http://pakistan.asia-news.com/en_GB/articles/cnmi_pf/features/2019/07/15/feature-01
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In photos: Khewra Salt Mine draws throngs of tourists

By Syed Abdul Basit

The interior of the Khewra Salt Mine is shown July 7. [Syed Abdul Basit]

Visitors inside the Khewra Salt Mine photograph a replica of Minar-e-Pakistan on July 7. [Syed Abdul Basit]

Salt crystal formations can be seen on the ceiling of the Khewra Salt Mine on July 7. [Syed Abdul Basit]

A bridge is shown inside the Khewra Salt Mine July 7. [Syed Abdul Basit]

A train operator inside the Khewra Salt Mine waits for visitors July 7. [Syed Abdul Basit]

Shown is a train inside the Khewra Salt Mine July 7. [Syed Abdul Basit]

A replica of the Badshahi Masjid is shown inside the Khewra Salt Mine July 7. [Syed Abdul Basit]

A cave inside the Khewra Salt Mine is shown July 7. [Syed Abdul Basit]

Children play outside a gift shop inside the Khewra Salt Mine on July 7. [Syed Abdul Basit]

A roadside vendor sells Himalayan salt lamps outside the Khewra Salt Mine on July 7. [Syed Abdul Basit]

Children ride a camel outside the Khewra Salt Mine July 7. [Syed Abdul Basit]

JHELUM, Punjab -- Increasing numbers of domestic and foreign tourists are visiting the unique Khewra Salt Mine in Jhelum District of Punjab Province.

The mine is known for producing pink Himalayan salt and draws almost 270,000 tourists every year, according to the Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation (PMDC).

The ancient mines came under Pakistani control in 1947, and the PMDC assumed management in 1974.

The outside of the Khewra Salt Mine in Jhelum District of Punjab can be seen in this photo taken July 7. [Syed Abdul Basit]

The mine produces white, pink and red salt with a purity of 98%, according to the PMDC. It yielded 389,134 tons of salt in 2018.

The mine features an electric train that picks up tourists and drops them off in the Chandni Chowk (Moon Square) below. Inside, tourists can find salt-brick replicas of the Badshahi Masjid and the Minar-e-Pakistan, among other attractions.

With the return of peace in Pakistan, tourists are visiting more sites without the fear of terrorism.

Muhammad Qayum Khan, a train operator at the salt mine, said he has been working there since 1979.

"Visitors from all over the country and from outside come and visit the mines every day," he said. "Nowadays the volume has increased."

"We came from Faisalabad, and it is our first visit to Khewra," said 15-year-old Qasim, a visitor.

"We really like the replica of Minar-e-Pakistan and the coldness of the mine. After the visit, we took a camel ride outside the mine and enjoyed it a lot," he said.

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