A Relic of the Past. Bhagnari Temple belongs to Bhagnaris, a Baloch Hindu tribe originating from two villages in Baluchistan namely Bhag and Nari. When Bhagnaris migrated to Karachi, they settled around Lea Market area and built Bhagnari temple on what is Embankment Road now. After partition, a lot of Bhagnaris moved to Mumbai and other areas of India, leaving behind the temple as their mark on the landscape of the city, as an ode to the diversity that Karachi enjoyed and still does albeit we don’t celebrate it anymore.
Just like some other temples in Karachi, it also hosts Guru Granth Sahib. Perhaps the most central place in the temple is actually devoted to Darbar Sahib, with Guru Granth Sahib placed on a takht in the middle. On the right were some Hindu deities. The central courtyard is a vibrant public space for Hindu kids of the area. They were busy playing games with little interference from elders. While most of the temple has gone under a gaudy makeover, the statues in halls at the end looked old.
Someone there told me that a part of the temple has been occupied illegally, halving the original area of the temple effectively. They took me to the rooftop to have a closer look. The other part looked as if it was used as a warehouse or something. There was a room on top and the grill in front of it indicated that both parts might have been part of a larger complex. The grill and the support seem to have come to a halt on the side facing the temple!
I tried to make sense of the location. There was an old structure right in front of me. One of those which take your breath away. I wondered how that area would have looked like before we lost aesthetics and civic sense.