|Location:||Tehsil Pind Dadan Khan, Jhelum District. 200km from Islamabad. Lahore-Islamabad Motorway, Lilla exit. (32°38'47.53"N, 73° 0'25.05"E)|
|Open:||All year daily 9-18. |
Foreigners: Adults USD 6, Students USD 3.
Pakistani: Adults PKR 30, Students PKR 15.
Trolley Charges: Per Person PKR 20, minimum PKR 250 for 12 persons.
Parking Fee: Car PKR 10, Motorcycle PKR 3, Minivan PKR 20, Bus PKR 50.
|Address:||Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation (PMDC), Head Office, 13 H-9. Islamabad, Tel: +92-51-9258708, Fax: +92-51-9258705-06. E-mail:|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|326 BC||discovered by the troops of Alexander the Great, who noted the licking of the stones by their horses.|
|13th cty||mining established by the chiefs of Janjua-Raja tribe.|
|1849||Punjab annexed by the British Empire, administration of the mines taken over by the British Government.|
|1872||scientific exploration, mines operated by the Janjua Rajas.|
|1938||ICI Soda Ash Khewra Plant established.|
|1974||Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation (PMDC) established.|
|2002||Khewra Salt Mines Resort Development Project launched by the PMDC Management.|
The salt at Khewra reaches the surface, it was discovered as early as the days of Alexander the Great. According to a legend there was a battle between Alexander the Great and Raja Poro in this area. After Alexander had won the battle, the soldiers were restsing. They soon mentioned, that the horses were licking the ground in a certain area. Here the salt reached the surface and the ground contained more salt than in general, which the horses found out.
Long ago the locals started to mine the salt on the surface, in small opencast mines. In 1872 Dr. Warth, a renowned British mining engineer, built the first tunnel at ground level to access the salt layers. He introduced room and pillar mining which is used until today. At the moment salt is mined in 19 different levels, producing about 325,000 tons per year.
The salt mined in Khewra - which is often called the biggest or second biggest salt mine in the world - is primarly used for industrial purposes. More than half of the production, 200,000 tons per year, are sold to Imperial Chemical Industries ICI Soda Ash Khewra. Other customers are Ittehad Chemical Limited at Kala Shah Kaku and various tanneries. A certain amount of salt of the purest quality, called rock salt, is sold as table salt in the country and abroad, especially to India. A small amount is used to produce fancy goods like salt lamps, vases, and ash trays. They are sold at the tourist mine, but also exported in large quantities. The Himalayan Rock Salt Crystal Lamps are somewhat notorious.
Khewra mine and the tourist mine are operated by the Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation (PMDC). It is operating four salt mines and four collieries, producing 13% of the countries coal and 52% of the salt. The underground salt mines are located at Khewra, Warcha and Kalabagh in Punjab, and there are salt quarries at Jatta and Bahadurkhel in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP). It is operating and continually developing the tourist mine and establishing an Asthma Resort for speleotherapy, or better halotherapy. The newest improvements are a reception centre for tourists and a new walkway to the mine entrance.
The mine is visited on a very long tour. Visitors enter the mine on foot, and it takes 1,5km to reach the salt. The mine is entered through a long 5m high and 7m wide passage with rails on the floor. The rails are from a mine train, which is used to carry the salt, but there are also tours which enter the mine on an original mine train from 1930.
Inside the mine are various attractions. Fascinating is an enormous chamber called Assembly Hall, which is 75m high. Other chambers are filled with brine, water saturated with salt. It is lighted indirectly, which gives it impressive colours. An area with pink salt is called Shish Mahal.