ATP Quiz: Views of Manora Island

Posted on January 31, 2007
Filed Under >Owais Mughal, ATP Quiz, Travel
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Owais Mughal

Many of our readers have correctly guessed the light house in our latest photo quiz. Yes indeed, it is the light house located on Manora Island.

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

Recommended Manora PHOTOS at other Websites:

  1. Foundation Stone of Manora Break Waters, January 17, 1874
  2. Mud Fort Manora, circa 1839
  3. Manora Light House at Work – Night View
  4. Bird Eye View of Manora Beach
  5. Black and White View of Manora Light House – from Early Days
  6. A retouched color photo of Manora Light House – from Early Days
  7. Manora Light House Photo by Waqas Usman at
Related Posts with Thumbnails

31 responses to “ATP Quiz: Views of Manora Island”

  1. Manz says:

    Sadly it is sold to some dubai company to construct gigantic skyscrapers and beach developmnet.

  2. iceCube says:

    Hey Owais! Just wanted to make a friendly little correction… you translated (اگست = August) as September in both the translations?!!

  3. Owais Mughal says:

    Dear Icecube. You are right :) I have now made the corrections. thanls. ‘ghalti mujh se nahiN, meray la-shaoor se hoi thi” because monsoon season lasts from May 15-Spet 15 and thats why I wrote Setemeber from my memory.

  4. Owais Mughal says:

    Dear Manz
    Manora is not sold to Dubai company. The islands that sre sold to Emaar group of UAE for development are ‘Buddo’ and ‘Bundal’ islands. They are located 1.5 km east of Karachi’s Defense housing society phase 8.


  5. Manz says:

    They have been sold to Emaar and this one is sold to a subsidary of the Dubai World.

  6. Zafar Mansoor says:

    Most sections of the beach at Manora, and all along the Sand Spit and Hawkes Bay (not Hawks Bay) are steep with loose gravel and sand. Wave action, especially during monssons, literally sucks away the sand under ones feet and hence this leads to ‘sea swallows every living thing’. Then there are strong currents flowing along the beach which do not allow even a good swimmer to make it back to the beach. The words of caution are dramatic but better if heeded as no worthwhile life guard facility is available. (Worthwhile not in the sense of Bay Watch but wrt ability and support gear etc).

    And yes Manora is connected through a road but sometimes during monsoons water washes over it. The evidence is accumulated sand on both sides of the road at several places which is cleared by some earth moving equipment. This keeps Manora technically an island and not a peninsula.

    And Owais sahib, 1500 in 2004 or in 1904!?!?!? Pse clarify.

  7. Abbas Halai says:

    You may be interested to read the memorial block on the Manora breakwater which was constructed in 1874. I have posted the images here.

  8. Roshan Malik says:

    Thanks Owais for the post.
    I have been to Karachi several times but unfortunately could not visit Manora island. This article has increased my interest to visit this beautiful site.

  9. Owais Mughal says:

    Manz. i guess i was not aware of Manora land sold to Emaar’s subsidiary. thanks for the information. the closest i had heard was that DP world was going to operate Gwadar port as well as a couple of berths at Karachi port. didn’t know about Manora deal before

  10. Owais Mughal says:

    I found this info. on web about Manora being sold to Dubai world:

    Pakistan’s Ministry for Ports and Shipping has just signed Memorandum of Understanding in 2006 with Dubai World and Emaar Properties for the redevelopment of Manora Island. As part of the development plans, the KPT and all Military establishments will vacate the island and hand it over to the the companies for development. The development, so to speak, will comprise of establishing high rise hotels and apartment buildings in the area.

  11. Owais Mughal says:

    Zafar Saheb
    I stand corrected on Manora population. I had found 1500 population in 2004 from a dawn publication but it didn’t seem right. I am now able to find from an authentic source the population of Manora to be 9987 in 2005. I will correct it in the above article in a bit.

    I do remember water from Sandspit beach crossing over the road and onto the otherside many years ago but lately land b/w sandspit and the waters of Marine academy is getting wider and wider. The water on the marine academy side has a black sludge which is a residue from Lyari river dumping city’s sewrage untreated here. It clearly shows that fresh water is not minlging enough with the stagnant back waters. Therefore I maintain that Manora is a peninsula now :) I am open to discussion here.

  12. Owais Mughal says:

    Abbas Halai Saheb
    I did give a link to the photo of the Manora Breakwaters plaque. It is towards the end of my article under the section ‘Recommended Manora photos from other wsites’

  13. Abbas says:

    oh apologies. i guess i missed that. my bad.

  14. sohail says:

    its a nice blog uve created here. the light house on manora island can be a potential tourist attraction. its sad that most scenic portions of the karachi beach are under the control of the navy and PAF therefore closed to the public.however the manora island can easily fall prey to massive construction and lose its present quiet colonial charm. greedy multi national should not be allowed to play havoc with its serene beauty. like malam jabba the state owned PTDC should be charged with development of the island, this dubai group is only interested in money and profits. manora will become another exclusive gymkhana for the corrupt elite and ordinary pakistanis will nevr be able to enjoy the island the present deal with EMaar properties is a foolish one lacking vison and could have disastrous impact on the environment. pakistan is fast turning into a haven of hi clas residential estates with closed gates, while the majority lack basic entertainment facilities.this is just a case in example of another elitist venture.

  15. mushtaq says:

    Owais Bhai,can you or anyone give me information about the visibilty of the water or if anyone does scuba-diving in Pakistani waters.I am a scuba-diver but never dived in Pakistan.All I been is at Clifton Beach for a camel ride when I was 10 years old.I wonder if there is any scuba-dive shop in Pakistan.If someone knows,please give me information.Thanks!

  16. Owais Mughal says:

    Mushtaq bhai, here is some information on Karachi Scuba Diving Club

    (1) g13.htm

    (2) akistan

  17. mushtaq says:

    Owais Bhai,Asalamualaikum.Shukria for the info.Inshaallah,I would contact these dive shops.It would be a great experience for me.I am excited.Shukria again.

  18. Owais Mughal says:

    Mushtaq, One of the common site at Manora jetties are diver children. They would ask you to throw a coin in the sea. Then they dive from the jetty and find the coin from the sea. As a reward for this stunt they get to keep the coin. These children dive for the coins without any special diving gear or oxygen.

  19. Altamash Mir says:

    Great Article Owais Sahib, However you forgot to mention how the island of “Manora” got its name.

    The name comes from the hebrew word “Menorah” pronounced “manorah”. Literally, it means light, or lampstand (light house, in this instance). More Commonly, a Manorah is a candelabrum having nine branches, for use on the Jewish festival of lights called “Hanukkah”.
    It is not a mere conincidence that this island was named in Hebrew. There was a large population of jews living in and around Karachi.

  20. Owais Mughal says:

    Dear Altamash. I didn’t know how Manora got its name. You added to my knowledge. thanks

  21. Pakistani Hindu says:

    please please can we have article on Hindu temple of minora island ……

    please can try to restore this temple……..

  22. Stephanie Dodge says:

    I am glad I found this web site.I stayed on Manora for about two to three weeks when I was child of 9 in 1951.. We stayed with friends there..The grandmother was the resident nurse on the island and he daughter and granddauaghter (my age)lived with her and helped in the clinic…We were waiting passage to England after my father left Orient Airways.. now Air Pakistan.
    I have magical memories of the place.. the ride over in the boat with the families and thier grocerices.. the beaches which we explored unsupervised by the hour and the sand roads.. We had camel rides on the beach and I went to sunday school in a church there. I also had the wonderful experience of seeing and visiting with the brand new babies born on the island in the clinic.
    I have often thought foundly of that idyllic place and wondered aobut it.. I am sad to hear about the development about to take place and agree it will certainly ruin the charm of the island and put it out of reach financially for the less than super rich…
    I was so pleased to read about it again..

  23. Owais Mughal says:

    I found another photo of Manora Island Light House at flickr. See here:

  24. Abbey786 says:

    Hi, it is very sad to see Manora go! I am from he UK and have visited Manora about 10 times in my 25yrs as my parents, grand parents uncles and aunties are from there. i spent alot of my child hood there. my family has worked on the lighthouse owned shops there and worked for KPT. i visied Manora Dec 2006 and it now looks like a ghost town. it is very upsetting. Before we had access to alot of areas in Manora, but now it has been closed off or is run down. I just hope they dont destroy the history. We had a house next to the mosque, and a house next to the Gurdwara. Is there anyone out there who has lived or knows someone from Manora? Do you have any links with regards to the planning for the island??

  25. Rafay Kashmiri says:

    I still remember the light house , church and Hindu temple,
    the appartements, the mosque, the naval cadets, stores,
    muddy streets, gasting wind, to reach manora you had to
    boat transpor service from Kemari, the sea tides were even
    worst than sands spit, but it was soooooo facinating to be
    on that island, i was always curious how on earth people
    could live on it there cinemas, functions hall,caf

  26. Fawad Ahmed says:

    I am fawad, i grew up on this Island from 1968 till 1978 my grand parents lived there. Ihad good memories, of Manora, i use to play on the foot steps of the Church and use to slide down the slope on the bearing sledge (selfmade) hahaha.
    The podipat and the mazar of saint, i experianced this once in my life, that it was raining like hell and not a single rain drop was falling from the roof opening of Yousah Shah Ghazi’s tomb.
    There was a single tall palm tree away from the police Chowki.
    I have some cousins burried there in the cemetry. We use to swim in the chota dariya. My favourite spot was the kuchhi lane where there was a samll hotel my Grandpa use to take me there for a Cup of tea with cake piece YUMMMMMM and the Boat club.
    All lost , now it is desetred the house we lived in is no more there. I last visited the place in 1985, after that we moved out of the country.

  27. S.A.KHAN says:

    Hi, Every one, (All Manora Lovers)

  28. Raquel says:

    I am doing some family research and it appears that my great grandmother moved to Menora island with her parents just after she was born (1895). Her father was in the Royal Artillery. Her description reads:-

    “Life began for me at Dover Castle where I was born just before my parents sailed for India. Those sea voyages were very long ones in the 1890’s on a troop ship and, in later years, my Mother told vivid stories of drama and romance on the voyages. Early childhood was on enchanting Manora Island, just off the mainland in Karachi. Our large airy bungalow fronted over the beach which sloped gently down to the sea. On the other side – or back of the house – was a large compound where the cook house was situated and the servants had their little houses. At the bottom of the hill were the “lines” where the Baluchi and Pathan troops were stationed. The British “lines” were nearer to our house, and our sentries were British soldiers. The wide verandas were enclosed by lattice work and the real life of the family seemed to take place there. Breakfast in the cool of the morning was on the front veranda where Punka Wallahs kept the great fans moving over our heads by means of ropes pulled up and down rather like bell ringers. Dances by moonlight were held there. On the other side of the house of a morning one would find the native tailor or “Darzee” I think he was called, and a marvellous little man he was, who would study fashion sketches in English journals – three months old – and then transform mounds of silk and fine muslins into breathtaking creations for my mother and sisters within a couple of days or so.”

    Does any one have any suggestions how I can find out more – i.e. where the house might have been; why the British were stationed there etc. Anything would be wonderful.

    Many thanks


  29. naseem mukaddam says:

    salam lived in manora 1973 -1981 was a brilliant life peaceful beautiful now it is not the same when visited with children in2004 but lots of good memories

  30. Zeeshan says:

    It is indeed a great pleasure to read this article on Manora Island. Now a days i am living in manora from the past one and half year. I don’t know that these structure in manora is too old. Obviously i am unaware of the these ancient antique. By reading your article I am again enthusiate to pay visit to the old statue. I will also try to get more information about manora and its belly things.

    Thanks for your superb article on Manora island.

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