Mystic crocodiles draw thousands of devotees.
KARACHI (AFP) - Crocodiles with huge teeth-filled mouths lie in the sand and slap their snouts on the edge of sulfur springs, greeting worshippers who journey to the Mango Pir shrine on the outskirts of Pakistan's volatile port city Karachi.
It is one of thousands of Sufi shrines in this Islamic republic, where millions of devotees set out on pilgrimages, from all corners of the country, to pray, chant, dance, sing, occasionally smoke hashish, and seek healing.
Sufism is the most artistic, liberal strand of Islam, embracing song and dance as expressions of love for God.
The 700-year old Mango Pir shrine, 25 kilometers (15 miles) southwest of the city centre, is believed to be the resting place of a Hindu bandit who tried to rob the caravan of Baba Farid Shakar Ganj, a 13th century Sufi saint.
According to local legend, Mango Pir converted from Hinduism to Islam when he realised his sin, and in reward Ganj gave him lice which grew into crocodiles.
The compound surrounding his shrine swarms with some 150 crocodiles. Devotees regard the deadly reptiles as sacred, and potential fulfillers of their most fervent wishes.
Pilgrims journeying to Mango Pir make offerings not to the buried there, but to the scaly creatures.
Wildlife experts are unsure how the crocodiles came to be there. Some believe they may be traced back to a time when the area was a swamp.
"The area may have been a wetland some time in history and that could be the only explanation of their presence at such an isolated place," said World Conservation Union (IUCN) researcher Tahir Qureshi.
"Earlier, their natural habitat was available to them. But now they are confined to ponds and their subsistence largely relies on artificial food."
Pilgrims, including many from neighbouring India just 400 kilometers (250 miles) away, give beef, mutton or chicken to the crocodiles as offerings in the hope they will make their wishes come true.Related to:
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Paan is very popular among local people. It is beetle leaves and tobacco. Paan is made up of green beetle leaves, paste of lime and a funny brown liquid and either tobacco or sweet essences as it depend on choice. People chew it and all the ingredients of paan make mouth red. I am not sure about the taste. You could see these Paan shops every corner of the street. There are other kind of Paans are also available which tastes sweet. Fancy a Paan?
Only in Karachi can someone think of this
The town municipal administration of Saddar Town has handed over a mobile toilet to concerned authorities for facilitating beachgoers. The natural beauty of beaches was being affected due to lack of cleanliness and increasing pollution. In this regard, Karachi government has said the citizens will have to play due role, so that beachgoers can be provided a healthy and hygienic atmosphere.
The provision of a model mobile toilet for the beach area was a welcome step, that such mobile toilets would also be provided to Keamari and Bin Qasim towns.
The chief secretary congratulated the nazim Saddar Town and his team for their creative initiative regarding the mobile toilet.
The mobile toilet has separate chambers for males/females.Related to:
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A strange export item from the country.
These Sindhi Goats will grow into giants and are considered prime sacrificial animal.
In Sindh, herders raise these goats and invest on them heavily for 1-1/2 years. These are then brought to Karachi and are also exported to the Middle East for slaughtering during the Holy festival of Eid al Adha.
In the UAE, these goats are preferred for slaughtering over any other species. The numbers that you carry on your 4 wheelers or hired trucks determine your social status. We have seen families carrying up to 10 of these Sindhi Goats for sacrificing during the Eid.Related to:
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Feed God's creatures to annul your sins
Native jetty, also called Netty Jetty, is a bridge near Kemari, which has been for ages a site where people from various backgrounds come and feed the fishes and birds, and also to commit suicide.
This tradition to feed God's creatures is quite old. I asked various people as to what it entails and never got a good answer. The summary is that people come here to feed the creatures if they want something in return (from God); or to wash away their sins.
It is a carnival scene on the bridge, especially on holidays as there will be thousands of people lining the rail and feeding the fishes and the birds. You can bring your own stuff to feed, or buy from vendors sitting there. Or overlook, on one side the dwindling mangroves, and on the other side the busy harbour.Related to:
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Siberian Birds Hunting !
Bokhari Bhai I have spend a lot of time in Thatta District a lot of birds come there from Siberia and can you imagine the forest department people capture them and give them as gift to their officers and to the politicians. I have also got some of them once but I felt sorry after I got them cut for food as they have so little meat in them because they fly such a distance so they are very skinny. According to the local custom the oil of crane bird is used for joints pain which they acquire by hanging it in the sun and the oil from it drop in a pan which is placed underneath it. Halijheel is a famous nesting ground of these birds a friend of mine who live in Jhangshai have often asked me to come for hunting but I never went for it.Peshawar (APP): Birds that migrate from Siberia to Pakistan and India during September to November have started arriving here and the NWFP Wildlife department has started organizing communities along river Kabul and Indus to contain hunting. Birds have started arriving in Pakistan as the winter season started in Siberia (Russia) and this activity will gain momentum if rains are received here, informed Chief Conservator NWFP Wildlife Department, Saeeduz Zaman. Saeeduz Zaman said the migration journey starts from Siberia to Pakistan and ends in India at Bahartpure. This route is known in the international migration routes as `Indus Fly-way No. 4' or `Green Route', he added. The distance covered by birds during migration is around 4500 kilometers. The migratory bird fly from Siberia to Afghanistan, Karakorum range, across river Indus in Pakistan and finally towards India. During their journey, the birds make stopovers at lakes and water basins at Nowshera, Tanda Dam in Kohat, Swat, Chitral, Punjab and at Haleji, Keenjaar and Lungsee lakes in Sind. These birds mainly consist of water fowl, hobara bustard, cranes, teals, pintail, mallard, geeze, spoon bills, waders, palicons and gadwall. The Wildlife department, he said has taken a number of measures to contain hunting of migratory birds and in this regards work was done on organizing communities along river Kabul and Indus. Earlier, before 1970 there was no rule for protection of migratory birds. However, after Ramsar convention in Iran and Bonn Convention in Germany laws to protect migratory birds was enacted. Department, he said, developed wet lands where strict laws were implemented for regulating hunting. A project named `Management of waterfowls along river Kabul & Indus in NWFP, which was aimed at regulating the hunting of migratory birds in the province, was also launched. Under the project, he continued, 20 points from Warsak to Kund along river Kabul and from Kund to Tarbela along river Indus were selected where communities will be organized to control hunting. Similarly, he continued, two hunting huts have been established at village Agra near Sardaryab in District Charsadda and village Pushtoon Gari. These hunting huts, he added, were established to offer opportunity to communities to generate income through charging hunters for providing hunting facilities at the hut and issuing permits. 90 percent of the amount collected by communities through issuing of permit is spent on community uplift and remaining 10 percent goes to national exchequer, he informed. He said the wildlife department has also decided to reduce the `Bag limit' of hunters from 20 birds to 10 birds. We are also considering to restrict hunting on selected days like weekly holidays. In response to a question about reduction in number of migratory birds, Saeeduz Zaman said those birds are reduced whose reproduction is slow. Whereas, he continued, birds whose reproduction is fast like ducks and water fowls are coming in same number. Sometimes, he said, due to change is weather and especially due to drought the birds change their route. About reasons behind migration, he said some viewed that cold weather compel the birds to move towards warmer areas. Another view is that these birds have inherited a natural phenomenon of moving from one place to another for reproduction purpose.Related to:
While in Karachi, if you get the urge, you need to sharpen your knife, the old fashion way.
With advent of self sharpening knives, and accessories, this ancient and traditional trait is dying fast. Hardly ever in the main city, one may see a man carrying behind him a wooden frame with implements to sharpen your house ware knives. The knife sharpener will charge Rs. 5 per knife.Related to:
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A rich legacy shared with India, Karachi has several Hindu temples around the city. The profile of these temples is kept low mainly due to the hostility amongst the two rivals. Several of these temples are now in a depleted state, requiring urgent need for someone to restore/conserve.
One of the most visible is situated under the Netty Jetty bridge, which fortunately has been saved by various civic actions by people who want to preserve our rich heritage. This is also a temple used mainly for cremations by Hindu citizens who can not afford to take the remains to River Ganga in India.
The province of Sindh (where Karachi is also located) has the most population of Hindus, mainly in the interior and Tharparkar region, close to Indian border.Related to:
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The food in Pakistan is amazing! So good and tasty! Shrimp, fish, lamb, chicken, lentils, beef..and of course, rice and breads of all sorts! (and so much more..but these are my favorites!
It is by far my favorite food!
People usually eat with their hand or use their naan (bread) to pick the food up.
Don't eat with your left hand thought... (keep it off the table really..)
Meals are served kinda like the spanish tapas in a way that they come all in small little plates, with a big one for rice and bread. You then pick a bit here and there and fill your plate with all you like!
Some of the things are VERY spicy, while others are kinda sweet..so ask the person serving you just to make sure :)
People of Karachi
People of Karachi could very helpful and friendly it all depends on you. They are a bit shy and reserve with foreigners. If you try to be friendly with them trust me your small gesture of friendship could go very long way. Just remember not to do anything which could upset them as don’t talk about religious or talk against Pakistan.
SACRED COWS!!!LOL!When I...
When I was there, there was a curfew. Every morning, the cows would leave their home by themselves and wander off in the city...then, by night time, theyl would make their way back, in a fairly organised line...bloking all traffic!! And believe me..traffic is insane there!!
So everynight, I always wondered if I would make it before the curfew!!
Here's a few words I remember:...
Here's a few words I remember: 'KADOO': some kind of pumpkin or something..my dad said my head was big like one.. :(, 'SHUCRIA': Thanks..always practical. 'MOOJAY BOUC LAGUIAY (phonetic..kinda): Means I'm hungry..which was what I said the most as a teen.. more to come as I remember!
The rich here a very rich..and...
The rich here a very rich..and the poor VERY poor. You just can't miss the clash... We lived in an area called 'Federal Block 'B' The house was HUGE! Our Canadian bungallow fit at least twice on each blacony..ad there were 3.. The floors where in marble, the staircase was amazing and the huse was filled with 'servants' (i hate that term really as they were fine folk) and armed security. BUT, not so far away... (by car anyways) you could find people living in houses without any running water or electricity, using manure as a combustible fuel. When they saw my mother, they thought she was really beautyfull (althought to slim for them to think she was healthy) and asked her to dance. Obviously, no electricity means no sound system or anything, so she just danced has they clapped their hands. They were really pleased and I thought it was pretty cool..
Women and men do things...
Women and men do things seperately in some areas. They eat in different rooms, party with their own etc.. I was fairly young so I was allowed to go from one room to another wich was cool..also, I understood urdu better than my mom so I was her little helper which was kinda fun. :)
Karachi, the bustling cosmopolitan city of Pakistan and one of the largest populated city in the world.
It has a lot to offer for the visitor, from the rough sea water to the waterless desert. The city always remain under heavy construction and now it has some tallest buildings of the region.
The days are sunny and the night are cold. Rain falls are un-scheduled and any time a sunny day can convert into thunder stroms.
Sunday is a holyday, and peoples comes out of there homes on this particular day. English is widely understandable and visitors will not face any problems when buying food or having shopping.
In Karachi there are three local Television channels offering 24 hrs programming in URDU and ENGLISH.
Now, when ever you plan to go abrord, consider Karachi as your first destination,,,,,,While I was there, I went to three WEDDINGS, only a portion of the weddings the family went to and they refused many more invitations. Sometimes they went to 2 or 3 a night!
The Three Days of a Traditional Wedding MEHNDI (HENNA) This is the event where you put Henna on the bride and groom's hands. This event is very colorful and full of traditional songs and dances. It is spread over 2 days - one day over at the groom's place to put Henna on groom's hand and the second day over at the BRIDE'S house to put Henna on her hand. Sometimes, both parties agree to have a single function on just one day and split the cost.
NIKAH/SHADI This part of the ceremony is given by the bride's family.
Nikah This is the signing of official paperwork in the presence of a Molvi (Islamic priest). After signing these papers and doing some religious ceremony, the couple is declared husband and wife.
Shadi This is the actual wedding ceremony and all guests are invited. Nikah is performed in the presence of the guests and then they eat (suprise, surprise).
Walima The groom's side invites all the guests to meet on this, the third day. Both husband and wife welcome the guests and mingle around with them while people eat dinner.
I went to two or three Mehndi. They are usually held at the bride's house. Around the time of the wedding, it's always easy to find the bride's house. It, and the nearby trees, lamposts, and bushes, are covered with strings of white lights. It's an ostentatious display that only American Christmases can rival.
Somewhere on the property they set up a tent, which is also filled hundreds of bright hot lights. During the winter, they are run by a generator because, being the dry season, the power could be cut off at any minute.
The men and women would dance and sing in their seperate tents. The women were allowed to relax a little and behave as they might not in public.
Here, the bride and groom enter.
The bride had a symbolic gift placed in the middle of the room called Mehndi (named after the day). I never quite figured out the significance, but here are pictures of two of them.
The bride's outfit is very elaborate. Someone on the net was nice enough to send me a picture. The bride dressed like this on the second and third days of the wedding. I noticed she did not lift her eyes and look at people.
To the right is the picture of the bride and groom together.
I enjoyed the wedding ceremonies. At one point, I tried on the men's traditional wedding hat
But, when we actually went to the weddings, I wore the shelvar qameez. I found them quite comfortable and even took a few back with me,,,
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