Monday, April 18, 2011

Makli, Pakistan


Makli Hills are located in the province of Sindh of Pakistan and it is known as one of the largest Necropolises of the world. The Makli hill lies near Thatta and is at a distance of some 98 kilometers east of Karachi. This Makli graveyard is located on a raised ground spread over 6 miles, having over 500,000 graves out of which 125000 graves are of Sufi saints.

Makli is the common resting place of a million, both nobles and commoners.  In this resting place are the grave of kings, queens, governors, Sufi saints, Scholars, Philosophers, poets, soldiers and military commanders of a by-gone era. That era was renowned for its culture and learning. There are tombs and mausoleums date back to 16th to 18th century. Many of there tombs belongs to kings, queens and governors and were probably built to their own design while they were still alive.

Makli graveyard is an ancient symbol of architect, all the monuments, shrines are of high quality in stone and brick. These monuments are master piece with their stone carving, surface traceries, and color tiling.  some graves of rulers are notable specimens of architecture. The grave stones and mausoleums stones represent the different eras and dynasties. There are monuments of Summa period (14th to 16th centuries), the Tarkhan & Arghun period (16th century), and the Moghul period (16th to 18th centuries).

he artwork on the graves and the artisan work is delightful and only one of its kind. This graveyard contains countless graves, rectangular in shapes and inscribed with glorious Islamic calligraphy, the vault domes and arches. The quality of this structure is that these are strong as well beautiful. The main stone using in the construction of these monuments are marble and granites which are generations lasting. There is resemblance in skill of construction in these monuments and are either built in brick or stone. The bricks are dark red and so perfectly baked that they look like metal and break as glass. Colored enamel tiles have also been used lavishly to adorn the brick structures. The stone structures are prominent for their carving and tracery which has been truly described as lace-work in stone. The mausoleums are mainly made of sandstone and exquisitely carved with geometric and floral designs. The carvings are so regular they seem to have been stamped into the stone. Some of the mausoleums are being restored. The foundations of these buildings are made of stone.

This graveyard reveals the history and craftsmanship of Sammas, Arghuns and Tarkhans and Mughals dynasties, spanning over four centuries.

The first Mughal group includes the tombs of Jan (or Jani) Beg, Ghazali Beg, Tughril Beg, Jan Baba, and others. North to this is the imposing mausoleum of Nawab Isa Khan, the Mughal Governor of Sindh. Its designed a low building little to east, houses the tombs of the women this part of house segregated for women. There is a fine view from here across the lake of the Thatta city . Jan Baba tombs lies near Isa Khan’s tomb covered with design as fragile as the spider web.

The second group belongs to Tarkhan and Arghun includes the tombs of Isa Khan Tarkhan (the elder), Baqi Beg Tarkhan and Ahinsa Bai among others. Amongst the more important tombs is that of the Mirza Jami Beg. Built in 1599 fir the last of the Turkhan rulers, it is made of glazed bricks. The tombs of his son Mirza Ghazi Beg Tarkhan is located next to the his tomb.close to his tomb is the tomb of Mirza Tughril Beg who was commander in chief of the Turkhan army. The tomb of Mirza Bagi Beg Turkhan and Ahinsa Bai extend over several enclosures. Their inside walls are carved in the tracery method of roses and sunflowers.

And the third group on extreme north relates to the Summa and comprises the tombs of Jam Nizamuddin, Mubarak Khan, Malik Rajpal and others.The tomb of the Samma King, Jam Nizam al-Din (reigned 1461–1509), is an impressive square structure built of sandstone and decorated with floral and geometric medallions.
Locals believe Makli means Little Mecca or Mecca, some relate the name after a pious women “Mai Makli”, whose prayers saved Thatta from conquest of Sultan Feroz Shah Tughlaq, till she lived.  Mai Makli’s grave is simple, without carving or headstone and covered with a green cloth. Legends abound about its founding, but it is generally believed that the cemetery grew around the shrine of the fourteenth-century Sufi, Hamad Jamali. Surrounding the ancient graves at Makli Hills there are many shrines devoted to various religious figures.

Makli Necropolis is listed with the United Nations World Heritage. It was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1981under the name, Historical Monuments of Thatta.

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