Historical HYDERABAD


A city worth visiting

By Jamil Khan

HYDERABAD, the second largest city of Sindh and the fifth in Pakistan, lying on the east bank of the River Indus, is approximately 150 kilometres north of Karachi. For any new visitor the city has a number of interesting and worth visiting sites besides a number of well established industries that include textiles, cement, glass and soap, pottery, tanneries and film; handicraft industries comprise silver and gold work, ornamented silks, and embroidered leather saddles. Besides these, Hyderabad is famous for its glass bangle industry.
In Hyderabad city, the old University of Sindh campus, the Liaquat Medical College, the agricultural college and various other educational establishments provide higher education.
According to historians Hyderabad was founded in 1768 on the site of the ancient town of Neroon Kot (Fort of Neroon) by Ghulam Shah Kalhora while the city plan was laid out by his son Sarfraz Khan in 1786. The British East India Company occupied Hyderabad in 1839 after defeating the Mirs in the famous Miani Forest area. After Pakistan came into being, the city was honoured with the status of the capital of Sindh province from 1947 to 1955.
The temperature of the city is hot most of the year but sometimes in winter the temperature goes down to around 24ºC. The nights are usually cool.
There are a number of places worth visiting in the city such as:

The fort was built in AD1768 within a period of two months. Initially the covered area was 500,000 square yards but now only a single room remains. Once used as a court of the Kalhora and then the Talpur rulers this site now tells the tale of the utter negligence on the part of the authorities concerned towards historical sites in our country. The main entrance with carved stones speaks volumes of the value of the fort but unfortunately the exterior walls look as though they might crumble anytime. Graffiti and banners from various political parties and establishments cover most of the main entrance; this paints a very sorry picture.

As one passes by the Auto Ban Road one is sure to notice the Kachcha Qila. Ghulam Shah Kalhora in AD1837 ordered to build a mud fort to protect the monuments of Shaikh Syed Mohammad Makki. Shaikh Syed Mohammad Makki, whose original name was Hamza, was born in Makkah on Moharram 22, 510 AH and migrated to Sindh in 560 AH or thereabouts.

Every year in the month of Zilhaj a large number of devotees around the country gather to participate in a two-day Urs of Shaikh Syed Mohammad Makki, also known as Shah Makki or Jeay Shah.

The tombs of the Kalhora rulers of Sindh are found near the Central Jail. There are a total of 21 tombs in all and the oldest and most majestic is that of Ghulam Shah Kalhora and Ghulam Nabi Kalhora. Both are noted for their floral paintings in and around the structures. But now the negligence of the concerned department has converted these tombs to a haven for drug addicts. Some of the tombs’ doors have been broken. The precious tiles of the monument have also been stolen.
Near the Kalhora tombs, you find the Mirs tombs. Here one can’t help but admire the blue tile works and geometric and floral frescos on the tombs.

This is famous as the place where the Talpur and British armies engaged in battle in 1843. It is a very popular picnic spot noted for its cool breeze and soothing greenery all year round. It is also blessed with wildlife.

It is situated near the Polytechnic College and was established in 1951. Later the library was transferred to Sindh Cultural Department and named Shamsul Ulema Dawood Pota Sindh Government Library. One of the most attractive and well-established libraries in Sindh, it also has a large number of old and unique books, journals and other literature. The library has no membership fee, which is why a large number of students seem to throng the library daily from 9am to 10pm. Around 80,000 books, and journals are available in this library. The library has various sections like children’s section, research section, newspapers section and magazine sections.

It is a well-established and well-designed museum built in 1962. The museum has four main galleries: Archeological gallery, Ethnological gallery, Pre-literate gallery and Artifact gallery. The highlight of this museum is the life-size models depicting the village life of various tribes and the trades of the province.

The once well-established and beautiful recreational site of Hyderabad situated on Thandi Sarak (The Mall road) now looks like a barren monument, which is the abode of stray dogs. Inside the garden, there is a zoo with hardly any animals but full of filth and broken cages

The Shahi Bazaar which stretches from the Hyderabad Fort (Pucca Qila) to the Market Tower is one of the largest markets in the city and very similar to Karachi’s old area markets. The bazaar stocks everything from dry fruits to electronic items, fresh vegetables, fruits and all other necessities of life. Once it had a wide space for customers but encroachers have occupied the major space on both sides of the bazzar. The Clock Tower (Navalrai Market), which was built in 1914, can also be also seen within at short range.

The Kotri Barrage is only five kilometres from Hyderabad city and could be reached by car in 15 minutes. The Barrage was constructed in 1955 on the River Indus. It is designed to pass a maximum flood of 8,75,000 cusecs. There are also picnic spots and restaurants on both banks of the river while boating and fishing are popular pastimes.
-Published in Young World-Dawn | Oct 01, 2005

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