KaravanPakistan - Heritage Cleaning Events

Heritage Cleaning Events - Cholistan

Historic Fort at Darawar in the Cholistan Desert.

Karavan Heritage Safeguarding Event, Darawar Fort, Sunday, October 3 2004

In the quest of its aim to spread awareness about the many wonderful heritage sites in Pakistan and the importance of taking care of them in order to preserve them for future generations, KaravanPakistan has steadily been holding events at various historical monuments throughout the country.

Its journey began from the streets of Karachi and after trekking through Lahore where it celebrated the world heritage site of Shahi Qila, the next stop for KaravanPakistan in its Heritage Cleaning Initiative was the cleaning of the Darawar fort in the Cholistan Desert which was part of the 3 day KaravanPakistan Rohi-Cholistan Heritage Fest. This Heritage Cleaning Initiative, as are all KaravanPakistan Heritage Cleaningh Initiatives, was made possible through public participation.

The ruinous state of this magnificent structure was distressing to say the least. Students from five schools accompanied the Karavan team to clean up one of the most beautifully decorated rooms in the fort. Most of the schools participating in the Heritage Fest showed great enthusiasm in taking a trip to Darawar Fort to clean its walls and floors; and it wasn’t just students but 100 people including Mr. Jorge Sequeira Director UNESCO who volunteered to clean this historic structure.

The cleaning was undertaken under the guidance of cleaning experts to ensure that no harm or damage accrued to the historic structure or to themselves For this event cotton gloves and masks were distributed among the participants for their own safety while soft bristle brushes were chosen for the dry cleaning of the Fort. Even this simple equipment used to clean the walls and remove dust from the floor of the fort with the help of plastic pans made an incredible difference to the fort’s appearance.

The Cholistan Forts are remarkable for their picturesqueness with their bastions and fortifications built with mud and brick. They have guarded the desert for centuries past but are today in a sad state of neglect and disrepair. Many of the Forts have been lost without a trace.

This Heritage Cleaning Initiative was organized to draw attention to the plight of these historic forts and to foster the ‘duty of care’ among the general public. In view of the impending destruction, it is essential to preserve all those historic structures that have lent character, charm and romance to the silent desert. The focus on the safeguarding effort is expected to also help revitalize the life and crafts of the Cholistan people.

School children (on back seats) waiting for briefing by archaeologists of Department of Archaeology, Punajb (in front).

More school children in anticipation of the briefing.
School children engaged in heritage cleaning.


Heritage Cleaning Events - Karachi

PSO-Karavan Heritage Cleaning Initiative

Holy Trinity Church, Abdullah Haroon Road
Saturday, 4th December, 2004

KaravanPakistan’s efforts to safeguard heritage in the form of historical buildings have always involved the general public, schools and people from diverse walks of life.

The cleaning of the Holy Trinity Church was done under the aegis of the Karavan Mera Compact Adopt-a-Historic Building Programme. Following the programme the Trinity Methodist Girls Higher Secondary School had adopted the Holy Trinity Church. Thus Karavan Committee Members and two of the partner schools of the Compact, namely Shahwilayat School and Woodland Secondary School, joined hands with them to clean the church.

The Holy Trinity Church (Garrison Church) was constructed in 1855 (the construction began in 1852). The church was originally designed by Capt. John Hill with changes later being made to the design by John Brunton. The church tower originally consisted of five storeys rising to a height of 150 feet, with search lights installed at the uppermost storey so that it functioned as a lighthouse too. The uppermost two storeys were removed in 1904 for safety reasons. The church being a garrison church also has memorials to those who served in service of the British Empire.

In this event 135 students cleaned the historic structure in order to foster a sense of pride and ownership of their heritage. This event was made more enjoyable with the delightful band and Christmas carols sung by the students of the Trinity Methodist Girls School.

The Programme of this event is as follows:
1415 hrs Assembly
1430 Recitation from the Holy Quran
1435 Welcome by Ms. Irene Pearl, Principal, Trinity Methodist Girls School
1440 Introduction by Ms. Yasmeen Lari, Chairperson Karavan Initiatives
1445 Address by the Chief Guest
1455 Briefing and distribution of cleaning kits by Ms. Shanaz Ramzi
1505 Cleaning and washing of historic structure
1700 Refreshments

Wallace Bridge, I.I.Chundrigar Road
Sunday, 9th January, 2005

The Wallace Bridge on I.I.Chundrigar Road was selected as the focal point of a Heritage Cleaning activity under the Karavan Mera Pakistan Compact on Sunday, 9th January, 2005. This assembly of a 100 children was addressed by Ms. Samina Peerzada (Film and TV actor) to provide encouragement in their work of safeguarding the historic assets of the city.

This activity was part of a series of activities under the PSO-Karavan Mera Pakistan programme organized every month in order to develop a sense of pride and foster a culture of sharing. It was a continuation of various activities held by KaravanPakistan during 2001-2003, and throughout 2004 in several cities ranging from Karachi’s Old Town to Lahore’s Shahi Qila and Bhawalpur Palaces and Derawar Fort.

The 19th century Wallace Bridge is a historic landmark of the city and has been gravely neglected. It represents the arrival of the railways and consequent prosperity to Karachi. When large quantities of grain were brought from Punjabs canal colonies to Karachi by railway the city became famous as the largest exporter of wheat in the whole British Empire.

The Bridge is situated close to the nineteenth century historic City Station, at one time known as McLeod Station, when in fact I.I.Chundrigar Road was also known as McLeod road, named after John Mcleod, Deputy Collector of Customs who served in Karachi during early 1850’s.

The cleaning of the Bridge, composed of buff coloured sandstone, was carried out as gently as possible with clean water and mild detergent suitable for historic structures. After the removal of layers of dust, scrubbing with bristle brushes was done to remove the dirt, soiling and whitewash or other paint.

KaravanPakistan Partner schools that took part in this activity were Shahawilayat Public School, BayView Academy, Woodland Public School, Rashid Minhas Government School and KPT School at Keamari. 

Historic P& O Plaza (Bandookwala Building) Cleaning
by Karavan Virsa Volunteers, 5th -6th February 2005

The cleaning of Bandookwala building by Karavan Virsa Volunteers was part of Heritage Fest Organized by Karavan Pakistan on I.I.Chundrigar Road. The cleaning initiative was undertaken in association with adult and child volunteers. All this activivty took place in a fun filled carnival like atmosphere.

The cleaning and washing of the 30 foot high façade of P& O Plaza, was the first major voluntary effort by Karachi’s adult citizens to improve the city’s environment through heritage safeguarding. In this the fifth Karavan Heritage Cleaning Initiative several companies avolunteered their officers and personnel as workforce. The companies which provided over 100 volunteers to undertake the cleaning effort include Shamsi Builders, Shaheen Construction Company, Ziauddin and company, CALECO, Adnan Asdar Associates, Pakistan State Oil, FTC Management Co. Ltd. And ALCOP.

The Cleaning of the 250 foot long façade began on the 5th February morning and continued till the evening of the 6th. Children who participated in the performances in the Heritage Fest later took part in the Cleaning Initiative according to heritage guidelines and under expert guidance.

KaravanPakistan by means of such Initiatives and drives aims to foster a sense of identity and pride, and to preserve heritage for a culture of peace, national integration and development

Quaid-e-Azam House Museum, Fatima Jinnah Road
Saturday, 28 May, 2005

The PSO-Karavan Quaid-e-Azam House Museum Heritage Cleaning Initiative on 28th May, 2005 was one in a stream if similar events held throughout 2004/2005.

The Quaid-e-Azam House Museum is a modest but charming house built in the Cantone ment. The house was probably built in the 1890’s and was originally owned by the Parsi magnate Sorab Kavasji and Dina Katrak and later was brought by Quaid-e-Azam. After the Quaid’s death his sister Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah lived in the house from 1948 to 1964. The Quaid-e-Azam House was initially called the Flagstaff House. The striking elements of this building that create its charm are its simple arcading, carved pilasters, semicircular balconies and sloping roof using red clay tiles.

This structure is a heritage site not simply because of the number of years it has been standing but also because of the people who have lived in it and the events it has witnessed. From being a requisitioned residence to General Hind,G.O.C., to serving as the Headquarters of the Combined Opposition Parties during the general elections of 1965, it has silently witnessed the many twists and turns of Pakistan’s turbulent political history. The building now serves as a museum that houses the Quaid’s furniture, relics and other items.

It was to celebrate this national monument that 74 children from 5 Karavan Compact Partner Schools congregated at this historic site to clean the Museum building which is an essential and undeniable part of our history and invaluable due to its association with the Quaid. This activity based on heritage safeguarding initiatives created an awareness about this historic asset while simultaneously providing our youth with a platform for contributing to this process. The Event ended with the distribution of participation certificates amongst the school children.

Frere Hall, Abdullah Haroon Road
9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., Saturday, 17th September, 2005

This was the first cleaning activity by Karavan Pakistan of the new school year. It was to focus on safeguarding this monument that 100 children from 9 Karavan Compact Partner schools congregated at the historic site to clean it and thereby renew our historical association with this heritage site. This activity formed part of KaravanPakistan Heritage Cleaning Initiatives which allows our youth to participate in the process of safeguarding our heritage while simultaneously creating an awareness of these assets.

Frere Hall is a significant landmark of the city for a variety of reasons. It was constructed in honour of Bartle Frere, to commemorate his services as the most dynamic “Commissioner in Sinde”. It is to Bartle Frere that the modernization of Sind is attributed. Another aspect of its historical importance lies in the fact that the completion of Frere Hall coincided with a change in the policy of the British Government. Having annexed Sind it had to enlarge the scope of civil works in order to accommodate new civil functions for the effective governing of the Empire and therefore required buildings for this purpose. One of the most prominenent buildings of Karachi today, Frere Hall is looked upon in considerable fondness by the city’s inhabitants.