Manora Beach Park
With a promise to change the way in which the people of Karachi spend their leisure hours, the Sindh government has developed a coastal park at Manora to provide ‘affordable’ entertainment to the public.
Manora’s long sandy beaches, which merge into the beaches of Sandspit and then extend several kilometres to the beaches at Hawkesbay, had all the potential to become a popular destination even for foreigners. But a lack of infrastructure was the only problem. Despite ideal location for a tourist spot, the spot was ignored for reasons best known to the municipal authorities.
Ferry in the works
To make Manora easily accessible to the city’s residents, the Sindh government is reportedly also planning to develop a jetty at Seaview to start a ferry service from Clifton to Manora beach. With the commencement of this service, it is expected that the number of visitors will increase manifold, which may result in a boost to the economic activities in the area.
This project was initiated to draw people towards the shores of Manora which was being underutilised. Due to a lack of facilities, very few visitors were coming there. There were reportedly no benches to sit on, no dining areas and no toilets.
Although the visitors generally avail boat service from Keamari to reach Manora Island, they could also reach by road. However, going by road meant visitors should carry their ID cards for checking at the checkpoint as this area falls within the Cantonment Board’s jurisdiction.
Manora has a rich history. It is said that the fleet of Alexander the Great had anchored at Manora and then during the Talpur era, a port was developed at the site to protect the city. The entrance to Karachi was once guarded against pirate raids by the Manora Fort built in the 1790s, which was later upgraded by the British, and then the Pakistan Navy.
The British first hoisted the Union Jack at Manora during the occupation of Sindh. At that time, 25 Jokhio and 10 Baloch guards were guarding the fort and received a monthly salary of Rs120. Part of the fort came under fire in 1839 during the British occupation. The remaining part was converted into the residence of the master attendant. Later, in 1889, the fort was converted into an officers’ colony.
Those who had so far visited the place, however, say that there’s a need to take care of certain things like the stairs to the ark, which are in a dilapidated condition.
On the other hand, boatmen reportedly demanded Rs1,800 for four adults and three children. Then you have to reach the park in a rented van and once again you have to pay rent of Rs20 per person. The payment process does not end here for every family has to pay Rs500 for the canopy and benches inside. The visitors found the expenses involved in visiting the newly developed park a bit too high.
On the other hand, families reaching Manora by road on rickshaws, motorcycles and private vehicles from the lone road link via Hawkesbay to Kaka Pir had to wait for a long time due to security reasons because entries of CNIC of the vehicle’s driver and names of people at the Navy checkpost was being done manually.