Step into Karachi’s largest slum

Take a virtual tour of Machar Colony where around 1 million people reside without basic amenities


Inside Machar Colony

The stench is so powerful in Machar Colony that you know exactly the moment you cross into Karachi's largest slum. Covering an area of approximately 4.5 square kilometres, Machar Colony, also known as Muhammadi Colony, is home to an estimated one million residents, a majority of whom are Bengali and Burmese. Their main income is from shrimp peeling and fishing – hence, the name 'Machar', which is derived from Machera (fishermen). The narrow streets are carpeted with garbage, rotting fruit, and animal carcasses which are left open, only to be covered with a thick blanket of flies and mosquitoes. The overwhelming stench of garbage, rotting fish and animal feces, is, thus, hardly surprising. What is surprising is that people reside in what is clearly an uninhabitable environment.

Instructions: Below are 12 areas of Machar Colony. When you enter an area, swipe or click and drag to view entire area and click on the top right side to read about it. Put on your headphones for a complete experience.

By the Sea

Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink


Asia's largest refugee camp

Outside Rabia's house

A sense of community keeps residents going

Rabia's house: Shrimp peeling

Most families earn Rs200 per day

Water homes

The area know as The Jungle

The shack

Makeshift houses of the colony

Building boats

The main business area near the colony

Building boats - II

The skeleton of a boat

Rafique's workplace

A businessman's trade

Hanging scales

How fish scales are dried

Gambling in the streets

What passes for entertainment in these streets

Khel Ghar

Keeping children off the streets