History buffs, if you haven’t been to Mohenjo Daro yet, what are you doing?!
When I was in the sixth grade, my school was organizing a field trip to Mohenjo Daro. The trip was going to be by air and the total cost was about PKR 5000 because, at the time, a roundtrip ticket from Karachi to Mohenjo Daro was relatively cheap. Flights operated twice a week. Parental permission slips were signed and submitted, everything was set.
Due to the limited seats available on the small ATR flights, only small groups could go at one time. And after the first group went, the Vice Principal decided that it was too much of a hassle and canceled all further trips. GREAT.
I didn’t get to go to Mohenjo Daro. We had read about the city in our History class earlier in the year so I was rather excited about the opportunity to actually see the place I had read about. But visiting Mohenjo Daro would remain a dream that has still not materialized.
Yes, I still want to visit Mohenjo Daro. In my last semester at university, I took a course on the Ancient History of the Subcontinent. And I learned more about Mohenjo Daro that I ever had before and it renewed my wish to visit the place.
The history of our land started with Mohenjo Daro.
Its civilization dates back to over 4500 years ago. Even though the city’s name loosely translates to ‘Land of Dead Men’, the city used to be incredibly vibrant and was possibly the first modern city in the world. It is the first ‘grid’ city to ever have existed. The intricacies of the architecture of Mohenjo Daro still baffle archaeologists even today. The city is incredibly well planned and seemingly had no buildings or places which would signify a religious or a political significance.
People from all over the world study and marvel at the city and its inhabitants – the Indus Valley Civilization -thus known due to their proximity to the Indus River. But for some reason, the site was never developed or peddled as a tourist destination.
We’re lucky enough to have a marvel like Mohenjo Daro in our country and we barely pay attention to it. Apart from including it on the PKR 20 note, there is barely any attention paid to the site.
The artifacts from the site are scattered across museums around the world; museums in Lahore, Karachi, Delhi, and London. But the museum at Mohenjo Daro itself has a lot of replicas and of course the excavation site itself. Due to a lack of funds given to the site, it was never exactly developed into the tourist destination it could be.
It’s located in the Larkana district of Sindh. The archaeological site has an old, depilated airport which can only handle small crafts. There are 3 direct flights from Karachi every week but when I went to PIA’s website to see the schedule, I couldn’t find anything.
A train station is located 11 KM away from the site and rickshaws or taxis can be hired to go to the site. Local buses also run in between and can be taken to reach the site.
My question is simple; why doesn’t the government spend money and time over making Mohenjo Daro into a tourist destination? The Northern areas of Pakistan shouldn’t be the only factor we use to attract tourists.
Mohenjo Daro could be as big of a tourist attraction as the Stonehenge in England or Pompeii in Italy. The rich history of our land is something we need to embrace and celebrate. And making the ancient city of Mohenjo Daro into a tourist attraction would be one step towards it.
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Image Source: @aliaraffia/@amg_perspective via Instagram.com