Pakistan offers many tourist attractions and is quite generously blessed with scenic beauty. While the list is unending, there is one specific spot in Punjab where you will see a large tourist influx from across the country and abroad. Located 160 km south of the federal capital, the Khewra Salt Mines in all their glory act as a magnet and a popular picnic spot.
Khewra’s mines are said to be the second largest salt mines in the world and the largest in Pakistan, and no one knows the secrets of this salted walls better than Abid Hussain, who is working as a senior guide in Khewra Mines since 1985.
”Nearly 1 million tourists visit the mine annually. The entry fee is just 200 rps” – said, Abid, while speaking to Arab News
The salt extracted from this mine is not only used in human and animal consumption in Pakistan but is also exported to countries like Malaysia, Korea and Japan. Speaking to the mentioned publication, Hussain said that previously salt was extracted in three shifts while now it is done in two.
“Salt was previously extracted from the mine in three shifts, 24 hours a day, but now due to a shortage of workers it’s been limited to two morning and evening sessions” – Husssain said.
However, while Abid Hussain has stories to tell us from 1985 onwards, the mine itself has older tales to tell. It takes us back to 320 BC, when Alexander the Great discovered them. However, the mining practices were improved by the colonial British government in 1872.
“It was interesting to read about it in our social studies book but seeing it is far better” – said Shanzay Syed Bokhari, a seventh grader who was visiting the mines. However, a school teacher who had brought his students to the mines on a field trip, Syed Munir Hussain said that it is a gift of God.
“I must say it’s a beautiful gift from God to us. We explained the Khewra salt mines chapter to the students and today we brought them to show them. It will clear their minds and they will be able to explore it [the mines] by themselves” – he said.
The mine also has a souvenir store where you can buy models made of salt to keep the visit memories refreshed as well.
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