"Exploring Khewra" Khewra by samianaz

Khewra Travel Guide: 24 reviews and 72 photos

Khewra

Exploring Khewra
As one crosses the river Jhelum on the motorway on way from Lahore to Islamabad, one cannot but appreciate the spectacular rise (700 metres approximately) of the Salt Range mountains. The Salt Range has a smooth slope at its northern edge while on the south, it has an almost vertical drop of about 700 metres because of the winds blowing from southern seas for millions of years.

For thousands of years, the Salt Range formed an important natural barrier between Asia and the subcontinent. As we know, all invaders to the subcontinent passed through the Salt Range to attack the subcontinent (except for Muhammad bin Qasim). The strategic importance of the area is thus obvious. Consequently, throughout the Salt Range, we find a number of archaeological sites, including both for defensive and religious purposes. Although it is impossible to cover the whole area at one go, one can easily explore Kitas, Malot and Kallar Kahar in a one-day excursion.

The Salt Range
The Salt Range runs from Jhelum city on the G.T. Road and west to Mianwali and Kalabagh along the Indus River. There are many places of historical and archaeological interest in the Salt Range. Salt Range seems to have formed part of a powerful Hindu Kingdom of Kashmir in 10th century AD. Most of the forts and temples concentrated in and around the Salt Range date from that period. Mahmud of Ghazni, in the early eleventh century and Mughal Emperor Babur in the 16th century visited the area after their invasion of the sub-continent. The Janjua tribe, the most important in the central parts of the Range, were then converted to Islam.

Most of the Salt Range is composed of the salt deposits left behind when the sea that extended over the Potohar Plateau evaporated 800 million years ago.

Fossils of prehistoric animals have been discovered in the Salt Range, specially near a village called Bari Amir Khatoon, 40 km from Chakwal. There are many places of historical and archaeological interest in the Salt Range. Salt Range remained part of a powerful Hindu Kingdom of Kashmir in 10th century AD. Most of the forts and temples concentrated in the Salt Range date from that period.

Attractions
The main attraction of the eastern Salt Range are the shrine of Saidan Shah at Choa Saidan Shah, the lake and shrine of Abdul Qadir Gilani at Kallar Kahar and the Hindu Temple Complex at Katas. Kallar Kahar is located about 135 km from Rawalpindi. TDCP has built a six-room motel and restaurant overlooking Kallar Kahar (Salt Lake) with boating facilities. The Temple of Shiva at Katas (10th century AD) and other temples around Katas are valuable pieces of architecture and history.

Mining
The main centre of mining is Khewra in the Salt Range where the world's largest salt mines are located. Khewra salt mines are 154 kms away from Rawalpindi. The route is Mandra-Dudyal-Chakwal-Bhaun-Choa Saidan Shah-Khewra. A longer route is through Kallar Kahar-Katas.

Khewra Salt Mines
The main centre of mining is a Khewra in the Salt Range where the world's largest salt mines are located.

Situated at the foothills of the Salt Range, Khewra Salt Mines are the oldest in the salt mining history of the sub-continent.

Salt occurs in the form of an irregular dome like structure. There are seven thick salt seams with cumulative thickness of about 150 meters. At places rock salt is 99% pure. Salt is transparent, white, pink, reddish to beef-color red. In certain horizons it is crystalline. Inside the mine there are beautiful alternate bands of red and white color salt. There are 18 working levels. Cumulative length of all drivages is more than 40 km.

Salt deposits left by he evaporating sea of Tethys, almost 600 million years ago formed the salt range. One of the largest salt mines of the world having 88 miles of tunnels running through it lies in this range at Khewra. Touched in its hills lie several Hindu temples, Shrines and forts dating back 8th-10th century A.D.

During the winter months the range countryside is covered with miles of yellow mustard flowers, which makes the setting very picturesque. After this we will drive to the city of Mughal Lahore, Muslims Shrines in Multan and lastly reach at Desert of Cholistan, Here you can indulge on the back of camel that is decorated with extra foam and cushion. So, there is dramatic/romantic unforgettable moment of the life especially at the time of sunset/sunrise.

Pros and Cons
  • In a nutshell:It is a highly recommended excursion
  • Last visit to Khewra: Oct 1998
  • Intro Written Sep 23, 2002
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