December is the best month to take a trip around Sindh. The weather is pleasant and the gentle sunlight creates a picture perfect setting. On Saturday, The Explorers, Pakistan – run by Fahhad Rajper and Farhan Faisal, took a group of 16 people to Chawkandi, Bhambore, Makli, Thatta and Kheenjhar Lake to check out the historical monuments.
The Explorers organise around two to three trips a month. They started with Chawkandi and places close to Karachi and are in the middle of planning another trip – hopefully to Gorakh Hill or Ranikot.
In Chawkandi, which is roughly an hour away from Karachi, the guide, Ali Dino, gave a short tour of the tombs. While talking to The Express Tribune, he said that he had been showing people around for more than 40 years. “This was the family graveyard of the Jokhio family,” he said. “Some Baloch tribes are also buried in this graveyard which was built sometime during the 15th or early 18th century.” The next stop – Bhambore, is said to be the first city to be conquered by Muhammad Bin Qasim in 712 AD. The Sindh culture department has set up a small museum there with a few relics discovered in 1988.
The area’s main attractions are the excavation sites of an ancient city which archaeologists believe is Daibul. A few hours from Bhambore is Makli – one of the oldest necropolises in the world. Kings, queens, saints and scholars from the 14th to the 18th centuries are buried here in brick and stone monuments. In Thatta, Rajper and Faisal took the group to the famous Shah Jehan Mosque which was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan in 1647 as a gift for the people of Sindh for their hospitality. The mosque is built mostly with red bricks and Hala tiles with a total of 99 domes.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 30th, 2014.