Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Makli Necropolis – The Largest in the World

I was talking to friends awhile ago and I talked of Makli Necropolis, but was amazed to know that most had never heard of it. Since I had been to the place, I thought I would share my experience of the area and this unique graveyard in the world.

I had gone to Thatta from Karachi and while I was returning, I ventured into this place otherwise obscured and unknown. The Necropolis sits on a raised ground and is spread over a vast area (some estimate it between 8-15 kilometers). It houses countless graves of kings and queens, soldiers and scholars and others who once were somebody or something of the area. As per an estimate over 125,000 saints are believed to be buried here as well. Each grave is a unique piece of art and its size and shape and inscriptions over it reveal who is buried inside. 

Why the area is called Makli? – Well there are many explanations. Locals believe Makli means Little Mecca or Mecca-like; some relate the name after a devout and pious women "Mai Makli", whose prayers averted Sultan Firuz Shah Tughlaq's conquest of Thatta — he could only seize it three days after her death. Mai Makli's grave is simple, without any carving or headstone, nestled against the wall of Jam Nizamuddin's tomb - covered with a green cloth.

It is generally believed that the cemetery grew around the shrine of the fourteenth-century Sufi Hamad Jamali. Besides, there are many huge structures which are graves of the notables and important personalities. One is overawed by the vastness of the area, standing amidst countless graves, generally rectangular in shapes, inscribed beautifully of Islamic calligraphy, circular designs, vaulted domes, arches, and towers - rising in endless succession above shapeless mounds of ruins. The area is barren and dry and hardly visited by people. This leaves desert snakes to abound the place and move about freely.

Today, Makli Hill is a United Nations World Heritage Site that is visited by both pilgrims and tourists.

Read More: Makli Necropolis


Logic is Variable said...

Yes, walking into the unknown and walking on roads less traveled always bring about such heritage gems we are poised to lose for ever. Nice post.

Jalal HB said...

Thanks SAJS