The capital city of Islamabad is ideally located in the heart of Pakistan with easy access from within Pakistan and from around the world. Likewise, the city is surrounded by attractive destinations providing magnificent opportunities as “Day excursions from Islamabad”.
DAY EXCURSION TO TAXILA
The ancient metropolis of Taxila is a town located in Punjab, about 45km north of Islamabad (the capital city), Pakistan. The name Taxila was derived from the Sanskrit term Taksasila, literally, means “city of cut stones”. It is an important archaeological site founded in the late 1800s by a renowned archaeologist Sir Alexander Cunningham. It has a rich museum and more than 50 sites stretched over some 30 sq km. Taxila was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Pakistan in 1980.
DAY EXCURSION TO TAKHT-E-BAHI
The relics of the imposing Takht-i-Bahi Monastery are an important Buddhist site in Gandhara region and can be reached in 2.5 hours from Islamabad. It made up to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Pakistan in 1980. Takht-i-Bahi monastery has a guarding view of the Mardan city and is situated on the crest of a small hill about 16 kilometres northwest of Mardan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan.
DAY EXCURSION TO ROHTAS FORT
Rohtas Fort (also called Qila Rohtas) is one of the six World Heritage Sites in Pakistan, designated in 1997. The gigantic Rohtas fort is an exceptional example of early Muslim military architecture surviving today. It was built by Farid Khan – the “Lion King” of the subcontinent. He was well known as Sher Shah Suri in the 16th century. The fort was strategically built in a gorge on a small hill 300ft above its surroundings, some 16km northwest of Jhelum city of Punjab in Pakistan. It is so strategically positioned that it commands the old route from the north to the plans of Punjab across the Potohar Plateau. Rohtas Fort is located some 98 km from Islamabad and takes about 2 hours to reach. The major reason behind the erection of this rampart was to subdue the pro-Mughal Ghakkar tribe and to thwart the possible return of Mughal Emperor Humayun who had fled to Iran after his defeat in the battle of Kanauj at Chaunsa.
DAY EXCURSION TO KHEWRA SALT MINES
The Khewra Salt Mine (also known as Mayo Salt Mine) is the second largest salt deposit in the world and largest in Pakistan located in Khewra, an administrative subdivision of Jehlum District in Punjab Province of Pakistan. It is one of the largest sources of salt and major tourist attractions in the country with an estimated total of 220 million tons of rock salt deposits. Khewra is about 160 km from Rawalpindi/Islamabad and can be reached in 3 hours.
DAY EXCURSION TO MURREE HILLS
Murree is a popular hill station and a famous tourist attraction located about 30 km northeast of Islamabad City. It has a number of attractions for tourists including hiking trails, resorts, flora and fauna, a unique climate, and picturesque valleys. It was founded in 1851 as a summer headquarters of the Punjab Government until 1876 when it was moved to Shimla.
DAY EXCURSION TO PESHAWAR
Peshawar, the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (formerly NWFP) is known as the oldest living city in South Asia and the meeting place of the subcontinent and Central Asia. The city is about 180 km from Islamabad and can be reached in less than 3 hrs. Peshawar is further divided into four major sections. The old walled city is the most exciting part of Peshawar with the history dating from Buddhist, Mughal and Sikh era and was actually surrounded by a wall until the 20th century. The British Cantonment makes up the site founded in 1849 which included the boulevard city and the entire array of elegant buildings standing even today associated with the English men. University Town at 7 km from the city centre has the oldest yet lively building of Islamia College founded in 1913 to educate the sons of Pathan chiefs. Hayatabad is the modern residential area annexed with Karkhano Bazaar where anything can be found at a reasonable price.
The Khewra Salt Mine (also known as Mayo Salt Mine) is the second largest salt deposit in the world and largest in Pakistan. The mine is located in the Salt Range Khewra, an administrative subdivision of Jehlum District in Punjab Province of Pakistan. It is one of the largest sources of Pink Himalayan Salt and a major tourist attraction in the country with an estimated total of 220 million tons of rock salt deposits.
The salt mine at Khewra is believed to have originated about 800 million years ago as a result of evaporation of a shallow sea followed by a geological movement and stretched for about 300 km. But it remained a hidden treasure until 320 BC when Alexander the Great visited the region with his army and horses and camped here in a wait to fight Raja Porus. Apparently, his army horses were found licking the rocks on the surface of the ground and even ailing horses were said to have recovered after licking the rock salt stones. The Greeks came to know about the salt deposits in the area and later mining was started by the local Janjua tribes in the 13th century.
During the Mughal rule in the subcontinent, the mine was taken over from the tribal chief. The salt during Mughal era was traded in various markets as far away as Central Asia. However, following the downfall of the Mughal Empire, the mine was then taken over by Sikhs and the mine then came up to be known as ‘Khewra Salt Mine’.
The salt mined during Sikh rule was both eaten and used as a source of revenue. Later the British ousted the Sikhs and annexed Punjab in 1849, and in 1872 the British developed the mine further by introducing a better mechanism for excavation of salt. A renowned British Mining Engineer Dr. H. Warth laid out the main tunnel at ground level and proposed that only 50% of salt be excavated from the working stratum while the remaining 50% is to be left as pillars. The method was called the ‘room and pillar’ method and is still being used in Khewra mining operation.
The Khewra Salt Mines is located 945 feet (288 meters) above sea level. The total length of Salt Range is 300 kilometers, extending from Beganwala near River Jhelum to Kalabagh near River Indus. The width of the Salt Range varies between 8 kilometers to 30 kilometers.
The mine comprises nineteen stories, of which eleven are below ground. From the entrance, the mine extends about 730 meters (2440 ft) into the mountains, and the total length of its tunnels is about 40 km. The temperature inside the mine remains about 18–20 °C throughout the year. The underground mine covers an area of 110 km2.
The Salt Mine serves as a major tourist attraction receiving around 250,000 visitors a year earning it considerable revenues. The mines are accessible by a small electric trolley train. It takes about 2 hrs to explore the mines. Inside the mines, there are numerous pools of salty water. There are a number of buildings and replicas of major landmarks carved by the local artists. One of these replicas include the world’s one and only Salt-Mosque called Badshahi Masjid built with salt bricks of different colors and its transparency allowing the light to penetrate through and spread thousands of beautiful shades of salt around when lit. Other artistic carvings in the mine include a replica of Minar-e-Pakistan, a statue of Allama Iqbal, a model of the Great Wall of China, the 75-meter-high Assembly Hall, Pul-e-Saraat – a salt bridge with no pillars over a 80-foot-deep brine pond – Sheesh Mahal (Palace of Mirrors where salt crystals are light pink), and the Mall Road of Murree. There is always interesting developments going on inside the mines and that makes the mines more attractive.
Khewra Asthma Clinic is the first of its kind in Pakistan. This 20-bed clinic was established in 2007 for the treatment of asthma and other respiratory diseases using salt therapy.
Using antibacterial salt particles in a sterile environment, without the use of any medication, breathing in the clinic helps successfully clear out air passages in the lungs of those having respiratory problems, especially the asthma patients. Patients are required to spend around 110 hours in the clinic during ten days of treatment. There is a certain amount of meager fee for the treatment. Young patients can recover up to 80% and 40 or above have the chance of recovering 50%.
Major health benefits of the Himalayan pink salt are numerous, some are mentioned below:
- It assists in detoxifying the body and regulates the water level in the body
- It helps to clear up sinus and respiratory issues
- Promotes naturally healthy sleep patterns and getting relaxed.
- It helps both in maintaining and promoting healthy pH level.
- It helps in encouraging healthy blood sugar level and decreases blood pressure.
- It is a great anti-aging agent.
- Promotes increased absorption capacities of food elements within the intestinal tract
- It helps in cellular hydroelectric energy balance.
- It helps in aiding vascular health and prevents muscle cramps.
- Encouraging healthy libido.
- It helps in promoting kidney and gallbladder health.
- It helps in digestion and regulates metabolism
- Enables the proper function of adrenal glands
- Balances excess acidity from cells, particularly brain cells.
- Vital for generation of hydroelectric energy in cells in the body
- Increases bone strength
- Acts as a strong anti stress element
- Stops excess saliva production
- Help treat emotional disorders
- Prevents gouts, gouty arthritis, and goiters
- Eliminates persistent dry coughs
Himalayan salt is Pakistan’s best-known rock salt used for cooking, as bath salt, as brine and as a raw material for many industries. Salt from Khewra mine is also used to create decorative items like lamps, vases, ashtrays, and statues, which are exported to the western countries. The use of rock salt to make artistic and decorative items started during the Mughal era when many craftsmen made tableware and decorations from it.
Khewra is about 160km from Rawalpindi/Islamabad (2-3 hrs) and about 260km (3-4 hrs) from Lahore. Khewra Salt Mines is always the best choice while traveling from Islamabad to Lahore or from Lahore to Islamabad.
The mines remain open for tourists from 9 am to 6 pm daily (including Sunday and gazette holidays).
There is an entrance fee, trolley ride charges, and parking fees which are mentioned below.
Pakistani visitors (adults): Rs. 220 per person
Pakistani Children (2-12 years): Rs. 110 per child
Pakistani students: Rs. 110 per student
Foreign visitors (adults): $ 20 per person
Foreign Children (2-12 years): $ 10 per child
Foreign students: Rs. 110 per student
For further help:
Project Manager, Khewra Salt Mines, Khewra, District Jhelum. +92-544-231137