Sindh is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and historically is home to the Sindhi people. Though Muslims form the largest religious group in Sindh, large numbers of Christians, Zoroastrians and Hindus also live here. Sindh is also known as the "Mehran" and it is bounded to the west by the Indus River and Baluchistan, to the north by Punjab, and to the south by the Arabian Sea.
The province name is derived from the Indus River that separates it from Balochistan and the greater Iranian Plateau. This river was known to the ancient Iranians in Avestan as Harauhuti, to Assyrians as Sinda, to the Romans as Indus, to the Persians as Ab-e-sind, to the Arabs as Al-Sind, and to the Chinese as Sintow. The Indus Valley civilization is the farthest visible outpost of archaeology in the abyss of prehistoric times. The prehistoric site of Kot Diji in Sindh has furnished information of high significance for the reconstruction of a connected story which pushes back the history of South Asia by at least another 200 years, from about 2500 BC. Evidence of a new element of pre-Harappan culture has been traced here. When the primitive village communities in Balochistan were still struggling against a difficult highland environment, a highly cultured people were trying to assert themselves at Kot Diji one of the most developed urban civilization of the ancient world that flourished between the 25th century BC and 1500 BC in the Indus valley sites of Moenjodaro and Harappa. The people were endowed with a high standard of art and craftsmanship and well-developed system of quasi-pictographic writing which despite ceaseless efforts still remains un-deciphered. The remarkable ruins of the beautifully planned Moenjodaro and Harappa towns, the brick buildings of the common people, roads, public baths and the covered drainage system envisage the life of a community living in a highly organized manner.
Sindh lies in a tropical to subtropical region; it is hot in the summer and mild to warm in winter. Temperatures frequently rise above 115°F between May and August, and the minimum average temperature of 36°F occurs during December and January in the northern and higher elevated regions. The annual rainfall averages about seven inches, falling mainly during July and August. The southwest monsoon wind begins to blow in mid-February and continues until the end of September, whereas the cool northerly wind blows during the winter months from October to January. Sindh is divided into three climatic regions: the upper region, centred on Jacobabad; the middle region, centred on Hyderabad; and the lower region, centred on Karachi.
Although Sindh has a semi arid climate, through its coastal and riverine forests, its huge fresh water lakes and mountains and deserts, Sindh supports a large amount of varied wildlife. The province is mostly arid with scant vegetation except for the irrigated Indus Valley. Mango, date palms, banana, guava, orange, and chiku are the typical fruit-bearing trees in this province. Water lilies grow in abundance in the numerous lake and ponds, particularly in the lower Sindh region. Among the wild animals, the Sindh ibex, Blackbuck, wild sheep and black bear are found in the western rocky range, where the Leopard and Asiatic Cheetah are now rare. Deer can be found in the lower rocky plains and in the eastern region, as do the striped hyena, jackal, fox, porcupine, common gray mongoose, and hedgehog.
The Indus river dolphin is among the most endangered species in Pakistan and is found in the part of the Indus river in northern Sindh. Hog deer and wild bear occur particularly in the central inundation belt. There are also varieties of bats, lizards, and reptiles, including the cobra, lundi. Between July and November when the monsoon winds blow onshore from the ocean, giant Olive Ridley turtles lay their eggs along the seaward side. The turtles are protected species. After the mothers lay and leave them buried under the sands the SWD and WWF officials take the eggs and protect them until they are hatched to protect them from predators.
Crocodiles are rare and inhabit only the backwaters of the Indus, the eastern Nara channel and some population of Marsh crocodiles can be very easily seen in the waters of Haleji Lake near Karachi. Besides a large variety of marine fish, the plumbeous dolphin, the beaked dolphin, rorqual or blue whale, and a variety of skates frequent the seas along the Sind coast. The pallo, though a marine fish, ascends the Indus annually from February to April to spawn.
Sindh has a rich heritage of traditional handicraft that has evolved over the centuries. Perhaps the most professed exposition of Sindhi culture is in the handicrafts of Hala, a town some 30 kilometres from Hyderabad. Hala's artisans manufacture high-quality and impressively priced wooden handicrafts, textiles, paintings, handmade paper products, and blue pottery. Lacquered wood works, painting on wood, tiles, and pottery known as Kashi, hand woven textiles including khadi, susi, and ajraks are synonymous with Sindhi culture preserved in Hala's handicraft.
Sindh is known the world over for its various handicrafts and arts. The work of Sindhi artisans was sold in ancient markets of Armenia, Baghdad, Basra, Istanbul, Cairo and Samarkand. The ajrak has existed in Sindh since the birth of its civilization. The colour blue is predominantly used for ajraks. Sindh was traditionally a large producer of indigo and cotton cloth and both used to be exported to the Middle East. The ajrak is a mark of respect when it is given to an honoured guest or friend. In Sindh, it is most commonly given as a gift at Eid, at weddings, or on other special occasions like homecoming.
Sindh has numerous tourist sites, resorts, amusement parks, water parks and golf clubs. The most commonly known are Arena, Aladdin Amusement Park, Go-Aish and Sindbad. There are also many farmhouses, a popular trend in Pakistan, which are common for family entertainment and large gatherings. Historical tourist sites include the ruins of Mohenjo-daro near the city of Larkana, Runi Kot, Jamshoro, Kot Deji, the Jain temples of Nangar Parker and the historic temple of Sadhu Bela, Sukkur. Islamic architecture is quite prominent in the province; its numerous mausoleums include the ancient Shahbaz Qalander mausoleum dedicated to the Iranian-born Sufi and Shah Abdul latif Bhittai, Sufi Shah Inayat and Udero Lala (Jhooley Lal) mausoleums, and the beautiful mausoleum of Muhammad Ali Jinnah (known as the Mazar-e-Quaid) in Karachi. Also of note is the Jama Masjid in Thatta, built by the Mughal emperor Shahjahan.