The Archaeological Site of Bhanbhore is situated 60 kilometers south-east of Karachi on the bank of Gharo Creek in District Thatto of Sindh province of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
HISTORY: Bhanbhore is an early Islamic Archaeological Site which has a sequence from 1st century BC to 13th Century AD. Whilst its earlier phases are waterlogged, the surface remains of the site represent the best preserved early Islamic urban form in South Asia. It is also the region’s best preserved medieval port.
The port’s plan consists of five main zones. The most impressive zone is a 10 m high mound which stands on the shore of the creek itself. Measuring 610 m by 305 m, the mound is delineated by a 3 m wide limestone fortification wall with 46 rounded bastions and 3 gates. The latter appears to be connected to a grid iron arrangement of streets. An interior wall divides the mound into western and eastern sectors, with the floor plans of major structures preserved on the surface of the latter half. These largest structures have been identified as a mosque, an administrative quarter and a serai or inn.
The ground plan of its stone-built mosque is particularly well preserved and consisted of a square plane, measuring 34m by 35m with a central open courtyard, surrounded by cloisters. The western cloister formed the prayer hall and its flat roof was supported by 33 wooden pillars, resting on sandstone bases.
There was no trace of a mehrab, but an inscription dating 727 AD (15 years after the conquest of Sindh by Arab General Muhammad Ibn-e-Qasim) indicates that this is the best preserved example of an early mosque in the region, while others having rebuilt. The evidence of the reuse of carved stone from earlier Hindu structures suggests that the site had undergone a major shift in cultural and ritual focus. Beyond the walls there are two substantial but unfortified suburbs to the eastern and the north-eastern corners. There exists a large artificial tank or reservoir — the port’s drinking supply — and a large industrial area which stretches along the latter’s western edge with evidence of textile processing, glass-making, glazing and metallurgy industries. The presence of the industrial sector and the port’s wealth of imported ceramic and metal goods, in combination with its strategic setting at the mouth of the Mighty Indus River, reinforce the pivotal role of Bhanbhore linking the international Indian Ocean traders with the resources of the interior of Sindh/South Asia. Its role ended when the Indus shifted its course in 11th Century AD and the creek silted up, underlying the role that the Nature has played in shaping the heritage.
MUSEUM: An Archaeological Museum is established at the site, where the artifacts so far discovered during the course of excavation are displayed in chronological sequence. These include Pre-Islamic pottery, Umayyad pottery, Abbasid and latter period pottery, Chinese pottery, Unglazed household pottery, Pre-Islamic and Islamic period coins, Minor Antiquities i.e. Sculptures, Inscriptions, Iron, Copper and Ivory objects, etc.
BHANBHORE REST HOUSE: Located very close to the Museum, Bhanbhore Rest House has been beautifully renovated and aesthetically refurbished for accommodation of the tourists and visitors. It has two bed rooms, with drawing and dining rooms, and can accommodate at least four people at a time.
Charges of Rooms:
Double Room: Rs: 1500/= (For 24 hours)
Single Room: Rs: 1000/= (For 24 hours)
(Note: For a shorter stay extending up to 6 hours, 50% of the above rates will be charged.)
Entry to the Archaeological Site & Museum is through the main gate. Booking office and Book Shop are situated at the main entrance.
Archaeological Site & Museum, Bhanbhore are open to public on all seven days of the week, observing the following timings:
SUMMER: 1st April to 30111September 07:30 hrs. to half an hour before Sunset
WINTER: 1st October to 3 1st March 08:30 hrs. to half an hour before Sunset
Adult: Rs. 20/-Children:- 6 to 12 Years Rs. 10/-
Foreigner: – Rs. 300/-Students in Groups are Free
Drinking Water is available near the entrance gate.
Toilets for visitors are located towards West in between Museum and Archaeological Site.