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HYDERABAD

 

Fourth largest city in Pakistan, Hyderabad, was the capital of Sind between the eighteenth and ninteenth centuries. Still a busy entrupo t, it shows no signs of decline, unlike Thatta. But there is few places of interest and few historical monuments to testify to its past importance.

Many believe that Hyderabad is the town of “Neroon” which Muhammad Bin Qasim captured during his invasion of Sind in the eight century, others fancy it as the site of one of the cities that Alexandar built along the Indus.

The present city is only 200 years old. It was built by one of the Kalhora rulers in 1786 to replace Khudabad as the capital after the Indus changed course and left Khudabad high and dry.

By the end of eighteenth century Sind’s allegiance to Afghanistan was marginal and both the British East India Company and the Sikhs were casting covetous eyes on its wealth.

In 1838, when the first Afghan war broke out, Sind became strategically important to the British as the only corridor for marching British troops to Kabul. At that time chaos reigned in Punjab. The British crown annexed Sind, much to the displeasure of Amirs of Talpur who had been their faithful, if not willing, allies.

Hyderabad is 175 Kilometres (l08 miles) from Karachi on the Super Highway and the older National Highway. It is 1,405 kilometres (873 miles) from Islamabad. It is also served by train.

The Battlefield at Miani is about ten kilometres north of Hyderabad and some five kilometres from the National High way with a Memorial sit for the British soldiers. Hyderabad’s eighteenth century fort was initially the court of the Kalhora dynasty and then that of the Talpur Amirs. According to contemporary British descriptions it must have been splendid, but apart from the tower, main entrance, and a room in the harem, little remains to be seen.

The only attraction at Sheikh Makai Fort is the tomb of a thirteenth century saint from Mecca, Sheikh Makai. Housed inside a mud fort of a much later date, his masoleum, built in 1671, centuries after his death, attracts devotees from far away places.

Hyderabad’s. main bazaar, the Shahi Bazar, streches from the fort-gate to the Market Tower and sells every thing from bangles, gold and silver Jewellery, Sindi embroideries to unique hand-blocks for printings on “Ajark”.

Other places of interest in the city include the ornate masoleum of the Talpur and Kalhora Amirs, with their blue-glazed tile work, located in the northern part of the hill on which Hyderabad was originally built. Some have floral paintings and marble framwork.

The institute of Sindology on the highway just before crossing the Indus, also boasts of a valuable collection of old books, coins and other artifacts relating to Sind. The Culural Centre of Islamic Republic of Iran here is widely and immensly contributing to the achievment of the goal of expansion and promotion of the persian language.

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