Friday, November 30, 2018

City Walk 5: Empress Market Karachi

Empress Market Karachi Built in 1889

Sunday, November 18, 2018

This time the Photo Walk was already arranged by Sara, a photography teacher and Nasrin Ghori’s friend, so I had to join them only.

We started from the Empress Market, which is in the news these days due to anti-encroachment drive in the city. All the illegal settlements around and inside the historical building have been removed so that the place could be restored and converted into a green public space.

Karachi’s Empress Market is one of the prominent heritage structures of the city which not only reflects metropolitan’s majestic past but also hints about city’s prevailing chaotic urban lifestyle.

This 19th century magnificent building with a clock tower standing tall in the front was constructed by the British Empire. Like in many other Karachi heritage structures, Sandstone from Jodhpur (present day India) was used in the construction of the classy building.

If you feel interested, here is a very interesting read in Urdu about the history of Empress Market connecting the site to the 1857 War of Independence:

After the Empress Market cleanup, almost everyone in Karachi is debating about the implications of the ongoing anti-encroachment drive. For a common man, it is a sigh of relief; however those who are affected complaining that their bread and butter has been snatched. While the debate will continue, it is sure that this time government is serious about it.

Coming back to our walk, first we had a detailed re-look at the Empress Market which was completely cleaned from the outside while those structures inside the courtyard were also half demolished.

Empress Market had been my go-to place for some grocery items, even in the era of convenience stores, so much so that some of my friends even make fun of my habit. So I could not resist my instinct and bought garnishing vegetables – mint leaves, coriander, lemons, etc. – with one of the familiar vendors who was dislocated and sitting on the floor. Interestingly, while I was buying it the vendor was busy fighting with another vendor for the floor space. This is another story that the fragile mint leaves and corianders got spoiled totally by the time I reached back home, past noon. It was solely out of my carelessness since I left that in the car under the sun and hence got the due flak from the better half!

Main Entrance of Empress Market Karachi

The Liberated Empress Market

Police Reinforcement at the Site to Handle Protests Later in the Day

This Side was Previously Invisible due to Illegally Built Market

These Trees Can Breath Now

Barely Survived to Tell the Sad Encroachment Story

A Group of College Boys Found that a Photo Opportunity

The Troika Looks So Powerful Now (Trees) - Note the Propping Steel Bars on the Rooftop

A Legal Natural High Rise

Relatively Cleaner Corner of the Empress Market Facing the Main Road

The One at the Back was Occupied Illegally and Badly Abused
Inside this there used to be Buffalo Meat-and-Other-Remains Market

The Butchered Buffalo Market
Clarification: Blood Stains are Mostly Likely Gutka Spittings

The Recently Liberated Back Wall of Empress Market After Years of Abuse

Inside the Empress Market Courtyard

This (Late) Masala Store Used to Sell "Any" Spices by the Blessing of Almighty (Zoom in the Second Line)

Another Illegal Structure Inside Empress Market Met the Same Fate

Some Shops in the Inner Allays were Still Functional

Center of the Empress Market Courtyard was also occupied (around the Last Standing Table). I Doubt They Poor People Could be this Influential

Visited the Abandoned Mandir Site Near Jahangir Park Again
There is a Halwa Poori Vendore Right Underneath

Door of the Temple is Sealed

We Tried Entering in the Mandir from the Next Door Neighbors which was a Business So Closed on Sunday

This is the Closest I could Get from the Outside (No Zoom)
Bohri Bazaar: Inside a Building which is now used by a Fancy Frame Shop

Inside of a Bohri Bazar Residential Building First Floor which is No More Used

Memon Masjid A Night Earlier We Wandered Around the Old City to see Eid Miladun Nabi Lighting

Memon Masjid Minaret

Near Gurumandir Roundabout
Links of previous walks:
City Walk 4:

Friday, August 24, 2018

City Walk 4: Paper Market to Wazir Mansion

Paper Market: Flag Vendors and the Omnipresent Kachra
Continuing from the last Winters, when we wandered around Karachi's Old City, this time we walked around "Paper Market" to observe Independence Day preparations.

We started with Paratha breakfast around 9am from Pakistan Chowk, did Jashne Azaadi shopping from "Paper Market" which was bustling with 14th August display material of all sorts and colors - green being the dominant and concluded it by 1pm, at Wazir Mansion, paying tribute to the Founding Father Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

Walk Map: Pakistan Chowk to Paper Market to Wazir Mansion, ~5km Return
Here are some photos from the Walk:

The Walk Started Only After Paratha Feast

Electioneering in the Old Town was Fierce

Urban Decay

Buns Lined up for "Special Karachi Burger"

A "Bohri" Masjid in the Old Town

MCB Tower at Chundrigar Road in the Background


A Typical Old City Road on a Calmer Sunday

Entrance of Bohri Masjid: Cleanest Sight Around  

Essentials of Life in Karachi: Minibus/Coach, Bus, KE Truck! 

Other Than "Kachori" There is Another "Phenomenon" to be Noticed! Guess What?


Hepatitis Alert: Fresh Sugarcane Juice

Pakistan Colored Bangles

Some Vendors Even Sit on the Road

KMC Building: A Lazy Sunday Morning on the Otherwise Chaotic Bandar Road 

Sunday Special: Second Hand Shoes on the Display

Sunday Special: Second Hand Suitcase on the Display on Main Bandar Raod

Bandar Raod: Keamri Cranes Are Visible in the Backdrop

One of Roadside Vendors Saddar is Famous For
"Black" Chaunsa - A Mango Variety Not So Premium

Karachi's Historical Memon Masjid - Backdoor

Preparing for Baqra Eid

Electricity is Supplied at Every Nook and Corner of the City

Heading Towards Wazir Mansion - Quaide Azam's Birthplace

This was Even Before Baqra Eid!

The Other Side of Memon Masjid 

Most Buildings in the Old Town Are "Ship" Shaped Highlighting the Port 
Bottom Left: A Newspaper Photographer Was Searching for a Photo Opportunity and Got Us!

Links of previous City Walks: