The City of Karachi is to Pakistan what New York City is to the United States. Life is hurried, and time is money. Among the world's largest cities, the Port of Karachi has suffered many years of neglect. The city government, under the direction of Pakistan's president, has recently undertaken ambitious efforts to revitalize the city with the vision of making it the "City by the Sea." With a history as an important port city in the British Empire, the Port of Karachi has many beautiful Victorian buildings and much colonial architecture.
The Port of Karachi has an arid climate moderated by its proximity to the sea. The climate is a mild one with little rain. Winters are mild, and summers are hot. The city enjoys a relatively constant level of humidity, and cool breezes from the sea relieve the summer's heat. The winter months from November to February, are thought to be the best times to visit the Port of Karachi. Temperatures range from an average high of 34 °C (93 °F) in May and June to an average low of 13 °C (55 °F) in December and January.
The Mohatta Palace Museum is located in the house of successful entrepreneur Shiv Rattan Mohatta in the late 1920s. Having made a fortune in shipping and trading, he commissioned architect Agha Hussain Ahmed who had been the chief surveyor for the city. The mansion was built in the Mughal revival style, recreating the Anglo-Mughal palaces of the earlier Rajput princes. Covering over 1.7 thousand square meters, the palace contains stately rooms for entertainment on the ground floor and private rooms above. The balcony faces the Arabian Sea, and the palace is adorned with five rooftop domes and octagonal towers at the corners. The museum features the history and development of Pakistan's ceramic crafts from the 7000 BC Mehrgarh period through the 3500 BC Indus Valley Civilization to modern times. It contains more than wonderful 400 historic objects.
Thatta is about 95 kilometers east of the Port of Karachi. This historic town of some 22 thousand residents was the capital of three dynasties before it was ruled by Delhi's Mughal emperors. The remains of the ancient glorious city illustrate the civilization of ancient Sindh. Located near Pakistan's biggest freshwater lake, its monuments are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Chaukani are tombs from the 15th to 18th Centuries that are scattered across a large area at Thatta. Each tomb is different, and their sandstone carvings illustrate the relationships between the local tribes and their neighbors in Iran, central Asia, and Turkey. Banbhore, excavated in 1962, is the place where Alexander the Great established a town in 325 BC and where the first Muslim conqueror arrived in 711 AD. The Jamia Masjid was built by Moghal Emperor Shah Jehan, the creator of the Taj Mahal. Dating from the 15th to 17th Centuries, the Makli Tombs represent a huge 15.5 square kilometer necropolis with exquisite architecture, stone carvings, and glazed tiles.
The National Museum of Pakistan, located in the Port of Karachi, focuses on the cultural history of the country. Its displays include archaeological artifacts, Islamic art, and historical documents. The museum has 11 galleries, including 52 rare manuscripts of the Holy Qur'an in the Qur'an Gallery. Other galleries cover the mysterious and ancient Indus Civilization, sculptures from the Gandhara civilization, ancient coins, precious Islamic art, miniature paintings, and many manuscripts telling the story of Pakistan's political beginnings. The Ethnological gallery contains life-size statues of the ethnic groups living today in Pakistan's four provinces. Visitors should set aside several hours to explore this wonderful museum.