I got a chance to visit Manora Island on Jan 7, 2007. Selected photos from the trip are below. Manora, may have been a real island couple of hundred years ago but today it is connected to Karachi mainland via a 12 km long causeway (Sandspit beach) road and it is now more like a peninsula in technical terms. The most common route to reach Manora is via boat from Kimari harbor.
One of the most prominent landmarks of Manora island is the 91 feet high Light House.
The Manora Light House is made up of stone masonry and was inaugurated on April 1, 1889. On a clear night, the light of this lighthouse is visible from upto 20 nautical miles away. The focal plane of this light house is 148 feet high. In 1909, hyper-radiant Fresnel lens was installed as the optical set-up in this light house and the same set-up is used to date.
In 1851 a 50 feet high (focal plane 120 feet high) tower was the first light house built on Manora island. In 1889 it was replaced by the current 91 feet high Light House.
Just across light house is a small Protestant Church called the St Paul’s. This church is even older than the light house and was consecrated in the year 1865. I didn’t get the chance to go inside the church but I’ve read that the church, though simple in fotm from outside, is extraordinary from inside with its superb wooden trusses.
The third picture I want to share is of this Public Notice. Public notices fascinate me, therefore two photos in this article are about the warning messages of rough seas during monsoon season. The language of this particular notice caught my attention. The choice of words here depicts serious business. The exact translation goes like this:
Warning: From May to August, the sea swallows every living being.
This fourth picture is of the Shri Varun Dev Mandir of Manora.
I found this mandir on Manora beach in a very bad shape of neglect.
The mandir is abandoned now. Sea breeze is eating away the building from whatever is left by the scavengers. Preservation of this historical landmark is a high need of present time.
I took several photos of the mandir. I am planning to do a full post soon on the mandir itself and hence saving my other photos for it. The word ‘Varun’ in Hindu mythology means ‘the God of the Oceans.’
The final picture is again of a public notice.
The translation of this public notice goes something like this:
Warning: Life is a blessing. Protect it
Seas are rough during the months from May to August. Picnic at a place which is safe from deadly waves of the sea. A little carelessness from you can convert your leisure into a mishap. Follow the instructions of Life Guard. Needing your cooperation: Cantonment Board, Manora.
Let me end by sharing some Manora trivia with you. The British captured Karachi in 1839 by first attacking a mud fortress present at Manora island. The fortress was completely destroyed by the bombardment of the British flagship 74-gun H.M.S. Wellesley. Soon afterwords Karachi capitulated.
population of Manora in 1839: 100 people
Population in 1869-1870: 1451
Population in 2005: 9987