Welcome to Cantonment Board Manora
To Ensure Pro-People and Efficient Local Governance in Cantonments and Effective Defence Land Management
Lying southwest of Karachi city is a small landmass called Manora. Traditionally, a fishing village, this place now hosts naval installations because of its strategic location. Its sandy beaches are also a popular destination for picnickers. The mangrove patches on its north-eastern edges not only add to the aesthetic vista but also act as nurseries for shrimp and juvenile fish which are a source of livelihood for fisher folk. Manora is connected to the mainland by a narrow stretch of land running through the waters of the Arabian Sea. Thanks to this narrow land corridor that Manora cannot be called an island; it is a peninsula that nevertheless has the soul of an island.
Manora Island was known as Morontobara to the ancient Greeks. The area of Karachi was known to the ancient Greeks by many names: Krokola, the place where Alexander the Great, camped to prepare a fleet for Babylonia after his campaign in the Indus valley.
The Island was also visited by Ottoman Admiral Seydi Ali Reis and mentioned in his book Mir at ul Memalik in 1554. According to the British historian Eliot, parts of the city of Karachi and the island of Manora, and the port of Karachi constituted the city of Debal.
During the rule of the Mughal administrator of Sindh, Mirza Ghazi Beg the city was well fortified against Portuguese pirate incursions in Sindh in the 16th century.
Later in 1795, Baloch Talpurs took over the island as the rulers and constructed a small fort. It was this time when the Karachi port traded with Oman and Bahrain. The fort was stormed by the British in 1839 because of the strategic location of Karachi.
On 1 February 1839 a British ship, the Wellesley, anchored off the island of Manora. By 3 February, the fort at Kolachi had surrendered without firing a single shot and this small fishing village reached a turning point in its history. The Fort building was used as a residence for the Master-Attendant of the Karachi Port. The British constructed a lighthouse in 1889 as part of their fortifications to assist vessels approaching Karachi harbor. St. Paul's church was also earlier built in the immediate vicinity in 1865. Although the fort is now buried beneath the naval base, the lighthouse is a visible reminder of the British occupancy of this island.
After 1947, Manora Island and its fort have served as the main base of the Pakistan Navy, with berths for naval vessels located along the eastern edge of the island. Presently, the key important stakeholders governing Manora are Cantonment Board of Manora (CBM), and Pakistan Navy (PN) and are responsible for the provision, control, and maintenance of civic amenities, social and physical infrastructure.
Towering over all other buildings, Manora Lighthouse is a memorable symbol of Manora’s skyline. A testament to British engineering, helping vessels in accessing the harbor of Karachi, the lighthouse still functions on the original wind-up mechanism put in place over 120 years ago.
The lighthouse was initially constructed in 1851 and extensively rebuilt in 1889, is operational to date as a navigational aid for ships entering the Port of Karachi. In 1908, it was improved with the installation of a hyper radiant Fresnel lens.
The 38 m (125 ft.) high conical masonry tower with a lantern and gallery has a day mark on the seaward side of the lighthouse of horizontal bands of red, white, and black. Presently, the management of the lighthouse is with Karachi Port Trust. The lighthouse is listed as a heritage monument; there is no public access to the tower.
Manora Fort was originally erected as a mud fortress by the Talpur Mirs in 1797 to protect the port which handled trade with Oman and Bahrain. The fort was later captured by the British in 1839 (as mentioned above) - after which they seized control of Karachi and lower Sindh.
Shri Varun Dev Mandir is a Hindu temple that is devoted to Lord Jhulelal (Varuna), the deity that represents water in Hinduism. The temple is highly regarded by its followers who pay homage to their Lord while passing through the waters.
The exact year of the temple's construction or foundation is not known but it is widely believed that the current structure was renovated around 1917–18. Currently, this temple belongs to the Pakistan Hindu Council.