17th century Kalhoro tombs disappear brick by brick
By Qurban Ali Khushik


DADU: Mausoleum of the founder of Kalhoro dynasty, Mian Yar Mohammad Kalhoro, and graves of his family and government functionaries in the adjacent graveyard in historical Khudabad town, 13 kilometres from here, are disappearing brick by brick with little official efforts to preserve the historical sites.

The decorative Kashi bricks with intricate geometric designs, which characterize the Kalhoro period, have started peeling down from north and eastern sides of the mausoleum and four tombs have suffered visible damage by ravages of time over the centuries.

Graves of the family members and generals of Kalhoro’s army are also in poor condition.

Ahmed Khan Kalhoro, chairman of the committee of Kalhoro historical sites, said that Kashi bricks had started to peel off from the walls of the mausoleum.

Many historical sites of Kalhoro period had disappeared because of centuries of neglect and condition of the remaining tombs, graves of family members, ministers and generals were in a shabby condition in Khudabad and its adjoining areas. He said that people had started to occupy 60 acre historical graveyard near the mausoleum.

Mohammad Afzal Kalhoro, an old inhabitant of Khudabad town, said that repair work at the main mausoleum was started in 1995 by the PPP government.

The contractors used substandard material, which lost luster within days. But the work came to a stop as soon as the PPP government was dissolved, he said.

The caretaker of the mausoleum Faqir Abdul Sattar said that four small tombs, which formed part of the mausoleum, were damaged and roof of the tombs of two wives of Yar Mohammad Kalhoro were near collapse.

He said that tombs of Wali Mohammad and Khudad, brothers of Mian Yar Mohammad Kalhoro, needed repair on an urgent basis. Graves of 16 ministers and generals of Kalhoro dynasty were in a shabby condition and those of two generals known as Baloo Zardari and Mir Mumtaz Dahiri were destroyed during recent heavy rains, he said.

He said that walls of the small mosque built within the courtyard of the mausoleum had weakened and might fall any time.

Ishtaique Ansari, a historian, said that Kalhoro rulers had brought a number of positive changes in agricultural sector. They improved the irrigation system by digging many canals and brought prosperity to people, he said.

He said that Khudabad had remained capital of Sindh under Kalhoras from 1701 to 1750 AD. Parts of Jamia Masjid Khudabad, known as Badshahi Masjid, were in the worst condition. The Masjid was built by Mian Yar Mohammad Kalhoro during 1701 and 1718, he said.

He demanded that the federal and provincial governments protect these sites in Khudabad and immediately start repair work at all historical sites of Kalhoro dynasty in consultation with archaeologists.

Syed Hakim Ali Shah, an archaeologist, said that architecture of tombs and mausoleums of Kahoro period stood out among monuments built over the centuries because of their individuality.

Khudabad was made capital of Sindh when Yar Mohammad Kalhoro became first king of Kalhoro dynasty. The town was near the Indus River, which made it a hub of commerce within no time, he said.

Sindh Education Minister Pir Mazharul Haque in whose constituency the historical sites fall said that he had requested the prime minister to release special budget for the mausoleum’s repair and the prime minister had directed the Sindh tourism and culture department to repair the sites.

However, there is nothing on ground to prove the repair work will be started shortly.  







Epitaph to the Past
By Abdul Hamid Akhund

Lying scattered between Dadu district and the Kirthar mountains, some 25 kilometres from taluka Khairpur Nathanshah in the plains of the barren katcho, are found many graveyards dating as far back as the seventeenth century. The largest and most historically significant among them is the graveyard of the Kalhoras which is the site of Mian Naseer jo Kubo. Here the air is still and nothing moves. The sketchiness of our knowledge concerning the monument haunts us and the tale of those buried here remains a mystery. But legend lives on and brings to life the reigns of the proud Kalhora chiefs who gained power in upper Sindh  the present-day territories of Dadu and Larkana  in the second half of the sixteenth century and later consolidated their hold by taking over Thatta.

The Kalhoras’ rise to power was tumultuous from the start. Migrating from Makran nearly two centuries after the local Samma king Jam Feroze had lost Sindh to the Arghuns, the first Kalhora ruler Mian Adam Shah relieved Sindh from foreign rule by launching a revolutionary religious struggle against the Mughals and Afghans in the region. During this campaign, the Kalhoras lost many of their chiefs, including Mian Adam himself. Having settled in the Chandukah taluka and received a vast land allotment from Khan-e-Khannah, Mian Adam presented a threat to the Mughal rulers who imprisoned him and ensured that he died in captivity.

Even so, Mian Adam’s legacy did not fade into oblivion, thanks to his great-grandson Mian Naseer Mohammad who emerged as a fearless leader. 







Gorakh Hill Station: Unspoiled beauty, underdeveloped asset
By Aamir Raz Soomro


We are fortunate to have been born in a land which is rich in cultural heritage. We have remnants of the oldest towns of the world, historical graveyards, mountain ranges, natural streams, etc. And where we have many places that are internationally renowned, many remain unknown to even the locals.

Murree is the famous hill station of Pakistan which attracts thousands of local and international visitors every year. However, there is a place in Sindh which, if developed properly, would undoubtedly give tough competition to Murree. Surprising as it must be for many readers, it is true that there is a place in Sindh where it snows! The point is located in the mountains bordering Sindh and Balochistan, and is called Gorakh Hill Station.

Gorakh Hill Station lies in district Dadu, Sindh, and is as high as 5688 feet. It is a part of the famous Khirthar Mountain range. On the one side of the hill lies Wahi Pandhi, Johi, of Sindh, while, on the other, there is Khuzdar district, dwellers of which usually cross this complicated mountain range to come to Wahi Pandhi to purchase food items and other daily usage stuff.

You can enjoy snowfalls in the winters, which usually covers the mountain peak. You can even spare yourself from the sizzling heat of June and July here and visit Gorakh for it offers pleasant weather in the noon and chilly evening and nights. I bet you will need warm clothes to cover yourself as it is quite cold in the summers as well.

The trip to the hill station is not easy on every vehicle because the only vehicles which can get you up are 4x4 drives; no other vehicle can steer you so high on the rough road. There is one rest house built for tourists, but the facilities are so basic that food arrangements have to be made by the visitors themselves!

Many scholars have different opinions about the name of this mountain peak, but the predominantly known name Gorakh, which local historians also accept to be its real name, as it means ’complicated’ or ’tortuous’.

Once at Gorakh, people become speechless seeing the giant peaks of mountains all around with lush greenery. The plants and animals, including deer would keep you entertained throughout your journey to the place beautifully decorated by the nature. It becomes even more captivating in the morning, when the peak is covered by fog; you would feel like treading on clouds and flying in the sky.

It should also be noted that the road is not properly made and at many places you might need to get down from your vehicle and let the driver take the risk of crossing certain difficult points. However, millions of rupees have been allotted to build a guest house and a fine road to this beautiful peak, but there are no traces of any development that was supposed to have been done with the amount.

This is an ideal place for the adventurous souls. So what are you waiting for? Take a trip to the mountain’s peak this summer!