• Nida Aley

A Pedacito of Port Grand, Karachi

Updated: Jun 19

Karachi, Pakistan may not be the place of my birth, but it’s where I spent most of my childhood and adult life. In spite of being away from it for over 5 years now, it’s still the place I most associate with home.


That smell of the sea mixed with exhaust fumes, the numerous potholes on the roads, the hot, humid weather, it’s all seeped into my bones. It’s not perfect, it has a myriad of problems, but nowhere is quite like Karachi.


The food culture is my favorite part of my hometown, even though Lahoris (people from Lahore, another city of Pakistan), claim to be the biggest foodies, I humbly beg to differ. Having spent considerable time in both cities, I can say with fairness that Karachi has the far superior palate. It is a melting pot of people from every ethnicity and culture, they bring their various foods and flavors and Karachi readily adopts them all.


Port Grand is a recreational area built along the waterfront of the Native Jetty bridge. It connects the Karachi Port Trust to Kemari. It was built in 2011 and to this day it’s my mom’s favorite place to take anyone who visits Karachi. The first time my husband visited Pakistan, that’s where we went. The first time my sister’s husband visited Pakistan, that’s where she took them. To be fair to my mom, it is a gorgeous place.

Port Grand, Karachi is my mom's favorite place to take people who visit Karachi
Port Grand, Karachi is my mom's favorite place to take people who visit Karachi

The wonderful sea air invigorates you, the lights along the walkway illuminate the sea and the sky, there’s always music playing there. You can see boats and ships out on the horizon. There’s a karaoke set up right at the entrance and lots of people try their hand at singing, most of them doing a terrible job. You have to be the right amount of drunk for karaoke, sadly alcohol is illegal in Pakistan!

The lights along the walkway of Port Grand begin to shine at night
The lights along the walkway of Port Grand begin to shine at night

There are various restaurants selling every manner of food, from Pakistani BBQ to classic British fish & chips, from potato tornadoes to gulab jamun, a sticky dough desert. There are food carts selling street food and open-air restaurants and the smell of food frying is designed to make you spend all your money. This is also where I tried my first ever boba tea and fell in love.

All types of street food can be found along the Grand Port of Karachi
All types of street food can be found along the Grand Port of Karachi

For kids and the young at heart, there’s a magic show, a puppet show, and a haunted house. They aren’t great, but I say that as an adult, they might be great entertainment and plenty scary for actual children.


The other side of Port Grand is the shopping area, an art gallery, and a cinema showing 5D movies ( I do not know what all the extra Ds are). You can get rides on a lovely horse carriage and get cotton candy and popcorn, as you meander through the various overpriced stores. It’s all very beautifully designed. The art gallery has some really gorgeous art.

My favorite place is the 150-year-old giant banyan tree. They have illuminated it with fairy lights and it’s the prettiest part of Port Grand.

The entrance to Port Grand
The entrance to Port Grand
The 150-year-old banyon tree is my favorite part of Port Grand
The 150-year-old banyon tree is my favorite part of Port Grand
 

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