The Khewra salt mine is the second largest mine in the world which is situated in Khewra, north of Pind Dadan Khan.It is about 200 kilometers away from Islamabad. It is a major tourist attraction in Pakistan, which draws up to 250,000 visitors per year. Khewra salt mine is located at about 288 meters above sea level. This massive mine has about 40 kilometers long tunnels which run nearly half a mile into the mountain under which the deposits of salt are found. To prevent the mine from collapsing, only 50 percent of the total salt found is mines and the remaining half serves as support columns.
The mines were discovered in 320 BC by the horses of the Great Alexander’s army, who was there to fight against Raja Porus. The salt trading started in Mughal era in the sixteenth century, when a local leader of Khewra informed the Great Akbar about the salt deposits in the area. Later on, British rulers taken over these mines. A chief mining engineer, Dr. Warth surveyed the mines in 1872 and introduced a scientific mining system. He also laid out the main ground level tunnel. In 1974, the control of Khewra mines was given to PDMC (Pakistan Mining Development Corporation) which earlier was under the control of PIDC.
The fastest way to go to Khewra mines is through M2 Motorway and the mines are located at about 30 kilometers from Lilla Shareef Interchange towards Pind Dadan Khan.
There are many beautiful sights to cherish in the mines. A model of the Badshahi Mosque is the first structure built within these mines. Among others, there are models of Minar-e-Pakistan Lahore, the Great Wall of China, the Lahore’s Shimla Hill and the Mall road of Murree. All these model structures are built from salt bricks which vary in color from white to pink to red. Moreover, these are now electrically lighted.
The Khewra mines have a 75-meter tall assembly hall whose stairs spiral up the walls.
A 25-feet long narrow Salt bridge which is called Pul Siraat which is an illusion of the Islamic Pul-e-Sirat (the bridge which is sharper than a sword and thinner than a hair strand, which one must cross on the Judgement Day) is also found in Khewra mines.
The mines have a complete functional post office, which is used by the workers. This post office is fully made of salt and is the only made-of-salt post office in the world.
All these sites can be visited in a narrow gauge electrical railway, which is working since the 1930s. This railway system was once used for extracting salt from mines, now it is used to entertain tourists.
It is situated in mine from where tourists can find model lamps and other articles made of salt.
Asthma treatment at Khewra salt mine
A Natural Asthma Clinic is one of its kind, in line with similar resorts in Poland and Ukraine. People with respiratory problems or asthma patients benefit by inhaling antibacterial salt particles in a sterile environment, which helps loosen mucus and clear the lung passages.
A dispensary built of salt situated in mine where treatment is given in the case of emergency. Further, Government hospital is also situated at the drive of hardly five minutes from mine.