Khewra Salt Mines: Full of Thrills & Surprises

Khewra Salt Mines is a salt mine located in Khewra, Jhelum District, Punjab in Pakistan, about 160 kilometres from Islamabad and 260 kilometres from Lahore. Situated in the foothills of the Salt Range, the Khewra Salt Mines are the oldest in the sub-continent.Salt has been mined at Khewra since 320 BC, in an underground area of about 110 sq. km. Khewra salt minehas estimated total of 220 million tones of rock saltdeposits. The current production from the mine is 325,000 tons salt per annum.The mine-head buildings have 17 stories, with 11 below ground. The salt-mine is 945 feet above sea level and extends around 2,400 feet inside the earth from the mine-mouth.

A mosque prepare by salt
An Interesting Discovery
Let us share some interesting facts and a true story about the Khewra Salt Mines. The discovery of the world’s second largest salt mine was a very interesting incident. The Salt Mines very discovered in about 320BC. The discovery of the mine was not made by the Alexander and nor his allies but by the horses of the Alexander’s army. This all took place when Alexander the Great visited the South Asia and there was a battle between Alexander the Great and the army of Raja Porus. The army of Alexander just passed through the Jehlum and Mianwali Dists. and they rested here at the bank of the Jehlum River. The horses started licking the stones when they were grazing. One of the soldiers of Alexander’s army observed this and tasted the stone. He found that the stone is actually salt. This is how the world’s second largest salt mine was discovered. 

Figures Narrate the Mines
The salt range starts from Baiganwala (a place at the bank of Jehlum River) and ends at Kala Bagh in Sindh. The total length of the Salt range is about 300 km, width about 8 km to 30 km and the height is about 2,200 ft to 4,990 ft. Khewra is at the foothills of this salt range. Khewra is called geological wonder as well. The salt mine is about 288 meters (945 ft) above sea level. This extends about 730 meters (2,400 ft) inside the mountains from the mouth of the mine. The tunnel has 19 stories of which 11 are below ground. It’s a scientific method to extract only 50% of the salt from the mine and left the remaining 50% as the pillars to support the mountain. It’s estimated that the mine has 220 million tones of salt deposits. You will find that at some places the purity of salt is 99%. Salt is transparent. You will find salt in different colours. It is white, pink and reddish.

Possession of Mines Lead to Tragedy

After the discovery, the mine was purchased by a local Raja. From that time to the independence of Pakistan this mine remained the property of Janjua Rajas who were the sons of Raja Mal. In 1849, the British captured the mines. The condition and the prices for work were very poor which lead to a resistance movement. This movement continued from 1849-1862. In 1872 new pricing methods introduced which increased the workload. Further strikes were from 1872-1876. This time strikes gave bloodshed. The chief mine engineer at that time Dr. Warth called Mr. H.  Wright to bring British soldiers to suppress the strike by force. Twelve of the miners were shot dead at the front of the mines.

Cure for Asthma Patients
It is considered that the Khewra salt mines can reduce the intensity of Asthma. Salt here produces such kind of rays which can reduce or cure the said disease. For this purpose a research clinic has been established here. People from foreign countries also visit this place for this purpose.

Tourist Resort 
Khewra has become a big tourist resort now. It is estimated that about 40,000 tourists visit mines every year. These tourists come from all over Pakistan and even from other countries. You can find different kinds of monuments inside the mine which are built of salt. You will find a mosque here named on the famous Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, build wholly with salt of different colours and lightened which gives a beautiful soft and spirtual look to the eyes. Different kinds of show pieces are built with salt. No doubt that the Khewra Salt Mines is a place to visit.

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