Hitchhiker’s Guide to Sindh (Episode 5)

Our next destination was Sehvan so we stopped for a little while on the way from Larkana to Hyderabad.  This small town is famous nationwide due to the shrine of Hazrat Shahbaz Qalandar’s shrine. We had left Larkana late afternoon so by the time we reached Sehvan after almost two and a half hours, it was already dark.

We had visited various shrines during out trip however the feeling we had at this shrine was totally different. Legends have it that once Shahbaz Qalandar had turned the city upside down. Ruins of this city can still be seen nearby the shrine with the inclusion of a few upsides down buildings. The shrine was full of visitors however we asked a flower vendor outside the shrine regarding the overturned buildings.  He gave us a weird look as if we had horns on our head and said that people usually go there before coming to the shrine. He later insisted that we must go there first as it was only 45 minutes away.

 

As soon as we got security clearance to enter the shrine, a man grabbed Rehan and put his head under a square wall and then put oil on it and asked for money. The man then repeated the same awkward procedure with Zeeshan. When we refused to give him money, he cursed us and said that our wishes will not be fulfilled by the peer. Ismat and Irfan stayed outside to look after our bags while I Rehan and Zeeshan had stepped inside the shrine. A huge crowd inside the shrine was busy praying, singing, photographing and just roaming about. There were two more graves along with that of Shahbaz Qalandar. Most of the people were trying to con money from visitors.  We were not against the idea of giving donation to the poor but we certainly did not accept the idea of deceitfully making the visitors pay.  We remembered a Qawali about Shahbaz Qalandar so we decided to give him a tribute ourselves. As I delayed writing this episode, news of a suicide bomb at the shrine broke which I found completely heart wrenching. I pray that Pakistan becomes a safer place.

After Sehvan Sharif visit, we took bus for Hyderabad. Hyderabad was special in a way that this was the only city where we had no host and we were practically on our own. I had an online friend of Hyderabad so I contacted him. Thanks to the Facebook uploads, he was well aware of our trip.  He booked two rooms for us in the hotel.  From Sehvan to Hyderabad, it was the journey of almost two hours.  The night had long settled in when we reached Hyderabad. Ovais, my online friend, met us there and took us to our rooms. After we had relaxed a bit, he took us for a walk in the city. That late night breezy atmosphere was fabulous. We ate dinner and after dinner was the trademark tea of Sindh.  Hyderabad is said to be famous for its old building and Pan.  We tasted the Pan, and tried doing the impression of Lucknow people.  While zeeshan and irfan totally nailed it,  i and ismat completely failed to do the impression . Later that night we ate Falooda. The combination of the icy Falooda and the cold breeze later lead to the sore throat but we enjoyed a lot that night.

 

I asked Ovais about the visiting spots in Hyderabad. He mentioned Bhit Shah’s shrine and the Sindh Museum. I asked him about the Ranikot. He didn’t know about it.  It was sad to hear this because internationally Ranikot was considered as culturally significant by UNESCO.

It was past midnight when we returned to our rooms in hotel. Without any delays we were asleep.

Next morning we visited the museum. That museum guy told the story since the beginning of time. He gave brief history of evolution and the inhabitants of Sindh.  It started from the solar system and ended at the present day Sindh.  It was a good tour of almost an hour.  We saw many places we had missed and didn’t know about.

After the museum we decided to go to Ranikot.  We asked many bus drivers, they misguided us. We asked some other, they did the same.  We asked others and finally we got a local bus which took us to Sann. It was almost 103kms from the Hyderabad and took us around 2 hours which we spent while sleeping. After Sann, we took a chingche Rickshaw to the Ranikot.  Ranikot is also known as Great wall of the Sindh.  Though not as great as Great Wall of China, it was amazing.  Spread over the area of 24km, it had 3 forts inside which were now just ruins.  The question we asked ourselves was why was this wall made?  A person told us that if you walked enough you will find a person who will tell you the history of this place. We surely walked enough and found no one.  So I proposed the theory that this was constructed to protect the kings from the beasts of the desert.  The royal got the security but villager was not protected so it leads to a war between the king’s army vs. villagers vs. beasts. The war ended in apocalypse of sorts. The forts were destroyed.  Beasts were killed and few villagers escaped to inhabit Hyderabad. Like my Kot Digi theory, this was met with great critical failure and when I announced that I will be making a movie on this.  They said it would be a flop. I knew that too.

We spent enough time in Ranikot and enjoyed a lot. One of our girl class fellows contacted us and invited us to visit her family at her house in Hyderabad. We declined the offer but really appreciated it. It felt so nice and heartwarming.

When we reached Hyderabad, it was late in the evening. We walked the markets and decided to go to rooms.

A heated debate took place over which place to visit next day.  We decided to skip Bhittai’s shrine and planned to go to Thatta next day.  The reason of skipping the shrine was the same as of Skipping Jellani’s shrine in Gumbit.

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