Editor’s Note: Rare black & white photos of Sukkur dating back to 1840s are in the last portion of this page.
Brief History of Sukkur: Sukkur (formerly Aror, Alor and Bakar) is the capital of Sukkur District. It is the third largest city of Sindh province, situated on the west bank of Indus River. Sukkur ia called Sakharu in Sindhi language which means “superior”. The spelling of the city’s name in Sindhi suggests that it is the origin of the name. Sukkur is nicknamed as ‘Darya Dino’ (the Gift of River), as without the Indus the city would be a desert. The district of Sukkur was constituted in 1901 out of part of Shikarpur District. Sukkur saw a significant socio-economic uplift after the 1930s, when the British built the world’s largest barrage here on the Indus River.
Sukkur has been an important strategic centre and trading route from time immemorial. Alor (or Aror, Sukkur) held the status of capital under the reign of Musikanos, when Alexander invaded the region in 326 BC. The ruins of this ancient town still exist, 8 km east of Rohri, in Sukkur district. The Rai Dynasty built a huge temple of Shiva. In 711 AD, the Arabs invaded Sindh, led by 17-year-old Muhammad bin Qasim, and Sukkur (including all of Sindh and lower Punjab) became part of the Umayyad Caliphate.
Later Mughals and many semi-autonomous tribes ruled over Sukkur. The city was ceded to Mirs of Khairpur between 1809 and 1824. In 1833, Shah Shuja (a warlord of Kandahar, Afghanistan) defeated the Talpurs near Sukkur and later made a solemn treaty with the Talpur ruler, by which he relinquished all claims on Sindh. In 1843, Sukkur, along with the rest of Sindh, came under British rule until the independence of Pakistan in 1947.
Lansdowne Bridge Rohri/Sukur. Lansdowne Bridge, linking Sukkur and Rohri, was inaugurated on March 27, 1889. The bridge provided the railway link between Lahore and the port of Karachi. Later, the arched Ayub Bridge was inaugurated on May 6, 1962 and railway traffic was shifted there. About a hundred feet apart, the two bridges seem like one from a distance.
Ayub Bridge (Ayub Arch) at Sukkur. Ayub Bridge (Ayub Arch) is a railway bridge over the Indus river between Rohri and Sukkur in Sindh province, Pakistan. This steel arch bridge was inaugurated by President Muhammad Ayub Khan on 6 May 1962. The Ayub Bridge became the world’s third longest railway arch span and the first railway bridge in the world to be slung on coiled wire rope suspenders. On its completion railway traffic was transferred to Ayub Bridge from the adjacent Lansdowne Bridge.
Inauguration of Ayub Bridge (Ayub Arch) at Sukkur, 1962. President Muhammad Ayub Khan is inaugurating Ayub Bridge at Sukkur on May 6, 1962.
Railway Bridge Across Indus River, Connecting Rohri and Sukkur through Bukkur Island Fort. Photo by msb1606.
Bukkur Island and the Three Bridges on Indus River at Sukkur. In this photo, one can see on the right the arched Ayub Bridge and Lansdowne Bridge connecting Rohri to Bukkur Island, shown in the middle of the photo. The island of Bukkur has an old historical fortress which is currently being used by Army. On the left side of the photo, one can see the bridge connecting Bukkur island to Sukkur city.
Army Barracks at Bukkur Island, Sukkur
An Aerial View of Rohri and Sukkur after Floods in the Indus River. Ayub Bridge and Lansdowne Bridge connecting Rohri to Bukkur island are visible in the middle distance. A smaller bridge connecting Bukkur island to Sukkur city is also visible. Photo by Jahangir Khan.
Sukkur Barrage (Lloyd Barrage), Opened in 1932. Sukkur Barrage (formerly called Lloyd Barrage) was built over Indus River near Sukkur during British Raj and was inaugurated by Lord Willingdon, the Viceroy of India, on 13 January 1932. The scheme had been launched by the Governor of Bombay, Sir George Ambrose Lloyd for whom it was named. It was the largest irrigation project ever undertaken, and irrigates the farmlands through its seven large canals. Some of the canals are larger than the Suez Canal.
Sukkur Barrage has 7 Canals. Left Bank canals are Nara Canal, Mirwah Canal, Rohri Canal, Abul Wah and Right Bank canals are Dadu Canal, Rice Canal and Kirthar Canal.
In November 2004, the government of Pakistan initiated a rehabilitation project to revitalize its water storage capacity and distribution efficiency. The project was completed in July 2005. The experts claim that the rehabilitation of the barrage has increased its life for another 60 to 70 years.
Night View of Sukkur Barrage (Lloyd Barrage). Photo by by Engr. HaMza NiaZi.
Stamp Issued by Pakistan Post on Golden Jubilee of Sukkur Barrage (Lloyd Barrage), 1982
Lloyd Barrage, Sukkur, 1935
Stamps Showing Llyod Barrage issued on 14 August 1948
Inauguration of Lloyd Barrage at Sukkur (The Daily Gazette, Edition of 14 January 1932). This rare edition of The Daily Gazette (later became The Sind Gazette) shows the Viceroy of India, Lord Willingdon, who inaugurated the Lloyd Barrage (built over Indus River near Sukkur) on 13 January 1932. It was later named as the Sukkur Barrage. The scheme had been launched by the Governor of Bombay, Sir George Ambrose Lloyd for whom it was named.
Plaque at The Lloyd Barrage Sukkur, also known as Sukkur Barrage. Photo by Danyal Gilani.
Lloyd Barrage Museum, Sukkur. Photo by usman_gooner.
Entrance to Dadu Canal, Sukkur Barrage. Dadu Canal is one of the three canals emanting from Sukkur Barrage on the western bank of Indus River. Photo by msb1606.
Three Canals Emanating from Sukkur Barrage at the Right Bank of Indus River. These three canals are Dadu Canal, Rice Canal and Kirthar Canal. Photo by Jahangir Khan.
An Aerial View of Three Canals at Sukkur
Nara Canal, Rohri, Sukkur Barrage. Photo by Skybolt.
A Night View of River Indus and Sukkur City
War Mubarak Shrine in Rohri City. The Shrine of War Mubarak is located near Rohri Railway station towards Sukkur. This Shrine holds a holy Hair of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). A building was erected around 1545 AD (952 AH) by Mir Muhammad, the then reigning Kalhora Prince, for the special reception of a holy Hair. Photo by SaffyH – Uploading Iceland Photo’s.
Interior view of War Mubarak Shrine in Rohri City. A casket crusted in Gold and silver enshrines the hair of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
Remains of Muhammad Bin Qasim Mosque. The Muhammad Bin Qasim Mosque was built at Arore, near Sukkur, on top of a mound by the first Muslim man to step in the region, Muhammad Bin Qasim, in 711 AD.
Minar-e-Masumi and Faiz Mahal at Sukkur. The minaret of Syed Nizam-ud-Din Mir Muhammad Masum Shah (a governor of Mughal Emperor Akbar) is the most conspicuous structure of Sukkur town which can be seen from a far distance. It is called ‘Mir Masum Shah Jo Minaro’ in Sindhi language.This conical shaped minaret was built around 1607 AD (26 metres in circumference, 31 metres in height with 84 steps to the top). Photo by SaffyH – Uploading Iceland Photo’s.
Sateen Jo Aastan, “The Tombs of Seven Sisters” at Rohri. Sateen Jo Aastan is located on the left bank of the Indus River near Rohri on a small hill. A building on the southern side of the hill is called Satbhain (Seven Sisters). According to folklore seven unmarried female friends resided here who veiled themselves from all males. But for the fear of a tyrannical Raja, they disappeared in a cave in the side of a hill. Thus they became satti. Probably this folklore has its origins in the Hindu ritual of satti, where widows burnt themselves on their dead husband’s pyre. In reality, however, this is the burial-place of a ruler from Sukkur, Mir Abu Al-Qasim Namkeen (961 A.H, 993 A.H).
On one of the smaller hills that arises out of the river bank on the south has a leveled platform on which there are many carved gravestones. The principal grave is that of Mir Kasim one of the Sabzwari Shahids dated 1018 AD. This was probably the grave that sanctified the place, and the lamp-post and lamp that were placed in front of it are still there; and it gives the name of Than Kasim Shah to the hill. But the name by which it is more generally known is the Hill of the Seven Virgins.
Another View of Seven Sisters Graveyard at Rohri. Ayub Bridge and Lansdowne Bridge are visible in the background. Photo by Jahangir @.
A Closer View of Seven Sisters Graveyard at Rohri. Photo by mianaamir.
Jamia Masjid, Sukkur. Photo by NAJAMUDDIN BHATTI.
Eidgah Masjid in Rohri City. Eidgah Mosque in Rohri city dates back to 1593. Photo by SaffyH – Uploading Iceland Photo’s.
Clock Tower at Ghanta Ghar Chowk, Sukkur. Photo by uMa|r.
Sukkur Clock Tower (Ghanta Ghar) during Night
Pir Ilahi Baksh Tower (Ilmi Tower), Sukkur. Pir Illahi Bakhsh Tower (also called ‘Ilmi Tower’) is located on a hill near State Bank of Pakistan, Sukkur. It is 110 feet high and 66 feet wide. The tower was founded by Pir Illahi Bakhsh, minister for education in May 1939 and completed in 1940. Photo by By bukhaari.
Sukkur Railway Station. Photo by Ghilzai.
Railway Heritage Museum at Sukkur. Railway Heritage Museum was established in 2005 at Sukkur Railway Station. An old steam engine and a few coaches were brought from Mirpur Khas section. Antiques were collected from almost 60 stations of Sukkur and displayed inside the coaches. Photo by Commoner28th.
River Indus at High Floods at Sukkur. Photo by Rahmat akhund.
Sukkur Airport Terminal Building. Photo by Rahmat akhund.
Entrance of Lab-e-Mehran Park in Sukkur. Lab-e-Mehran is famous garden in Sukkur, located on Bandar Road, adjacent to the Indus River. There is a separate family area with a small hotel. There is also boat riding facility. Photo by SAN Group 2k.
A Globe near Lab-e-Mehran Park, Sukkur
Hockey Stadium, Sukkur. Built at old Railway Ground.
High Rise Buildings at the Bank of Indus River, Sukkur
A View of Congested City of Sukkur with Indus River in the Background
Night View of Icon Departmental Store near Minar-e-Masumi, Sukkur
Day View of Icon Departmental Store, Sukkur
Interior View of Icon Departmental Store, Sukkur
Long Stone Bridge, Rohri. Photo by Rahmat akhund.
Civil Hospital, Sukkur
Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital, Sukkur
Government Islamia Science College, Sukkur
IBA (Institute of Business Administration), Sukkur
St. Mary’s High School, Sukkur. St. Mary’s School was started in 1881. But it was not recognized till 1888. It was initially for the children of railway personnel, but in 1897 it was opened to all local people. It was housed in a railway bungalow and shifted to its own building on 23 May 1911. Photo shows St. Mary’s School and church. Photo by SAN Group 2k.
School website: http://www.geocities.ws/uzairarain/School.htm.
Saint Mary’s Catholic Church at Sukkur. St. Mary’s Church was built in early 1850s. In February 2006, a mob destroyed the church and was rebuilt and opened in 2009. This photo was taken in 1992. Photo by Francis Hannaway.
Saint Saviour’s Church, Sukkur
Sadh Belo, A Sacred Place for Hindu in an Island at Sukkur. Downstream of the island of Bukkur, and separated from it by a short stretch of river, is the small island of Sat, or Sadh, Belo. On it is a Hindu religious establishment found in AD 1823 by Swami Bakhandi Maharaj Udasi. It is a sacred pilgrimage place for Hindus throughout Sindh and even in India. The island has two inlets, Sadh Belo and Din Belo. To visit Sadh Belo one requires a permission from the department of Auqaf to go there.
Old Photo of Sadhu Bela, Sukkur, 1920
Shrine of Zinda Pir, Sukkur, in 1926. The shrine of a saint Khawaja Khizar, known as ‘Zinda Pir’ (also called “Jind Pir”) was built around 925 AD on a small island called “Hajee ka Tau” located north of Bukkur island fort, Sukkur. Unfortunately except the island, nothing much remains of this structure today.
A Bungalow on the Bank of River Indus, Sukkur, 1924. A guard is standing outside a bungalow close to railway line and Indus River in Sukkur. It is probably at the construction site of Llyod Barrage (Construction started in 1923 and inaugurated on 13 January 1932). Photo by Abaraphobia.
Under Construction Bungalow at the Site of Lloyd Barrage, Sukkur, 1924. Photo by Abaraphobia.
Minaret of Mir Masum Shah, Sukkur, 1910
Lansdowne Railway Bridge, Sukkur, in 1897. A view of Indus River with the Lansdowne Railway Bridge at Sukkur in the background. The Bukkur Fort is also visible on the left.
Shrine of Zinda Pir, Sukkur, in 1897. The photograph taken by Henry Cousens shows the shrine of a saint Khawaja Khizar, known as ‘Zinda Pir’ (also called “Jind Pir”). The shrine was built around 925 AD on a small island called “Hajee ka Tau” located north of Bukkur island fort, Sukkur. Unfortunately except the island, nothing much remains of this structure today.
Minaret and Tomb of Mir Masum Shah at Sukkur, 1896
The Lansdowne Bridge at Sukkur in 1895. Members of World Transportation Commission on an inspection trolley at the Lansdowne Bridge at Sukkur in 1895. Photo by an American photographer William Henry Jackson.
Shrine of Seven Sisters (“Sathbahin” Monument) in Rohri, 1890s. A view across the Indus River from Sukkur, with “Sathbahin” Monument (Shrine of Seven Sisters) at Rohri in the middleground.
Men and Women Screening Tobacco in Sukkur, 1890
A Rare Photo of Lansdowne Bridge Over Indus River at Sukkur, 1890
Another Rare Photo of Lansdowne Bridge, 1890. Bukkur Fort is visible on the left side of the bridge.
Inauguration Ceremony of Lansdowne Bridge at Sukkur in 1889. Lansdowne Bridge was inaugurated on March 27, 1889.The chief guest was Lord Reay, Governor of Bombay who was deputising for Lord Lansdowne, the Viceroy of India.
Inauguration Plaque of the Lansdowne Bridge, Sukkur, 1889. Inauguration Plaque of the Lansdowne Bridge. It was inaugurated by H. E. Lord Reay (Governor of Bombay) on 27 March, 1889 along with Lt. Col. Conway Gordon (Director General Railways) and Col. W. A. J. Wallace (Director North Western Railway).
A Rare Photo of General View of Sukkur City, 1860s
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