By Vijay Sharma
It is one of the most famous historical picnic spots in Mithi, the headquarters of district Tharparkar, now slowly but surely turning into a ghostly place. The usual bustle of a crowd is nowhere to be seen. The site seems more like a haunted place than a historic fort with a deserted look and decaying structures.
‘Ghadi’ means a small fort whereas ‘Bhit’ means sand dunes. As the story goes, when Meers or Talpurs ruled Sindh, they built forts on several mounds for their defense.
Today, the sand mound called Gadhi Bhit, the only tourists’ attraction, is in a state of total decay and losing all the charm for the locals as well as tourists.
During the recent visit, PakVoices was able to see the extent of the damage to the site. There are things that can be seen on the surface that are damaged, like the swings for children, benches and the grills of the walls etc. However, we do not exactly know how much damage has been caused to the archeological site.
Talking about the current state of the site, a tourist Mahesh Esrani told PakVoices, “I have visited Ghadi Bhit before but seeing this treasure in a deteriorating state dismayed me.”
“The walls around the park and the road that leads to Gadhi Bhit have turned into a rubble over the time due to the negligence of the concerned authorities,” he lamented.
When asked about the sorry state of Gadhi Bhit, Taluka Municipal Officer (TMO) Mithi, Malook Khaskheli had this to say: “The building department is working on the development of the Gadhi Bhit.”
In 2005, the district government launched a mega scheme at the Gadhi Bhit spending millions on its roads, Gymkhana club, Parks, Guest Houses and swimming pools. Swings and benches were also fixed all around the park.
One of the locals Bisham Kothari, 30, who used to come to the site with his family, told PakVoices, “The previous district government spent millions of rupees to renovate this site but nowadays it is at the mercy of time. Each and everything is in a deteriorating state.”
When the PPP Government came to power in 2008, they put up banners of their political idols on the main passage of Gadhi Bhit.
Despite coming under the supervision of Municipal Committee Mithi, there is little work done to repair or protect the site from further damage. During my recent visits for the story, I could not spot a guard at the site leading to further loss to public property.
“Even the lights have been stolen from the poles but nobody is here to look after this precious property,” said Kothari.
But the local official Khaskheli insists, “Two chowkidars are there to look after the site.”
Kothari told PakVoices, “Recently, a restaurant has been opened in the park which is super expensive.”
He complains that there is not a single restaurant where they could afford tea saying, “Here they sell it for 150 Rupees which is not affordable for many locals.”
Showing his frustration on the sorry state of the site and the park, Esrani said, “Nobody is here to look after this place that used to be the only entertainment in an underdeveloped region of Thar, whether it’s the government or the citizens of this region.”
Vijay Sharma reported this article from Mithi, Tharparkar. He is working with PakVoices as a citizen journalist.
Edited by Hasan Khan