refreshed in the 2 hours tour through the mine.This salt laden air is great for Tuberculosis and Asthma patients
Electric Pull Cart and Train
The electric single gauge train that runs through the main tunnel is more than 150 years old- but works fine.
Geometric Patterns on Natural Pink Himalayan Salt
Natural salt formations and geometrical patterns are awe-inspiring. It’s a better idea to pay a tour guide Rs 1000 and he might take you to some of the least visited tombs. That’s where is real beauty is.
Remnants of the British Raj like the Chief engineer’s residence, offices, train station, Hindu temple, church, and vintage train engine are still in a time capsule.
It’s like strolling through British Raj days with Dr. Warth (Chief miner) and Viceroy Mayo (Khewra mine was named after him) just around the corner.
Healthy ingredients of Khewra Himalayan Salt
Himalayan salt is actually Khewra salt with its 1% content of potassium, magnesium, and calcium – all essential minerals for humans. Khewra by the way is 500 Kms West of the Himalayas.
This salt color ranges from off-white to deep pink and is considered a delicacy in the western world. So the legend of Alexander’s horses cured by this salt was true after all.
British Atrocities at Khewara
The British Colonials shot dead 12 protesting miners at the mouth of the mine in the 1870s, while they were asking for better working conditions. The English wanted more production.
Hindu Workers live in isolation
Three Hindu families (washerman trade) from colonial times still live here in total isolation and poverty. One of them runs a souvenir shop.
Khewra Bedside Lamps
Don’t forget to take home a Khewra salt bedside lamp from the souvenir shop. It clears up the bedroom of dust and absorbs moisture. It’s very good for people with asthma and mucus issues.
Go to Khewra if you want to see something different from the mundane—and don’t complain about the filth. Then you can visit