Hyderabad – The Paris of the Past

Hyderabad Sindh has been on the crossroads of various warriors, rulers, and travelers and has benefited and suffered from time to time.

Like Athens, Rome, Paris, Istanbul, Baghdad, Damascus, Delhi, Cairo, London, Hyderabad Sindh also stands tall and proud with full force of modern day hustle and bustle to tell you the story of its past, present, and future to every visitor.

Jawed Akhter, Toronto Canada

Hyderabad Sindh , Former Capital of Sindh, the 5th largest city of Pakistan (Some Quote 7th and some also quote it is 3rd largest city of the country) and 2nd largest city of  Sindh home to almost 2 million people is one of the oldest cities of South Asia. Hyderabad is a very unique city in so many ways and not so different from many other historic cities of the world in terms of fate and destiny.

Hyderabad Sindh has been on the crossroads of various warriors, rulers, and travelers and has benefited and suffered from time to time. Like Athens, Rome, Paris, Istanbul, Baghdad, Damascus, Delhi, Cairo, London, Hyderabad Sindh also stands tall and proud with full force of modern day hustle and bustle to tell you the story of its past, present, and future to every visitor. It is also Cultural Capital and Literary Capital of Sindh; A city of Artists, Artisans, Writers, Poets, Politicians and Activists. Nerve center of every mass movement in Sindh

Hyderabad has a Glorious past and once it was known as PARIS of Sindh when its streets were washed with Perfumes and city lamps were lit by pure butter. But sadly it all ended when British took control of the city on March 24th in 1843 in a fierce and bloody battle of Miani under the command of Sir Charles Napier of East India Company.

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Historic Besant Hall Hyderabad

It is also Cultural Capital and Literary Capital of Sindh; a city of Artists, Artisans, Writers, Poets, Politicians and Activists and nerve center of every mass movement in Sindh.

The Great son of Hyderabad Sindh; the General of the Sindhi Army HOSH MUHAMMED SHEEDI SHAHEED fought fiercely with British till his last breath. British Army was shocked and very much impressed by his bravery the way he fought by carrying a cannon on his shoulders on the towers of Hyderabad fort. He was given official salute by British army after his martyrdom.

Wind catcher in the Pakka Qilla (Fort). The Pakko Qillo (Strong Fort) is well known and is one of the greatest monuments of Sindhi heritage, today it remains ravaged by illegal settlements. The Pakko Qillo was established by Mian Ghulam Shah Kalhoro in the year 1762 and had become one of the largest military garrisons in the region.

Hyderabad Sindh is a city of Three Hillocks (GANJO TAKKAR, Being the tallest one and famous one as a place of worship; Ganjo Takkar Sindhi words meaning Barren Hill) on the banks of Sindhu River (Sindhu is a Sindhi word for Indus) and the great Kalhoro ruler Mian Ghulam Shah Kalhoro founded the city in year 1768 AD. He named it after Hazrat Ali Haider the fourth caliph of Islam. He loved the city so much that he declared the city the Capital of Sindh and ordered to build a magnificent fort “ PAKKO QILO” (Sindhi words for a Strong Fort) to defend the people and kingdom from all the outside invasions. The fort covered 36 acres of land surrounded by manmade creeks and DHANDS (Sindhi word for Depressions) which were fed from the Phulleli Canal. Boats used to sail in these creeks. Modern day Khai Road, Tank and Doman Wah are the relics of those creeks. All the cannons from Hyderabad Fort were shifted to Lahore when one unit was imposed on Pakistan in 1955 and Lahore was declared as Capital of West Pakistan. Till this day Cannons of Hyderabad Sindh are kept in Lahore.

Previously in pre-Islamic times Hyderabad was called as Neroon Kot. Sindhi words meaning Place of Neroon ruler of that time.

In earlier history of South Asia; Subcontinent was divided in two separate great kingdoms of HIND (meaning India) and SINDH.

Das Garden, the zoological garden, named as Rani Bagh on the occasion of coronation of Queen of England

SINDH had greater and closer contacts with Arabian Peninsula, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Greece, Turkey, and Europe than with India. Since then Hyderabad has seen various travelers from Persia to Arabia, faced Greek, Turk, and Mongolian armies, and finally British. Being on the crossroads Hyderabad Sindh has become an Archeological Oasis.

Sindhu River or river Indus in English has ruled and regulated Sindh and Hyderabad socially, culturally, economically and politically. It has decided the fate of Sindh and Hyderabad in war and in peace times. Hyderabad and Sindh are so intertwined to each other that Hyderabad is called the CULTURAL CAPITAL of SINDH and it has always been the major transportation hub due to its central location in Sindh.

Hyderabad is city of Saints and Sufis as hundreds of shrines are scattered all over the city. Hyderabad has been influenced by all the great faiths from Zoroastrians to Buddhists, Hinduism to Jainism, and from Christianity to Islam between different periods of time thus becoming a very religiously tolerant city by nature.

After the death of Great king Kalhoro started the Talpur rule and Mir Fateh Ali Khan Talpur became the new ruler in 1789. It was a Golden time in the history of Hyderabad. Talpur rule lasted more than 50 years and ended in 1843 after British attack. Year 1843 is a dark period in history of Hyderabad Sindh when people lost their independence; Sindh became a British Colony and People of Hyderabad became slaves.

British destroyed the Hyderabad fort, Looted the royal treasures and burned down most famous and glorious Mir’s Court and Palace inside the fort. Demolished most of the buildings around the fort to accommodate British troops and constructed military stores.

Royal family members and male princes were paraded naked on the streets of Hyderabad and were used as horses in carriages controlled by British Viceroy Charles Napier by using hunters. The crown of being a Capital of the emirate of Sindh was then transferred to Karachi. Hyderabad Sindh lost its glory, and people went into deep depression. No longer were the roads covered with perfume but they were covered with blood. It is important to note that the British held most of their Regiments and Ammunition in Hyderabad Sindh during the first war of independence of 1857 due to its central and very important strategic location.

Homestead Hall
Homestead Hall

Prior to 1947 Hyderabad Sindh was a combination of both Muslims and Hindus communities speaking the same Sindhi language and sharing the same Sindhi Culture.

Hyderabad was a great trading and commercial city and a big export center for products made in Sindh. The city was flourishing with Parks, Water fountains, and Illuminating Lamps. The population of the city was based upon 25% Sindhi Hindus and 25% Sindhi Muslims. When partition of subcontinent and creation of Pakistan occurred in 1947 Sindhi Hindus expected to remain in Hyderabad Sindh because there was a very good relationship between Hindu Sindhis and Muslim Sindhis. When large waves of Muslim refugees from India started to pour into Hyderabad Sindh, Violence erupted again on the streets of Hyderabad. First massacre of Sindhi Hindus took place in very famous LONG BHAGHAT STREET. After 1843 Hyderabad went again into darkness & deep depression and local residents were shocked and confused. Sindhi Hindus were forced to flee leaving everything behind and Sindhi Muslims and Local Police were merely onlookers. Newly arrived refugees from various parts of India settled in the homes and lands which belonged to Sindhi Hindus.

After 1947 with the influx of people from across the borders Hyderabad Sindh saw its numbers increasing in population and even became the largest city of Sindh province of Pakistan for a while according to population stats of that time. Hyderabad all of a sudden found a new glory and regained its title of being a capital of Sindh again for a short while. Government of Sindh proposed the creation of two more suburbs named as Latifabad (in the honor of most famous and great poet-saint of Sindh Hazrat Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai) and Qasimabad of considering the future growth and population explosion in Hyderabad Sindh. It really healed the wounds of Hyderabad Sindh big time.

It all happened so fast like seeing a dream and then it was all over. Karachi was declared the Capital of Sindh. Hyderabad fell victim to mean and dirty politics and became the most neglected city of Pakistan and was hit so hard that every day was a nightmare.

A building of Hirabad Hyderabad

In early 1970’s Hyderabad witnessed the first ever Language riots between Sindhi speaking and Urdu speaking residents of this city. City was drenched in blood and suffered a huge loss as its landmarks such as Mukhi House, Sindh University, Sindhology Museum, Sindh Museum and Sindh Text Book Board were looted and then burnt down into ashes. Laying a first foundation of ethnic divide in the city.

Then came the dark era of Late 1980’s and early 1990’s when Hyderabad Sindh was soaked in blood bath, ethnic riots, and civil war between native Sindhis and Urdu Speaking settlers.

Hyderabad Sindh became the Beruit of Pakistan and the city had never been the same again. Forever divided by ethnicity, deeply scarred by racial hatred like a modern day city of Beirut in Lebanon. It was 4th time in a row that streets of Hyderabad were covered in blood after 1843, 1947 & 1972. Again there was a mass exodus of population. Native Sindhis have to flee from City and Latifabad leaving everything behind and settle in Qasimabad. It is the dark chapter in the history of Hyderabad Sindh and a black spot on the city.


Hyderabad Sindh has many unique things but most of all it is surrounded by tall beautifully hand painted permanent flag poles in the honors of martyrs of Karbala the family & companions of Holy Prophet (May Peace Be Upon Him) keeping the tradition of early rulers of Hyderabad and that’s why Observance of holy month of Muharrem is very unique in Hyderabad. Various areas of old city are named behind the term (PIR) a Sindhi word for a locality. Following are some more unique features of the city.


Hyderabad Sindh is known as city of “MANGH” Sindhi word for Wind Catchers. A triangular structure on the rooftop funneling the cool breeze into the homes below. If we look the rare pictures of Hyderabad in 1800 the skyline of city is dotted by unlimited wind-catchers. But after 1960 construction patterns changed and Wind-catchers has become a symbol of the past. A part of Heritage of Hyderabad. Currently Hyderabad Government headquarters building has wind-catchers as a proud symbol of the city in its architectural design. We also have a wind-catcher on our house.

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The Shahi Bazar is considered one of the longest bazars in Asia. It starts from Pakka Fort and ends at Market Tower (Naval Rai Clock Tower).The picture is of the part of Shahi Bazar close to Market Tower.


Hyderabad has this honour to have the Longest Bazaar in Asia. This Bazaar is called SHAHI BAZAAR meaning Royal Bazaar founded by Kalhora rulers. It is 4.5 KM long and starts from the Market Chowk (Square) all the way ending at the front of Hyderabad Fort. One can buy from world renowned diamonds and gold jewelry to a stitching needle. This is a bazaar of contrasts where new and old mix and mingle in a very traditional way with all the hustle and bustle. On both sides of the bazaar is the web of hundreds of narrow streets which connect to different parts of old city like arteries. This Bazaar also extends to two very different, Diverse and large Bazaars known as CHOTKI GHITTI, and RESHAM GHITTI. Ghitti is a Sindhi word for a narrow street. Shopping in these bazaars is a lifetime experience.

Woman Choosing Bangles at a Shop


Hyderabad Sindh has also the honor of being the largest Glass Bangles producer in the world. Glass Bangles made in Hyderabad Sindh are exported to all over Pakistan and in International market. Bangles of Hyderabad are so unique and eye catching and there are thousands of different kinds to choose from.

Woman wearing Ajrak


Ajrak the world famous Sindhi traditional fabric worn by all men, women and children and a Symbol of Sindhi Culture and Honor. It is always presented to guests, visitors and as a priceless gift of all occasions from festivals to weddings. Ajrak making centers are scattered all around Hyderabad where artists are always busy to create new design and patterns on Ajrak.

The World Famous Bombay bakery, Hyderabad Sindh
I have not seen Pakistanis seriously queue up to buy anything…………………..But here are people, lined up in a bakery at a bungalow, in medium-sized urban center in Sindh, waiting for their turn to get their hands on one of those delicious cakes…….


Hyderabad is famous in the world for its mouthwatering unique cakes and they just melt in your mouth. These cakes are one of a kind and their unique formula is tightly kept family secret to this day. This bakery is also part of the proud heritage of this city and these cakes have become a sweet symbol of the city and proudly given as sweet gifts. To get the cake one has to visit the bakery very early as cakes are sold in no time.


Hyderabad is also home of the famous Sindhi fish called “PALLO” only found in River Indus. Hyderabad being on the banks of the river Indus becomes a central point for this fish treat. PALLO fish swims in opposite direction in the river Indus and extremely tasty and cooked in so many ways and is an integral part of Sindhi Cuisine in the city.


Hyderabad has the prestige to have the largest facility for mental health in Asia. It is covered on 25 acres of land in Hussainabad. Historically the founder of Hyderabad the great ruler Ghulam Shah Kalhoro asked his associate Diwan Giddumal to establish this recreational port on river Indus known as Gidu Bander nowadays called as Hussainabad. British Army before their attack on Hyderabad landed on this port and renamed it as One Tree Bander.


Hyderabad has the honor to have the largest Air University in Asia known as Civil Aviation Training Institute where students from different parts from the world learn how to fly commercial planes and study in the fields of Air traffic services and communications operations, Electrical Engineering related to Aircrafts and Aviation Management and Fire-fighting services. This facility was founded in 1982 and spread on over 230 acres of land adjacent to Hyderabad Airport. ICAO based in Montreal Canada awarded this facility status of Regional Institute in Asia in 1988

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The historic Pakka Qilla (Fort)


PAKKO QILO Hyderabad Fort. It is worth to visit the remains of the Mir’s Darbar, Grave of General Hosh Muhammed Shaheed, and the magnificent structure of the fort. It is heartbreaking to see that fort is under siege of encroachment by dwellers. This brutal occupation has destroyed the fort and needs immediate attention to restore its grand past.

MARKET CLOCK TOWER. The tall standing structure and the defining skyline of the city is Navalrai Market clock tower constructed in 1914.

THE KUTCHERY or COURT COMPLEX. A grand architectural landmark of the city and has honor to be the Parliament for a short while Hyderabad was capital of Sindh after creation of Pakistan. The center piece of the building is DARBAR HALL a must see. This building was destroyed in great fires of 1906 and a new one was constructed keeping the same design intact.

Old campus (Sindh University) view at Night

OLD CAMPUS. Now known as Sindh University old campus was built in 1912. It has a very impressive European style look.

NAVAL RAI HIRANAND ACADEMY. Now known as Government High School was built in 1900 as one of the elite schools of the city.

Navalrai Market Tower

CIVIL HOSPITAL. British built this hospital in 1894 and till this day is one of the major hospital of the city.

RAILWAY STATION. British built this beautiful and historic building in 1890.

SADDAR. British built a huge Cantonment in Hyderabad from 1851 to 1856. This area consisted of large barracks, officers’ bungalows and historic church of St. Thomas. Now this whole area is known as Hyderabad Cantonment /Saddar.

THE HOLMSTEAD HALL. It was also built by British in 1905 in the memory of Dr. Homestead a famous civil surgeon of Hyderabad.

MUKHI HOUSE. This beautiful and magnificent building was built in 1900 by a very famous tradesman of Hyderabad.

MIAN KAQIR JO PIR AND MAI KHARIEY MASJID. In 1908 Hyderabad Municipality constructed a municipal market to upgrade the area and Mai Kheriey Masjid is one of the oldest mosques in the city.

NOOR MUHAMMED HIGH SCHOOL. This historic school was built in 1933 and played a very important role in Pakistan Movement.

CIRCUIT HOUSE. This was an official accommodation for British royals and was built in 1912. Nowadays it is also used to accommodate presidents and Prime Ministers of Pakistan while visiting Hyderabad.

BADSHAHI BUNGALOW. It is the wonderful palace of Prince Mir Hassan Ali Khan Talpur the son of the last ruler of Hyderabad His Highness Mir Naseer khan Talpur. This Palace is located in Tando of Talpur Mirs in Latifabad.

THANDI SARAK. (COOL STREET) As it says from the name this street is really a cool street lined with trees and very beautiful and one of the most important streets of the city. Major expensive hotels, fast food restaurants Airlines offices, & Government Main Offices are located on this street. Hyderabad is very famous for its breeze that flows at night making it pleasant and clean.


Hyderabad Sindh is a booming metropolis with all the hustle and bustle of a big city. Hyderabad has a hot and humid climate with cool and breezy nights. Very well connected by road, rail and air with all the major cities of Pakistan. Right now city is going through a rapid modernization program. New flyovers, pedestrian bridges, new bus terminal, shopping malls, five star hotels, amusement parks, new hospitals, trauma center, and a new transport system are planned and work has begun on various mega projects. Hyderabad Airport has been reopened after a long time and flights for major cities in Pakistan has resumed. All major foreign banks and foreign fast food chain restaurants have opened up their branches in Hyderabad due to increased industrial, economic, and commercial activity in the city. High rise buildings are rising all over the city in different parts and Hyderabad Sindh is marching fast towards a bright and happy future to become a livable modern, green and clean environmentally friendly city in the new century. Hyderabad has 4 universities and a huge number of schools, and colleges. Hyderabad has 2 radio stations Radio Pakistan and Sachal FM radio station and 5 Television stations based in the city are KTN, KTN NEWS, KASHISH TV, SINDH TV, and DHOOM TV. Huge number of newspapers and magazines are published and printed from the city but the famous ones are Daily KAWISH, Daily IBRAT, and Daily SAFEER.

Flyovers in Hyderabad


Hyderabad is an important commercial center where industries includes: textiles, sugar, cement, manufacturing of mirror, soap, ice, paper, pottery, plastics, tanneries, hosiery mills and film. There are hide tanneries and sawmills. Handicraft industries, including silver and gold work, lacquer ware, ornamented silks, and embroidered leather saddles, are also well established. Hyderabad produces almost all of the ornamental glass bangles in Pakistan. Hyderabad is a major commercial center for the agricultural produce of the surrounding area, including millet, rice, wheat, cotton, and fruit. Pakistani government recently discovered a large gas deposit in Hyderabad which has not been put in production.


Sindh Museum; Institute of Sindhology (There are only 2 such kind of museums in the world one in Egypt and the other in Hyderabad Sindh); Rani Bagh Zoological Gardens; Almanzer Recreational Spot; City Park; Tombs of Mirs and Kalhoras; Sindhi Language authority; Handicraft stores selling traditional Sindhi arts and crafts including Sindhi JANDI furniture, embroidery, Sindhi caps and jewelry.

While visiting Hyderabad please do not forget to drink Traditional Sindhi drink “THADAL” a cool combination of local herbs, almonds and pistachios.


Courtesy: Blog Pakistani


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