Karachi is the largest city, main seaport and the financial capital of Pakistan. Locally known as"the city of lights", it was the original capital of Pakistan until the construction of Islamabad.
The most commonly spoken language in Pakistan's most cosmopolitan city is Urdu, the national language. Other national languages spoken in Karachi are Sindhi, Punjabi, Pashto and Balochi are widely spoken in the city. However migrant languages such as Bengali and Dari are widely spoken by a high number of residents.
It is believed that St. Thomas passed through this territory on his way to South India. The province was originally an ecclesiastical district of Bombay archdiocese.
Augustinian Missionaries started the mission at the beginning of XVII century. They were replaced by Discalded Carmelites who remained till 1672. After the British conquest in 1842-1843, the Carmelites returned as chaplains to the troops. The advent of people from Goa of pre-partition India in Karachi had begun when the British eyed Karachi as a future city of trade, commerce, leisure and strategy. The Capuchin father took charge in 1852 and then the Jesuits took over from 1856 to 1935.
It was separated from Bombay archdiocese on June 1, 1934 and made into a "Missio Independens" and was entrusted to the Franciscan Fathers of the Dutch province. On May 28, 1948, it was erected into a diocese and two years later, on July 15 1950, it became an archdiocese.
The Anglo-Indian Christians have been living and working here, a sleepy fishing village-turned-megacity, since that time. They decided to stay back in a caste-free Pakistan after 1947 partition. They thought since they were mostly involved in education and health and serving mostly Muslims, they would be spared the wrath of extremists.
Karachi is a major transport hub of Pakistan. The Karachi port and airport are major gateways in Pakistan. The Jinnah International airport of Karachi is the largest and busiest airport of the country. Minibuses, coaches and large buses (all with a separate compartment for women) typically provide the cheapest way to commute across the city. Rickshaws, chinchis and taxis cater to the travelling needs of upper middle class, while radio cabs or white cabs are frequently used by upper class travellers.
Karachi is located on the coast and as a result has a relatively mild climate. The level of precipitation is low for most of the year. However, due to the city's proximity to the sea, humidity levels usually remain high throughout the year. The city enjoys mild winters and very warm summers. Karachi also receives the tail end of the monsoon rains. July and November are the best time to visit Karachi.
Pakistan's richest city accounts for nearly 45 per cent of Pakistan's GDP. It translates into roughly 15 billion rupees (USD175,932,437 as of June 2010) per day and tax revenues of one billion rupees per day. The city is a national headquarters for industry and the service sector, a bustling port city on the Arabian sea.
Karachi may be broadly divided into two parts; the hilly areas in the North and West and an undulating plain and coastal area in the South-East. The hills in Karachi are the off-shoots of the Kirthar Range. All these hills are devoid of vegetation and have wide intervening plains, dry river beds and water channels.
Karachi has a long coastline and famous sea beaches in the South. It has calm water channels for rowing and other water activities. Away from the shoreline are some small islands.
In 2008-09, the city's literacy rate was estimated at 65.26%, the highest in Pakistan, with a gross enrolment ratio of 111%, the highest in Sindh province.
St. Patrick's High School, founded by a Jesuit priest in 1861, is one of the best schools in the country and has produced well known leaders and personalities including two Cardinals, two Prime Ministers of Pakistan, two Chief Ministers of Sindh, (the leader of the BJP party in India is also an alumni), mayors of Karachi, great sportsmen and well known educationists and former president Pervaiz Musharaf. President Asif Zardari also attended this school.
On every first Friday of the month thousands of Catholics flock to Holy Cross Church of Cherpunkal in Kerala, India to revere Infant Jesus and St. Thomas, the founder of the church. The church stands on the southern bank of Meenachil River. This fabled church, also known by its Syriac name Mar Sleeva (Holy Cross)Church, belongs to Catholic Diocese of Palai of the Eastern-rite Syro-Malabar Church.
St. Mary’s Cathedral Church in Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand state, is the mother church in the tribal belt of eastern India, where Belgian Jesuits laid the foundation of Catholicism in 19th century. This brownish Church, dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of Virgin Mary, stands on Dr. Camil Bulcke Path and nestles between St. Xavier’s College and St. Albert Major Seminary.
Basilica of Our Lady of Graces in Sardhana is a historic church that lives the memory of love and benevolence of the sole female Roman Catholic ruler in India. Our Lady of Graces Church of Sardhana stands at Meerut district in Uttar Pradesh of northern India. Consecrated in 1822, this 200-feet long church with a high central dome over the main altar, is one of the largest churches in northern India.
Saint Thomas Cathedral Basilica at Mylapore is a monumental declaration on ancient root of Christianity in India. The church was built over the tomb of St. Thomas, the Apostle who is believed to have preached Christianity in India. The cathedral preserves 2000-year-old bones of the saint and the lance that pierced him to death. Popularly known as Santhome Church, the cathedral at Chennai (formerly Madras) in Tamil Nadu state was constructed during the Portuguese era in the 16th century. “San Thome” assumes its name from St. Thomas.
St. Joseph’s Church in Lahore is the oldest Catholic Church in Pakistan that has flourished since the 19th century despite deadly sectarian violence in recent years. The church at Sarfaraz Rafiqui Road in Lahore was established as a wooden structure during the British colonial era, on Oct. 31, 1842, to provide pastoral care to the British soldiers. It completed 180 years this year.
Mokama Marian shrine on the southern bank of Ganges River bears the legacy persecuted Nepali Catholics banished from their homeland to India for refusing to renounce their faith. Our Lady of Divine Grace Church at Mokama stands about 90 kilometers from Patna, the capital of eastern Indian state of Bihar. Mother Mary is popularly known as Mokama Mata (Mother of Mokama). The church was built to honor Mary in 1947.
Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica at Fort Kochi is one of the finest churches and a historic but also a landmark in Kerala state of southern India. Santa Cruz Church blends Indo-European and Gothic architectural style that draws tens of thousands of pilgrims and tourists every year. The cathedral is a great place of devotion and historic significance that survived colonial conquests and invasions to the city.
The Cathedral of Good Shepherd in Singapore is a historic National Monument, but it also holds first-class relics of a French saint who brought Catholicism on the shores of city-state two centuries ago. Built in 1847, the Good Shepherd Cathedral is the oldest Catholic Church and mother church of all Catholic churches in Singapore.