The Heart and Soul of Tharparkar… Mithi…


Text & Photos by: Ar. Faiza Lalwani

Literary meaning to cross over sand; Tharparkar is known to be “the only fertile dessert” in the world houses almost 200 districts of the world; Mithi remains it heart and soul….

After travelling for almost 10 hours on impassable road; failing two cars, I began to notice smooth drive that the car took all of the sudden, Metaled road, bright shining light and too many tree… All in the middle of dessert… but little did I know, we were in Mithi…

Driving through the city we came to our rest house, The Dessert Rest House; there were three things worth mentioning… a recently constructed Clock House; a breathtaking view of Mithi and Sky covered in Stars; Starring Stars could be a favorite hobby there, like all we spent most of our time gazing this drop dead gorgeous beauty…

In the middle of which we had food; served with Alao and Mirchi along with Paper… the food was regional and beyond delicious

Early morning, you wake up to fading moon; with colored sky partially blocked by Clock Tower’s Silhouette; and before anything start to absorb light; one can see yogis… lost like a lovers; and focused like a fighter; breathing the fresh air, pompously revealing Mithi as a beautifully composed background with an orange tint layered on sun.

The area is made in the memory of Benazir Bhutto’s immortal presence in the region; and the clock house aims to have be a viewing deck from where, Mithi appears to be Green and Serene, right in the middle of the dessert;the city seems to have grown on its own paces without any grid planning just stroked as desired;

Not only beauty but one would witness cohabitation in this city… The population caters to 49% of Hindus and rest Muslims; the followers of the two religion are believed to be contraries; but anyone who have been there would advocate the peace that prevails within the two. Famous for not sacrificing cows and fasting Hindus; Mithi sets an example of living that only a few can incarnate…

Sadly the color of cement has hit the city too; and most of the modern houses are built of concrete; though one can witness bricked houses with large verandas and tress; open staircase and huge terraces that gives relief to the sight. Most of the brickwork is beautiful topped with the Cement Jaali.

As one heads in the outskirts of Mithi; to a Sprawl of villages, mud houses becomes quite evident; and the spirit of dessert could be an onlooker clearly.

The houses are mostly round in shape; with hatch on bamboo structure for roofing. However there are multiple other types as well, square houses are generally with wooden Doors, with details carefully thought off, the parnallas are set in the front, to dispose rain water; thari claims there house to be environmentally responsive.

Public areas are generally made of wooden (raw cut trees) and hatched roof, that provides semi privacy; the mudrooms are divided within members of the family collectively marking as one household with a parapet wall defining the boundary of the houses; the parapets are beautifully crafted with designs and patterns.

Far away from houses are setup called Utaaq; the elderly of the house spends maximum time there; guest and other young villagers are mostly welcomed there, the chaarpais in Utaaq are beautifully decorated with Rali, the identity of Sindh Craft, these Ralis are mostly hand woven by the women themselves.

The new borns are kept in a separate room in a wooden Swing made by the ladies of the family.

As Tharparkar inhabits Rajistani Culture; Panhiari is the other name for women, are dressed in stunning floral traditional gararas, with laced dupattas accessorized with white bangles crafted in thar itself, this represent the women is married.

The life to Tharis is difficult, women is responsible to drag water for the household; thanks to Green Crescent Trust, Water Project they are making wells all over thar to overcome with the water crisis, wish that helps them improve the hardship that women and girls face there.

The other very important thing that GCT is doing for Thar is developing schools infrastructure; they are coming up with first Designed School in Mithi, though GCT is currently operating a school and most of the young population have started going to school; however to overcome shortfall and give an educational identity to this land GCT’s Project Hilal Public School making new records.

As we went there for ground breaking of the school; many dignitaries including the donors were gathered, and the most beautiful sight was every child sparkling like a star, they felt owned, precious and elevated, those smile are to die for..

It’s been quite some time since I visited Mithi, Last September 2014; I have relived it manifolds; thankful to Team Green Crescent Trust, Zahid Saeed CEO, GCT and My Guru, Syed Arif Shah; responsible for me being to this paradise! Truly life is what we make it…


faiza-lawaniAbout the Writer…
Ar. Faiza Lalwani, Trained as architect (B.Arch) from University of Karachi, my world revolves around the lifestyle and living so does my inspiration, with diversified Learning and Exposure, I have been Designing, trained in and pursuing Project Management Nicheand also associated with State University as a Cooperative Teacher.

I want to praise God through interaction with humanity and that comes with Traveling, Photography, Reading, Writing and Most of all creating an impact to society.

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