Guide to Pakistan arranged a super exciting trip to Khewra Salt Mines and Katas Raj Hindu Temple Complex in November 2021, and it was memorable, to say the least.
Route to Khewra and Katas Raj from Islamabad
Our overall route was Islamabad – Lillah Interchange – Khewra Salt Mines – Katas Raj Temples– Kallar Kahar Interchange and back to Islamabad.
Transport for Khewra Salt Mines and Katas Raj
Our transport was a Toyota Hiace transporter, and it was pretty comfortable for the road.
Travel Time Khewra and Katas Raj from Islamabad
Both ways’ total travel time was 6 hours, primarily because of the bad road condition as we exited the motorway from the Lillah interchange.
Overall it took us more than 12 hours as we started early in the morning from Rawalpindi and took the motorway to reach Lillah Interchange.
Where to eat at Khewra and Katas Raj
Immediately after getting off Lillah Interchange, we had breakfast at a driver’s hotel that charged us Rs 400 per person. They had the famous driver hotel class tea (chai), Egg/Omelets, and Paratha.
Then after a slow drive at 20 KPH on the road, not in good shape, we reached Khewra Salt mines after 3.5 hours.
History of Khewra Salt Mine
Khewra Salt mines were first discovered by Alexander the Great’s horses in 326 BC when they licked stones in the area.
This Himalayan salt is famous in European countries where it is sold at ten times the cost.
The fee of Khewra Salt Mines
The fee is about Rs 500 per person at the salt Mines if you want to use the mini train that goes into the mine and brings you out.
Then you have to tip the guide too.
Many foreigners, women, girls, kids, and families visited the site on the weekend, but the environment was festive and safe.
Things to see at Khewra Salt Mines
- The mini train took all of us inside one mine, which has 17 levels in total.
- The guide had exciting things to share about the crystal clear saltwater pools, the colorful lighting, salt brick mosque, and Minar e Pakistan.
- There even was the name of Prophet Muhammad etched on natural rock salt.
- The salt mine has natural water springs and rock formations inside.
- Some saltwater ponds were bottomless, and the reflection of adjacent salt walls was mesmerizing.
- Coming out of the mine, several shops with souvenirs like lamps and other decorative articles made of salt were a must-buy. It is more advisable to buy salt stuff from the main bazaar because they have more variety than the shops outside the mines.
- I enjoyed the colonial-era buildings all around the mine.
After a two hours stay there, we drove to Katas Raj that was 1.5 hours’ drive, or climbed, I must say, over Salt Range Mountains.
History of Katas Raj
Katas Raj is the second holiest site of the Hindu religion and is believed to be the site where Shiva shed a tear for his beloved Sati.
Katas Raj is a religious complex with a Buddhist stupa erected by Asoka and Gurdwara of Sikh.
There is only one Hindu temple that is active now.
The current shape of Katas Raj could be dated about 1500 years ago.
Things to see at Katas Raj
- We had a temple opened with images of Hindu gods like hanuman, Sita, Ram, and Ganesh on frescos and stone carvings.
- Our guide enthralled us with a lovely recitation of Baba Bulleh Shah’s poetry.
- The view of Shiva’s pond was beautiful from the top of the seven temple complex.
- The caves of Katas Raj are said to be a lot older than the complex itself and are the place where Rig Veda was written.
- We paid the Guide Rs 500
Lunch during the trip to Khewra and Katas Raj
Our next stop was for lunch at the hotel nearby on the road towards the Kallar Kahar interchange.
The hotel charged us about Rs 600 per person.
The most expensive charges were for petrol, which is about Rs 10000 for the whole trip.
Best time to visit Khewra Salt Mines and Katas Raj
The best time to visit Khewra is in the winter season because it is scorching in summers there.
On the other hand, Katas Raj is pleasant all year round.
Who should visit Khewra Salt Mines and Katas Raj
These sites are recommended for tourists that appreciate heritage and history; otherwise, it might get boring.
After lunch, we drove back to Islamabad on the motorway – Kashmir highway – Islamabad expressway.
Cost of the trip to Khewra Salt Mines and Katas Raj
The overall cost of the whole trip was Rs 3500 per person, which was quite reasonable.
Khewra Salt Mines and Katas Raj trip with GuidetoPakistan.pk was interesting because of the excellent company of people with us. Everyone was sporting and was there to enjoy the visit that the management had arranged so well.
I will indeed travel with guidetopakistan.Pk next time too.