The battlefield at Miani is about ten kilometres (six miles) north of Hyderabad and some five kilometres (three miles) off the National Highway with a memorial to the British dead. The memorial is down a dusty narrow track in the forest and you’ll need a local guide to find it.
Hyderabad’s eighteenth-century fort was first the court of the Kalhora dynasty and then that of the Talpur Amirs. According to contemporary British descriptions it must have been splendid, but apart from the tower, main entrance, and a room in the harem, little remains to be seen.
In the 1820s Doctor James Burnes, brother of Alexander Burnes, was summoned to the fort to treat one of the Talpur rulers for an unspecified illness and described the court as ”rich, splendid, but not garish”.
“The walls of the audience hall were covered in paintings and its floor was bright with Persian carpets. At one end of the hall, on a large couch covered in gold embroidered white satin, the only piece of furniture in the great room, sat a semi-circle of Mirs, wearing loose silk trousers of dark blue, long muslin shirts sashed with silk and golden and tall stove-pipe hats of velvet or brocade.”
Portraits of the Amirs and their weapons are exhibited in what passes as the Fort Museum near the railway station. Their stove-pipe hats are on display in Hyderabad’s Sind Provincial Museum, near the Polytechnic College and opposite the Indus Gas Office. Indeed, this Museum is perhaps the only justification for a visit to Hyderabad, boasting as it does fine archaeological and ethnological collections, handsomely displayed and identified.
The only real attraction at Shaikh Makai Fort Hyderabad is the tomb of a thirteenth-century saint from Mecca, Shaikh Makai. Housed inside a mud fort of a much later date, his mausoleum, built in l67l, centuries after his death, attracts devotees from far and wide.
Hyderabad’s main bazaar, the Shahi Bazaar, stretches from the fort gate to the Market Tower, and sells everything from bangles, gold and silver jewellery, Sindhi embroideries to unique hand-blocked Ajrak prints.
Other places of possible interest in the city include the ornate mausolea of the Talpur and Kalhora Amirs, covering the northern part of the hill on which Hyderabad was originally built, with their blue—glazed tile work. Some have floral paintings and marble fretwork.
The Institute of Sindology at the University of Sindh Hyderabad, on the Super Highway just before crossing the Indus, also boasts a worthwhile collection of old books, coins, and other artefacts relating to Sind.