Why Makli is important to Pakistan

Situated in Thatta, Makli is amongst the largest graveyards in the world. Housing approximately 500,000 to 1 million tombs built over the course of a 400 years, the graves mostly belong to Kings, queens, governors, saints, scholars, and philosophers

The graves of Makli are beautifully constructed with tiles and monuments as well as intricately carved tombstones. Due to the historic value of the land, the necropolis was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981.

Also known as the ‘City of the dead’, Makli has been the capital of three successive dynasties and later ruled by the Mughal emperors of Delhi of civilisation in Sindh. Since most of the people buried there were known as individuals with prestige, it is not a surprise that the tombstones and monuments that complement the graves are outstanding in one way or another.

For instance, some graves are decorated extravagantly with tiles, bricks and stones. Whereas, other tombstones have carvings that tell a story of the dead.

Among some monuments made from stone include tombs of Jam Nizamuddin II, who reigned from 1461 to 1509, as well as that of Diwan Shurfa Khan who died in 1638. Jam Nizamuddin’s tomb is also one of the best architectural wonders of the Islamic world. It is a source of inspiration in terms of designs and calligraphy. The influences of these structures include Hindu architecture of the Gujrat style and Mughal imperial architecture.

Then there is the Chaukhandi tomb of Khwaja Khalil Alias Nawab Amir Khan located to the northwest of Badi-uz-Zaman’s tomb at Makli. According to literary sources, Khwaja Khalil saved Muhammad Baqi Beg Tarkhan from drowning. Grateful to his savior, Baqi Beg Tarkhan gave Khalil a high rank in the royal court and constructed his mausoleum in his life time.

And then there are some graves and tombs that are inscribed with Quranic verses – all created with floral and geometric patterns. There are also tombs that feature carvings of animals, warriors, and weaponry.

 It is such historical monuments that make Makli important for the social and political history of Pakistan.