Just 127 kms from Karachi near District Thattha lies the Keenjhar Lake. It is man made lake also called as Kalri Lake. Keenjhar Lake is a huge freshwater reserve, and one of Pakistan’s largest fresh water lakes. With a maximum length of 24 kms and width of 6 km it’s area is well over 137 sq km. If you are going from Karachi just follow the Shahrah e Faisal towards the Jinnah International Ariport. The road is fairly good and you will reach Thattha in about two hours, depending on how slow you can not drive From Thattha it is a mere 25 kms.
The area is enclosed in a boundary wall and some fence so entry is restricted. There is a meager entry fee, you pay that and you can enter the area. The place is well laid out, there is acres upon acres of area, some green some not. The Date Palm trees give it a magical look. A hotel nearby promises to serve good food but we stayed away from it as my friend told me he got a loose stomach the last time he had a Chciken Karahi over there. Since it was winters so a cool breeze was blowing around mid day and sitting in the sun was soothing. At night though it becomes chilly, which was battled by a bonfire and a guitarist friend gave us recital which enthralled us well in to the late night hours. This was off course supplemented with prudent puffs of Sheesha, Chocolate Cigars and cigarettes making the evening as “Dhoowandar” as can be. The self cooked Chicken Karahi preceded by pea nuts was awesome. Chilled Pepsi and Coke helped us wash the food down. Burp! Burp! Burp! More tea, and the gentleman complied, which was followed with the same alacrity.
There is a sublime row of guest rooms constructed by the Sind Tourism Department. We got a few booked. They are well constructed, there’s a sitting room and a small kitchenette of sorts on the ground floor and a living room, balcony and wash room on the first floor. But the cleanliness is oh, abysmal. This can be taken care of by tipping the staff in advance, and they do a good job if tipped. Also it would help a lot of a local is included in one’s entourage as was in our case for the staff is mostly Sindhi speaking and will work their magic if you converse with them in Sindhi.
A few boats one can find decked on the shore, which charge good amount of money to take you around. We found a few enthusiasts fishing in the lake as it has a huge variety of fish, we were told. The Karli lake is a wild life sanctuary for birds. Some of the migratory birds making there yearly pilgrimage to this place are Waders, Flamingos, Ducks, Geese, Coots, Terns, Gulls and Herons. It also has the shrine of Noori Jam Tamachi on a desolate island. We wanted to go there but were not allowed to go as a mass suicide had taken place over there few weeks back. The lake also supplies water to Thattha Town. In summers we were told one can also swim in the lake which I would love to, any day. It is a quite and peaceful place where one can go to unwind and read a book. There are some VIP guest rooms which were towards another part of the lake. I am sure they would be better than the ones we lived in. I intend trying them out next time. Do take enough drinking water along if you plan to spend more time or are staying over night.
Overall a good experience but I would love if they could ensure a better standard of cleanliness in the rooms and the area around it.
The triplet set of guest rooms.
Some Chinese tourists were out trying their luck.
A floating room which can be hired for lunch or dinner, but you have to take your food along!
Watch out for the dogs! Specially if you intend spending a night there.