An interesting day trip from Islamabad, is to the Khewra Salt Mines – 160 KMs south of the capital in the foothills of the Salt Range. The journey takes around 2.5 hours and is mostly along the M2 motorway which is a beautiful drive.
The mine is open to the public daily except Mondays. There is a large car park alongside a restaurant where you can stop for refreshments. Walk over to the mine entrance which incidentally is on the 6th floor of the mine. The other floors are all working areas and not open to the public. This salt mine is the second largest source of rock salt in the world and yearly recovers more than 400,000 tons for local use or for export.
You can enter the mine on foot or buy a ticket at the ‘station’ and take the little train that runs regularly. It is cool inside. When you reach the centre you will see many models made of salt bricks. The salt varies from white to pink to red, and these bricks have been used to create various landmarks – Minar e Pakistan, a mosque, a dispensary, the Chaghai mountain, to name a few. The models are illuminated and very impressive.
Then you can follow the prepared walk ways through the tunnels. We recommend taking a guide who will give lots of information. There are many salt ‘ponds’- one of which is 80 feet deep. These are all lit as well and look beautiful. There is a restaurant and drinks shop at the end of the walk which are very welcome after the long walk through the passages. You can also visit the souvenir shops. They have many models for sale but especially popular are the lamps. They come in all sizes and are very effective.
Many of the more than 400,000 visitors each year are students. This is a great experience for them but their teachers should impress on them they must not take food or water around the tunnels. The staff have a difficult time trying to clean up the empty bottles and packets which should be disposed of in the proper place.
Rent a car with driver on the Roamer app for your trip to Khewra for as little as Rs.5,020. You can get picked from your doorstep in Islamabad or Rawalpindi, driven to Khewra, and brought back with zero fuel charges. The basic package includes a one hour stay in Khewra and you can extend your stay by paying just Rs 179 per additional hour.
Have you visited Khewra salt mines? What was your favourite part of the trip?