Karachi is the largest and most cosmopolitan city in Pakistan. With 20 million residents, it is also one of the world’s most-populous cities. Though primarily an economic hub for the country, Karachi is also considered the heart of Pakistan.
Security is a factor to consider when travelling to this part of the world. Though it will be a culturally rich and educational experience, it is essential that travellers remain cautious when visiting Karachi.
Amid the hustle of Karachi is one of the most popular, serene and sacred sites in the city. The mausoleum Mazar-E-Quaid is an impressive monument and tribute to the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, also known as Quaid-e-Azam (Great Leader).
It is considered a mecca for all Pakistanis and also attracts many tourists. A large park surrounds the arresting, monolithic white marble structure. Ceremonies are held here on Pakistan Day, Independence Day and the birth and death anniversaries of Muhammad Ali Jinnah and his sister, whose tomb is also in the mausoleum.
Foreign dignitaries often come to Mazar-E-Quaid to pay their respects when visiting Karachi. Tourists enjoy seeing the changing of the guard and visiting the adjacent museum to see relics belonging to Muhammad Ali Jinnah and learn more about Pakistani history.
Eat and Drink
Karachi cuisine (also known as Muhajir cuisine) is largely attributed to the city’s Muhajir (Indian Muslim) population who made the new nation of Pakistan home after 1947’s partition. Their input resulted in a beautifully aromatic and spicy fusion of Indo-Arabic dishes, which are stronger in heat and flavour than other Pakistani dishes.
Common dishes on a Karachian dining table include vegetable and meat curry, dhal, rice, kofta, kebab and naan bread. Lassi is a popular yoghurt drink in Pakistan that can be sweet or salty. Burns Road is Karachi’s best-known eat street and the ideal place to savour the city’s gastronomic delights.
Where to Stay
The districts of East and South Karachi are ideal areas for tourists to stay. East Karachi is near the airport and borders both South and Central Karachi. South Karachi is considered an exclusive district, with a number of upmarket hotel options. The South is also home to Karachi’s downtown and entertainment hub, as well as most tourist sites, parks and restaurants.
In the centre of Karachi’s main shopping strip, Tariq Road, Dolmen Mall Clifton is the city’s biggest shopping centre. The six-level complex is secure and has more than 300 shops, many with designer and international brands as well as a supermarket, food court with international food chains, and activities and entertainment for children.
Karachi Like a Local
Many buildings associated with the Great Leader receive few visitors. It is worth exploring these places – such as the Wazir Mansion where Mohammad Ali Jinnah first lived as a child in Saddar, and the Flagstaff House that was also once home to Jinnah – for an insight into Pakistanis’ reverence for their founder.