A Sad looking Stupa: Stop 2

The Second Stop that we took on the trip, pictures of which I have posted earlier, was Nawabshah. When I was told to stop and take a look at a Stupa in this town, I was a bit shocked to even learn that such a thing exists in this town, since I had never heard of it.

And when I finally got to the Stupa, it started to make sense why the site is not very popular! The Stupa currently lies in utter ruin and a few more years, and it would be completely lost, remaining just a mere memory!

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First Stop – Kalhora Tombs, Hyderabad!

Since I have a big project going nowadays about which I can’t really talk, therefore I will just take this opportunity to satisfy myself that at least I am posting something on my blog by sharing with you a few pictures from this road trip I took recently across Sindh. And since there are a lot of pictures, therefore giving me the excuse to just post pictures, I will share them one place at a time, instead of one day at a time!

So for today, we have Kalhora Tombs, Hyderabad!

Visiting Oxford University Press – A wonder!

Today, I had the opportunity to visit the Oxford University Press office in Korangi, and up till the drive to the office, I was completely blank about what the building looked like. But one glance at the Front Elevation, and it all came rushing back to me – this building was designed by Kamil Khan Mumtaz.

My first view of the building!

The car stopped at the front door – a beautiful traditional metal door, made from Lahore. The entrance resonates the typical Mughal grandeur – with a double heighten space illuminated with a skylight, with some wonderful pictures on the walls, showing Oxford plans and maps. Into this space opens a beautifully designed Jharoka – again representative of the Sindhi townscapes.  Continue reading

Khairpur, Bamboo, and Derya Khan Goth – A memoir!

Okay so as usual I am writing after a long time, which reaffirms my need for a laptop. Anyone ready to sponsor me? No? Yes? Show of hands?

Anyways…

The traveling blues stayed with me all the way through… but there were moments of complete breathtaking beauty and human emotions that completely overtook my senses and everything was forgotten.

The purpose of this workshop – which was imposed on the whole of the 5th year students – was to learn and understand the Bamboo Construction Techniques that are being employed in the village of Derya Khan Sheikh, Khairpur after the devastating floods of 2010.

Yasmeen Lari and her team at the “Heritage Foundation” have been working on a similar design in Swat since the Earthquake of 2004 which rocked the entire northern region of Pakistan. The structure of course has been modified to deal with less harsh climatic conditions in the region of Kharipur.

More on that soon enough! But let me share some pictures with you of my trip.

The village where we were working

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The beginning of the End: Day 3: In Lahore

The proceedings of the second and the last day of the conference were to start from 9 am, and Saba had her paper reading due that day, which meant that we had to get up early morning for it, which meant that I had to take a shower early morning (Honestly, I would never have bothered with the idea of taking a shower, but I was sure that Saba was good enough in her maths to calculate that since I had not taken a shower since Thursday – the day of my arrival – it means that it has been 2 days.. which equals to me being a dirty person) (I guess the word mean has a whole new meaning for me today .. I know lame joke). Anyways after the shower, we got dressed, and for breakfast I had my last day’s leftover lunch sandwich from CTC (told you it was really big) and reached the venue at around 8: 15 am… no one had reached by then! (I would have collapsed somewhere from sleep if only I was able to find a place) but Mr. Vandal and I got some time to talk, and he asked me about my future plans, and we discussed the proceedings of the day before. He is a very punctual man, because at 9 am with still more than half the venue empty he started the proceedings.. he would have continued with it too.. if only Dr.Mubarak Ali, who was supposed to chair the second session would have been on time (he had genuine reasons to be delayed because he is a very punctual man). And as soon as he came the show was on the road.

The first speaker of the day was Dr. Gulzar Haider on the topic “The Historiographers and Pedagogues, with Respect” but he wasn’t able to attend the conference because of some personal issues (I really wanted to meet him though), but his paper was presented to the conference by Dr. Khalid Bajwa.. he started off on a light funny note, joking about his reading speed and all, but it was nice. After him he has Ms. Aisha Imdad, who read her paper about “The Evolution of the Tree of Life as an Islāmic Decorative Element in Fresco Painting in Mughal or Mughal Inspired Architecture of Pakistan. ” I had come to known her in the past one day.. and have to admit that she is a gem of a person. She is very excited about her work and what she is doing in respect of bringing to the forefront many of the crafts from the rural area. – an undertaking by another wing of THAAP, under the title of THAAP Crafts. She was wearing a beautiful shawl made by one such person, and when she talks about it, she has this glow in her eyes. Their exhibition is to take place in Islamabad in this month… so try to check it out! Dr. Sylvia Shorto was not able to come to the conference, but her paper, titled “The Sahlimar Bagh and the Mubarak Bagh: Histories from the garden houses in north-west Delhi” was read out by Muhammad Taimur. And after that came Ar. Saba Samee – I love you Saba! I loved her paper, titled “Lahore – The city of travelers” – and I mean that as a completely objective third-party observer with absolutely no personal interest in the matter! (:D) It was a nice way to look at history.. checking and tracing it from the traveler’s account. I loved it (Yes I know I  have already said that)!

After the break, it was Dr. Priyaleen Singh’s paper on “Changing Imagery of the Mughals Garden of Taj Mahal”. In her paper she recalled the attempts that are being made India to conserve the Taj Gardens into their glory periods during the Mughal period and how they have evolved to their current condition of being a mere “lawn” – a factor of colonization! Dr. Banu Pekol also couldn’t make it and his paper was also read out regarding the “Architectural impressions between Turkey and Pakistan:  A tightrope between objects and the historian”. Dr. Anis Siddiqui of Punjab University who was the last speaker of the session spoke about “Narratives and Storytelling: Teaching Tools for Architectural History, Theory and Design” and talked about how story telling can be a great tool to awake certain emotions in a student. I agree with him to a point, but I think it is very important to keep in mind that we all perceive things differently and it is not necessary that a story would ignite the same feeling in everyone! Continue reading