Karachi is the financial capital of Pakistan and the capital city of Sindh Province. The city has been much admired since British colonial times for its location and economic potential. Today, Karachi is the most populous city in the world and also a major seaport to the otherwise landlocked country of Pakistan. The love and admiration by the people of Karachi to Quaid-e-Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah is visible all over the city in different monuments, buildings and landmarks associated & named after this founding father of the nation. Karachi is also well known for its archaeological sites at Thatta, Mohenjo-Daro and Kot Diji. The city also knows how to bring together an immense historical past to the present and on to a bright, bright future by protecting its heritage for generations to come.
A historical city which served as the capital of Sindh for four centuries, Thatta is located 61 miles east of Karachi. Listed on UNSECO’s World Heritage Sites, Thatta instantly grabs attention with a vast old necropolis nearby the hills of Makli. All the monuments, shrines and mosques including Jama Mosque, built by Shah Jahan and the tomb of Jam Nizamuddin are grand in the true sense of the word.
The name Bhambore instantly rekindles the tragic love story of Sassi and Punnu whose eternal love was disowned by their families. An archaeological site, Bhambore is also thought to be the ancient port of Debal from the 8th century. Arab conqueror Mohammad Bin Qasim first landed on the land of Bhambore to save the kidnapped city from the pirates but later on was responsible for the invasion of Sindh. Located approximately 65 kms from Karachi, Bhambore was the residence of a primarily Hindu population and served as a major trading link between Asia and Arabia.
Wazir Mansion, a protected national monument is the birthplace of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, founder of Pakistan. Situated in Kharadar, thousands of devoted Pakistanis visit the mansion to pay homage to their leader on his birth and death anniversary. The mansion is now restored into a museum, displaying the life and work of the Pakistani leader.
Quaid-E-Azam’s Mausoleum is a monumental tomb (Mazar-e-Quaid) of Pakistan’s founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Situated near the city of Karachi, the tomb was built in the 1960’s by Pakistani architect Yahya Merchant with white marble set in the curved Moorish arches. Nearby the mausoleum are the graves of Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah (sister of Mohammad Ali Jinnah) and Liaqat Ali Khan, the first Prime Minister of Pakistan.
The popular Clifton Beach in Karachi with its golden sands, amusement park and a plethora of food stalls attracts tourists like bees to honey. Situated in Saddar Town, the beach is encircled by numerous handicraft shops selling local crafts and sea shell items.
Many tourists and locals come here in the evenings to stroll down the sparkling sands or enjoy a small, cosy picnic with their loved ones. Nearby the beach is Funland amusement park with a bowling alley & aquarium, Shrine of Hazrat Abdullah Shah Ghazi and a vantage point to view the Oyster Island.
Locally known as Gol Masjid or Tooba Mosque, Masjid-e-Tooba is situated in Defence Housing Society, Karachi. Built of pure white marble with a dome measuring 72 meters in diameter, the Tooba Mosque is the 18th largest mosque in the world. The mosque attracts a lot of tourists and locals alike who come to experience the unique echo when a person speaking from one end of the dome can be heard at the other end. Tooba Mosque was designed by Pakistani architect Dr Babar Hamid Chauhan in 1969.
The Mohatta Palace located in Karachi was built by Shivratan Chandraratan Mohatta, a Marwari businessman as his summer residential palace. He could use the palace only for a couple of decades as he had to abandon Karachi for India, after the independence of Pakistan. The palace defining characteristic attributes of Rajasthani architecture, is made from pink Jodhpur stone and local yellow stone from Gizri. After Pakistan’s independence, Fatima Jinnah & Shireen Jinnah, sisters of the Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah subsequently occupied the palace until 1980, when it was converted into a museum after the death of Shireen Jinnah.
The Tombs of Chaukundi located near Landhi town, east of Karachi are renowned for their intricately carved sandstone tombs. Built by the Baluchi and Burpat tribes between the 15th and 19th century, these unique pyramid shaped tombs are embellished with geometrical patterns, symbols, flowers, crosses, swastikas and diamonds. The architecture of these tombs is exclusive to the Sindh region and found nowhere around the world.
Haleji Lake in Thatta District, Sindh, Pakistan holds up a roof to Asia’s largest bird sanctuary. Thousands of migrating birds flock to this wintering centre, especially the migratory waterfowl. The Haleji Lake was originally a small depression collecting seasonal water. But during the British regime, the capacity of the canal was increased by introducing a feeder canal from the River Sindh. While the waterfowl is the main highlight of the Haleji Lake, the sanctuary boasts of many other attractions too, such as the marsh crocodiles, osprey, Buzzards, Wigeon, coot, shoveller, pintail, Jacana, flamingos and sometimes Bewick’s swan.
Established in 1950, the National Museum of Pakistan collects preserves and studies various artefacts associated with Pakistani cultural heritage. The museum was relocated to its present address at Burnes Garden in 1970 with four galleries. Today there are eleven galleries including the Quran gallery which exhibits 300 identical copies Quran. Other galleries showcase, collections sourced from the Indus & Gandhar civilization, Islamic Art and Pakistan’s political history.
Makli Necropolis is one of the largest funerary sites in the world, spread over an area of 10 square kilometers near the city of Thatta, in the Pakistani province of Sindh. The site houses approximately 500,000 to 1 million tombs built over the course of a 400 year period. Makli Necropolis features several large funerary monuments belonging to royalty, various Sufi saints, and esteemed scholars. The site was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981 as an “outstanding testament” to Sindhi civilization between the 14th and 18th centuries.
The Shah Jahan Mosque, also known as the Jamia Masjid of Thatta, is a 17th century building that serves as the central mosque for the city of Thatta, in the Pakistani province of Sindh. The mosque is considered to have the most elaborate display of tile work in South Asia, and is also notable for its geometric brick work – a decorative element that is unusual for Mughal-period mosques. It was built during the reign of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, who bestowed it to the city as a token of gratitude, and is heavily influenced by Central Asian architecture – a reflection of Shah Jahan’s campaigns near Samarkand shortly before the mosque was designed.