Khewra Salt Mine is located in Punjab, Pakistan. This salt mine can easily qualify for the list of wonders of the world. Visiting this mine also known as khewra town is a treat for people who love to explore nature.
The Khewra Salt Mine is one of six Himalayan Salt Mines located at the foothills of the Himalayan Salt Mountains . All of these mines hold a special place in the world of salt mining, but Khewra Salt Mine tops them all.
Currently, Khewra Salt Mine happens to be the only salt mine where salt mining takes place.
A brief overview of the story
History of Himalayan salt is very rich. Do you remember Alexander, the great ruler who is famous for conquering half the world? Well, supposedly, he is the one behind the discovery of the Himalayan salt range in Pakistan .
It is said that around 326 BC. J.-C., Alexandre crossed this region and stopped there to rest. One of the soldiers noticed that the horses of the troop were licking the rocks near the resting place. He tried it for himself and found the rocks to be salty. This is how Himalayan salt was discovered.
Over the years, salt mining and its uses have gone through many changes and have been passed down from ruler to ruler.
The last notable advance in the method of salt mining was made under British rule when a scientist devised the doom and pillar technique. This ensures that the structure and stability of the salt mines are not compromised by unhindered salt mining.
The salt mines have known very dark days of oppression. Poor laborers during the era of British rule were locked inside the tunnels until they had reached their quota of salt production per day. The rules were applied to everyone, regardless of age, gender and health status. 12 protesting miners were brutally shot near the entrance to the salt mine. Their graves are visible in the middle of the mine entrance gate.
One of the interesting facts is that Himalayan mountain salt was used as currency in ancient times.
know your way
There are two routes to reach this mountain of salt . A sensible approach would be to use one route to get to the mines and the other to get home. You can use the khewra salt mines map for help.
The route via the GT route (large trunk) is slower but scenic.
The other route via the M2 motorway is safer and faster.
Since the Khewra Salt Mine is a major tourist attraction welcoming around 250,000 tourists every year, the road signs leading to the mines are clearly visible.
Salt mine facts in numbers
The geology of saline massifs is a very vast subject. According to figures, the pink rock salt extracted from the Khewra salt mine contains 98% halite and is said to be as old as the Precambrian era.
The salt mine contains approximately 82 million metric tons of Himalayan rock salt of which 0.35 million tons are mined annually.
The salt mine has a total of 12 levels where the extraction takes place of which 6 are below the surface.
The Khewra Salt Mine tunnel alone is 40 km deep. There is, however, a small area specially designed for tourists, laid out in 1914.
One of the most interesting things about the Khewra Salt Mine is that it houses a 6-bed hospital for asthma sufferers. People can spend 8-10 hours a day in hospital for 10 days. This hospital is located on level 5.
There are 25-30 salt processing units near the salt mines. Usually, people who have leased salt mining areas own these units. Hand-mined Himalayan pink rock salt is processed and sorted here.
About 70% of the extracted rock salt is intended for industrial use. The remaining 30% is edible.
Himalayan rock salt crystals come in various colors ranging from beetroot to subtle hues of orange to transparent. Pink rock salt is the one that is on the list of premium natural rock salts and fetches the highest price.
The temperature in the Khewra Salt Mines remains constant at 18 degrees Celsius all year round.
An overview of the Khewra Salt Mine
The magnificent views that await inside the Khewra Salt Mines are enough to attract visitors again and again.
There is a single-track electric train that takes visitors around inside the khewra mine. The train is old but works well.
The salt mine has several pools of salt water that give off beautiful colors when projected with light. The view is breathtaking.
There is a tunnel inside the Salt Mine which is called the Crystal Valley. It has pink salt crystals on the roof and walls and they glow when light falls on them.
Khewra Salt Mine Development
Over the years, many things have been developed inside the Khewra Salt Mine to attract tourists visiting the site. There are replicas of Badshahi Masjid, the Great Wall of China and a model of the Mall route from Lahore and Minar-e-Pakistan. These replicated landmarks are illuminated, giving a nice warm glow.
The salt mine houses a 75 meter high assembly hall with proper stairs that lead up to the wall. It also has a 25 meter bridge called Pul-E-Saraat.
There are naturally beautiful formations of salt crystals. These are the findings of stalactites and stalagmites.
In case you feel tired after a walk in the Khewra Salt Mine, you can rest at the restaurant and buy a rock salt lamp at the souvenir shop.
Finally, the khewra salt mine has its own post office. This post office is used by workers working inside the mine.
There are currently over 400 workers working inside the Khewra Salt Mine.
Some health facts
Rock salt from Pakistan has also made its way into medicine. Many studies have proven that Himalayan rock salt is extremely beneficial for different health issues.
The rock crystal lamp removes impurities from the air, making it free of pollutants.
Natural rock salt contains 84 trace elements essential for the functioning of the human body.
The khewra salt mines are a must see place in Pakistan.