Dr. Sohail Ansari
Honeymoon Lodge is located on Korangi Road in Defence Housing Society. It was also known as Muhammadi Takri or Takri (hill). Sir Aga Khan III was born here in 1877. It was built in 1840, soon after the British invasion of Karachi and was made available to the high government officials for their residence in 1841. British Government purchased it in 1859 at the expense of the Kolhapur State, as a residence for Cheema Saheb, the ex-ruler of the Kolhapur. It was known as Honeymoon Hall. In 1860 it came to be called as Bray Cliff Honeymoon Lodge after the vendor of the property Edwin Bray. The lease was obtained for Mr Noonan who sold it to Imam Hasan Ali Shah in 1876. It, thus, became the residence of Imam Hasan Ali Shah. When Imam Aga Ali Shah inherited its ownership, he used it as his residence. Later on, when the family of the Imam shifted from Karachi to Bombay in 1882, this place was turned into the royal guest house for their occasional visits to Karachi between 1895 and 1951. It underwent a major modernisation in 1905, when the house was almost rebuilt. Fifteen years later, in 1920, further renovations occurred in preparation of the Imam’s visit and the house renamed as Highland. In 1951, the Lodge was converted into the Convalescent Home. The building underwent many structural changes to facilitate the conversion of this place from a residence to a convalescent home and renamed ‘Mahdi Convalescent Home’ operated under the supervision of the Aga Khan Health Board. This project completed and was inaugurated in 1953. However, in 1964 the jamats desired to re-build a house for their Imam at Honeymoon Lodge which he accepted. Mahdi Convalescent Home moved elsewhere in 1970. The site has since had further refurbishments and face lifting and the Imam visited it on at least two occasions. So, the building was left unoccupied since 1970. Major cracks and dislocation of some windows were reported in 1971. It was decorated and opened to faithful visitors in 1977 on the occasion of birth centenary of the Imam. During the course of its life, the Honeymoon Lodge has seen different occupants, various uses and multiple extensions, face changes and renovations; some say that it lost its original character.
Above photo courtesy of Mr. Nadeem S. Haroon.