Discovered in 320 BC by the horses of Alexander the Great’s army, the Himalayan Salt is one of the most popular salts in the world. It is obtained from Khewra salt mines in Pakistan – the only source of pink Himalayan salt in the world. Khewra is the second most populated area in Jhelum District, Punjab, Pakistan. The Khewra city is further subdivided into two union councils and is the place of the Khewra Salt Mines.
Other than providing mineral Himalayan salt, the Khewra Salt Mine in Pakistan is undoubtedly one of the most popular and amusing places visited by around 250,000 tourists every year. Located at 288 meters above sea level, the vast salt range is 300 km long with an underground area of 110 square kilometers.
This mine is a very famous tourist spot in Pakistan. It has huge mountains of Himalayan Pink Salt and many structures built with salt tiles. Keep reading to learn more about salt mine tourism and different monuments made solely with Himalayan Salt to attract more and more tourists every year.
Everything About Salt Mine Tourism
Khewra Salt mine is the largest mine in Pakistan and the second-largest mine worldwide, with total salt reserves of approx. 82 million tons to 600 million tons. One of the most interesting facts about the mine is that the temperature remains 18 °C to 20 °C throughout the year to protect the salt from environmental factors. The salt mine opens daily at 9 AM and closes at 4 PM.
Located in district Jhelum, the Khewra Salt mine has 19 stories, out of which 11 are underground. Furthermore, the mine is around 730 meters long into the mountains from the entering point, while all the tunnels are around 40 km long.
The mine uses the room and pillar method for salt extraction that prevents it from collapsing. It means the miners extract only half of the salt, leaving the other half to serve as the pillars to support different mine levels.
Upon reaching the Khewra Salt Mines, you must buy the entry tickets. But, don’t worry; the price of these tickets is quite nominal. Next, you can walk on foot or wait for the electric trolley or train to enter the mines. Interestingly, these trolleys are from the 1930s period when proper salt mining was started under British rule. This train will take you from the entrance to the main hall.
Main Assembly Hall
As the name suggests, it’s the main hall of the salt mine featuring a total height of 75 meters. You’ll find a huge natural carving of Allama Iqbal on the wall. You will surely get awe-struck by this vast carving.
Roaming inside the hall, you’ll find different monuments and miniatures made with Himalayan Salt Bricks lit up with LED lights. For instance, the miniature of the Badshahi Mosque inside the mines is the only Salt Mosque in the world, which is phenomenal and entirely made with salt bricks.
The natural color of Himalayan salt gives unique red, pink, white, and orange shades to the bricks while the light bulbs further illuminate the monuments and make them more eye-catching.
You’ll also find a miniature of the Minar-e-Pakistan built with salt bricks in addition to other landmarks, such as the Murree Mall road, the Great Wall of China, and Lahore Shimla Hall.
Can you imagine a post office inside a salt mine? Yes, the Khewra salt mine has a unique post office made of Himalayan salt bricks. It’s not just a replica of a miniature; instead, it’s a fully functional and operational post office to facilitate the mine workers to send letters to their families.
Famous by the name of “Pull Sarat,” you’ll find a 25 meters long bridge made of salt bricks to cross a saltwater pond. Interestingly, the bridge doesn’t have any support pillars, making it one of the most adventurous bridges to cross.
Salt Ponds, Fountain, and Sheesh Mahal
You’ll come across naturally-occurring ponds made of thick saltwater throughout the salt mines. Furthermore, you’ll find saltwater dripping from the ceiling. However, you aren’t allowed to swim in the salt ponds.
In addition to the man-made miniatures, the Khewra salt mines also feature some fascinating natural wonders. The salt fountain is a perfect example of such a mesmerizing wonder. It’s not a real fountain; instead, it’s the salt that’s taken over the shape of the flowing water, thus resembling a water fountain.
Lastly, Sheesh Mahal is another natural wonder of the salt mines whose ceiling and walls reflect the light to look like a shining mirror.
None of us can deny the healing benefits of Himalayan salt which effectively treats respiratory issues and other allergies. That’s why PMDC has developed an emergency dispensary made of salt bricks inside the mines to treat asthma patients from anywhere in the world.
Lastly, don’t forget to buy salt lamps of various beautiful shapes and other gifts made with Himalayan salt from the souvenir shop at the end of your trip. You will find many souvenirs shops near the mine. These souvenirs will make your trip more memorable.
Make the most out of your trip to Khewra by exploring all Khewra salt mine tourist attractions. From small salty water ponds to replicas of Minar-e-Pakistan and Sheesh Mahal, the Khewra salt mines have a lot to offer to tourists.