why i want to be a high powered city government honcho

i, like all the other denizens of our concrete jungle i know, cannot claim to have seen the whole of karachi. this is both a tragedy and a comedy. it is also largely irrelevant to the discussion at hand. for this post is about the bits of karachi that i have seen. that and the funny names they have. its amazing some of these are actually officially recognized names. thats why i want to be a city government person. the guy who gets to name places what he wants to name them.

this post will have to be interactive so if you know of a bonafide place with a wierd name, please do include it in the comments area. meanwhile we start our list with geedar chowrangi (hyena roundabout)…

1. geedar chowrangi: a place in landhi not far from bhains colony (buffalo colony) apparently so named for the hyenas or jackals or maybe just wild dogs that used to be seen around here when karachi had not sprawled as much as it had.

2. golimar: the unofficial name of gulbahar. golimar (which literally means “fire a bullet”) attained notoriety in the 90s as a hotbed of violence lending some reason to the name it is known by. it is much better known these days as home to one of the largest plumbing products market in the city.

3. nagan chowrangi: a major traffic junction in north karachi, this roundabout which would be called the female cobra roundabout in english, branches off in so many directions its impossible to count them from a moving vehicle. indeed, one story goes that it was actually named nau gun initially, meaning “nine ways”, which later got distorted into nagan. in karachi, everything’s possible.

4. do minute chowrangi: as wierd names go, the two minute roundabout probably has the wierdest of them all. and i haven’t even been able to find a single story for why its named what it is. to further compound the wierdness, to get here you have to cross unda mor (egg turn) and karaila mor (i’d translate that but i don’t know what a karaila is in english. it’s a porcupinish green vegtable).

5. perfume chowk: this is not such a wierd name as it is an interesting story. the perfume chowk person who basically owns or owned an eastern perfume pushcart which was permanently parked at a spot in gulistan-e-jauhar, marketed his business with a can of spray paint and the confidence that graffiti was his right as a citizen of karachi. you can find the words perfume chowk spray painted on walls and shop shutters from gulshan-e-hadeed to surjani town to clifton. the spot has become so famous that bus conductors call out “perfume chowk” to commuters to signal the arrival of the bus stop.

this list could go on for ages. but i’d like to hear your contributions. so give us a name and a story to go with it if possible.

(note: i may have gotten some of the geography and most of the history wrong here. being what it is, there is no way some of this can be verified. most of it comes from stories of people who live nearby. but sometimes that adds spice to the local flavour. so don’t kill me if you know something i don’t.)

33 Comments so far

  1. Ahmed (unregistered) on July 15th, 2007 @ 1:43 pm

    A portion of M.A Jinnah road where boulton market is located is known as Bunder Road. Dont know the story behind the name. Dont know about the others I guess you nailed them all :)

  2. PatExpat (unregistered) on July 15th, 2007 @ 2:29 pm

    Bunder Road is named as such because it goes to bundergaah (‘Sea Port’ in persian). Actually, its real name is Bunder Road later renamed as M A Jinnah road because of Quaid’s Masoleum.

    There was an old paki filmi song by Ahmed Rushdi

    Bunder Road say Kemari
    Meri Chali ray ghora Gari
    Babu Hu jana Foot Path Per.

  3. Da-Man (unregistered) on July 15th, 2007 @ 2:59 pm

    Karaila is called Bitter Gourd in English.

  4. Xill-e-Ilahi (unregistered) on July 15th, 2007 @ 3:25 pm

    thanks da-man!

  5. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on July 15th, 2007 @ 3:35 pm

    if I am not wrong, there is also a dairh minute( 1 1/2) chowrangi too.

    Also morhs(turnings) like Discro morh and mochi morh

  6. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on July 15th, 2007 @ 3:37 pm

    if I am not wrong, there is also a dairh minute( 1 1/2) chowrangi too.

    Also morhs(turnings) like Discro morh and mochi morh

  7. Xill-e-Ilahi (unregistered) on July 15th, 2007 @ 3:43 pm

    and while we’re at it “khadda market” is actually quite amusing when you come to think about it…

  8. d0ct0r (unregistered) on July 15th, 2007 @ 3:57 pm

    lalu khet… gutter bagheecha

  9. Kashif (unregistered) on July 15th, 2007 @ 4:41 pm

    Khamosh Colony

  10. d0ct0r (unregistered) on July 15th, 2007 @ 4:51 pm

    teen hati

    bhens colony(cattle colony)Landhi

  11. Farhan (unregistered) on July 15th, 2007 @ 5:19 pm

    Machar COlony

  12. verysmart (unregistered) on July 15th, 2007 @ 5:42 pm


    by the way, 2 minute chowrangi and dairh minute chowrangi are pure Bus wala names, since these were unnamed roundabouts and no one used to live there the bus wala’s had a depot near it, mainly w-22 and w-21 routes emerges from the nearby area.

    The transport mafia has a very strict and organized culture to their operations (like all mafias) these roundabouts (and many others like them) are served as checkpoints for bus route owner (contractor) who places his people on these locations and time the buses on his routes. As you can understand that if two buses of the same route travel together or in tandem they will divide (read: hurt) each other’s passenger share. Now to avoid this, each bus has to reach these location at a certain allocated time, if it gets late or gets there earlier, it is penalized by Rs 200 (usually). So these locations serves as a relaying station where one bus waits for a certain minutes making it sure that it wont overtake the same route bus infront of it (remember when fellow pessangers shoutings at the driver: “CHALA DE BHI”, and you are wondering wht in God’s name we are waiting for??) At each such location the bus driver is issued a PARCHI which states the expected arrival time for its next such relaying station.

    So 2 minutes chowrangi is where the buses have to wait for 2 minutes and thats how it goes.

    The extended family of a very old friend of mine is a part of this mafia (he is not very proud of the fact though)

  13. Zulfiqar (unregistered) on July 15th, 2007 @ 5:55 pm

    For history of Bunder road, check http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_23-7-2005_pg7_36

    I am not sure but read it in early 2000 on the net that Mr.Bunder was an englishman and may be mayor or governor of karachi in the pre-independence era.

    Maybe some historian in our group can shed light and give us the background of each road.

  14. verysmart (unregistered) on July 15th, 2007 @ 6:07 pm

    Bunder road is bunderghah road, coz it ended on the port ….bundergah is persian for Port. PatExpat has already put it right

  15. tamed (unregistered) on July 15th, 2007 @ 6:09 pm

    Few more;

    naitee jaity,
    It was used to be ‘Native jetty’ in old days.

    Ramswami- must have something to do with Ram.

    Paposh nagar- self explanatory.

    teen hatty- not sure what is behind this name.

    pehelwan gooth, was there an akhaara over there? no idea.

  16. zee (unregistered) on July 15th, 2007 @ 7:26 pm

    What an informative post! Hehehe. Hopefully, they change those names soon though :)

  17. Petarian_88 (unregistered) on July 15th, 2007 @ 7:52 pm


    Why should they change those names?? they are part of our lives/history. we should feel no shame about it.

    there are wierd names for chawrangis everywhere e.g: England

  18. Arsalaan Haleem (unregistered) on July 15th, 2007 @ 8:32 pm

    ‘Kharadar’ refers to the Salty water spring that used to sprout from the side of a backside entrance of an ancient fort near current-day Karachi Port. Hence, the name ‘Khara-dar’. Khara meaning ‘Salty’, Dar means Darwaza’.

    Likewise, ‘Meeta-dar’, was the sweet water spring near the front entrance of the same fort.

  19. Raja Islam (unregistered) on July 15th, 2007 @ 8:47 pm

    Gedur Colony

  20. Tamed~. (unregistered) on July 15th, 2007 @ 9:32 pm

    Few more,

    Naitee jaiety; was native jetty in british days.

    Paposh nagar; self explanatory.

    Pehalwan gooth;may be an akhara some where in the locality.

    Matchhar (mosquito) colony; not sure why.

    I can suggest a new name here for All the cant. areas of the city, they should be named QABZA COLONies 1,2,3 & so on as they are owned by the biggest qabza group of the country.

  21. verysmart (unregistered) on July 15th, 2007 @ 9:57 pm

    @tamed.. lolzz
    the actual name is Qasba colony.. which is a reiterration anyways… well yes it deserves the name qabza

  22. Tamed~. (unregistered) on July 15th, 2007 @ 10:06 pm


    I know about Qasba colony, which is next to orangi town.
    I was just saying that all those areas of the city which are owned by the wardi wala ppl should be named as Qabza colonies, just by chance they are the most expensive localities of the city.

  23. ShahidnUSA (unregistered) on July 15th, 2007 @ 11:37 pm

    You could change names if its agreeable by the local population I think.I am sure there are written rules about it.
    And yes they are part of history.

    So be very careful when you name your kids. :)


  24. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on July 16th, 2007 @ 12:06 am

    well I wonder no one mentioned “Khuda ki basti”? :-)

    Shokat Siddiqi’s famous novel is also based on this colony.

  25. Tamed~. (unregistered) on July 16th, 2007 @ 12:09 am

    No, Adnan, this Khuda ki basti was non existent when this Novel was created.

  26. d0ct0r (unregistered) on July 16th, 2007 @ 12:39 am

    teen hati (3 shops)

  27. yo yo (unregistered) on July 16th, 2007 @ 9:08 am

    In the outskirts of Karachi near Malir is a area called DuM-LOOTI…and an old local train station is called MATHA-PHAN CHOWK

  28. Arsalaan Haleem (unregistered) on July 16th, 2007 @ 11:51 am

    How about Dhoraji? I had always found this name, funny.

  29. udass (unregistered) on July 16th, 2007 @ 12:47 pm

    it was a egg-shaped-about instead of round-about which doesn’t exists any more but still its name exists

    no comments

    interesting part is that you won’t find any chowk neither any chandni and there are two locations of the same name in karachi

    like mukka chowk there is a gola chowk also tough the GOLA has been transfered to some other place

  30. Mufakkir (unregistered) on July 16th, 2007 @ 6:43 pm

    AFAIK at Golimar there used to be training of the tanks’ divisions before partition. Hence the name Golimar. (Just like Sonmiani firing range).


    BUFFER ZONE: A buffer means an empty space. originally intended to be a ‘buffer’ zone b/w North Nazimabad and North Karachi, nowadays the most densely populated [leased] area of Karachi.

    MACHAR CLY: The mosquito colony is in malir district (after the admin system changed I think it went to Gadap town, not sure abt it). Its name is self-explanatory.

    DAKAIT MOR: The robber/dacoit mor is named acc. to the huge number of dacoities that used to happen there (don’t know abt the situation nowadays).

  31. Bayl (unregistered) on July 16th, 2007 @ 6:51 pm

    As a side note, Gwadar’s name also has an interesting story. Pre-partition it was used by traders and merchants and tourists as a door or an entrance into Goa as it was the prime gateway into the sub-contitent from the Middle East.

    Hence the name Gwadar or Goa-Dar (Door to Goa)

  32. Abdul Sami (unregistered) on July 16th, 2007 @ 7:32 pm

    any history about Guru mandir Chorowngi i think its name has been changed to Molana shamzai chwk now

  33. Khurrum Bawani (unregistered) on July 16th, 2007 @ 7:48 pm

    This might be the history behind Guru-Mandir


    When Sat Gur Nanak Dev Ji came to Karachi he first of all stayed at this place . It is located on Justice Kayani road opposite Karachi Art Council. Guru Dev Ji went to the cave of the goddess of sea from this very place The people took light from that cave and built Gurmandir (temple) in the city. Now Guru Mandir is the name of a very big locality of Karachi.
    The building of the Gurdwara is strong and beautifully built. The Government of Pakistan has got it repaired recently spending lacs of rupees.

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