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Sindh



The Province of Sindh derives its name from River Sindhu, the Indus. Due to scanty rainfall (211.7 millimeters annually), its climate ranks among the hottest and most variable in the country. In summer, the temperature soars up to 49 degree centigrade at some places. In the northern part is situated Jaccobabad which is said to be one of the hottest places in the world. In winter, the temperature varies between 5 degree centigrade and 27 degree centigrade. The total area of Sindh is 140,914 sq. km.



River Indus dominates the life and economy of Sindh. The plain from north to south slopes at an average of about 2.5 inches per km. Thus, the riverbed is often above the general level of the plain, which necessitates embankments against floods.

According to the preliminary results of the 1998 census, the population of Sindh is approximately 30 million, of which 45 per cent is urban and 55 pre cent rural. The sex ratio is 110 males to 110 females. This abnormal proportion is due to expatriate labour from other provinces. Its capital Karachi, is the biggest city and also a port and contains the main chunk of urban population (about 10 million). Administratively, the province is divided into three Divisions, namely, Hyderabad, Sukkur and Karachi.


Economy


Sindh's contribution to the Gross Domestic Product of the country is over 30 per cent and its share in the industrial production of selected manufactured items ranges up to 50 percent. Rice and cotton represent highest share among the agricultural products. The province is surplus in sugar, cement, vegetable ghee, cigarettes, rice and cotton. Sindh was the first to attain self-sufficiency in wheat.


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Places of Historical Interest


Known as the cradle of many ancient civilizations, Sindh has many archaeological sites, besides places of tourist interest.


Karachi


Bhambore


About 64 km east of Karachi, on the National Highway, is an interesting archaeological site, Bhambore, originally the sea-port of Debal where the young Arab warrior Mohammad Bin Qasim landed his armies in 711 AD. Three different periods in Sindh history coincide here: the Scytho-Parthians, the Hindu-Buddhist and the early Islamic. There is a museum and a rest house at the site.


Thatta



Once a famous center of learning, arts and commerce and provisional capital for about four centuries in the past, Thatta is situated 98 km east of Karachi. Today, it is notable for the Jamia Masjid built by the Moghal Emperor Shah Jehan, and the Makli Tombs (15th - 17th centuries), a vast necropolis spread over 15.5 sq. km, depicting exquisite specimens of architecture, stone carvings and glazed tile decorations.


Keenjhar Lake


Some 24 km north of Thatta, slumbers a big man-made Keenjhar Lake, which is 20 miles long and six miles wide, and has facilities for angling and boating. PTDC motels offer food and accommodation.


Kirthar Park


Located about 48 km from Karachi in the midst of the barren rocks of the Kirthar Range in Dadu district, near Thano Boola Khan is the Kirthar National Park. Designed and planned with the help of the Research and Planning Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, the park is approved and recognized by International Wildlife bodies. It is the last bastion of a wide variety of the region's wildlife that includes Sindh ibex, urial, deer, leopard, gray partridges and Houbara bustard. The Sindh Wildlife Management Board plans tours and provides transport from Karachi.


Hyderabad


Situated at about 164 km northeast of Karachi, Hyderabad was the capital of Sindh during the reign of the Talpur Mirs in the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, it is known for the Sindh University, Jamshoro; the provincial Museum; the Institute of Sindhology and the Sindhi Adabi Board and also for colorful handicrafts such as glass bangles, glazed tiles, lacquered wood furniture, handloom cloth called 'soosi', block-printed 'Ajrak', leather shoes, etc. Historic monuments include old Mud Fort, Sheikh Makai Fort, Kalhoro Monuments, Talpur Monuments and Miani Forest.


Hala


Hala is famous for its glazed pottery and enameled wood work. Situated on the National Highway about 56 km from Hyderabad, it is frequently visited by hundreds of devotees of Hazrat Makhdoom Noah (10th century Hijra), a contemporary of Mughal Emperor Akbar and a religious divine, who converted a large number of people of Islam and also translated the Holy Quran into Persian which is one of the earliest Persian translations of the Holy Book in South Asia.


Bhitshah


Situated at about 56 km from Hyderabad on the National Highway, Bhitshah is the resting place of Sindh's renowned saint and mystic poet Hazrat Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai (1689 - 1752 AD). He is remembered for the compendium of his poetry called 'Risalo', a treasure house of wisdom as well as romantic folklore and fine pottery. He also founded a musical tradition of his own which is still popular. Devotees sing with fervor and frenzy his love-intoxicated Kafis to the strains of ek-tara (single string instrument) mainly on the occasion of his "Urs" held every year between 13th and 15th of Safar, the Second Islamic lunar month.


Sehwan


Situated on the right bank of River Indus at a distance of 135 km from Hyderabad, Sehwan is an old town of pre-Islamic period. Here are the remains of Kafir-Qila, a fort reported to have been constructed by Alexandre. Currently, Sehwan is famous for the resting place of the great mystic poet, saint and scholar Shaikh Usman Marvandvi (1117 - 1274 AD), popularly known as Shahbaz Qalandar whose mausoleum is visited by thousands of the devotees throughout the year. During the Urs celebrations (18th Shahban - the eight Islamic lunar month), devotees dance rythmically and with total abandon to the beat of drums (Naqqara Dhamal), finally ending in a spiritual trance.


Manchar Lake


About 16 km from Sehwan, Manchar, the largest fresh water lake in Asia, is as old as the river Indus. Spread over 98 sq. miles, it is a perfect spot for relaxing and the best location for duck-shooting during winter.


Daraza Sharif


Daraza Sharif, a small village, some 52 km from Khairpur, is known for the tomb of Sachal Sarmast who was a great master of Islamic learning, lived a pious life and composed poetry in Sindhi, Seraiki, Persian and Urdu. Sachal Sarmast's Urs is celebrated on 14th of Ramzan (9th month of Islamic lunar calendar).


Kot Deji


Kot Deji is regarded as one of the world's most important archaeological sites, dating back to 3000 BC, older than Moen-jo-daro and Harappa. Excavations made in 1955 unearthed an astoundingly well-organized city with a citadel that testifies to its being the finest fortified town in South Asian subcontinet.


Moen-jo-Daro



About 563 km from Karachi off the Indus Highway lie the world-famous ruins of Moen-jo-Daro (the Mound of the Dead), now being preserved with UNESCO's help. The museum at Moen-jo-Daro is unique and a visit takes the mind centuries back when the place had a most civilized city and a humming river Port. Air and train services from Karachi and an air-conditioned rest house has been built there.



Among other historical sites are Amri, Ranikot (the largest fort of its kind in the world), Umerkot (the birthplace of Emperor Akbar) and the legendary Arab city of Mansura near Shahdadpur in Sanghar district. Other interesting places include Matiari, town of old beautiful mosques and one of the centers of 'Ajrak'. On its outskirts lie the ruins of a Buddhist stupa. Nasarpur is famous for 'Khes', exquisite embroidery, decorative pottery and wood work. It is also a holy place for the Hindu community.


Arts and Crafts


The skill of the Sindhi craftsman continues to exhibit the 5000-year-old artistic tradition. The long span of time, punctuated by fresh and incessant waves of invaders and settlers, provided various exotic modes of arts which, with the passage of time, got naturalized on the soil. The perfected surface decorations of objects of everyday use - clay, metal, wood, stone or fabrics, with the floral and geometrical designs - can be traced back to the Muslim influence.

Though chiefly an agricultural and pastoral province, Sindh has a reputation for 'Ajrak', pottery, leatherwork, carpets, textiles, and silk cloth which, in design and finish, are matchless. The chief articles produced are blankets, coarse cotton cloth (soosi) camel fittings, metalwork, lacquered work, enamel, gold and silver embroidery. Hala is famous for pottery and tiles; Boobak for carpets; Nasirpur, Gambat and Thatta for cotton lungees and Khes. The earthenware of Johi, metal vessels of Shikarpur; relli, embroidery and leather articles of Tharparkar; lacquered work of Kandhkot - are some of the other popular crafts.

The pre-historic finds from different archaeological sites such as Moenjodaro, engravings in various graveyards and the architectural designs of Makli and other tombs provide ample evidence of the people in their literary and musical traditions.

Modern painting and calligraphy have also developed in recent times and some young trained men have taken up commercial art collections.


Cultural Heritage


Sindh has the proud privilege of being the first recipient of the message of Islam in South Asia. Its cultural heritage, therefore, depicts the tenets of Islam. The people love poetry and music. Sindhi is the language of the vast majority of the people. It is an old language spoken with remarkable purity and grammatical accuracy. The first translation of the Holy Quran in South Asia was rendered in Sindhi during the rule of Hibbari Arabs in Mansura in district Sanghar. Muslim history in replete with the services of Sindhi scholars in the domain of Arabic and Persian literature, particularly on theology and the life of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him).

After independence, Sindhi literature has been enriched with new ideas taken from Urdu and regional lanuages. The influence of modern European thought on Sindhi poetry and short story is also evident. In Sindh, people from nothern and southwestern India have also settled after independence and this has caused flowering of a new culture reflecting a very happy synthesis in the cultural life of the people. There is a separate Culture Cell in the Provincial Education Department, which gives aid to various cultural organizations for the promotion of arts, culture and literary


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