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Traveling on N5 – Part I

Posted on September 4, 2006
Filed Under >Owais Mughal, History, Travel
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Owais Mughal

N5 is the designation for the National Highway of Pakistan. It is the longest highway of Pakistan and has a total length of 1756 kilometers. It starts from Karachi and ends at Torkham.

While many people know about the major cities that lie along N5, there is a colorful array of smaller towns and villages which are also worth mentioning. In this article I will limit the discussion to the smaller towns of Pakistan which do not get covered in Mainstream media.

Lets start our journey on N5 which will be 5 episodes long. Our first stop today will be Bhit Shah.

Karachi (N5 km Marker 0)

Chaukundi Tombs (N5 km Marker 26)

We have a dedicated post on Chaukundi tombs. Please read here.

Kotri (N5 km Marker 145)

Hyderabad (N5 km Marker 163)

Bhit Shah- The Mound of the King

Traveling north from Hyderabad on N5, one has to drive 45 kilometers on the highway and then three kilometers east on a side road to reach the town of Bhit Shah. Bhit Shah is famous for the tomb of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai (1689-1752) who is considered by far the greatest poet of Sindhi language.

The shrine is situated on a ‘bhit’ (mound) and hence the name of the place Bhit Shah, the Mound of the King. Millions of devotees come to his tomb every year. The tomb was raised by the first of the Kalhoras and subsequently beautified by the Talpur Mirs. The tomb and an adjacent mosque are famous for the tile and mirror work done on them. It is interesting that none of the tiles used in the Bhit Shah complex come from the nearby tile making center of Hala. The tiles used here either come from Naserpur or Multan.

Shah Abdul Latif had forsaken a life of material comfort for he was born to a background of material wealth. For those who thirst for temporal power and tyranny he expressed his dislike as:

Clean in dress, dirty of soul
Donkey worthy slaves they are

Another of his verse goes like this:

Wind blew! The sand enveloped the body,
Whatever little life left, is to see the beloved.

Bhit Shah is the only shrine anywhere in Pakistan that has a post-sunset performance of Sufi music and singing everyday of the year. The main instrument played here is the drone-flute damboro, said to have been invented by Shah Abdul Latif himself.



Hala (N5 Kilometer marker 211)

Five kilometers north of Bhit Shah on N5, is a city called Hala. Hala is famous for the mausoleum of Mir Makhdum Nuh who died in 1592, though the present tomb dates back to 1790s. A severe flood in Indus in 1790s destroyed most of Hala. The city was then rebuilt by one of the Mirs at its present location. The present city of Hala is divided into two smaller cities. New Hala is located by the highway, where as old Hala is located couple of kilometers to the west. One enters old Hala through an arched door. It is most famous for its handicrafts industry.

Hala is also noted for its blue and white ceramics and exquisite lacquer work. It is a nice place to stop and do some shopping of traditional Sindhi handicrafts. The general impression that one gets here is of being impressed but pained. Local artists are plenty but very poor. Hala is also famous for its role in Pakistan’s politics. The Makhdum family of Hala has been in and out of power corridors of Pakistan a few times and instils a strong hold on to local and national politics.

New Saeedabad (N5 km marker 229)

Sabu Rahu (N5 km marker 240)

Sakrand (N5 km marker 250)

The countryside near Sakrand is desert like with full fledge sand dunes right next to highway and an abandoned rail track that also ran parallel to N5. This railway track was laid here to bring labor during the construction of Sukkur Barrage on river Indus some 230 km north. Overtime it lost its commercial value and got closed down in mid 1980s. The city of Sakrand was a Railway junction and a track from here connected to the main line at Nawab Shah, which is located less than 20 km to the east.

A road also connects Sakrand with Nawab Shah. On this road three ancient mounds called "Chanhu Daro" have been discovered. Painted pottery, copper and bronze medals, children toys, bead making equipment and seals have been discovered from the area. The presence of a drainage system similar to the one found in Moenjo Daro puts this area in same significance as other towns from Indus valley Civilization era.

Photo of km Marker 259 on N5

Following is a photo of KM 259 on N5, showing distance to Moro as 61 km and Kazi Ahmed 16 km.

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Sukho Manahijo (N5 km marker 264)

Kazi Ahmed (N5 km marker 275)

Next town towards north is ‘Kazi Ahmed’ which is located 30 km from Sakrand. ‘Kazi Ahmed’ used to have a rest house belonging to the department of irrigation located right next to the N5. I have fond memories from yesteryears of stopping at this rest house for a cup of tea and to freshen up. This rest house used to serve employees working on the maintenance of 500 km long ‘Rohri canal’ as well as the maintenance of protective dams of River Indus. Rohri canal by the way, is wider, deeper and longer than Suez and Panama canals and remains an engineering feat in this part of the world. Kazi Ahmed also had a railway station and was fed by trains from Tando Adam and Nawab Shah.

Daulatpur (N5 km marker 302)

20 km north of Kazi Ahmed is the town of ‘Daulatpur Safan’. Rail and road used to run parallel and within few hundred feet in this section too. Until 1980s Daulatpur was famous for its red brick houses. There was not a single house in the town that was not made of red bricks or was not painted in brick red color. From a distance the city’s skyline used to look like a brick wall of red color. All that changed in mid 80s and I started noticing multi-colored houses appearing in red skyline. Daulatpur of today is indistinguishable from any other town of Sindh.

‘Daulatpur’ was also among the forefront of famous (or infamous) ‘Movement for Restoration of Democracy (MRD)’ of 1983 and one day the city’s railway station got burned down by an angry mob. The railway sleepers and signals were also uprooted repeatedly in this area. After that the Railways closed down this section for good.

Shahpur Jahanian (N5 km marker 310)

Moro (N5 km marker 320)
North of Daulatpur on N5 is a city called Moro. From Moro a road goes west towards Dadu and crosses river Indus via the famous Moro-Dadu bridge. Dadu-Moro bridge is the longest road bridge in Pakistan. From Moro northwards the N5 leads to the towns of:

Naushahro Feroz (N5 km marker 345),

Bhiria (356km),

Kandiaro (373km),

Kotri Kabir (391km),

Ranipur (N5 km marker 413),

Kot Diji (N5 km marker 437)

A few kilometers North East of Ranipur, N5 passes next to the historic fort of Kot Diji.

This fort was built in 18th century by Mir Sohrab Khan Talpur and was used by him as residence. Just across the fort of Kot Diji, on the other side of N5 archaeological sites have been found. The civilization here seems to be older than that of Moenjo Daro and appears to have ended in a huge fire. Other than some stone foundations there is not much to see.

Following two photos of Kot Diji fort are courtesy of Agha Waseem

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Note a small ‘baara-dari’ inside Kot Diji fort in the following photo

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Khairpur (N5 km marker 458)

Further north of Kot Diji is the city of Khairpur. Khairpur was a princely state founded in 1783 by a branch of Talpurs ruling Sindh. It is still the residence of erstwhile ruling family of the Talpurs and has two impressive mansions belonging to them. One of them is called Faiz Mahal. While they are private residences, permission to visit them can be secured onsite.

A photo of Faiz Mahal which is courtesy of Agha Waseem, can be seen below
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Khairpur’s status of a princely state ceased in 1955 when all princely states falling under Pakistan’s geography became part one-unit province called the West Pakistan.
Today Khairpur is famous for the production of dates. It is also home to Shah Abdul Latif University‘s campus which was founded in 1987.

Rohri (N5 km marker 483)

Approximately 15 km north of Khairpur is the town of Rohri. It is located on the east bank of river Indus and it has its own collection of goodly buildings. While the city is changing fast, one can still find many buildings at least 2 centuries old among the narrow lanes. Rohri’s ?Jamia Masjid" was constructed in 1564 by Fateh Khan who was a courtier of Emperor Akbar. There is another mosque called the ?Idgah masjid" which also dates back to 1593. Rohri has many artificial forests around it. These were planted by the Talpur rulers as well as the British to provide cheap wood for fueling the steam locomotives.

Rohri remains one of the most important railway junctions on Pakistan’s rail network. The mainline branches off to Sukkur, Quetta and Chaman from here. This ends our current episode of towns along N5. From Rohri N5 goes north and after passing through Pano Akil (N5 km marker 515), Ghotki (543km), Sarhad (554km), Mirpur Mathelo (568km), Daharki (582 km), and Ubaro (596 km) it enters the province of Punjab near Kot Sabzal (N5 km marker 612). The total length of N5 that falls in Sindh province is 612 kilometers.

A map of N5 as it passes between Hyderabad and Rohri is below. The cities and towns that were discussed in the article above are marked in red rectangular boxes.

ATP’s Posts on the Road Network of Pakistan:

The Indus Highway N55 Series

1. Traveling on N55: The Indus Highway: Part I – Jamshoro to Shikarpur
2. Traveling on N55: The Indus Highway: Part II – Shikarpur to Dera Ghazi Khan
3. Traveling on N55: The Indus Highway: Part III – Dera Ghazi Khan to Dera Ismail Khan
4. Traveling on N55: The Indus Highway: Part IV – Dera Ismail Khan to Peshawar

The National Highway N5 Series

5. Traveling on N5 – I: Karachi to Rohri: 483 km
6. Traveling on N5 – II: Rohri to Bahawalpur: 361 km
7. Traveling on N5 – III: Bahawalpur to Lahore: 417 km
8. Traveling on N5 – IV: Lahore to Rawalpindi: 272 km
9. Traveling on N5 – V: Rawalpindi to Torkham: 216 km

Others:

10. Sukkur to Quetta by Highway N65
11. Friendship Tunnel, Kohat
12. RFID based E-Toll System on Pakistan Motorway
13. Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway M1 is inaugurated
14. Lyari Expressway inaugurated
15. GPS Automotive Navigation in Pakistan.
16. Lahore Ring Road Project

PHOTO CREDITS:
(1) The black and white photo of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai is shared from here.
(2) Photo of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai’s tomb is shared from here.
(3) The first photo under the Kot diji heading is shared from here
(4) Copyrights for the second photo under the Kot Diji heading blong to Mr. Muntasir Sattar at muntasir27@gmail.com. The photo is posted here with his permission
(5) Agha Waseem at Flickr.com

Nightly Business Report

NBR Nightly Business Report April 11, 2005 | Paul Kangas, Susie Gharib, Suzanne Pratt Paul Kangas, Susie Gharib, Suzanne Pratt Nightly Business Report 04-11-2005 PAUL KANGAS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: All eyes were on Warren Buffett today, as the famed billionaire was in New York to answer questions about his company`s dealings with AIG. A deal between AIG and a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary is at the heart of the Federal investigation into AIG and we`ll have the latest.

SUSIE GHARIB, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Then, investors drove shares of Ford Motor to a new 52-week low, as Wall Street reacted to the auto maker`s profit warning. We`ll tell you what the analysts are saying.

KANGAS: Little conviction either way on Wall Street today, as investors cooled their heels ahead of a flood of corporate earnings.

Tonight`s market guest says the earnings picture is not so bright.

GHARIB: Then, Circuit City`s earnings missed analysts` estimates.

The struggling electronics retailer blames the shortfall on changes in lease accounting rules. We`ll tell you where the stock finished.

KANGAS: I`m Paul Kangas. fordmotorstocknow.net ford motor stock

GHARIB: And I`m Susie Gharib. This is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Monday, April 11.

Good evening, everyone. Warren Buffet told regulators today he didn`t know the details of a questionable insurance deal. At a meeting in New York, the famed investor was called upon as a witness regarding a transaction back in 2000 between a subsidiary of his Berkshire Hathaway and AIG. AIG has conceded that it improperly accounted for the deal, artificially bolstering its earnings. For about four hours, Buffett answered questions by officials from the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Justice Department and the New York state attorney general`s office. As he left the day, Buffett spoke briefly with reporters and said, he told investigators everything he knew.

Tomorrow it`s Hank Greenberg`s turn. AIG`s ousted CEO will appear before the same group of regulators. However, unlike Buffett, Greenberg will decline to answer questions according to his attorney David Boies. In a statement, Boies said that Greenberg needs more time to prepare, given the thousands of documents involved. AIG shareholders have already paid dearly for the alleged missteps of the company and its management. Suzanne Pratt takes a closer look at the future for AIG stock.

SUZANNE PRATT, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: There`s no question the last two months have brought AIG its fair share of problems.

But do AIG`s troubles run so deep that investors should steer clear of the company`s stock for the foreseeable future? As is often the case on Wall Street, the answer depends on who you ask. Last week, UBS analyst Andrew Kligerman cut his AIG rating to “neutral” from “buy.” ANDREW KLIGERMAN, INSURANCE ANALYST, UBS: I believe that there`s going to be some earnings erosion. And that`s going to come from both the new management setting the bar lower, as well as the pressure from regulators to look into different issues and do business a bit differently.

PRATT: One of Kligerman`s research associates owns AIG shares and UBS has done business with AIG in the last year. UBS` Kligerman is in the minority with his neutral rating. Most Wall Street analysts have maintained a “buy” or “strong buy” on AIG shares. That`s even as the stock has fallen from a high this year of about 73 to a recent low of about 51, a hefty 30 percent drop. Many of the analysts who still like the stock say it`s primarily a valuation story. But Bank of America`s Brian Meredith says his “strong buy” is about AIG`s long-term prospects.

BRIAN MEREDITH, INSURANCE ANALYST, BANC OF AMERICA SECURITIES: Once we get the regulatory issues behind us, I think it`s still an attractive company. I think it`s important for investors to focus on what does this company look like after the investigations are over? And really, what is the true value of this company rather than getting caught up in the day to day headlines.

PRATT: Even though the company may have engaged in improper accounting, most observers are quick to say that AIG is no Enron. They say AIG remains a powerhouse in the insurance industry, selling real products and posting real earnings. Nevertheless, many believe AIG looks more like a plain vanilla insurer, now that Hank Greenberg, after four decades, is no longer at the helm.

JAMES AWAD, PORTFOLIO MANAGER, AWAD ASSET MANAGEMENT: There`s a risk that the company doesn`t regain the same entrepreneurial and driving ethic that it had without him. And I don`t think people can buy the stock expecting that it will get back to its historical relative valuation levels once they get through the problems.

PRATT: AIG still plans to fine its annual 10-k report on April 30.

That`s after AIG postponed the release in order to give new management the opportunity to closely review the company`s books and records. And some analysts say once that annual report comes out, it should alleviate some investor anxiety. Suzanne Pratt, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, New York.

KANGAS: Ford Motor stock dropped to its lowest level in nearly two years today, falling $0.59 or 5 percent to $10.44. That after the auto maker warned late Friday of sharply lower profits for the year. That warning sparked a slew of negative analyst downgrades today, and Fitch Rating Service slashed its rating on Ford debt from “stable” to “negative,” putting it one step closer to junk status. Ford now expects to earn between $1.25 and $1.50 a share during this year. That`s down from its previous guidance of $1.75 to $1.95. Analysts say Ford`s recovery is riding on new models.

ROBERT HINCHLIFFE, AUTO ANALYST, UBS: Ford has a lineup of new cars coming out later this year, a lineup of new car-based sport utility vehicles, and then if you go a year out, they refresh their new, they refresh their Expedition and Navigator so, very important vehicles.

They`re going to be much cheaper to build than the current ones. Those are the kinds of things that could help them.

KANGAS: On Wall Street, that Ford earnings warning overshadowed a continuing decline in oil prices early today as stocks moved slowly lower.

After two hours of trading, the Dow was down 19 points, NASDAQ off six. A midday rally attempt ran into resistance as investors showed caution ahead of the forthcoming barrage of quarterly earnings reports, so the market ended modestly lower. The Dow industrial average closed off 12 3/4 points at 10,448.56. The NASDAQ down 7 1/4 points to 1992.12. Standard & Poor`s 500 index gained a tiny fraction to 1181.21. Over in the bond market, the 10-year note rose 10/32 to 96 18/32, putting the yield at 4.44 percent. go to website ford motor stock

GHARIB: Our guest tonight says his indicators show that investors are less bullish these days. He`s Tom McManus, chief investment strategist at Bank of America Securities. Hi, Tom.

THOMAS MCMANUS, CHIEF INVESTMENT STRATEGIST, BANC OF AMERICA SECURITIES: Hi, Susie, how are you?

GHARIB: I`m well thank you. Thank you for coming on the program.

McMANUS: My pleasure.

GHARIB: Tom, in your market report today, you said that your indicators at the beginning of the year showed that investors were overwhelmingly bullish and now less so. What happened?

McMANUS: Well, I think that surveys at the end of last year showed that investors were bullish right up to the top levels they`ve seen in years. And a combination of rising oil prices, despite the recent decline, decelerating profits and other challenges I think are starting to weigh on investors` psyches. So their bullishness is becoming a little bit less than we saw at the beginning of this year.

GHARIB: I guess those are some of the same factors that impacted Ford stock. You heard at the beginning of the program of its profit warning and what`s happening. Is that the kind of psychology that`s bringing some stocks down?

McMANUS: Yes. We still think that investors have rather high expectations for gains in the market over 2005. But lots of strategists and other economists who had target prices of 1300 or 1350 or so, our target price is 1200, so we have a much more downbeat assessment and we think that investors are becoming a little bit less outrageously bullish than they were at the beginning of the year.

GHARIB: Looking at your targets actually, now that you bring it up, your target for the Dow for the year was 11,000, NASDAQ 2200 and as you said, S&P 1200. Do you think you`ll make any revisions on those?

McMANUS: Well, I think that we tried to set very reasonable but reachable goals for the target prices for the major indexes. I think what`s really remarkable though is the extent to which there`s been rotation underneath the surface of the popular market indexes. We looked at the S&P for the first quarter and I think that the gain in energy stocks was completely offset by the loss in technology stocks, leaving the S&P vulnerable to declines in both the financial sector and also the consumer discretionary sector. We`re underweight both of those by the way because we expect to see interest rates continue to rise through the year.

GHARIB: Looking at your asset allocation in your report today you`re telling investors I guess, this is on average, 35 percent cash, which is a little bit on the high end, 55 percent stocks and 10 percent in TIPS. So give us your analysis on your strategy here.

McMANUS: Well, we`re a little bit under weight stocks. I would consider 65 percent stocks to be a normal weighting. At the end of 2003, that`s more than a year ago, we had 75 percent stocks. We were 75 percent throughout 2003 and in 2004 we started to reduce the stock weighting gradually, 5 percent at a time. We`re even more under weight bonds because we think that investors are getting a really bad deal when it comes to investing in bonds and we think that a combination of inflation and some upside surprises to growth, believe it or not in job creation, are going to push bond yields higher in the spring and early summer of 2005. And lastly we have a high weighting in cash. The returns on cash are rising. There are lots of things to do besides TIPS. We just think that we`re waiting for stocks and bonds to be more attractively priced.

GHARIB: All right. So looking at stocks, and we just have like 30 seconds left, I know you don`t talk about individual stocks, but where should a long term investor be putting their money?

McMANUS: We think long-term investors should continue to buy shares of good companies at attractive prices. Unfortunately I think those are rare right now. Right now we`re primarily interested in inflation beneficiaries, although we don`t see inflation as a long-term investment thesis. We think for the next year or so, that inflation expectations will be rising and thus energy and material stocks are attractive.

GHARIB: All right, Tom, thank you very much. We always love having you on our program. We`ve been speaking with Tom McManus, chief investment strategist at Banc of America Securities.

Microsoft and Gateway Computer agreed to make nice. Today the companies ended their longstanding legal dispute. Microsoft will pay Gateway $150 million over the next four years. In exchange, Gateway will drop all legal claims against the software maker for alleged past antitrust abuses. Gateway`s claims stemmed from the government`s antitrust case against Microsoft. The companies say they`ll also work together on marketing and product development. Gateway plans to use part of the settlement for sales training and consulting. Paul.

KANGAS: Gateway shares moved slightly higher today, adding $0.08 to close at $4.16 a share, Susie and we`ll see Microsoft in a moment, as we take our look at stocks in the news tonight.

The big board volume leader on 12.4 million shares was Ford Motor Co. (F) down $0.59 as we quoted it early. It traded as low as $10.15.

Pfizer (PFE) a $0.14 drop.

And then Sprint Fon Group (FON) losing $0.22.

American International Group (AIG) moved up $0.19 as Warren Buffett was quizzed by regulators today.

ExxonMobil (XOM) gained $0.28. That was fifth in volume.

El Paso Corp. (EP) stock down $0.14.

55 comments posted

Comment Pages: [7] 6 5 4 3 2 1 » Show All

  1. September 18th, 2013 8:52 pm

    [...] junction to go to Balochistan town of Sui. It is also connected by a road over Guddu Barrage to highway N5 at a town called Umar kot (near Ubauro). The same road after crossing Guddu Barrage branches off to Punjab’s city of Sadiqabad and one [...]

  2. December 12th, 2011 9:02 am

    [...] one travels out of Karachi on National Highway N5 - then between kilometer markers 26 and 27, towards the left side – lies an astonishing necropolis [...]

  3. Owais Mughal says:
    June 7th, 2011 7:28 am

    New information added for kilometer marker 26 today. It is for Chaukundi tombs.

  4. November 30th, 2010 6:15 am

    Dear i am appreciated your work but i want a complete inquiry of Daulatpur like picture and mohala names etc
    so i hope you will do.

    thanks

  5. Shairani says:
    June 4th, 2009 2:30 am

    Thanks for this, really helpful!

  6. Owais Mughal says:
    May 29th, 2009 10:41 am

    Mudassar Saheb, thanks for stopping by at ATP. We try to keep our posts dynamic by continuiusly updating information and photos as they become available or as we come across them. The idea is to not let the information become stale or irrelevant as new landmarks and development keeps highways change their face continuously.

  7. Mudassar Siddiq says:
    May 29th, 2009 2:15 am

    Fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. Its been years that I have been searching for this kind of information with such details about cities and town on N5. You have done a marvelous job. Hats off to you.

    This is very unfortunate that there is no care about tourism develoment in smaller cities and towns of Pakistan which we all know has great potential. This is a fialure on the part of Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation. Providing the basic data in a professional way was the basic step.

    Pl let me know if ther are any more similar sites available with even more details especially for province Sindh.

    Further, adding informations like what-to-do and what-not-to-do and places to stay for the night will add more substance tour site.

    Regards,

    Mudassar

Comment Pages: [7] 6 5 4 3 2 1 » Show All



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