If you were born in Karachi, than you must have seen this building many times or may be thousands of times if you work in this busy downtown. Empress market in the heart of Sadaar is a century old monument and icon of British rule. At the time of its construction Queen of England Victoria was Queen of British India too so they named it “Empress”and since that time, it has become a part of our architectural jewel box.
Whether you have a taste for dry fruits or shopping for grocery is your part-time activity, you would find everything there. From nail cutter to pencils, fruits to vegetables, seeds to pulses, you can enjoy a wide variety of food items and stationary. Despite of my budget consciousness I aways spend few extra bucks over unnecessary shopping because it’s always an opportunity to roam inside corridors made of stone and busy hallways. A big court-yard of market offers plenty of space for those who can’t afford rent of permanent shops but main attraction of this building is its cloak tower which still has a clock but no time.
On the left side of this market is a pet bazar, I tried to capture some photos of peacock and other rare birds but it was extremely noisy and crowded. That was like hundreds of birds and animals protesting against their imprisonment so I moved further to capture some horrific shots of meat market which is next to chirya bazar and it offers best variety of meat and animal stuff like stomach lining, brains and skulls. But as I stepped further a strong smell of blood and burning fat soothed into my nasal cavity and within a fraction of a minute my tolerance surrendered and I escaped from there to prevent nasty embarrassment.
This building has witnessed more than twelve decades of development but still situation is not much different, still people sell things on pavements, a crowded entrance still welcomes you and this monument still has a power to converge your attention towards herself.
What has changed is our behaviour with this beautiful master piece. A place which was previously a modern market place has now become a junk yard, rotten fruits, shopping bags, spitted pan and bundles of wires are ruining her graceful appearance. Government and locals should seriously think to restore true beauty of this Empress, before it’s too late.
Photos by writer (C).