Gorakh: A beautiful Resort of Sindh, Pakistan
By: Aziz Kingrani
The Gorakh hill is the highest among the peaks of Khirthar mountainous range in Sindh. It is situated towards west, at the distance of about 76 kms from Johi town of Dadu District. It is 5688 feet high from the sea level. It is the most beautiful and the coldest point as the Gilgit, Murri, and the Kalan resorts. Some times it snows here in winter. There are confusions about the origin of name and historical background of the Gorakh. It needs discussion in the light of different traditions and opinions.
Locally it is stated that Gorakh is derived from Balochi word “Gurkh”. Actually Balochi word “Gurkh” is perversion or distortion of Persian word “Gurg “which means wolf, regarding this, it is said that the Gorakh hill and its surroundings were abode of wolves. First it was called Gurkh and afterwards its pronunciation was changed as Gorakh. when we consider over this opinion, we could understand that in the past wolves were not only in the area of Gorakh hill but those were at foothills and adjoining highlands and plains of Khirthar range and also in its neighboring arid area of Kachho . Therefore, it is not considerable and justified opinion for the origin of the name of Gorakh hill.
Taj Saharai, a renowned research scholar and historian writes in his book “Lake Manchhar “that “Gorakh peak derives its name from one of the twenty four Tirathkarans of Jainism, Shri or Guru Gorakh Nath. According to Hindu mythology he is popularly known as “Being an incarnation of Shiva “and historically he is a yogi, who founded shiviate cult in 11th century A.D”. Further he writers that, “before partition, Hindu yogis generally used to visit this peak. On a way to it there is yet another place of worship called Tirath Kumb .There was a small temple on the top of hill standing over that kumb (pond or spring). Hindus generally visited the temple and kumb and performed their religious activities. Taj Saharai has stated without any reference or quotation of any book or scholar. There are no remains or signs of any temple except the destroyed tomb of Miandad Fakir. Neither there was a temple nor does history tell about the visit of the area of the Gorakh by yogis. On the other hand, Tirath Kumb is far from Gorakh hill in the north-east, on the bank of river Gaj. It is possible that before partition local Hindus might have visited and performed rituals just like tirath, but there is no any historical confirmation about it, in this regard. The route of yogis or jogis is so far from Gorakh. I think, most of our historians have followed the opinion of Taj Saharai, who has linked the name of Gorakh hill with Shri or Guru Gorakh Nath. No doubt these areas had remained the fold of Gorakh Nath but the origin of the name of Gorakh can not be related to him.
In this connection we must think over the origin and actual meaning of Sindhi word “Gorakh” In Jama-e-Sindhi Lughaat (Dictionary) volume five, published by Sindhi Adabi Board Jamshoro, Dr Nabi Bux Baloch has given the meanings of word Gorakh as, a difficult, a labyrinth, a tangled, unsolvable problem, highest , biggest etc. In an other Sindhi to English dictionary by Permanand Mevaram, published by Institute of Sindhology Jamshoro, English words have been used : “intricate and difficult” for meaning of word Gorakh.
In the light of the above basic meanings of Gorakh word in Sindhi; it can be said that the name of Gorakh hill is derived from Sindhi word Gorakh. Having difficult tracks, curvy and dangerous ways, labyrinth ascents or inclines and intricate passes like Khawal, it wa too difficult to reach or success the Gorakh hill. So the local people might have named it in the background of meanings of Sindhi word Gorakh. Now the Gorakh hill has been made reachable by the government of Pakistan.
From Dadu via Johi Gorakh is about 94 kilometers in the west. The both sides of the route leading to the Gorakh hills through hilly area are very enchanting. The views of the hills and beautiful scenes of Nais (hilly torrents) and vales are charming. But when we cross Khawal Pass, we can understand the meaning of Gorakh as difficult route. After some drive from Khawal pass the area of highly greenery and cold air begins. When any one reaches at the Gorakh hill, Mr. Faiz Muhammad Alkhani, a local guide for the Gorakh Hills always welcomes. He tells many myths about Gorakh. As night passes and cool air blows, one will start trembling in cold. Now, the hotels and restaurants have also been built for the facilities of visitors.
One can not imagine about the heat scorching of the burning month of June while walking along the beautiful grill with the ridge of Sindh and Balochistan . Gorakh hill is no doubt a token or a resort for tourism and culture, but its other valuable side is that various historical and archaeological sites are lying near it. The prehistoric rock carvings, engravings, Kafir Kot, Main-Jo-Kot, and Piprasar, graves of Zoroastrians (Roman’s graves), Graveyard of Araro and Mir Allahyar Khan are at a glance from the route of Gorakh. Either these sites are on way to Gorakh or in its surroundings. Fossils are found at large scale in the Surrounds of Gorakh.
According to the geological survey of Pakistan, there is a treasure of Gypsum in the north-east of Gorakh Hill Station. This treasure starts from Gaaj River (Johi) to KN Shah Taluka of Dadu district. In the surroundings of Gorakh, there are many ponds and springs in which water remains all over the year. The spring or ponds of Jamooro, Gaj, Thakh, Hengarr, Chingani , Khashani and Gazmole are mentionable . Arrangement can be made to lift the water of some nearest springs and ponds to Gorakh Hill Station. Water is necessary for the development of the hill. The water of these Kumbs can be beneficial for the greeneries of Gorakh .The stable arrangement of electricity is also very essential, for development of the hill station. Electricity will increase the complexion and beauty of hill. The Gorakh hill needs a constructive type of work, just like restaurant, museum, research institution and other residential. The type of construction would convert it into a colorful village. Some constructions of rest houses, a grill on the border of Sindh-Balochistan have beautified the view of the hill.
The road that leads to the hill station is a main problem for the development of Gorakh hill station to convert it stable tourism and cultural centre. Without road it would be impossible to make it secure, attractive, rejoicing and exhilarative visiting point.
The calamity of rains always disturbs the communication easily. It should be made constantly stable for any sort of seasonal adversity. Government of Pakistan had started considering over the development of Gorakh from 1952, but still it is in the same condition, except above cited some construction. In 1998, government approved project of 999 million for the development of hill station. The completion of project was targeted up to 2007. But proper development has not been completed yet.
The main problem is possession of plotting at the Gorakh hill. It must be discussed and kept in mind. Some occupants had occupied at the Gorakh hill. The government has to allot plots to local people because, the local people have right of possession of plotting on hill station. Government has to facilitate them to purchase plots and provide them facility for investment. The road leads to this resort from Dadu via Johi to village Wahi Pandhi of Dadu District. The bus service is available from Dadu via Johi to Wahi Pandhi, where the jeeps are also available for visiting the Gorakh hill. The journey can be successful by four wheel jeeps from Wahi Pandhi to the Gorakh Hill Station.