TRIP to KARACHI & QUETTA, Pakistan ( then British India
June 1923 - 1st Visit
On the morning of 25th May, Baba ordered everything from Meherabad moved to Khushru Quarters, only bedding rolls and small personal items were taken on their journey to Quetta. Baba and his party walked alongside the path of the railway tracks from Meherabad reaching Ahmednagar Railway Station at 10:30am.
Many had gathered prior to Baba's arrival to bade him and his entourage of 4 women and 14 men farewell.
Lord Meher Vol.2 p.521
They left Ahmednagar by train at 12:30pm, reaching Manmad in the early evening.
Ramjoo's Diaries p.197 & Lord Meher Vol.2 p.523
The 14 men are shown in the following image taken prior to their trip from Bombay to Quetta.
The men are : Adi K., Babu Rao ( Cyclewalla ), Baidul, Abdul Rehman ( Barsoap ), Behramji, Nervous, Padri, Pendu, Ramjoo, Sarosh, Jal ( Baba's brother ).
The 4 women are : Gulmai, Soona and her daughter Khorshed, Pilamai & her infant son Vithal.
Click on the under-lined names to visit their respective web pages on this site.
The photo below was taken just prior to Baba and his men mandali left Quetta for Ahmedabad in late June 1923. They had just received their kafnis outfits for their forthcoming long foot journeys.
25th May... continued
The train reached Sanchi ( north of Manmad ) and past the sculptured stupas dedicated to Lord Buddha. Baba made a comment about the Buddha in India over 2,500 years ago.
" Gautama was physically perfect, or had a perfect body. in comparison with the other Avatars".
The train arrived in Agra and all disembarked on the 27th May. They were instructed to all carry their own bags even though there were rail porters on hand. They stayed at the Empress Hotel.
Later, they all followed Baba to see the city's main attractions, Taj Mahal & Agra Fort during a very hot day.
Lord Meher Vol.2 p.523-4
The next morning ( 28th May ), they went to Mathura ( north of Agra ) and stayed in a Hindu dharmshala. The men bathed in the Jamuna River and also washed their clothes.
Mathura is famed as the birthplace of Lord Krishna and they went to the shrine-temple where he was born 4,000 years ago.
That night they took rides in boats on the Jamma River.
Lord Meher Vol.2 p.525
MATHURA IS 200 KMS FROM DELHI.
MATHURA IS 50 KMS FROM AGRA.
The following day 29th May, Meher Baba and his
group left Mathura by train and arrived at Delhi at 5:30pm. Baba cancelled a visit to the city, so only hurried glimpses of the old city were had. The railway station had 17 platforms and they
all made their way to platform for the N.W. Ry. Mail train to Bhatinda ( now Bathinda ),
in the Punjub state.
** During this travel period, the rail lines were not established in some areas, hence the round-a-bout route to get to
Karachi from Delhi. Refer to the previous large map May-June 1923.
The following images are of Delhi, Bathinda & Samasata Railway Stations. Click on images to enlarge.
They arrived the following morning ( 30th May ) at Bhatinda and changed trains for Samasatta and again changed trains at Samasatta ( now Pakistan ) for the Karachi Mail train which arrived in the evening for the journey to Karachi. The train was packed like sardines when they boarded and the heat was terrible when they left.
Ramjoo's Diaries p.199-202
On May 31st, the
train arrived in Karachi later that
morning, Pilamai's husband Hormasji and others including Baily greeted Baba and the group at the railway station. Baba was garlanded.
Baily's sister had
previously moved to Karachi and Baily had been sent ahead to help with the
They all then went in Victoria
horse drawn buggies to Pilamai's house where they all stayed. They all washed and refreshed themselves. She later gave Baba and others a tour of the city and visited his paternal uncle Khodadad and his aunt Banu, who had moved from Bombay, they also visited Baily's sister at her
They went for a drive to Clifton and its sea face. Kothare Parade was recently completed with fine pavilions built of stone and concrete, also a bandstand, which impressed many.
They also visited the docks at Keamari, which was serviced by trams. Many fine building were seen including cinemas and the Empress Market.
Ramjoo's Diaries p.202
Lord Meher Vol.2 p.526
Check the map above for the places mentioned in Karachi.
The book sources don't mention which part of Karachi they stayed, but it would be presumed they stayed near the Parsi Colony which is near the Zoo & Soldier Bazaar.
Meher Baba and his group stayed 7 days in the Karachi area.
Click on the following images to enlarge.
1st June 1923
Baba decided to take the men on a tour of the city after some men went to Friday prayers at the Aram Bagh Mosque. The men that went for prayers misjudged the time difference so they ended up being late and upsetting plans that Baba had made. Later, many taxis were hired and they headed to Soldier Bazaar near the Zoo and Botanical Gardens which were combined.
After the visit there, they took to the main streets such as Bunder Road in Karachi and checking out what films were playing so they could arrange later that night to see a programme. The explored the docks at Keamari and the different camps of the city.
From Keamari, they took a ferry ride to Manora Island on the other side of East Channel, with Baba Island nearby. Manora Is. was mainly occupied by the military.
After returning to their residency and had supper, they went to a cinema.
The following 2 days were very uneventful except for occasional walks nearby.
They toured the city in large Buick cars of that period 1918-1923. The year & models are not mentioned. The models shown above
are very typical of the model for that period.
Ramjoo's Diaries p.203-4
Check the big map above for the places mentioned in Karachi.
Check out the main page of Karachi in the Location folder. Click the name Karachi to visit.
Some place names especially roads have had their names changed to Pakistani names.
Click on the following images to enlarge.
Meher Baba and his group left Karachi on the train for Quetta at 9:30 am, On the way the temperature rose considerably and the sand dust from the desert was blowing.
At 5:45 am the following day they reached Sidi junction. They
stopped for an hour as a security requirement, everyone was examined medically and the police checked their travel papers, because of the frontiers people. They headed off again an hour later for
Quetta taking them through the Bolan Pass, with security very tight all along to Quetta.
A larger display of images can be viewed on the main page for Quetta on this website.
The city of Quetta was destroyed about 2 years after his initial visit in late May 1933.
They reached Quetta at 5:30 pm 9th June and were quickly taken by carriages to a rented house on Bruce Road next door to Rusi Irani's home. Baba stayed on the 1st floor and the men upstairs. Rusi owned a restaurant and took care of his guests with food, etc. he was a confectioner and also an amateur magician and would perform to Baba and the group throughout their stay.
Being at 5,000 feet above sea level, it was very cold. Everyone refreshed themselves upon arrival.
Pilamai's brother Rusi Jehangir Irani, was residing in Quetta with his wife Khorshed with eir 2 daughters. Khorshed's sister was married to Gulmai's nephew Dinshaw, Sarosh's brother. They had all attended Rustom's wedding and had met Meher Baba.
The real reason for the trip was Baba wanted to meet Rusi's daughters - Goher ( 7 years old ) & Katie ( 3 years old ). Rusi gave Baba a tour of the city - the orchards & Garden of Jamasp. Baba also met a mast opposite his house.
Lord Meher p.528
RUSI & KHORSHED IRANI MEHER BABA IN QUETTA 1923 KHORSHED & HER CHILDREN
The above images of Quetta were taken in the 1920s & 1930s & after the May 31st devastating earthquake. Click on the images to enlarge them & their details.
On the 9th June, Rusi took
Baba and the group a sight-seeing tour of Quetta and it's many gardens and orchards. About this
time, Baba made contact with a mast ( God-intoxicated person ) called Allah, who was staying at a hotel opposite to their
residency. who had picked Baba up and swinging him around It took a while for the Mast to let him down.
The following day the 10th June, they walked and inspected the Kabari Markets and the following day 11th June, the men without Baba, visited Sandham Hall and its fine grounds, the local museum, which was closed and the nearby large Town Hall building, including the very fine rest houses and shelters.
The following day, 12th June, they walked to see the road known locally as Thandi Sadak
( Gloucester & Lyntton Roads ) for the tree canopies over the road. They also saw British military aeroplanes buzzing the skies and the Scottish Highlanders marching past twice daily, in full dress and bagpipes playing.
Baba bought up forth a new plan, staying the next 6 months in India before going to Persia, possibly taking a walking tour from Kashmir to Bombay with long stays along the way. The next day, 13th June, at 6pm Baba had a desire to climb the large hill over-looking their house. Everyone dashed through the town to the foot of the hill over several miles away and then the climb was abandoned.
The next few days were uneventful, but on the 18th June, Baba and the group went to see the 1916
Below : The 1916
On the 21st June, Baba and his group travelled in 3 Ford cars and a Ford lorry took them to see the waterworks in the mountain pass at Urak - 14 miles away ( 22kms ). Having arrived, they settled in the visitor's bungalow, food was prepared and consumed by all.
After lunch, Baba was photographed under a tree, which proved successful. Many photos were taken by the streams and pools of water and also the surrounding hills.
Everyone was back to Quetta by sunset.
The following day 22nd June, Baba had a meeting with the men mandali about the upcoming journeys and all agreed to Baba's conditions.
Ramjoo's Diaries p. 210-214
Sohrab J. Irani ( Rusi's brother ) was the photographer at the Urak Valley.
They visited Hanna Lake which is the main water reservoir for Quetta.
The images below are of the 1922 Ford motor car & 1920 Ford Model TT truck, typical
On 23rd June, Baba and the men tried out the new kafni clothing which they'll wear on their upcoming walks. They had several photos taken in these clothes ( see May 25th group photo ).
Later that day, they went to the Empire
Cinema watching the 1920 film "Heliotrope". ( see film poster above
Baba had sent Asthma to Ahmedabad to get his father's permission to travel in the future.
On 24th June, after lengthy
discussions, the touring program was changed, Calcutta was now the starting point of the next foot journey, then on the following day, 25th
June, the starting place was now agreed to be Ahmedabad in Gujarat State.
Prior to leaving, Baba threaded a length of string to 2 matchboxes and stretched them, then handed one end to Gulmai and spoke to her through the other end and then did the same with Katie ( Rusi's daughter). The telephone was introduced in India 2 years later.
They all packed their things and walked to the Railway
Station, with the steam train leaving at 4:55 am on 25th June. The Quetta people had given them a hearty send-off. Rusi's daughters- Goher & Katie had given Baba a goodbye kiss.
Ramjoo's Diaries p. 215-6
Lord Meher Vol. 2 p.537-9
RETURN JOURNEY :
QUETTA to AHMEDNAGAR
When they arrived in Hyderabad ( Sind ), on the 26th June, they changed trains, ( the rail gauges changed a couple times, also ). Their luggage was weighed and again later when they changed trains at Marwar. Some rail personal were being very difficult, so much so when the station master ( who was a Brahmin ) arrived to see what the commotion was, he made his own enquiries, Baba then handed him a Urdu copy of Upasni Maharaj's new biography, when the station master saw Baba's picture in the book he quickly cleared the way for them to travel without further ado.
Ramjoo's Diaries p. 216-7
Lord Meher Vol. 2 p.540
They arrived at Ahmedabad on the 27th June at 9:30 pm. Sadashiv, Asthma & Vajifdar were there to meet them at the station. Baba sent Gulmai, Khorshed, Soona & Sarosh to Ahmednagar along with their trunks, leaving on the Bombay train at 10 pm. He advised them to stay there until called upon. Sadashiv was sent back to Poona the following night and Vajifdar put on the new clothing attire for the walking journey.
They all took numerous motor lorries to move their belongings about a mile away, staying at a Parsi traveller's house, with Baba's Muslim men pretending to be their servants, so they too could stay.
Asthma was sent back home and would not contact Baba ever again.
Ramjoo's Diaries p. 217
Lord Meher Vol. 2 p.540
The above images show the various places that Baba & his mandali saw in Ahmedabad & the surrounding district. Click on the images to enlarge them.
The following day, 28th June, they hired a motor lorry and they went sightseeing the historic city. The first place visited was a Jain Temple, then a factory that made matches, mechanically. They saw Kankadia Lake, crossed the Sabarmati River, pass Mahatma Ghandi's ashram on the way to Sabarmati. They tried to tour the main jail, but were denied. After touring in the hot sun on the back of a truck all day they were glad to return to their dharmashala.
Ramjoo & Barsoap went to the main Friday Mosque for Friday prayers on the 29th July, which was on Reachy Road near the Three Gates. After that, they visited the tomb of Sultan Ahmed, who founded the mosque. The 30th was a quiet day.
Ramjoo's Diaries p. 217-8-9
Lord Meher Vol. 2 p.540
The below images show the various places that Baba & his mandali saw in Ahmedabad & the surrounding district. Click on the images to enlarge them.
WALKING TREK STARTS AT AHMEDABAD
The next part of the return journey is described in the following web page.
Click on the following button "Walking Tour" to visit or select from the index on the L/H side of this web page.