The Necropolis of Makli, Thatta

Heritage Foundation, Pakistan

Heritage Foundation, 2014

With its all-pervading silence of over one million graves, awash with stillness and peace, the Makli ridge beckons you on.
The site was inscribed in UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1981.

The Necropolis is spread over an area of 12 km, and consists of 75 identified structures, over 400 platforms and numerous single graves.

These are Makli's Tarkhan and Timurid monuments.

Where the scale alone is overwhelming, awesome are the centuries old ruins of sepulchres of rulers and princes, saints and mendicants, the profiles of these architectural edifices rising from the eminence of the ridge.

Samma Monuments at Makli Hill

Tomb of Jan Baba, Yadgar Miskin and 11 others.

Cenotaph calligraphy

Details of carving on Cenotaph at Makli

Ornamentation on stone headstones

Over many centuries, Makli became famous as an abode of some of the most significant saints of the subcontinent.
The site embodies a culture of forbearance among people belonging to different religious orientations, and its architectural characteristics present an eclectic mix, amalgamating diverse Muslim and Hindu cultural traditions. Many are remarkable for devotional carvings of exquisite charm, presenting motifs drawn from various religious and iconographic traditions.

Kashi Kari

Glazed tiles

Tomb of Dewan Shurfa Khan

Tomb of Dewan Shurfa Khan

Gateway of Kaus-i-Sultani

The four centuries, from the earliest Samma rule spanning from 14-16th Century, comprise the golden age of Thatta, and are signified by the popular Jam Nizam al Din or Jam Nindo.

Detail of carving on the Tomb of Jam Nizam-al Din

Tomb of Jam Nizam-al Din

Jharokha details of Tomb of Jam Nizam-al Din.

Tomb of Nuri and Jam Tamachi

The carved imagery of date palms symbolizes the oasis of heaven.

The rosettes and lotus flower motif are a reoccuring theme at the site.

The short lived Arghun dynasty of the 16th Century was established by Shah Beg Arghun, a descendant of Changez Khan, who vanquished the last Samma ruler Jam Feroz.
It was Mirza Isa Khan Tarkhan the Elder, who established the Tarkhan dynasty lasting until the end of the 16th Century.

The Tomb of Nawab Mirza Isa Khan Tarkhan, the last Tarkhan ruler.

Tomb of Isa Khan Tarkhan, the Younger.

This two-storeyed tomb is the largest structure at the World Heritage Site.

The 17th Century tombs of Sultan Ibrahim and Amir Sultan Muhammad from the Tarkhan Dynasty at Makli, Thatta.

Details of stone carving at the Tomb of Jan Baba

Emperor Akbar’s commander Abdur Rahim Khan Khanan, having crushed Mirza Jani Beg, established the supremacy of Timurid governors (17th to 18th Century).
This is the tomb of Nawab Dewan Shurfa Khan, the Mughal Governor at Makli.

Enclosure of Baqi Beg Uzbek and Tomb of Isa Khan Tarkhan II, in the background.

A view of one of the collapsed tombs at Tomb of Mirza Jan Baba

The Tomb of Khusrau Khan Charkhas

The site continues to retain its spirituality, beckoning those searching for divine awakening, and among its ruins live on the traditional rituals of the devotees that flock to the numerous sanctuaries seeking divine refuge and spiritual sustenance.
Credits: Story

Text: Yasmeen Lari, Heritage Foundation

Photographs: Suhail Z. Lari and Mariyam Nizam, Heritage Foundation; Jamshayd Masud,

Text based on manuscripts by: Suhail Z. Lari, Heritage Foundation

Archival image of Tomb of Isa Khan Tarkhan: Federal Department of Archaeology and Museums, Pakistan

Post-production (video): Naseeb Ahmad

Cinematography: Raja Sabri

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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