over 7 miles north of Karachi, the sacred tomb of Pir Haji Mangho (a saint
whose original name was Kamaldin) with its resident population of crocodiles
and the adjacent sulphur springs offered opportunities to pilgrims for cleansing
both the spirit and the flesh. No evidence has been forthcoming as to how
these crocodiles of a species not normally found in or around the Jndus
river were marooned in such a hilly oasis. Their very presence, an enigma
in itself, has helped popularise their attraction to visitors and residents
of Karachi for over 150 years.
An early surveyor of Karachi, Lt. T.G. Carless recorded in his report of 1838: 'The valley of Pir Mangho is surrounded by hills 700 or 800 feet high, between which glimpses are occasionally obtained of the level plains beyond, but at the upper extremity it stretches away in high undulating ground far to thenorthward. An extensive grove of date and other trees occupies the centre of the plain, and on the western side there is another, above which is seen the cupola of a small white mosque, erected on a rocky eminence.'
Carless continued: 'The spring gushes out in a small stream from among the roots of a picturesque clump of date trees, covering the extremity of a rocky knoll of limestone about 30 feet high, and falls into a small natural basin, from whence it escapes in numerous rills to the adjacent gardens. The name of this spring is Kisti, but it was formerly called Kirkund, or the milk-tank, from the water being milk-white, which was no doubt owing to its flowing at that time over a bed of chalk. It is now colourless and perfectly pure to the taste, having no perceptible flavour of any kind, but, from the stones in some of the rivulets being encrusted with a soft substance of a dark reddish-brown colour, probably contains a small portion of iron. The water is so warm that at first you can scarcely bear your hand in it, and its temperature was afterwards found to be 1330. The natives say it cures every disease, and they not only bathe in it whenever they have an opportunity, but drink it in large quantities. They believe that all the springs in the valley owe their existence to Lal Shahbaz, the celebrated saint of Sehwan, who, in order to make the spot holy, commanded them to burst forth from the rocks.' (Carless, quoted in Hughes (1876), 340 -341.)
|The Tomb of Haji Mango Pir near Karachi, 1850|
|The Tomb of Hajo Mango Pir near Karachi, 1870|
|The Crocodiles at Mango Pir Near Karachi, 1880|
|The Rajah crocodile at Mango Pir, near Karachi, 1878|
|Feeding the crocodiles ar Mango Pir, near Karachi, 1878|