A bit of culture in a piece of history

Today, i went with my friends to visit Mohatta Palace museum. I had heard a lot of good things about it in the past, and once there, i was totally bowled over. It is an AMAZING place to be. When you enter, you are greeted with sculptures, pottery and tile designs from ancient indus valey civilization. There is NOTHING like seeing it with your own two eyes. All the pictures i’ve seen to date do not do justice to them! It is truly something to behold. I actually felt as if i was a tourist in some foriegn land.

Two exhibits are currently in progress there.. one on a Tile Collection from the early civilizations, and the other about the early years of Karachi. My experience of today follows as well as some interesting information about the palace itself.

Next time, me and my friend group are thinking of visiting either the Quaid-e-Azam Museum here or the National Museum, which we’ve heard good things about. See nabeel, we *do* have other things to do in Karachi other than eat or shop.

The tour is somewhat organized, although you are allowed to move at your own pace. Attendants are available at almost all exhibits and do have knowledge about the specific sites. After moving from the early pottery display (with real pottery pieces retrieved from various archeological sites) theres a tile exhibition, where tile samples from various mosques, tombs and other structures (which were partially or totally destroyed) are displayed. From there, you move onto a display of an ancient brick kiln, with pottery in various stages of being readied. The attendant present was very willing to explain the whole process of how pottery was made in those times. From there, you move onto the upper floor, where various pictures and articafts are displayed from the early times of karachi, dipicting the High Class life of the Lords and Ladies of the time. Also present are various documents which prooved to be a turning point in our history. A whole section was also dedicated to DJ Science college and its roots in the city. From there, your led outside, where various sculptures, retrieved and restored, are displayed in the back garden. The last stop are three large sheds outside where pictures and various artifacts (including a Rolls Royce used by the Quaid) are on display.

All in all, the visit was a lot of fun! The museum is very well laid out, with the exhibits labelled and descriptions provided for each of them. Its also airconditioned from the inside (for those who really feel the heat). Attendants are present and quite responsive. Even though there was a power breakdown in the middle of our tour, after which we basically rushed through everything because of the heat.. it was indeed a spectacle to behold! Unfortunately, i dont have pictures, as photography is not permitted within the premises. Bina does have some pictures in her post about Mohatta Palace last year, so check those out.

Word of caution: take lots of water with you, and go with atleast 2 hours in order to fully appreciate all of the exhibits.

Now for some other related info: Mohatta palace is said to be haunted by the ghosts of the britsh raj era. Gaurds have reported having ‘felt’ presense of these spirits during the nights, seen wine glasses float through thin air, hear a whole party going on inside the darkened building and exhibits being arranged differently each morning. Fact or fiction.. we may never know, but it doesnt do anything to diminish the allure of great collection of our culture and the history of our fine city.

8 Comments so far

  1. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on June 29th, 2006 @ 3:10 pm

    See nabeel, we *do* have other things to do in Karachi other than eat or shop

    in office hours?:)

  2. bublee (unregistered) on June 29th, 2006 @ 3:20 pm

    I agree, Mohatta Palace is definately a place not to be missed by residents and visitors alike. I went there one year when they had the Sadequain exhibition – brilliant surrealist work that just took you into another dimension (no doubt the surroundings also helped!)

    Good review – there should be more positive stuff like this on metroblog karachi. keep it up!

  3. danny (unregistered) on June 29th, 2006 @ 7:32 pm

    Excellent post! We need more posts like these :)

    Quick ques though: is there an admission fee? If so how much? Thanks

  4. mansoor (unregistered) on June 29th, 2006 @ 8:09 pm

    adnan: took a day off. LoL!

    bublee: thankyou

    danny: thanks. yes, there is an entry fee but its just Rs. 10 per person.

  5. Nabeel (unregistered) on July 2nd, 2006 @ 2:56 am

    how many people really go to such places?
    how many can afford to? (in terms of time off)

    and,crucially,how many are interested?

  6. mansoor (unregistered) on July 2nd, 2006 @ 4:23 am

    nabeel.. thats just the thing! ppl dont go to ‘such places’ because they’re A)not trendy B)not known C)they’ll actually *gasp* learn something… among others

    these are things ppl *should* look into and above all, be encouraged to visit by others as well! Its our identity.. our culture and our history.

  7. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on July 2nd, 2006 @ 2:19 pm

    Is there anyting in karachi which can attract tourists??

  8. mansoor (unregistered) on July 2nd, 2006 @ 2:32 pm

    In karachi? sadly no.. its become much more of a business destination. However, if you go just outside karachi, there are several jheels and momuments one can enjoy. Although i forget the names.. i think one of them is killengery jheel.. maybe?

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