A heritage walk in Karachi

Heritage Walk Karachi (HWK) is Pakistan Chowk Community Centre’s three month pilot project, held every Sunday. It commenced in January 2018 and was conducted till the last week of March, 2018. A total of 14 sessions have been conducted in the course of these three months, including 12 regular Sunday sessions, on-request walk tours, and 1 workshop for a group of girl scouts.

The men to women ratio in these session walk tours have been precisely 50/50. The HWK sessions are divided into three sections: Walk, Explore and Talk. Heritage Walk Karachi hosted GoUNESCO’s #makeheritagefun activity in Karachi’s Old Town. The participants gathered up at Pakistan Chowk (landmark) at sharp 8:30 in the morning. An orientation of the walk was given to them by the guide. The explorers (the term we use for our participants) were given a map of the route through Old Town.  The whole event consisted of a one and a half hour session, a one hour walk and half an hour for breakfast and discussions. The explorers were led through the designated planned route which is designed to give the maximum exposure to the diverse built heritage structures of Karachi’s Old Town.

Participants were allowed and encouraged to detour a little and reconnoiter as well. The route starts from Pakistan Chowk.  The route leads back to the Outram Rd.near Pakistan Chowk, where the explorers had breakfast at a local dhabba, and also started a dialogue about their experience of the HWK session. Participants were also asked to fill out feedback forms about Heritage Preservation. Major landmarks and buildings which were covered in the HWK route during #makeheritagefun activity are as follows: Pakistan Chowk, the water trough, the Sevakunj hostel, the Sarnagati building, the Mendoza building, Sadik Manzil, Bot’l gali, the Karachi Municipal Corporation building, paper market, the Adamjee building, the Menghraj Dewarkadas Nagpal building, Outram street, etc.

Participants  were also given a task to specifically document the 6 architectural elements in the old structures they were to encounter during the walk, viz. signage, fenestrations, columns, arches, grill work, and ornamentation.

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