Flagstaff House: Quaid-e-Azam Museum
I recently visited the Flagstaff House Quaid-e-Azam Museum in Karachi for the first time. I planned this trip upon realizing that I’d visited the founding father’s tomb multiple times but hadn’t yet visited the museum that celebrates the life that he lived.
It’s a shame that I hadn’t visited before this pretty much every Karachi native has. It’s hard to miss. Quaid-e-Azam House Museum is right at the end of Shahrah-e-Faisal, at the Metropole. The museum is a short distance from Frere Hall and the station.
Entering the Museum
Right at the entrance, a large plaque announces the name: Quaid-e-Azam House Museum. Through the wrought iron fence you’ll spot the lush green garden, a sight to behold. The museum is open every day of the week, except on Wednesdays, and stays open from 9 am – 4 pm. Fridays having slightly different timing, with a jummah prayer break in between.
You’ll have to hand in your NIC at the gate, photography within the premises of the museum is completely prohibited. The house is made of yellow stone in classic colonial fashion. Other than the main house, there is a garage, an external kitchen, a horse stable, and servant quarters- all fashioned with the same stone. A tour guide inside the house will direct your entire experience, informing you of the purpose and history of each room as well as regaling tales of the Quaid’s life.
Main rooms, such as the living room and the study, are out of bounds. A glass stands between you and the temptation to explore these, although you’re welcome to stand and observe through it. Everything has been kept exactly the same, it’s like peeking through a wormhole through time. The original furniture has been maintained and displayed, even the Quaid’s cutlery is on display. In his study, there is a work desk, couches to sit on, some cabinets, and a map of the subcontinent with a rough border between Pakistan and India. A portrait of Jinnah hangs inside as well.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll love visiting the garage on the estate. Jinnah’s cars are kept there, in mint condition might I add. I spent a good 10 minutes staring at the Cadillac. The cars are behind a transparent glass wall and behind them are framed pictures of the restoration process of these two cars. The garden is beautiful and well kept, there is a grand fountain next to a tall pole- the flag of Pakistan stands tall.
The museum provides an insight into the personal life of the Quaid and even humanizes the legend a bit. Walking through the halls and gardens of his house, I couldn’t help but imagine his life. As I drove home, past the museum, I wondered what it must’ve been like for Muhammad Ali Jinnah to drive his Cadillac down the very same road.