Salt Range – The Museum of Geology
The Salt Range comprise of two rows of low lying rugged hills that run east to west between the Soon and Jhelum rivers from the Grand Trunk Road near
Jhelum city to the River Indus near Kalabagh. This area is said to record 600 million years of the earth’s history. Its name comes from the vast deposits
of rock salt exposed and mined at Khewra. The salt was left behind when the sea, which extended over the Indus plains and the Potwar plateau, evaporated 600
million years ago. The region is also known as the “Museum of Geology”.
The Salt Range Wetlands Complex comprised of a series of adjacent lakes – Kallar Kahar,
Khabbeki, Ucchali, Jhalar and Namal. These lakes provide an important wintering ground for migratory birds and are core habitat for the endemic Punjab Urial. Pakistan
Wetlands Programme has launched a comprehensive project for the conservation and protection of these important lakes.
Historically this region is also very rich.
Alexander the Great passed through the Salt Range on his way to fought battle with Porus on the banks of the Jhelum River in 326 BC. In the 3rd century BC, this
area became part of Ashoka’s Buddhist Empire. Towards the end of the Buddhist period, in the 6th century AD, there was a kingdom in the Salt Range called Singhapura,
probably centered at Ketas. From 7th to 10th centuries, the Salt Range was part of powerful Kashmiri Hindu kingdom. Mahmood Ghazni invaded the region in the early
11th century. The local tribes were converted to Islam at this time.