Location: Jhelum district
Distance from Islamabad: 160 Km
Travel Time: 3 hours one way
Geologists put the age of rock-salt found in Khewra at about 600 million years. In geological timescale this time period is called Precambrian .It is said that discovery of rock salt in Khewra area dates back to as early as circa 326 BC. According to a legend, the army of Alexander the great was resting in Khewra area after a battle with Raja Porus. Some horses of Alexander's army were then seen licking rock salt in the area. Somebody from Alexander's army noted down the incident in his ledger or diary and hence we came to know that salt was discovered here circa 326 BC. History is however silent on which language this incident was recorded in (Greek) or where is that diary now. But since those days people in the area continued to collect salt from the out crops of salt seams that were exposed at the hill surface.
It is said that the chiefs of Janjua Raja tribe were the first to initiate the standard mining practices here in the 13th Century. However, a chronology of the Mughal Rule in the Sub-Continent says that when the Mughals emerged supreme in the Punjab, they took over the mine from the local tribal chiefs and, thereafter, started to work on it until Punjab came under the Sikhs. Under Sikh rule the mine came up to be known as 'Khewra Salt Mine'. In 1872, Dr H. Warth, a renowned British Mining Engineer, laid out the main tunnel at ground level. He proposed that only 50% of salt be excavated from the working seam while the remaining 50% is left as pillars. 155 years later this same methodology called the room and pillar' method is still being used in Khewra mining operation.
To make salt from Khewra mines accessible to rest of India, British laid a railway line which was opened as a meter-gauge on January 1883. It was later converted to a siding and a broad gauge line was laid which is operational to date.
There are 19 levels in the mine. Seven levels are above ground and twelve are underground. There is a clearance of 50 feet of salt/rock between each level. Annual extraction of salt here is around 315000 tones. The mine is 350 meter above sea level and goes 730 meter deep into the mountain. The cumulative length of tunneling which is done inside the mine is more then 40 km
Khewra Salt Mines is situated at the distance of 160 km from Islamabad,
Early Morning Drive from Islamabad via motorway at Kaller Khar will take the right turn then drive to Jalabi Chowk, if time permits visit to Maloot ( the Hindu temple) , continue drive to Choa Sadan Shah , short stop at the rest and then drive to Khewra, on arrival buy the tickets and visit of mines,
After the visit, drive Back to Chua Sedan Shah Visit of Kathas temple, the mention of Katas Raj, located in the salt range 18 miles south of Chakwal, is found in Maha Baharat written in 300 BC. The etymology of this place as narrated in the old edition of History of Jhelim according to Brahaman belief, Shiv Devta wept so profusely on the death of his beloved wife Satti that two holy ponds - one at Pushkar of Ajmair and other at Katak Shell came into being with his tears. In Sanskrit, the word - Katak Shell - means chain of tears which later on was pronounced as Katas,
After visit of Katas Temple drive back to Kaller kahar, after short stop continue drive to Islamabad, arrive Islamabad in afternoon.