ANOTHER Hidden GEM … This Time SINDH!

April 27, 2021

So off we went, the five of us, on Friday to Ranikot & Mohenjo-Daro.  3½ hours from Karachi, life completely changed once we got onto the N55 H’way.

For me, it was a photo & astro-photography trip; for my friends, already pros, had photography work with the Sindh Culture department.  Naturally, we couldn’t have chosen a “better” time to go … 40⁰+C in the day (but it dropped to 18⁰ at night and early morning).

We arrived Ranikot Fort around 5.30pm and promptly started our photography sessions of Merikot Fort. Within Ranikot Fort, are additional defensive walls and another Fort- Merikot Fort. This was apparently the palace of the royal family.

History of Ranikot is available at https://antiquities.sindhculture.gov.pk/index.php/antiquities-sites/fort/rani-kot-fort-jamshoro & https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranikot_Fort and I’m not going into the history at this point; suffice to say, it was a very different experience from what I envisaged.  The Fort itself is built like the Great Wall of China- connected over mountain tops, spanning around 30 km, with guard towers, fortified walls (see below) and even another fort on the mountain top.  This is the OUTER and main defense. 

After a delicious meal prepared by the restaurant owner, Abdul Qader Gabol, we started light photography.  We couldn’t do any astrophotography as it was very dusty and the the Milky Way wasn’t visible the whole night. 

Light photography was a new experience for me!

I slept at 1.30am late night and got woken at 5.45am to see the sunrise.  What a temperature difference- it was so cool and pleasant on waking up.

Next day, after a simple yet delicious breakfast, we set off to see one of the four entry gates of Ranikot.  Absolutely amazing.

I climbed up 300 steps (apprx. 300 feet) and yet there were about another 200 steps to go, at which time I decided to call it quits and walk down again.  Looking at the Wall from where I stood, reminded me of Mulan (movie)- it felt so real.

Not only will I return, with my family, but we’ll walk to the top of the entry wall!  Let it not be said the Fort conquered our will & stamina 😊!

From there we made our way another 3½ hours to Mohenjo-Daro on the N55.

Walking around, albeit in the heat, was still an experience – this site reminded me of our visit to Pompei in the ‘1970s!

After another delicious dinner, we packed off to bed at 9pm! … so as to awake at 3am for the astrophotography.

This was an absolutely new experience for me.  Using the controls of the camera to capture the stars and the Milky Way and no flash or astronomy equipment.

The purpose of writing this is to show just one of many tourist sites Pakistan has to offer, in this case in the province of Sind.  Over these 3 days, I came to identify multi-tourist activities for a variety of interests/enthusiasts –

  • Overlanding
  • Off roading
  • Adventure
  • Historical/cultural interests
  • Hiking/mountain climbing
  • Photography & Astrophotography
  • Wildlife photography (there are wolves here!)
  • Flora & fauna
  • …or just plain bumming (chillin’) away!

What’s the problem you ask?  The problem is these “gems”, like so so many others, is not promoted to – forget foreigners – our domestic tourists.  It’s taken 53 years for me to get here- how many others are missing this experience!?

One amateur/novice photographer (me) in a lot of four other professionals … a great learning experience!

Next Stop – MITHI !

A future “Malir River-Basin Dam”?

(Photo credit- https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Malir-River-Basin-MRB_fig1_325475799)

August 12, 2019

Last week I had written about recycling & harvesting rain water (https://dinshawavari.com/2019/08/08/and-the-rains-are-upon-us/).  Then we faced rains in Karachi which I have not seen in decades.  The “natural” effect of this was the massive misinformation & incorrect (some genuinely mistaken) social media warnings & alerts on the effects of the rains in Karachi. 

One post in particular, on the flooding of Malir River, got me thinking.  At the outset, let me clarify that these are my personal views and I hope it doesn’t lead to controversy …

               Water flowing down Sindh province makes its way into Malir River, which generally lays dry through the year.  It’s only when we have sudden rains or this current set of rains when it fills up, and in the latter case, overflowed too.

               The major sources of Karachi’s water are the Hub dam, Keenjhar lake & Haleji lake.

Why don’t we “DAM” up the Malir River Basin within Karachi’s limits?  Why let the precious rain water go to waste, into the Arabian Sea?  If Karachi is seeing its own effects of climate change and our soothsayers predict more of this to come, let’s channelize that water into a massive & natural reservoir down Malir River.  A dam in the middle of the City will also become its own, inbuilt tourist attraction (just like Nasser Dam is in Egypt).  It’s just a matter of finessing this future dam as the main structural setup is already in place.

There will NOT be any negative environmental effects – in fact it will save water; be a positive social change for the people of Karachi through tourism; it will control the environmental pollutants currently flowing into the Malir River. There will be other benefits!

Do you water experts out there agree to this- or a variation of this idea?

(Photo credit- Samaa TV)