Sukkur is a sprawling town, with beautiful mosques, gardens,
shrines and madrazhis (Muslim religious schools). A desert oasis town,
similar to Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, it also boasts many havelis, however,
unlike those of Jaisalmer, the Sukkur variety are decorated with geometric,
floral designs and painted in a variety of bright, contrasting colors. Just
across the Indus is Rohri, also fairly prosperous and an important rail and
The two towns, 5 km apart and 544 km north of Karachi are linked by the
Landsdowne and Ayub bridges, which are extremely beautiful. There is a
medieval mosque with porcelain-tiled walls, and eight km away are remains of
the ancient city of Aror where Alexander the Great is said to have camped.
Sukkur has been an important strategic centre and trading route from time
immemorial. Alor held the status of capital under the
reign of Musikanos, when Alexander invaded India in 326 BCE. The ruins of
this ancient town still exist, 8 km east of Rohri, in Sukkur district. In
711 CE, Arab invaded Sindh, led by 17 years old Muhammad Bin Qasim, and
Sukkur (including whole Sindh and lower Punjab) became part of Umayyad
Caliphate. Later Mughals and many semi-autonomous tribes ruled over Sukkur.
The city was ceded to Mirs of Khairpur between 1809 and 1824. In 1833, Shah
Shuja (a warlord of Kandahar, Afghanistan) defeated the Talpurs near Sukkur
and later made a solemn treaty with the Talpur ruler, by which he
relinquished all claims on Sindh. In 1843, the British (General Charles
James Napier) defeated the Talpurs at the battle of Miani and Dubbo near
Hyderabad and ruled the Sukkur (including Sindh) until independence of
Pakistan. District of Sukkur was constituted in 1901 out of
part of Shikarpur District, the remainder of which was formed into the
Larkana District. Sukkur saw a significant socio-economic uplift after
1930s, when British Raj built the world largest barrage here on Indus River.
After independence of Pakistan, thousands of Muslim immigrants arrived in
Sukkur while a much larger number of Hindus left for India.
The Sukkur barrage (formally called Lloyd Bridge), built
under British Raj on the Indus river, controls one of the largest irrigation
systems in the world. The work for the bridge was started in 1923 and
completed in January 1932. The 5000 feet long barrage is made of yellow
stone and steel and can water nearly 10 million acres (40,000 km˛) of
farmland through its large seven canals. Some of the canals are larger than
the Suez Canal.
Sukkur is well connected
by road and by train with the rest of the country.