This blog post is part of my travel series, Travelogue Thursdays. Do check it out if you haven’t already ^_^
I’m featuring my city, Karachi, for the first blog post of this series. The sweltering, traffic jammed, over crowded Karachi, you ask me? Yes, the very same one (there’s one in Russia also by the very same name, in case you’re wondering).
The city of lights that is occasionally swamped with darkness due to power cuts. The city once plagued with violence and terror but restored to the city of hopes and dreams once again. The city that waits for its short lived winters and resurrecting monsoons. The concrete jungle at the shore of the sea. The city I was born in and that has made me ‘me. Yes…Karachi…my city…you beauty…you!
I wish I had the talent of writing lyrics for Karachi like the lyrics of Empire State of Mind by Alicia Keys…
…but I don’t, so I’m going to attempt and give this gorgeous city a tribute with whatever I have. If you ever travel to Pakistan, I personally invite you to visit Karachi at least once and right here, in this blog post, I’m going to be your guide to the city of lights and share with you some of the must see places. I found a beautiful article while researching for this blog post that I’d like to share an excerpt from related to Karachi Port’s previous name “Kolachi” said to be named after a woman, Mai Kolachi:
Call it folklore or call it a myth, but the story of one courageous woman battling a storm at sea, searching for her lost husband when no man would, is really what legends are made of. She found him safe, having been given shelter by a local chief, but the fact that she did not give up and faced her fears earned her the title of the head of her village and today, her spirit embodies the spirit of the city that grew out of it — the city of Karachi.
This city has opened its arms to Sufis, traders and travelers alike who came, saw and settled. With influences as diverse as Greek, Arab, Persian, Turk, Portugese and English, this little town has evolved into a cosmopolitan city where Hindus, Muslims, Parsis and Christians have owned it with equal pride and passion.
This eloquent article leads me to write my first must see place in Karachi:
Kolachi ‘The Spirit of Karachi’ at Do Darya
What better way to dine out than to savour delectable food with a soft breeze and view of the sea? That, my friend, is the beauty of Do Darya, a strip of numerous restaurants to pick from that all offer a breathtaking sea view. However, a personal favourite is Kolachi ‘The Spirit of Karachi’ which really holds up to its name. Not only does is it famous for its delicious food, the likes of Peshawari Koyla Karhai, Malai Boti and Cheese Naan but also for its gorgeous ambiance and courteous staff.
Located alongside waterfront of 19th century Native Jetty Bridge, a bridge that connects Karachi Port with Keamari. This recreational area hosts a number of events throughout the year, such as concerts, exhibitions and various events celebrating different festivities. Port grand is a hub of dining, shopping and lots of other fun filled activities for kids and grown up alike. Be sure to visit around 5:00 pm and enjoy the sights and sounds of Port Grand while the sun is still up, later enjoy the breath taking views of the sunset and enjoy delicious meals at some of the best restaurants the Karachi has to offer.
My personal favourite restaurant is Abdul Ghaffar, which is a restaurant that offers the best desi food, hands down!
Sun, sand, sea! If that’s more like your thing then I would totally recommend you to visit French Beach if you’re in K-town. Also when in Karachi, do as the Karachi’ites do. Take a daig of mouth watering biryani with you or try some desi BBQ (malai boti, behari kabab, chicken tikka, just to name a few). Marinate it on your own or get some prepared ones from Meat One and enjoy at the beach! BBQ+Beach=Beachilicious!
Also I found this amazing underwater video of French Beach. Enjoy! But don’t try this on your own without proper equipment and all of course ^_^.
At Partition in 1947, Mohatta Palace was acquired by the newly established Government of Pakistan to house its Ministry of Foreign Affairs. When the Foreign Office moved to Islamabad in 1964, the palace was given to Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah. After her demise in 1964, her sister Shireen Bai lived here until her death in 1980. The property then went into litigation and remained sealed until 1995, when it was formally purchased by the Government of Sindh, in conjunction with the Federal Government, for a sum of six million rupees. It was agreed that the monument would house a museum that would foster awareness and appreciation of the cultural heritage of Pakistan and of the region. – Official Website
A heritage site and a museum, Mohatta Palace hosts several special exhibitions throughout the year alongside ongoing exhibits pertaining to art and culture. I went to art school for my undergrad and I’ve personally visited this place several times, even had drawing classes in their beautiful lawns as well. I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Karachi!
If you want to shop traditional things to take back home as souvenirs and gifts then Zainab Market is the place to be! Traditional clothes, shoes, jewelry, rugs, pottery, decoration pieces, you name it and they have it all! Try to take a local with you and feel free to bargain because the prices will be doubled (even tripled) seeing foreign customers, unless you don’t mind paying extra ^_^.
Lucky One and Dolmen Mall
If you prefer shopping at malls then your best bets are Lucky One Mall and Dolmen Mall. I definitely prefer Lucky One Mall over Dolmen Mall due to ample parking space and the sheer size of the mall as it’s able to accommodate a huge number of crowd that Karachi promises. Also I feel like it’s more organized, since all the clothing stores (that you must check out for some famous local brands, fabrics, prints and cuts both stitched and unstitched) are present on the same floor.
Both malls, however, provide all the modern amenities that a mall should provide: parking space, well maintained and clean bathrooms, air conditioning, food court, praying area, designated play areas for kids and more.
Super Savari Express
I feel like a great way to experience a city in its true essence is by exploring it by its local transport. So that brings Super Savari Express into the picture. Here’s their story:
So what is Super Savari Express? It’s a tour company showing you around the alternative and unseen sights of Pakistan for the FIRST time using local and ethnic modes of transportation. We’re an organization obsessively in love with our nation and believe in reclaiming the nation one city at a time. So hop on board our exclusive tours and spread some nationwide love one stop at a time . “Double hai Double”
There’s no better sightseeing tour agency in Karachi than Super Savari Express. I love the whole idea of taking our local buses from Karachi that are famous globally for their truck art and using them for sight seeing. Absolutely brilliant! If you’re in Karachi or planning to visit, be sure to book a tour with them and see for yourself!
Other Events & Festivals
There are various events and festivals that take place all over Karachi throughout the year. Here are some of the most famous ones that you might want to check out:
Karachi Literature Festival
The first of its kind, Karachi Literature Festival is an annual international literary festival. Not only is it one of the world’s youngest but also one of the fastest growing literary festivals. Held every year at Beach Luxury. Having been in running since the last 8 years, this event is a melting pot of books, poetry, dialogues and more.
Karachi Eat Food Festival
This KARACHI EAT is food festival built around the idea of creating a common platform for people who love food.
That pretty much sums it up. Karachi is known for its variety. Variety of people, cultures and yes, food too. Other than desi food, you’ll find an amazing variety of restaurants and cafe’s in Karachi be it Chinese, Thai, Italian, Continental, you name it and you will find it here. This food festival testifies this as it provides a platform to various eateries to showcase their offerings. Yup…no wonder it’s one of my favourite festivals in the city.
KB17 is Pakistan’s largest international contemporary art event that will take place every two years in Karachi. This October, over 140 artists from Pakistan and across the globe will respond to a common theme: WITNESS. – Niilofur Farrukh Managing Trustee KBT
So Pakistan’s largest contemporary art event is taking place in Karachi as we speak. A festival not to be missed especially if you’re an artist, designer, architect or just somebody who takes interest in art and understands the value of it.
I’m so proud of the art community in Pakistan for taking initiative and this is happening right now, guys! So whether you’re a Karachiite through and through or just somebody visiting Karachi, don’t miss out on this and do check all the other places.
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