Destination Pakistan Guide

Destination Pakistan Guide

Makli Necropolis

Unveiling the Enigma: Makli Necropolis – A Treasure Trove of History and Artistry

Nestled in a diamond-shaped expanse, the grandeur of the Makli Necropolis in Thatta is unparalleled. It boasts of its status as one of the largest graveyards globally covering a sprawling 10 square kilometers. Altogether, the Makli Necropolis houses an astonishing half-million monuments. The graveyard stands as the final resting place for an eclectic mix of individuals, from regal monarchs and erudite scholars to valiant warriors, philosophers, governors, and revered saints. In recognition of its historical significance, Makli Necropolis, therefore, earned its place among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Pakistan in 1981.

A Journey Through Time: Unraveling the History of Makli Necropolis

Delving into the annals of history, Makli Necropolis emerges as the eternal abode for over 125,000 saints. Throughout the ages, this city has undeniably been a beacon of knowledge housing around 400 educational institutions. Here students from the Muslim world and Asia came to hone their skills. Students generally engaged in a diverse array of subjects encompassing religion, politics, and philosophy. 

Yet, the enigmatic origins of Makli remain shrouded in mystery. It is widely believed that the cemetery evolved around the shrine of the 14th-century Sufi Hamad Jamali. As for the etymology of “Makli,” two intriguing notions persist. Locals suggest that it signifies “Mecca-like,” while another legend ties it to the pious woman known as “Mai Makli.” Legend has it that her fervent prayers thwarted Sultan Firuz Shah Tughlaq’s conquest of Thatta until her passing. She now rests in Makli near the tomb of Jam Nizamuddin.

Thatta enjoyed a glorious stint as the capital of Sindh from the 14th to the 18th centuries. Initially, it was ruled by three successive dynasties – Samma, Argun, and Tarkhan. However, it later came under the dominion of the Mughal emperors of Delhi from 1592 to 1739 before being ceded to Shah Nadir of Iran, marking the beginning of a period marked by decline and neglect.

The Architectural Marvels of Makli Necropolis

The monuments of Makli Necropolis are a testament to the social and political history of Sindh from the 14th to the 18th centuries. Crafted with exquisite architectural finesse, these tombs and graves epitomize the artistic prowess of their time. The tombs were built by utilizing an array of materials such as sand bricks, stone, and marble. Some of these monuments are opulently adorned with glazed tiles, boasting intricate designs, arched domes, and towers adorned with exquisite Islamic calligraphy and devotional carvings inspired by diverse religious and iconographic traditions.

Remarkably, many of these iconic monuments have withstood the test of time, enduring centuries of exposure to the elements. However, preserving this rich heritage for future generations necessitates substantial restoration efforts.

Makli Necropolis: A Journey Through Location and Access

Situated adjacent to the tip of the Indus River delta, Makli Necropolis lies on the outskirts of Thatta.  It was an ancient bastion of Islamic civilization nestled at the edge of the 6.5-kilometer-long plateau of Makli. This historic site is located approximately 89 kilometers east of Karachi in the Sindh province of southern Pakistan. Makli offers an ideal day trip from the bustling metropolis of Karachi. Navigating the vast expanse of the graveyard is made convenient through its wide streets, ensuring access to all the awe-inspiring monuments.

Makli Necropolis undoubtedly stands as a testament to the rich tapestry of history, culture, and artistry. The graveyard has woven itself into the very fabric of this remarkable site. It beckons not only to history enthusiasts but also to travelers, both domestic and international, and devout pilgrims alike, offering a glimpse into an enigmatic past that continues to captivate our imaginations.

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