Pakistan Tourist Attractions: Khewra Salt Mine
Pakistan Tourist Attrations
Khewra salt mine. Pakistan is an amazing country blessed by Allah with all types of resources and naturals beauty. The diversity of Pakistan make it a must visit place for any serious tourist on earth. World media portrays a picture of Pakistan as an extreme place. I agree that the present situation of Pakistan is not good but good and bad times come on all nations and Pakistan is suffering with one bad period right now. But as a Pakistani I see this as my duty to present the real beauty of my country to the world.
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Location of Khewra Salt Mine
Khewra Salt mine is located in the north east of Pakistan, at a distance of 160 km from Lahore in the Punjab province. The 600 million old mine covers an area of 110 square km and produces 2000 metric tons of mineral salt each year, the second largest figure in the world. The area around Khewra has a special historical significance. This is from where Al Beruni, the great Muslim scientist, calculated the circumference of earth.
Location of Khewra Salt Mine
History of Khewra Salt Mine
Khewra is the oldest mineral salt mine in the world. It has a history of several thousand years behind it. Khewra was discovered by Alexander the great in 326 BC on his Indian conquest. Camped near the Jehlum river before the battle with King Porus, Alexander found his horses fondly licking the rocks in the area. Upon further investigation, salt was discovered in the area.
There are several legends about the source of the name Khewra. According to one, the mine was originally named Khewa because of a mineral found at the mine with the same name. Overtime, the name Khewa was transformed in the form of the present name, Khewra.
Not only Khewra is a great place for salt miners but even tourists find it a wonderful place to visit. PMDC's efforts have converted Khewra into a major tourist attraction.Nearly 250,000 visitors, comprising of locals as well as foreigners, visit the site on monthly basis.
The mine comprises of 17 tunnels but tourists are only allowed to visit 6 tunnels. The main tunnel developed in 1872 has been developed in a tourist resort. The amazing beauty of the mine always fascinates its visitors. One of the most famous tourist attractions in the mine is that of a beautiful mosque. The mosque is built with bricks of white, red and pink salt. Electric bulbs are lighted inside the bricks which makes the mosque sparkle like a pearl. The mine also has a model of Minar-e-Pakistan (Minaret of Pakistan). It is built with more than 2000 salt bricks complete with electric bulbs. Right to it is a tunnel called the Crystal Valley, the walls of which are made of crystalline salt which is only found in Pakistan. The walls are illuminated with colourful bulbs which present a beautiful environment in the darkness of the cave.
One of the most amazing places in the Khewra Salt Mine is the Asthma Hospital. Equipped with 14 beds, the hospital is located at the 7th floor of the mine. The hospital is not only unique by the fact that it is located inside a salt mine, but also because of its method of treatment. Actually the patients are given no treatment. The asthma patients are just kept at the hospital for 110 hours, 8 hours each day. The patients are just treated by the natural waves from salt rocks. A miracle of the Khewra salt mine.
There are certain chambers filled in with saturated brine solution. The water in these ponds is like the Dead Sea and is so saturated that nothing drowns in these ponds. When illuminated with fancy light, they give a splendid look. There is also an area of transparent pink colour known as the Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace). There is also the Diwar-e-Mohabbat (The wall of love). It is a local belief that wishes become true by licking the wall.
The PMDC has provided all types of tourist facilities at the mine. A resort has been built for tourists with a cost of 7.2 million rupees. The mine is equipped with an electric train to give a comfortable trip to the visitors. Walkways are built to provide a smooth walk.
Light is an important part of the beauty of Khewra. Illumination is done at a grand scale to make every element of this amazing site prominent. The ventilation system makes you forget that you are actually deep inside womb of mother earth.
There are a number of cafeterias with all types of facilities to refresh you and souvenir shops to take with you beautiful pieces of salt artifacts.
The charges at the mine are kept pretty low to make the trip wonderful not only for you but also for your pocket. For foreign tourists, each ticket costs 10$ and 5$ for students. Guest house charges are also quite low to equip you with a perfect holiday.