Beaches of Karachi
Many visitors don't accept that ¾ of the world is actually under water. But when they visit one of the beaches of Karachi they believe it instantly.
The coastline of Pakistan stretches from Baluchistan to the Runn of Kutch, which borders India. This coastline, apart from being popular for rare green turtles, is also known for the wonderful diversity of its landscape.
At some place this coast can be sandy and smooth, on others it could be rocky and dangerous. Karachi, being a big and horizontal city, has all sorts of beaches within its ever expanding borders. There are those popular spots where every one likes to visit, like Paradise Point, Hawksbay or sea view; then there are others where only few visit, like the Pir Shams island and many other islands nearby, Russian beach behind the Steel Mill of Pakistan and Gadani.
Hawksbay and Sandspit are full with people on Sundays while the adjoining French beach gives a deserted look as only the select elite can visit it. All three are sandy beaches without the presence of much rocks beneath the surface.
Sandspit is now a non-descript beach except for the green turtles who come to lay their beautiful eggs there.
Sea view, like Sandspit, is extremely polluted and not fit for any sort of swimming or diving. And yet, through the week, it is full with all sorts of people who come here to seek solace and to jog. Many a times, even on Sundays, I have seen solitary joggers sprinting across the sea-line; some come almost daily, the pollution notwithstanding.
But if you are looking for a place that has almost no visitor head to the Russian beach. It is less polluted than other beaches of Karachi, has a very low visitor count, and has boats which you can hire on hourly basis. There is also a mazar at a hill on the beach from where the views are simply stunning.
Another unknown beach is the island of Pir Shams, which is inhabited but extremely poor. There is no drinking water, electricity is a casual visitor and people are jobless. This island has got a population of around 5000. The popular food item available is crab. But don't eat it in summers as crab tends to be 'hot'.
Gadani and Manora were once popular spots but with brackish water and not much they have lost their place to above mentioned beaches.
But the most photogenic beach of Karachi, in my humble opinion, is the beach that borders Baluchistan. Unfortunately, navy has closed down that stretch of beach, for no apparent reason. But you can still view it from the Sind part of the beach. That stretch of land is called Golden beach. And photographs tell you why.
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This article was first published in Friday Times (Lahore) on 4th August, 2006 as a Photo Feature with eight photographs, all done by the author.
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