Toshangi Gorge – The Grand Canyon of Sindh

Posted on May 23, 2008
Filed Under >Owais Mughal, Travel
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Owais Mughal

The landscape of Sindh Province is mostly associated with deserts as well as agricultural and coastal table lands. Sindh however is endowed with much more than that. Few days ago we introduced the highest place in Sindh reachable by road called Gorakh – where it snows in winter – and today we’ll introduce another road less traveled in Sindh. It is called the Toshangi gorge and it is located in Kirthar Range of mountains on Sindh-Balochistan border. The word Kirthar in Sindhi means ‘milk-cream’ which is a bit luxurious name for the harsh environment here.

A British archaeologist, author and civil servant named Hugh Trevor Lambrick, who was the Deputy Commissioner of Larkana in 1940s, called Toshangi the Grand Canyon of Sindh. It is one of the most dramatic places to visit in the Kirthars. The deep gorge (700ft deep) is formed by the waters of Kenjhi River which has been flowing in the area since time untold.

How to Get There:

Toshangi is reached from Larkana. From Larkana a road goes westwards to the town of Kambar and then further to the village of Garhi Khan Muhammad and the last stop on this paved road is the town of Ghaibi Dero. Ghaibi Dero is 64 km (39.3 miles) from Larkana. Ghaibi Dero is famous because it is the seat of famous and powerful Chandio family. Ghaibi Dero also lies at the head of the Khenji River. From here a jeep track follows Khenji River westwards for an hour’s jeep journey (other choice is to travel by camel) until it reaches a village called “Rahu jo Aitho” (exact distance unknown to me). This little village is the starting point of Toshangi gorge.

No Jeep After This Point:

Toshangi gorge is best explored on foot. The place is so untouched from commercial touris that there are not even jeep tracks here. From Rahu jo Aitho village, it is a full day’s trek along the river to see and admire the complete Toshangi gorge. A tourist guide of the area says:

It is a good one day’s trek along the river through some truly spectacular scenery, with stark ridges of dark and light-colored limestones and shales rising precipitously to razor-edge crests, sandy stretches and gravel wastes, deep ponds of liquid emerald and tiny oasis of trees, Persian wheels and cultivation that mark rare villages.

Toshangi gorge then reaches a point called ‘Lohiro’ from where Khenji river turns northwards and within few hundred meters from here lies the main Kirthar ridge with a giant crack stretching all the way up to the 1500 m (5000 ft) high peak of Machhal. It is through this deep and narrow cleft that Khenji rivers makes a head start and causes flash floods during rains. There is a local legend that a giant cauldron brimming with treasure hangs at the head of the Khenji cleft.

The two banks of Toshangi gorge run as high as 200m (700ft) above the surface of calm river Khenji.

Who Lives in Kirthars:

The jagged Kirthars stretch along the Sindh-Balochistan border and form the de-facto provincial boundary. The range is inhabited by Brahuis on both sides. Chuttas of Balochistan, Chandios and Gainchos of Sindh also live in this area.

Is It Safe to Travel:

May be not at all times. There are usual bursts of peace and ‘dakoo raj’ intermingled with eachother. It is said that one should go through Chandio family at Ghaibi Dero to arrange for the travel through this area. Our idea of introducing this place here is to highlight the beautiful landscape of Sindh and Pakistan. Hopefully one day soon the area will be open for safe travel. A translation of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai ‘s Sindhi poetry goes like this:

They are in my memory and in my soul,
In rainy season to plains go my folks.
At dawn I recall much preparations for churning whey,
Blessed be Malir’s salty wells from which I water Drew.

Map of the Area:

Following is a map of the area which shows location of most of the landmarks mentioned in this post. Note the location of Larkana, Kambar and Ghaibi Dairo. Also note the left two red rectangles as the highest and second highest points in Sindh. The highest point at 2174 m is called ‘Dog’s Grave’. The thick dark green line towards left is the Sindh-Balochistan boundary.

References:

(1) Insight Guide of Pakistan, 2000
(2) Google Earth

24 Comments on “Toshangi Gorge – The Grand Canyon of Sindh”

  1. May 23rd, 2008 2:32 am

    So excited to go there…..A superb landscape!

  2. Hassan says:
    May 23rd, 2008 3:08 am

    This is amazing and beautiful. Thank you for adding this to my knowledge. There is s much in Pakistan that we need to learn more about. You do a great service by highlighting this.

  3. faisal says:
    May 23rd, 2008 7:01 am

    Man I would love to visit those areas. Someday, may be.

  4. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    May 23rd, 2008 8:07 am

    Owais. Man; how you dig out these wonderful and fascinating places in Pakistan. You must have an extra set of eyes on the top of your forehead. You have introduced us to the ‘heights’ and the ‘depths’ of Kirthar Range at the Sindh-Balochistan line. What are going to do for the encore?

    Kirthar means ‘milk-cream’! I would have thought the word was a construction of ‘Kir’ and ‘Thar’, like ‘thar’ meaning desert.

  5. May 23rd, 2008 8:14 am

    Pakistan has many beautiful places which are still very natural and untouched by human hands. The problem is that our road system and tourism department is out of control. Nothing there to attract people. Those who get elected to these high positions only rob the funds. Sorry to say that.

  6. AHMED says:
    May 23rd, 2008 8:17 am

    Amazing find. Thank you. This site never ceases to amaze me with the range of topics and information you present. This is truly ALL THINGS PAKISTAN!!!!!!!

  7. Adnan Ahmad says:
    May 23rd, 2008 8:50 am

    A gem of a post, Owais.

  8. jalal says:
    May 23rd, 2008 11:17 am

    Thanks for sharing the details of the Tangi and Gorakh Hils. I have heard of this place before and once asked someone on the net to show us the place during snow fall. It would be a worthwhile sight.

  9. Rafay Kashmiri says:
    May 23rd, 2008 11:38 am

    @ Its just amazing, wonderful.
    another addition to God know how many wonders
    yet to be discovered in Pakistan, good work

    Pakistan Jiay sada jiay

  10. Kazim Hussain says:
    May 23rd, 2008 12:59 pm

    Remarkable. Thank you to this site for being a great ambassador of Pakistan. Thank you Owais Mughal for this excellent find.

  11. Kazim Hussain says:
    May 23rd, 2008 1:00 pm

    By the way, in the picture this really does look like the Grand Canyon (I have not seen it only pictures of it!)

  12. Adil Mulki says:
    May 23rd, 2008 3:39 pm

    I watched video footage of this place a few years back, thanks to the work of Mr. Salman Rasheed. Somehow I recall that the presence of crocodiles was narrated to me at this place. Can’t seem to recall the source.

  13. Vini says:
    May 24th, 2008 12:49 am

    Marvelous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I wish we care about our treasures…………………….
    some marvelous treasures in sindh………

  14. Janeeta says:
    May 24th, 2008 1:36 am

    Awesome post …. Owais Bhai you are simply amazing … i haven’t heard of this place before but now its in my must visit places … How do you get to know all these wonderful places?

  15. sajan says:
    May 24th, 2008 3:47 am

    i like the last bit most where it says
    ((shararty logoon kilie saza ka maqool intzaam hae))
    beautiful, i wish some body finds this palce and makes documentery on it. that will be awsome.

  16. Syed Saquib Saeed says:
    May 24th, 2008 7:37 am

    Anyone planning to use GPS to go to the location, these are the co-ordinates:

    Latitude: 27

  17. Owais Mughal says:
    May 25th, 2008 6:48 pm

    Janeeta. I first learnt about this place through Insight Tourist Guide on Pakistan.

  18. LuvPakistan says:
    May 26th, 2008 3:45 am

    This is absolutely fascinating!!! Our country really has a rich potential for tourism and all we need is some investment and attention from government.

    We came to know about Toshangi Gorge now, through the Internet, but our planners must have known this for decades and then ignoring it all along as well! filling their own pockets only! This is a magical tourist spot, wasting in front of our eyes.

  19. Ali Dada says:
    May 28th, 2008 5:19 pm

    If only there is a safe way to reach there and to explore it, I would scrap my future plans to visit Grand Canyon, USA.

  20. Owais Mughal says:
    May 28th, 2008 10:41 pm

    Map of the area is added towards the end of this post. Also shows the highest and second highest points in Sindh. Highest point is at an altitude of 2174 m and is called the Dog’s grave.

  21. Haider says:
    May 30th, 2008 12:53 pm

    Excellent information. How sad that most Pakistanis, like me, have never even heard of this.

  22. Owais Mughal says:
    August 2nd, 2009 6:18 pm

    The title photo of this post has been restored today.

  23. dr yahya tunio says:
    November 9th, 2009 6:59 am

    dear friend
    you have done good job by bringing beautiful place in sindh for their recognition and developlment of tourism

  24. Abrar Alam Khan says:
    November 8th, 2011 4:50 pm

    Dear Owais,
    Great initiative to introduce new places, much appreciated. However, with due respect I would like to mention one misleading information that many of our newspapers and even books have written about Gorakh Hill is that it snows there. It is not true absolutely not true. In the winter mornings due to very high altitude the morning dew turns into frost and nothing more than that.
    I was in Gorakh Hill in June 2008 and the temperature in Dadu was 52degrees and the day time temperature in Gorakh Hill was 27°C – a nice escape from the heat of Dadu but it is a barren hill with no facilities.
    I am planning a trip to Toshangi in December or January anybody wants to tag along drop me a mail.
    Cheers
    Abrar

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