Thursday, October 17, 2013

Classical Karachi Tour - Itinerary

Historic Karachi tour is an itinerary for an ultimate way to spend your two days exploring the historic city of Karachi. Of course, Karachi is a huge city and not all the attractions are included in the list but I've tried adding up almost every popular attraction that relates to the city's history except for Karachi Zoo and buildings located on MA Jinnah Rd. The price estimates provided in the itinerary below take the transportation, entrance fees, food and drink into account. However, it does not include accommodation and the transportation expenses between your hotel to the first and last attraction.

Before beginning the tour equip yourself with the following items:
  • Sun glasses
  • Mineral Water bottle
  • Change (especially 10 and 100 rupee notes)
Day 1:

Napier Mole Bridge at Port Grand

You can start your tour of historic Karachi with Napier's Mole Bridge (now located inside Port Grand). This bridge is the epicenter of the city's history and witness of its transformation from a small fishing village to a world's mega city. The bridge offers amazing views of Karachi Harbor and just next to it lies the steel track of Pakistan Railways built on the sea. You can also see Karachi Port Trust Building and Qamar house from here. Entrance fee to Port Grand is Rs 300, out of which Rs. 200 is redeemable at food outlets inside.

Mereweather Tower

Within a walking distance from Port Grand towards II Chundrigar Rd lies Mereweather tower, the landmark of historic city of Karachi. The tower is named after General Sir William L. Merewether, who served as ‘Commissioner-in-Scinde’ (Sindh) from 1868 to 1877. The construction of this magnificent landmark was completed in 8 years. The tower is one of the twelve stone monuments of Eleanor Cross. Though it no more bells and show the right time.

State Bank Museum

Located on II Chundrigar Road (popularly called Wall Street of Pakistan), a walk away from Mereweather Tower lies the State Bank of Pakistan Museum. The museum is the first money museum displaying a century old financial history of the Indian Sub Continent mainly Pakistan. The museum consist of seven Galleries and it remains opens Mon-Fri from 9:00AM to 5:00PM. Its entrance is free.

HBL Plaza

Another landmark of 1960s economic boom of Pakistan is the Habib Bank Plaza. The building is the icon of II Chundrigar Road and is visible from almost every part of the central business district. The building was built before the economic boom began in East Asia. It was the tallest building in South Asia for more than a decade and its design was inspired by coins, reflecting building's financial identity. It has a magnificent and unique architecture.

National Museum of Pakistan

Just across the road from II Chundrigar to Dr Ziauddin Ahmed Road lies the National Museum of Pakistan in Burns Gardens. Items on display here include archeological artifacts, islamic art, and other historical documents. The museum also displays two million years old axe discovered from the Potohar Plateau. There is a remarkable gallery describing the early civilisation of Debal and Mansura. Another gallery ‘Freedom Movement gallery’ contains a large collection of pictures and articles arising from the time of the Independence movement. Currently being renovated, caretakers may unlock some of the dusty, largely empty rooms for you. The museum opens every Thursday from 10AM-1PM and 2PM-5PM and every Saturday through Tuesday from 9:00AM to 12 noon.

Polo Ground (Bagh-e-Jinnah)

Polo Ground is a large public park located in the main downtown area on Dr. Ziauddin Ahmed Road. A short walk away from National Museum. Spread on a 20 acres of land, the park has thousaunds of trees, play area for children, musical fountain, jogging track, lighting tower, fascinating stone canopies and stone benches. It is a nice place to relax after spending your time visiting the above mentioned places.

Head to Main Saddar next by bus, taxi or rickshaw. 
(Bus will charge you between Rs 10 and 20. Rickshaw will charge upto Rs 100)

Empress Market

Take transportation from Polo Ground to the Empress Market. A famous marketplace dominated by a Gothic-Mughal-style clock-tower of the colonial era. The area is one of the most congested and busiest areas of Karachi. The market is one of the most important landmarks of the city and traces its origins to the British Raj era, when it was constructed in 1889 and named "Empress Market" to commemorate Queen Victoria, the Empress of India during late 18th century. The building was constructed as a marketplace to cater for the European elites who were either living in or frequently visiting Karachi at that time. Today, it is amongst the most popular, oldest and busiest places for shopping in Karachi and one of the few historical spots of the city. The building was arranged around a courtyard, 130 ft by 100 ft, with four galleries each 46 ft wide and those four galleries provide accommodation for some 280 shops and stall keepers. Commodities sold in the Empress Market range from condiments, footwear, fruit, vegetables and meat to stationery materials, textiles and has numerous pet shops.

St. Patricks Cathedral & St. Andrew's Church

Within the walking distance from Empress Market are two of Karachi's greatest churches. The Saint Patricks Cathedral and St. Andrews Church. St Patricks Cathedral is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Karachi and can accommodate at least 1,500 worshippers. It's a protected monument because of its outstanding architectural beauty and its grounds are adorned with a white marble monument to Christ the King. Another beautiful church is St. Andrews Church which was built in 1868 by a Scottish Mission. The church was combined with the Church of Pakistan in 1970 when Protestant Churches of the country gets united. Four groups meet up in particular at St Andrews Church including Anglican, Methodist, Lutheran and Presbyterian (Scottish) from four Dioceses.

Head to Elphinistone Street (Zebunissa Street)/ Fatima Jinnah Road next by a short walk, bus or rickshaw
(Bus will charge you between Rs 10 and 20. Rickshaw around Rs 50)

Trinity Church

Built in 1855 to a design by Captain John Hill of the Bombay Engineers. One of the first major churches of Karachi and currently the seat of the Church of Pakistan, Diocese of Karachi. Its tall tower was also a light house built to facilitate ships arriving into Karachi Harbour.

Flag Staff House

Just across the road from Trinity Church is the beautifully maintained British Raj building and also an important National Monument, once owned by Mohammed Ali Jinnah, who lived there from 1944 until his death in 1948. His sister, Fatima Jinnah lived there until 1964. This is yellow stone double strayed building comprising of three rooms at ground and three in first floor is worth a visit, and you can see Jinnah and Fatima’s private apartments, with period teak wood furniture and accessories such as relics used by Jinnah. The structure of building is limestone masonry with wooden trusses supporting the roof which is covered by red ceramic mangalore tiles.

Sind Club

Next to Flag Staff House is the famous Sind club where 'Dogs and Natives are not allowed' board was there. A reminder of the British era.

Frere Hall

Next to the Sind Club is the famous Frere Hall, another well preserved building and a beautiful structure built in 1865. The main building built in the Venetian Gothic style with yellowish Karachi limestone and red and grey sandstone located in the middle of two beautiful, large and lush green lawns which extend to the road. The two peaceful gardens named "Bagh-e-Jinnah" (Jinnah Garden) have two old Victorian style fountains. It houses a gallery on first floor, which is full of paintings by Pakistan’s iconic artist Sadequain. The gallery exhibits his masterpieces of paintings and calligraphy. There is also a library. There is a book fair every Sunday where you can get cheap books both new and used.

Head to Clifton by bus, taxi or rickshaw
(Bus will charge you between Rs 10 and 20. Rickshaw will charge upto Rs 100)

Mohatta Palace Museum

On Hatim Alvi Rd in Clifton lies the grandeur Mohatta Palace. Another fine British Raj building completed in 1928 with architecturally resemblance to palaces in Rajasthan in India. It was build with pink stone from Jodhpur in combination with the local yellow stone from Karachi, gives a fusion of Rajput and Mughal architecture. The palace was built by an ambitious self-made businessman from Marwar as his luxurious summer home and then became the residence of Jinnah’s sister, Fatima, after he left Karachi for India in 1947. Now, it offers a diverse range of activities for both the casual and informed visitor. Time: 11am-6pm, close on Mondays. Rs 30.

Jehangir Kothari Parade and Lady Lloyd Pier

Across the road from Mohatta Palace is the Bagh-e-Ibn-e-Qasim, home to Jehangir Kothari Parade and Lady Lloyd Pier. You can also head to the Clifton beach afterwards. Free.

Day 2:

Quaid-e-Azam Mausoleum

Start your day by visiting Quaid Mausoleum and Museum. The most recognized landmark of the city of Karachi and also the final resting place and mausoleum of the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah (known as Quaid-e-Azam or "Great Leader"). It was completed in the 1960s and designed by Mumbai based, Indian architect Yahya Merchant. The tomb is fabulously built on a 4 m high platform made of white marble with curved Moorish arches, copper grilles and a four-tiered crystal chandelier gifted by the people of China. Fifteen successive fountains lead to the platform from one side and, from all sides, terraced avenues lead to the gates. Around the mausoleum is a 53 hectare park "Bagh-e-Quaid-i-Azam" laid in the format of Islamic art, with fountains all around it, fitted with spot-lights which project light on the white mausoleum and making the glowing tomb able to be seen for miles at night. The tomb is guarded at all times and after every 20 minutes there is a ceremonial position shift of the honour guard and, every 4 hours, the guard is changed. In addition to the tomb, you can also see a small museum housing various artefacts used by Jinnah such as cars, dinning sets, bedroom furniture, swords and guns from is private collection. The location is usually calm and tranquil - which is significant considering that it is in the heart of one of the largest global megalopolises. Open Sa-Tu, Th 10:00-13:00, 14:00-17:00; F 09:00-12:00. Rs 20.

Head to PAF Museum at Shahrah-e-Faisal by bus, taxi or rickshaw
(Bus will charge you between Rs 10 and 20. Rickshaw will charge upto Rs 150)

Pakistan Airforce Museum

An impressive outdoor Air Force museum and park established in 1990 and then expanded significantly. Well organized displays with over 30 aircraft, weapons and radar have been displayed in vast lush green park, the main museum is located inside the building and features all major fighter aircraft that have been used by the Pakistan Air Force during wars with India. On display includes the scale models of some World War I, World War II and modern aircraft and photo galleries of almost all the squadrons of Pakistan Air Force. The museum also houses the Vickers VC.1 Viking used by Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah and a Folland Gnat of Indian Airforce, which was captured by Pakistani forces from Pasror in 1965 war. Guided tours are free, and uncrowded on weekdays. Rides for children's and a restaurant also available. Only families are allowed on Sundays. Rs 30.

Head to Pakistan Maritime Museum on Karsaz Road by taxi or rickshaw
(Rickshaw will charge upto Rs 100)

Pakistan Maritime Museum

A well maintained naval museum and park which comprises six galleries and an auditorium. The main museum building is located inside the park. The museum is based on modern concepts of presentation and interactive education. Different artifacts of maritime and naval heritage have been incorporated through attractive dioramas, relief sculpture, murals and miniature paintings, touch screen computers, taxidermy and ancient weapons. A computer based maritime information retrieval system has also been incorporated to facilitate the visitors and students for easy access. Besides, the museum also displays Daphne Class Submarine PNS Hangor (S131), a small yard-class Minesweeper Ship, Breguet Atlantic aircraft and a wooden barge that was gifted to Naval Chief during 60s. Some good outdoor exhibits. Only families are allowed on weekends. Rs 30.

Just next to Pakistan Maritme Museum is Arena Gaming Arcade. You can relax here and have food at Ringoli, one of the city's most popular buffet restaurants.

Head to PIA Planetarium on University Road by taxi or rickshaw
(Rickshaw will charge upto Rs 100)

PIA Planetarium

PIA Planetarium is a virtual observatory which regularly puts on shows about the solar system and cosmic phenomenon. The shows in English are much more detailed, and are held every Sunday evening. On other days there are only Urdu shows. A ticketed, guided tour by an officer enables one to view the plane from the inside; its cockpit, pilot seats, and various other areas.

Head to Aga Khan University Hospital on Stadium Rd by taxi or rickshaw
(Rickshaw will charge upto Rs 50)

Aga Khan University Hospital

Aga Khan University Hosptial is one of the prominent landmark of Karachi. It's planned and designed by Payette Associates and the hospital complex is famous for its modernist architecture that has been carefully designed to take into account the history, climate, environment, symbolism and the spiritual values of the Muslim culture. There are also lake gardens and hill on its backside where you can spend time and relax. 

Head to Karachi War Cemetery on Stadium Rd (towards Millenium Mall) by taxi or rickshaw
(Rickshaw will charge upto Rs 50)

World War Cemetery

Located on Stadium Rd, Karachi War Cemetery was created to receive Second World War graves from civil and cantonment cemeteries scattered throughout northern Pakistan where their permanent maintenance could not be assured. The cemetery contains 642 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War. The KARACHI 1939-45 WAR MEMORIAL forms the entrance to Karachi War Cemetery. It commemorates more than 25,000 servicemen of the forces of undivided India who died during the Second World War in non-operational zones. Their remains were accorded the last rites and disposal required by their various religions and their names are commemorated at memorials in Delhi and Karachi. No names appear on the memorials but a Roll of Honour at each site, one in Hindi, the other in Urdu, record the names of those commemorated. Karachi War Cemetery also contains the KARACHI 1914-18 MEMORIAL, commemorating 568 men who served in garrisons and died in Pakistan (formerly India) during the First World War and who lie buried in civil and cantonment cemeteries.

Have a great time!

If you have been to Karachi than we request you to please add your review about the city on tripadvisor. Thanks!


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