Salman Rashid

Travel writer, Fellow of Royal Geographical Society

Built Heritage

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Grand Canyon of Sindh

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It was in 1996 that my friend Wali Mohammad Manganhar of Shahdadkot arranged for us to travel to the most fascinating natural sight in all of Sindh: Toshangi. HT Lambrick, Deputy Commissioner, Larkana in the 1940s called it the Grand Canyon of Sindh. He was right on the ball.

Here is a rift in the Kirthar Mountains west of Ghaibi Dero (seat of the Chandio Nawab) with walls 200 metres high and a blue-green stream of considerable depth at the bottom. Where the rift opens up at the southern end, the stream, too, fans out to form a lovely tarn. In this placid sheet of water, there lives a colony of gavials. The whole place is straight out of the wildest imagination of a designer of film sets.

Our guide and mentor was the unbeatable Hasil Chandio of the tiny settlement of Rahu jo Aitho. It was a goodly walk from his village to Toshangi and we had to stay overnight in Lohira with Hasil’s kinsfolk. Early on that March morning, we climbed up a large knob of rock to marvel at this remarkable chasm. Created first, perhaps, by an earthquake and then enlarged by millions of years of flowing water, it was indeed a grand canyon.
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‘Dust unto Dust’

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In the year 1902 parts of the Shikarpur and Karachi districts of the province of Sindh were carved away to establish the new district of Larkana. Long before that this area was known as Chandka after the well-established Chandio tribe that still lives in great numbers in the western hills of the district. Now the newly established district was to get its new name from the Rajput clan of Larik.


In a paper submitted to the Government of India on 31 December 1847 Hugh James, the Deputy Collector (equivalent to the modern Assistant Commissioner) of Shikarpur, did not hesitate to call Chandka the ‘Garden of Upper Sindh.’ His reason for this appellation was the number of waterways, both natural and man-made, that meandered across the district bringing it great fertility.
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Meeting our Nutrition Shortage

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My morning paper of 22 December 2015 carried this front page headline: ‘One in three Pakistanis lacks access to adequately nutritious food’. The item carried all sorts of obtuse pontification by a ‘renowned’ economist and some equally obfuscating rubbish by the babus of the National Economic Council.

Morniga tree planted at Alba in August 2014 is now about 10 feet high, See the video here

The trouble with us Pakistanis, ordinary man-on-the-street kind and these so-called experts is that we are stupid. We, all two hundred million of us, are just plain unthinking morons who have never read anything. Perish the notion that some of these ‘experts’ will ever engage in serious research. And the least about malnutrition because these babus with their fat salaries can stuff their fat faces with all the goodies their riches can buy. It is the under-privileged that are malnourished: and damn those ugly, unclad, underfed monkeys.
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The Apricot Road to Yarkand Title Image

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Excerpt: Journey’s End, Review by Maheen Pracha 

Book is available at Sang e Meel (042-3722-0100), Lahore

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That Riot of Colour

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There was a time colourful rugs adorned the homes of nobility in Sindh and Bahawalpur. Known as farasi in the south and falasi in Bahawalpur, they were produced by a very busy cottage industry for a market that was ready and wanting. Whatever the artisan, traditionally always women, could bring off the handloom, was quickly lapped up. Turnover was swift; recompense for the long hours over the loom good. Inevitably, every village had several households practicing the craft. Today, these masterpieces of weaving are getting harder to come by.


The word farasi, sometimes pronounced farashi, is clearly a corruption of farsh, Persian cognate for floor covering. Baloch families of Badin claim they brought farasi weaving to Sindh some four to five hundred years ago. At home on the vast, wind-scoured desert plateau of western Balochistan, the dirt floor of their dark goats hair tents was adorned with these hardy, virtually wear-resistant rugs. In that khaki landscape of flying sand and dust, this was one flamboyant riot of colour.
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Moola Pass

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Read in Urdu about Moola, the wonderland in Balochistan. This article appeared in newspaper Roznama Pakistan [double click the image below to enlarge].
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Trek record

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Trekking, as we know it, is actually a spin-off of the work of the early 19th century European explorers, surveyors and map-makers. Hiring local hunters and shepherds as guides, they followed the barely marked trails plied by earlier natives. The first adventurers, in the true sense, were mountaineers who had little to do with exploration and map-making, but were obsessed with climbing the virgin snows of the  system.


By the 1920s, yet another breed of adventurer was roaming this great knot of high peaks and glaciers. This bunch did not climb per se. Driven by curiosity, they simply walked the trails. Their purpose was largely historical and sociological studies and they worked on shoestring budgets. There was, of course, another sub-caste: wealthy, highly educated, cultured persons of the world. Theirs was the best written record.
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My Books

Deosai: Land of the Gaint - New

The Apricot Road to Yarkand


Jhelum: City of the Vitasta

Sea Monsters and the Sun God: Travels in Pakistan

Salt Range and Potohar Plateau

Prisoner on a Bus: Travel Through Pakistan

Between Two Burrs on the Map: Travels in Northern Pakistan

Gujranwala: The Glory That Was

Riders on the Wind

Books at Sang-e-Meel

Books of Days