Places Of Interest
Foremost among Karachi’s historic buildings, is the birthplace of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. The house is a balconied, three-storied structure on Newneham Road, located in Kharadar, one of the oldest residential areas of the city. The house has been declared a protected national monument.
This white marble Mausoleum with its curved Moorish Arches and copper grills rests on an elevated 54 Sq. meters platform. The cool inner sanctum reflected the green of a four-tiered crystal chandelier gifted by the Peoples Republic of China. The memorial slab framed with silver railings draws people from far and wide who come to pay their respects to the father of the Nation and to watch the impressive change of guard ceremony that takes place every day. Today, the Quaid-e-Azam’s Mausoleum is a prominent and impressive landmark of Karachi. Nearby are the graves of the Quaid-e-Millat, Liaquat Ali Khan, the first Prime Minister of Pakistan and the Qauid’s sister Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah.
Liaquat Hall is surrounded by the Bagh-e-Jinnah (Jinnah Garden). Originally called Frere Hall, it was once used as Town Hall where, during colonial days, concerts and social events were held regularly. This two-storey Venetian Gothic building now houses the Liaquat Municipal Library on the ground floor and an art gallery on the first floor. Named after one of Pakistan’s renowned artists, Sadquain, the gallery displays a permanent collection of the artist’s work. Sadquain spent the last year of his life, painting a huge mural on the ceiling of the gallery but, sadly, did not live to complete it.
National Museum Of Pakistan/Burns Garden
This museum, on Dr. Ziauddin Ahmed Road, contains an important collection of items relating to Pakistan’s ancient heritage. Well-arranged galleries display Indus Civilization artifacts, Gandhara sculptures, Islamic art, miniature paintings, ancient coins and manuscripts documenting Pakistan’s political history. There is also an interesting ethnological gallery. The construction work was completed in 1960’s.
Built by the British to commemorate the silver Jubilee of Queen Victoria’s reign, this historic market is designed in the domestic Gothic style. From its center rises a tall clock tower. The market contains shops that sell meat, fish, poultry, vegetables and other groceries. The foundation stone was laid by Sir James Fergusson, Governor of Bombay on 10-11-1884. The market was inaugurated by Mr. Prichard, the then Commissioner of Sindh on 21-3-1889.
Situated in the Defence Housing Authority, Masjid-e-Tooba is a modern architectural marvel. It is said to be the largest single dome mosque. The dome covers central prayer hall with a capacity to accommodate a congregation of 5,000 people. The mosque’s single minaret stands 70 meters high.
Positioned as the landmark of Karachi’s main business center, Mereweather Tower is another historical monument of Karachi. It stands 35 meters high and carries a four- faced clock. The Tower construction work was completed and opened for the public by Sir Evans James in 1892. The Tower was constructed in the memory of Sir William L. Merewether who was the Commissioner of the Sindh.
Sindh High Court
Built-in the Renaissance style, this magnificent sandstone building is a combination of local and Roman styles of architecture. It is embellished with cupolas, balconies and tall Roman style columns.
Clifton Beach And Funland
Close to the popular seaside of the city is Clifton Beach, where Karachiites flock to on weekends and holidays. Scattered along the shore are numerous stalls selling handicrafts made from seashells. Clifton has an amusement park with a bowling alley and an aquarium.
Bazaars And Shopping
Shopping in Karachi is a delight. There is the Sarafa Bazaar, a typical oriental gold and silver market in the city’s old quarters. Among the many colourful shopping areas offering a wide variety of local goods, is the Zainab Market where cotton dresses and handicrafts are available. Shops in the Saddar Co-operative Market have a wide collection of handicrafts made from onyx wood and brass. Bohri Bazaar is also a typical oriental market, where endless variety of goods is available. Other modern shopping centers are at Clifton, Zaib-un-Nisa Street, Abdullah Haroon Road and Mohammad Ali Jinnah Road. The old Eastern Bazaars are in Juna Market, Kharadar, Mithadar and Jodia Bazar, which are worth visiting.
For souvenirs of brassware, carved silverware, gold and silver jewellery, embroidery, delicate mirror work of Sindh, handloom tapestries, printed fabrics, lacquer-ware, camel skin article and carved wood-work etc, tourists are recommended to visit All Pakistan Women’s Association (APWA) shop on Abdullah Haroon Road and the PIDC Cottage Industries showroom where prices are fixed and quality ensured. There are many other shops in all the main markets of the city.
Recreation And Sports
Bunder boating in Karachi is a pleasant experience. A catch of crabs and fish are cooked and served aboard the boat by the crew. Bunder boats are available at Kemari and if required, the crew provides the bait as well as tackle and other fishing gear. Facilities for deep-sea fishing are available which must be arranged in advance. Prices should always be negotiated and fixed beforehand. On a moonlit night, it is a treat to sail up the sheltered harbour from Kemari to Sandspit.
Yachting continues in Karachi all year round. It is a wonderful sight to see the multicolour sails of the yachts in the harbour, contrasting with the blues of the sea and the sky.
Karachi Golf Club
Golf, a popular sport in Karachi, is played on an 18-hole green course throughout the year. Visitors to the city are welcome to play for a small fee.
Fayzee Rehamin Art Gallery
The Fayzee Rehamin Art Gallery and Reference Library of Fine Art Books (Awain-e-Rifat) on M.R. Kiyani Road is a favourite haven for art lovers and students.
Food And Accommodation
Pakistani food is rich, spicy and delicately flavoured. Favourite dishes are; chicken, meat and vegetable curries, pulao (rice cooked with meat), seekh Kabab and tikka Kabab (minced meat or meat pieces grilled on skewers).
Accommodation presents no difficulty in Karachi. Besides many modern 5-Star, 4-Star and 3-Star hotels offering comfortable accommodation, budget hotels are also available.
Mongho Pir’s Shrine
Located 16 km north of Karachi, the shrine of Saint Mangho Pir, stands below a mosque built on a rocky hillock. There are numerous legends connected with the saint and the crocodiles inhabiting a shallow pool near it. Legends has it that the crocodiles- a few that are now left, are of a rare and almost extinct species were originally the lice that leapt out of the saint’s hair. Pir Mangho, according to one versions , came to Sindh from Bokhara in 13th century. Soon after, he miraculously caused thermal springs to gush from a rock and date palms to shoot out from the ground. The saint, who is said to have died at the age of 150 years, had made his home in a cave for 40 years from where he had spread the message of Islam.
Excursions From Karachi
Karachi’s golden beaches stretch for miles. The more accessible of them are SANDSPIT, HAWKEAS BAY and PARADISE POINT, which are within a radius of 10 to 20 kms from the city and about 30 minutes drive away. A ride on a gaily-decorated camel is a must for most visitors. Beach huts are dotted along the shore. Some are available for hire. For reasons of safety, care must be taken to swim only in the safe areas, as there is always a strong under current. In May and June, watch out for jellyfish. On moonlit nights, during the months of September and October, giant green turtles lumber ashore to lay eggs in the sand. The turtles are under protection of Sindh Wild Life Management Board.
The French Beach, located half way between Hawks Bay and Paradise Point is, in fact, a small fishing village known to the locals as Haji Abdullah Goth. Surrounded by a boundary wall, it has some 20 huts constructed by villagers for hire. Its rocky beach and clear water are ideal for snorkeling and skin-diving. Boats for scuba diving are available for hire. Visitors need to bring their own equipment as well as food and drink supplies.
Just off the National Highway, 27 km from Karachi is Chaukundi. This is the site of graveyards that date back to the 16th-18th centuries. The sandstone covers of these graves are exquisitely carved in relief with intricate motifs. The tomb slabs of women’s graves are embellished with designs of jewellery, necklaces, earnings and rings while those of men bear horse and rider motifs as well as floral and abstract designs.
This archaeological site is believed to be the ancient port city of Debul that flourished in the 8th century A.D. This was the place where the Arab conqueror Mohammad Bin Qasim first touched the shores of South Asia in 711 A.D. Here also, after a fierce battle with the reigning King, the Arabs consolidated their hold for subsequent expansion. Banbhore is 64 kms from Karachi. Popular folklore has it that is in the vicinity of Banbhore was the trysting-place of the star-crossed lovers, Sassi and Pannu, much celebrated in local performing arts.
Haleji Lake 86 kms from Karachi is the largest bird sanctuary near Karachi, where every winter, thousands of migratory birds come from as far as Siberia. A paradise for bird watchers, Haleji Lake has a small Rest House run by Sindh Tourism Development Corporation.
The Makli Hill near Thatta town has the world’s largest necropolis. It is said to contain more than one million graves spread over an area of 15 Sq. km. Here in eternal sleep, lie saints and scholars, philosophers and soldiers of a by gone era an era renowned for its culture and learning. The gravestones and mausoleums at Makli are masterpieces in stone-carving and netted stonework, representing different eras and dynasties, distinguishable by the styles of their ornamentation. The areas cover the Summa period (14th to 16th centuries), the Tarkhan & Arghun period 16th century), and the Mughal period (16th to 18th centuries).