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Sukkur


Sakhar, or Sukkur as commonly written but pronounced as the former had been a town situated on the right bank of the Indus, and part of Sind province even before the British India. It commanded the trade of Sind, and the river was once crossed by a cantilever bridge carrying the North-Western railway to Kotri in the early 20th century. In 1842 it came under British rule. The District Of Sukkur was created in 1901 out of part of Shikarpur district, the remainder of which was formed into the district of Larkana. It is chiefly alluvial plain, but there are slight hills at Sukkur and Rohri. In the higher-lying parts are salt lands, or even desert in the area known as the Rajistan. The climate is hot, dry and enervating. The population in 1901 was 523,345, showing an increase of 10% in the decade. A considerable part of the district is irrigated, the principal crops being wheat, millets, rice, pulses and oil seeds. Earthen, leathern and metal ware, cotton cloth and tussore silk are manufactured, also pipe-bowls, snuff-boxes and scissors. Lines of the North-Western railway serve the district, and there is a branch from Sukkur towards Quetta. Sukkur was and still continues to be a junction point for railway system for Quetta via Sibi and Jacobabad, while another highway and railway line go via Rahimyar Khan and Sadiqabad straight to Multan. Sukkur is a sprawling town, with beautiful mosques, gardens, shrines and madrazhis (Muslim religious schools). A desert oasis town, similar to Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, it also boasts many havelis, however, unlike those of Jaisalmer, the Sukkur variety are decorated with geometric, floral designs and painted in a variety of bright, contrasting colors. Just across the Indus is Rohri, also fairly prosperous and an important rail and road junction. The two towns, 5 km apart and 544 km north of Karachi are linked by the Landsdowne and Ayub bridges, which are extremely beautiful. There is a medieval mosque with porcelain-tiled walls, and eight km away are remains of the ancient city of Aror where Alexander the Great is said to have camped.

Sukkur has been an important strategic centre and trading route from time immemorial. Alor (present Aror, Sukkur) held the status of capital under the reign of Musikanos, when Alexander invaded India in 326 BCE. The ruins of this ancient town still exist, 8 km east of Rohri, in Sukkur district. In 711 AD, Muhammad Bin Qasim led a Muslim army and invaded Sindh, whole os Sindh (including Sukkur) and lower Punjab became part of Umayyad Caliphate. Later Mughals and many semi-autonomous tribes ruled over Sukkur. The city was ceded to Mirs of Khairpur between 1809 and 1824. In 1833, Shah Shuja (a warlord of Kandahar, Afghanistan) defeated the Talpurs near Sukkur and later made a solemn treaty with the Talpur ruler, by which he relinquished all claims on Sindh. In 1843, the British general, Charles James Napier, defeated the Talpurs at the battle of Miani and Dubbo near Hyderabad and ruled Sind, including Sukkur until independence of Pakistan.

In 1923, world's biggest irrigation of that times was laid by the British with the construction of the famous Sukkur barrage (formally called Lloyd Bridge), on the Indus river. The work for the bridge was started in 1923 and completed in January 1932. The 5,000 feet long barrage is made of yellow stone and steel and can water nearly 10 million acres (40,000 km²) of farmland through its large seven canals. Some of the canals are larger than the Suez Canal.

Sukkur as it is now is the third largest city of Sindh. The name read as Suk-khar is a local variant of Arabic word "Saqar" which means intense. In the 10th century AD when Arabs invaded Sukkur), they found extreme (hot and cold) climate, and called it "Saqar". Sukkur is also known as "Darya Dino" in local Sindhi language, meaning the the gift of river, as without the Indus this would be like Egypt deprived of Nile. Sukkur district shares northern border with Shikarpur and (recently constituted) Kashmore districts. Ghokti is located on the north-eastern side while Khairpur on the south. Sukkur also shares its border with India (Jaisalmir, Rajasthan). Sukkur is also connected by road air with all major cities of Pakistan.

At the time of Pakistan's independence (1947), Sukkur district was comprised approximately 200,000 habitants, mostly engaged in agricultural pursuits and fishing industry. Over time, Sukkur has seen a moderate rise in population (2 to 2.5% per annum) as compare to Pakistan's, except in late 60s and early 70s when population growth rate reached 4.43% (1972 census) due to internal migration and establishment of some large bridges on river Indus. According to official census of 1998, Sukkur has a population of 908,370. Besides 96% Muslims, Sukkur also has relatively greater proportion of Hindus, mostly settled in urban areas and engaged in trade and services sector. Ethnically Sindhis share the biggest segment of population (74%), followed by Muhajirs - refugees from India upon partition of British India (14%). Sukkur is also domicile of many Baloch tribes, including, Rindh, Chandio, Khoso and Laghari. Amongst others, there are Memon, Punjabi and Siraiki sections. Traditionally Memons were associated with trade and retail business but during last two decades they have ascended as an active social and economic front.

Sukkur is a hub of many small and large scale industries. Among important industries are cotton textiles, cement, leather, tobacco, paint and varnish, pharmaceuticals, agriculture implements, hand pumps, lock making, rice-husking, and sugar. Small-scale cottage industries comprise hosiery, boat making, fishing accessories, thread ball spooling, trunk making brass-wares, cutlery and ceramics. Being an agricultural city, crops like rice, maize, cotton, tomatoes, peas wheat, barley, gram and melons are sown here. Sukkur is famous world over, for its delicious dates. Sukkur also holds a large number of riverine forest on the course of Indus. These tropical forests are found within the protective embankments on either side of Indus. During 1997-98 the total area under forests was 510 km² which yielded 55,000 cubic feet (1600 m³) of timber and 27000 cubic feet (760 m³) of firewood besides other miner products

Sukkur is the central city of Sind province, It is located on the west bank of the river Indus. The city is the starting point for all the archeological sites in Sindh. There is also a very busy central Bazaar in the city which attracts people from all over the Sindh province. Sukkur is also the home for masoom Shah Jo Munaro (Minaret of Masoom Shah) a leaning tower constructed in 18th century by historian Masoom Shah Bakhri who also ruled the city for a short period. There are some of the most respected relics of hidus in the city which include the Asthan of Kalka Devi and the Sadh Belo the asthan of Baba Bankhandi located on Sadh Belo Island in the river Indus.Sukkur is also home of the rare dolphen specie the Indus Dolphen whic lives in the silty water of the indus and found most at Sukkur.

The best thing to buy is Dates which are really a good gift from here. One can also hunt for colorful handicrafts and Ajraks here.

Sukkur is also the narrowest point of the lower Indus. Hence it was here English made first barrage on the Indus in 1932. (Lloyd Barrage) 7 Canals were dig to distribute water in all parts of the province which eventually made Pakistan to have the longest irrigation system of the world. With 38000 miles of irrigation canals known as Indus Food System.

North of Larkana the landscape becomes luxuriant, and in Sukkur the railway line and the highway split up, with a road and rail tracks leading north-west to Quetta via Sibi and Jacobabad, while another highway and railway line go via Rahimyar Khan and Sadiqabad straight to Multan. Sukkur is a sprawling town, with beautiful mosques, gardens, shrines and madrazhis (Muslim religious schools). A desert oasis town, similar to Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, it also boasts many havelis, however, unlike those of Jaisalmer, the Sukkur variety are decorated with geometric, floral designs and painted in a variety of bright, contrasting colors. Just across the Indus is Rohri, also fairly prosperous and an important rail and road junction.
The two towns, 5 km apart and 544 km north of Karachi are linked by the Landsdowne and Ayub bridges, which are extremely beautiful. There is a medieval mosque with porcelain-tiled walls, and eight km away are remains of the ancient city of Aror where Alexander the Great is said to have camped.

Tours in Sukkur

Sukkur City tour:

Visit : Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower) Bazaar should be your starting point where the best part of bazaar is. Later you can visit Masoom Shah Jo Munaro (Menarat of Masoom Shah) which is at a walking distance and if you have energy to climb 84 narrow steps there is a spectacular view of the River Indus and its two bridges. Minaret was built by Historian and knight Masoom Shah in 18th century Later drive to The Lloyd Barrage and Lansdowne bridge . At Lloyd barrage there is also a small barrage Museum which explains the barrage system and some interesting facts of the river Indus irrigation system. Near Lansdowne Bridge also visit the "Sat Bahan Astan" A small graveyard from 15th to 17th century has beautifully decorated tombs with blue Glazed tiles.

Floating village of fisher men by boat:

Board a house boat to give you a tour of the floating villages of Mohanas (Fishermen) on the banks of river Indus. These people live on their house boats and spend a very difficult life. See the colorful boats decorated with very basic items and wood carving. Sometimes you can also get a glimpse of Indus Dolphin during this ride. Indus dolphin is a unique animal found only in the river Indus. They are blind due to the silt of the river and due to the flow of the river they have adopted a continuous movement in them, against water. Visit Sadh Belo a Hindu Pilgrimage area on the main island in river Indus, this was the asthan (Places) of a Sadhu known as Bankhandi (Forest wonderer) in 1823 who left the world in search of the od and meditated here. His meditation brought mericle and goddess Durga appeared at the island. Keepinf this background in mind the hindus pay a pilgramage to this island and consider it a sacred island. You need a permission from the department of Oqaf to go there

Mystic Sukkur :

Visit the Shrine of War Mubarak Near Rohri Railway station towards Sukkur this Shrines holds a holy Hair of Prophet Mohammed PBUH Later drive to the island of Bakhar and visit The shrine of Khwaja Khizar well known as Zinda Pir (Living Saint) He was a Sufi who became famous among the local people. There are devotes offering prayers at the Shrine and you will be allowed to see the colorful rituals.

Full Day Sukkur Temples

At a short distance from Sukkur There are few temples of Hindus which are of the Kali Mata & Durga. It is said that Kali when traveling to Hinglag (Baluchistan ) stayed here. Many Hindus come for a pilgrimage (Teerath ) and go through a dark cave to perform their ritual The people here are very friendly and it can be really interesting to see how rituals are performed here. On the way to the caves you can also stop at Ganjo Takar a small temple on top of a gigantic bolder if you want to test your rock climbing skills this is perfect When I went there I saw there was no statue and on top it was written (He hane Masjid AAhe) {This is a Mosque Now)!!!

Later visit Ruins of the City of Aror which is located only 9 Kilometers from Sukkur is the site where Mohammed bin Qasim (The First Arab Conqueror ) built a famous Mosque in 726 AD which lives even today and an Imam still performs prayer there . If you are an archeologist mind you may hike to the citadel and probably can find some coins of that period. (8th to 13 Century) Return to Sukkur late evening.

Full Day Moen Jo Daro :

Drive to 110 KMs to the famous Indus civilization's Site of Moen Jo Daro : You will drive via the villages on the way which offer a window to the life style in rural Sindh. On arrival at Moen Jo Daro you will visit the archeological sites of Moen Jo daro including SD area which was the administrative area of this very well planned city of past (5000 years ago) You will see the great bath where the ritual baths were taken, state granary where taxes were collected and grain was stored in granery for use later. You will then witness an exhibition hall of the past and will also see interesting oval shaped well which served bigget need of drinking water in administrative area. Later we you will walk to the DKarea which was the rich residential area of Moen Jo daro you will walk into the tall houses of the ancient people as perfect planed area with proper covered drainage watebins in the streets and grid system of walkways and streets. You will see the museum in detail, which explains the chronology of the homosapeans in this region and show different things used in moen Jo daro. You will be serven an excellent Lunch att he Moen Jo Daro rest house. Later drive to Larkana visit Kali Mata temple in Larkana and drive back to Sukkur.

Full Day Kot DG & Shrine of Sachal Sarmast:

Visit the magnificent fort of Kot DG built in 19th century by the local rulers Mirs The fort is in a very good shape and you can have an extensive tour of the fort with a guide. Later visit the archeological site of Kot DG 3300 BC and continue to the Shrine of the Sufi poet Sachal Sarmast an admirable building built with blue glazed tiles. Evening return to Sukkur.


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