The Khewra Salt Mine is located in Punjab, Pakistan. This salt mine can easily qualify for the list of the wonders of the world. Also known as khewra town , a visit to this mine 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 these mines have a distinctive place in the world of salt mining, but the Khewra Salt Mine surpasses them all.
Currently, Khewra Salt Mine is the only salt mine where salt extraction takes place.
A quick look at history
Himalayan salt history 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 Alexander passed through this region around 326 BC and stopped by to rest. One of the soldiers noticed that the horses of the troop were licking the rocks near the resting place. He tried it himself and found that the rocks were salty. This is how Himalayan salt was discovered.
Over the years, salt production and its use have undergone many changes and have been passed down from ruler to ruler.
The last noticeable advancement in the method of salt extraction was made under British rule when a scientist came up with the doom-and-pillar technique. This ensures that the structure and stability of the salt mines are not compromised with barrier-free salt extraction.
The salt mines have had some very dark days of oppression. Poor workers in the days of British rule were confined in the tunnels until they reached their set 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 dead at the entrance to the salt mine. Their graves can be seen in the center of the mine’s gate.
One of the interesting facts is that the Himalayan mountain salt was used as currency in ancient times.
Know your way
There are two routes to reach this salt mountain . A sensible approach would be to use one route to get to the mines and the other on your way back home. You can use the khewra salt mines map to get help.
The route via GT (major main road) is slower but scenic.
The other route via highway M2 is safer and faster.
Since the Khewra Salt Mine is a major tourist attraction receiving about 250,000 tourists annually, the road signs directing the way to the mines are highly visible.
Facts about the salt mine in numbers
Salt range geology is a very vast subject. According to the figures, the pink rock salt extracted from the Khewra Salt Mine contains 98% halite and is said to be as old as pre-Cambrian times.
The salt mine contains approximately 82 million tons of Himalayan rock salt, from which 0.35 million tons are extracted annually.
The salt mine has a total of 12 levels where extraction takes place, 6 of which are below the surface.
The tunnel in the Khewra Salt Mine alone is 40 km deep. However, there is a small area that was designed in 1914 especially for tourists.
One of the most interesting things about Khewra Salt Mine is that there is a 6-bed hospital for people suffering from asthma. People can spend 8-10 hours a day in the hospital while staying there 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 areas with salt mines own these units. The pink Himalayan rock salt that is extracted by hand is processed and sorted here.
About 70 percent of the extracted rock salt goes to industrial use. The remaining 30 percent qualifies as edible.
Himalayan rock salt crystals come in a variety of colors ranging from beet to subtle shades of orange to transparent. Pink rock salt is the one that makes the list of premium natural rock salt and gets the highest award.
The temperature in the Khewra salt mines remains constant at 18 degrees Celsius all year round.
A look at the Khewra Salt Mine
The beautiful views that await at the Khewra Salt Mines are enough to attract visitors again and again.
There is a single gauge electric train that takes visitors around the khewra mine. The train is old but works fine.
The salt mine has several saltwater pools that give off beautiful colors when projected with light. The view is breathtaking.
There is a tunnel in the salt mine called the crystal valley. It has pink salt crystals on the roof and walls and they shine when the light falls on them.
Development of the Khewra Salt Mine
Over the years, much has been developed in 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 Mall Road of Lahore and Minar-e-Pakistan. These recreated monuments are illuminated, which gives a nice warm glow.
The salt mine is home to a 75m high auditorium with a good staircase leading up to the wall. It also has a 25m long bridge called Pul-E-Saraat.
There are naturally occurring beautiful salt crystal formations. These are the results of stalactites and stalagmites.
In case you feel tired after walking around Khewra Salt Mine, you can have a rest at the restaurant and buy a rock salt lamp at the souvenir shop.
Last but not least, the khewra salt mine has its own post office. This post office is used by the workers who work in the mine.
There are currently more than 400 workers at work in the Khewra Salt Mine.
Some health facts
Pakistani rock salt has also made its way into the drug. Many studies have shown that Himalayan rock salt is extremely beneficial for various health conditions.
The crystal stone lamp removes the impurities from the air and makes it free of pollutants.
Natural rock salt contains 84 trace elements that are essential for the functioning of the human body.
The khewra salt mines are a must visit place in Pakistan.