|Elevation||209 m (686 ft)|
|• Estimate (2009)||25,000|
|Time zone||PST (UTC+5)|
|Number of towns||1|
|Number of Union councils||15|
Kulachi ( کلا چی) is a town named after the Kulachi Baloch tribe and is the headquarters of Kulachi Tehsil (an administrative subdivision) of Dera Ismail Khan District in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. It is located at at an altitude of 209 metres (688 feet). It is situated 45 km from Dera Ismail Khan in the Damaan valley of the Sulaiman Range, and lies on the banks of the Gomal River (Saraiki language name "Luni" and Pashto name "Khuarha"), a tributary of the Indus.
The city is surrounded by a wall, and has a planned design that includes four bazaars in the shape of a cross. The centre of the bazaars is known as Chowgalla (centre of four streets making a cross).
The city was developed by Hussain Khan Kulachi Baloch, who had fallen out with his tribe living in the area now included in the District [Dera Ghazi Khan]. He with some of his supporters came here and the area was given to them by the Nawab Of Dera Later on this area was invaded by Pashtun [Gandapur] tribe, the Kulachi Balochs were expelled from their hamlets and villages. They took refuge in wilderness of [Damaan], some of them crossed the Indus and settled in Thal desert and others made Kachi their home.
Gandapurs after their feuds in Ghazni, settled in [Damaan] in the beginning of 17th century. They were persuaded to settle at Rori by Khan Zaman Chief of Dalutkhel tribe, who wanted their assistance against Marwats . They soon afterwards established themselves at Luni and gradually by ousting the Dreskhels and Balochs, they got possession of their present country from Takwara to the Miankhel Border .
The Imperial Gazetteer India, Volume 16, Page 13 describes Kulachi as follows:[when?]
Kulachi Town. — Head-quarters of the tahsil of the same name in Dera Ismail Khan District of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, situated in 31’ 56” N. and 70’ 28” E., on the north bank of the Luni torrent; 27 miles west of Dera Ismail Khan town. Population (1901), 9,12,5. It is rather an aggregation of sixteen separate hamlets, standing near the union of their lands, than a regular town. A municipality was created in. 1867, and its income and expenditure during the ten years, ending 1902-3 averaged Rs. 6,900. In .1903-4 the income was Rs. 7,200, chiefly derived from octroi; and the expenditure was Rs. 7,100. The place formerly carried on a brisk trade with the Wazirs of the hills, which declined before annexation, but has since somewhat revived, Kulachi contains a Government dispensary; and its principal educational institution is an Anglo-vernacular middle school maintained by the District board.
Herbert Edwards while ending his chapter on Kulachi writes, "Let me remind my readers that they need not go to Kulachi, unless they are in search of two things; very brave soldiers and very sweet melons".
Inside the walled city
- Mohallah Shakhi
- Mohallah Ibrahim Zai
- Mohallah Hussain Zai
- Mohallah Yaqub Zai
- Mohallah Musa Zai [Shumali/North]
- Mohallah Musa Zai [Janoobi/South]
- Mohallah Bara Khel
- Mohallah Jafar Zai
- Mohallah Kamal Khel
- Mohallah Khader Khel
- Mohallah Jattan Walla
- Mohallah Usman Khel
- Mohallah Nathoo Zai
Outside the walled city
- Mohallah Rana Zai
- Mohallah Zarni Khel
- Mohallah Behlol Khel
- Mohallah Khud Basti (Lowland town)
- Mohallah Chhoti (Small) Luni or Qasim Abad (established by Qasim Khan, who had migrated with his families from Luni village after a bloody feud with other people in Luni; hence his new abode was called "small Luni")
- Mohallah Haroon Abad (established in the 1980s by Maulana Haroon Behlol Khel, grandson of great Sufi Mian Baraan)
Walls and gates
The city wall was constructed to safeguard the city from invading tribes such as the Mahsud Pirates. The city wall is known as "Kot" (a common word for forts or walls of forts in the Indus valley). It has six gates, most in good condition. The gates are named after the Mohallahs where they are located (such as Shakhi Gate), or given the name of a nearby village if they are built on the road leading to that village (such as Maddi Gate). The gates are fine examples of 19th century Mughal and Indian Architecture. These gates were constructed probably in the early 20th century.
Starting clockwise from Shakhi Gate, the names of the six gates are as follows:
- Shakhi Gate
- Maddi Gate
- Usman khel Gate
- Jattan Wala Gate
- Mithu Gate
- Maday Khan Gate
Kulachi is an agricultural city. The area lies at the foot of the Sulaiman Range and hence is irrigated by flood water from Sulaiman Mountains. The system of irrigation is called Rod Kohi, a system of mountain channels or hill-torrents inundating the whole valley of Damaan ("Rod" means "channel" and "Koh" means "mountain" in Persian). The Rod Kohi system based on "Kulyat Riwajat" (Fromulae and Traditions) governed the irrigation system eversince the Pathan tribes had moved into Damaan. The British officers reduced all these to writing during their Land Settlemts in the later part of nineteenth century. The Bolton Irrigation Notes of 1908 are still considered as the Bible of Rod Kohi Irrigation. The quality of soil being very good in good years when the Rod Kohi dams work and there are sufficient rains and floods; the area had been the most productive area in food grains in the district. (Now the area of two districts D,I,Khan and Tank. However the system of Rod Kohi irrigation is now in shambles due official neglect, political interferences and non allotment of sufficient funds by the Provincial Government. However, the work on the Gomal Zam Dam Project was resumed in 2001 after almost forty years and the Dam being constructed by a Chinese Firm, will change the economic scenario of the area and its principal city.
Kulachi is famous for various artefacts and handicrafts.
- Kulachiwal Chaakku (Knife). Small knives with ornamental design are manufactured on a small scale by artisans in the Porta Bazaar (West Bazaar). This beautiful art is on the verge of extinction due to lack of patronage.
- Handicrafts. Various forms of beautiful handicrafts, similar in style to Multani handicraft, are made in the area.
- Ornamental Shoes. Popularly known as "Tillay dar chaplai", the ornamental shoes made by the local cobblers are very popular in the area. They are best suited for long walks in the fields of [Damaan].
The pre-independence cloth hawking and usury business
Captain J. A. Robinson in his book Notes on Nomad Tribes of Eastern Afghanistan, published in 1934, writes, "There is another type of business of comparatively recent growth which had had begun to occupy the attention of increasing numbers of Powindahs  until about the year 1929, when it received a severe set-back owing to economic depression in India. This cloth-hawking and usury. It is said to have been started by the Gandapurs of Kulachi, which was the chief mart in the Derajat for Powindah import and export trade before the improvement in communications caused its eclipse by Dera Ismail Khan; and the Powindahs followed the Gandapurs and extended their activities all over northern India as far south as Bombay and as far east as Lower Burma. This business was mostly financed by the Hindu bankers of Kulachi and Dera Ismail Khan, and to a smaller extent by the Powindahs themselves. In 1882, one Mansa Ram, Gera Arora, of Kulachi saw that it would be a great advantage both to him and to the Powindahs if the latter were financed by a branch of his business established for the winter at Calcutta. Accordingly, in the autumn of 1883 he accompanied the Powindahs to Calcutta, to be imitated in the following years by other sahukars, until in the winter of 1912-13 there were no fewer than twenty three money-lending agencies in Calcutta. Business flourished to such an extent that most of the leading bankers in Dera Ismail Khan used to spend the winter in Calcutta; and many came to depend entirely on the Powindah trade for a livelihood. About 1905-06, the bankers found that by acting as agents for the purchase of cloth and articles of clothing from the merchants of Calcutta, or as cloth-merchants themselves, they could make still greater profits. This money-lending and cloth trade reached its zenith about the winter of 1911-12 when Rs. 46 lakhs are said to have been invested in it annually."
The First World War, poor crops in Bengal, low prices of agricultural products, misbehaviour of the Powindahs, higher rates of interest (75-225% per annum), general trade depression and activities of the All Indian National Congress led to the downfall of cloth hawking and usury business of Gandapurs and Powindahs.
The City of Saints
Kulachi is famous for the presence of tombs of various Sufi saints. The most notable among them are: tomb of Mian Baraan Dadaa (in Pashto, Dadaa means grandfather or respectable elderly gentleman), tomb of Maddey Khan, tomb of Khair Shah, tomb of Bukhari Dadaa, tomb of Bahadur (Baz daada), tomb of Hazrat Syed Karam Shah (Lakhan Khatman Wala) (recited Quran more than 100,000 times), tomb of Razau Dadaa and tomb of Noor Muhammad (Noori Darbaar). Most of these tombs have surrounded the walled city of Kulachi.
Following is the list of educational institutions in Kulachi city;
- Government Degree College (boys)
- Government Degree College (girls)
- Government High School No. 1
- Government High School No. 2
- Government High School Zarni khel
- Najm ul Madaaris
- Oxford Public High School
Kulachi has a number of famous grave yards depicting its history and culture of tolerance. Following is the list of graveyards;
- Bukhari Sahab Graveyard (Mohallah Rana Zai)
- Karam Shah Graveyard (Kulachi-Maddi Road)
- Landey Shah Graveyard (Mohallah Hussain Khel)
- Razau Sahab Graveyard (Mohallah Usman Khel)
- Shaheedan Graveyard (West of Mohallah Zarni Khel and the largest one)
- Kakar Graveyard (Mohallah Yaqoob Zai)
- Jandoley Dada Graveyard (Mohallah Hussain Zai)
- Mullah Shakoor Graveyard (Mohallah Khud-Basti)
- Kamal Khel Graveyard (Mohallah Kamal Khel)
The future of the city
Kulachi was once the mart of the entire area. It was the first stop when nomads used to come down from Sulaiman Mountains. After the development of two important routes, South Waziristan–Tank–Dera Ismail Khan and Zhob–Daraban–Dera Ismail Khan, Kulachi has been left in a triangle with no real means of progress.
The future of agriculture is still hostage to the delay in construction of the Gomal Dam. With poor agriculture, and cut off from important trade routes, the city is on the decline. There has been great migration of people to nearby Dera Ismail Khan thus leaving the city with fewer resources and capable people.
- Location of Kulachi - Falling Rain Genomics
- Gazetteer of D.I.Khan District 1883-84, Government of Punjab Publication, reprinted in 2002 by Snge Meel Publications, Lahore, Government of Punjab publication.Page-70
- Herbert Edwards, A Year on the Punjab Frontier 1848-49, volume -I, Page 356.
- Aminullah Khan Gandapur, Tarikh-e-Sarzamin-e-Gomal, National Book Foundation Islamabad 2008, Page-261-62
- Land Revenue Settlement Report of 1878-79, by Mr. H. Tucker, and Crosthwaite Assessment Report of 1903, published by the Government of Punjab.
- Pashto word for "nomad."