With wedding festivities wrapped up and saying our goodbyes to Daniela, Emily, Jen, Eugene, and Amy last night, the 5 of us remaining headed on a 4 hour road trip this morning to the Khewra Salt Mines, the oldest and 2nd largest (after the one in Poland) in the world.
Discovered by Alexander The Great’s army in 320 BC and active since the Mughal era, the mine produces 350,000 tons of pink Himalayan salt a year.
Although the entry fee is cheap for local Pakistanis (like a few rupees), it costs $20 USD to enter for foreigners, or $10 USD if you have a student ID. You can get tickets right at the stand by the parking lot.
After getting our tickets, we headed to the right of the ticket office and walked down the long path towards the railway at the end.
You can either wait here for the trolley that comes every 15-20 minutes, or walk down the 1km tunnel on your own, dodging the trolley as it comes by.
Once at the end of the tunnel, we walked for 30 minutes in a big giant circle counter clockwise beginning at Chandni Chowk:
Along the way are numerous brine lakes excavated for salt production:
There’s a grand 75m high assembly hall leading to a replica of the Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore:
And near the café at the end is Pul-Saraat, a salt bridge with no pillars over a 25m deep brine pond.
Afterwards we had a very late lunch outside the salt mines; its on-site restaurant delivered substantially!
We then made the 4 hour drive back to Rawalpindi, meeting up with the newlyweds Ali and Kulsoom at Diva Bahria for another friend’s engagement party.
Of course, the best part was the fact that Ali and Kulsoom were finally able to let loose now that their wedding functions were finally over.
Tomorrow: we make a drive north up to the gateway to Kashmir!
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- At time of posting in Khewra, it was 17 °C - Humidity: 58% | Wind Speed: 5km/hr | Cloud Cover: partly cloudy