The Khewra Salt Mine (or Mayo Salt Mine) is located in Khewra, north of Pind Dadan Khan, an administrative subdivision of Jhelum District, Punjab, Pakistan. It is Pakistan's largest and oldest salt mine and the World's second largest. It is a major tourist attaction, drawing up to 250,000 visitors a year. Its history dates back to its discovery by Alexander's troops in 320 BC, but it started trading in the Mughal era. The main tunnel at ground level was developed by Dr. H. Warth, a mining engineer, in 1872, during British rule. After partition the Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation took over the mine, which still remains the largest source of salt in the country, producing more than 350,000 tons per annum of about 99% pure halite. Estimates of the reserves of salt in the mine vary from 82 million tons to 600 million tons.
Khewra Salt Mine is situated in Pind Dadan Khan Tehsil of Jhelum District. Located about 200 km from Islamabad and Lahore, it is accessed via the M2 motorway, about 30 kilometers off the Lilla interchange while going towards Pind Dadan Khan on the Lilla road.The mine is in mountains that are part of a salt range, a mineral-rich mountain system extending about 200 km from the Jehlum river south of Pothohar Plateau to where the Jehlum river joins the Indus river.Khewra mine is about 945 feet above sea level and about 2400 feet into the mountain from the mine entrance. The underground mine covers an area of 110 km Sq
Estimates of the total reserves of salt in the mines range from 82 million tons to 600 million tons.In raw form it contains negligible amounts of Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Sulfates and moisture, with Iron, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Chromium and Lead as trace elements.Salt from Khewra, also known as Himalayan salt, is red, pink, off-white or transparent.
Khewra Salt Mine is a major tourist attraction, with around 250,000 visitors a year, earning it considerable revenue.Visitors are taken into the mine on a train. There are numerous pools of salty water inside. The Badshahi Mosque was built in the mining tunnels with multi-colored salt bricksabout fifty years ago.Other artistic carvings in the mine include a replica of Minar-e-Pakistan, a statue of Allama Iqbal, an accumulation of crystals that form the name of Muhammad in Urdu script, a model of the Great Wall of China and another of the Mall Road of Murree.In 2003 two phases of development of tourist facilities and attractions were carried out, at a total cost of 9 million rupees. A clinical ward with 20 beds was established in 2007, costing 10 million rupees,for the treatment of asthma and other respiratory diseases using salt therapy.
The "Visit Pakistan Year 2007" event included a train safari visit of Khewra Salt Mine.In February 2011 Pakistan railways started operating special trains for tourists from Lahore and Rawalpindi to Khewra. For this purpose the railway station of Khewra was refurbished with the help of a private firm. Other visitor attractions in the mine include the 75-meter-high Assembly Hall; Pul-Saraat, a salt bridge with no pillars over an 80-foot-deep brine pond; Sheesh Mahal (Palace of Mirrors), where salt crystals are light pink; and a cafe.