Makli Hill is one of the largest necropolises in the world, with a diameter of approximately 8 km. It lies approx. 98 km east of Karachi and is the burial place of some 125,000 local rulers, Sufi saints and others. Makli is located on the outskirts of Thatta, the capital of lower Sindh until the seventeenth century, in what is the southeastern province of present-day Pakistan. It was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1981 under the name of Historical Monuments of Thatta.
Legends abound about its inception, but it is often believed that the cemetery grew around the shrine of a fourteenth-century Sarwa, Muhammad Hussain Abro. According to other sources however, the credit for establishing Makli as a holy place for worship and burial goes to the immigrant saint, poet and scholar Shaikh Hammad Jamali and the then local ruler, Jam Tamachi. Another legendary person buried at Makli is the saint Pir Murad (1428-1488).
The tombs and gravestones spread over the cemetery are material documents marking the social and political history of Sindh. Many have been build using a local sandstone, others are plastered brick buildings (which have suffered the most, generally). The impressive royal mausoleums are divided into two major groups, those from the Samma (1352–1520) and from the Tarkhan (1556–1592) period. In total four historical periods are represented architecturally, namely the Samma, the Arghun, the Tarkhan and the Mughals periods. The tomb (or maqbara) of the King Jam Nizamuddin II (reigned 1461–1508), is an impressive square structure built of sandstone and decorated with floral and geometric medallions. Similar to this is the mausoleum of Isa Khan Hussain II (d. 1651), a two-story stone building with majestic cupolas and balconies. In contrast to the synthetic architecture of these two monuments, which integrate Hindu and Islamic motifs, are mausoleums that clearly show the Central Asian roots of the Tarkhan and Moghul dynasties. An example is the tomb of Jan Beg Tarkhan (d. 1600), a typical octagonal brick structure whose dome is covered in blue and turquoise glazed tiles. Pavilion or canopy tombs (chattri maqbara or umbrella tomb) are another typical Indo-Islamic architectural feature, as well as enclosure tombs. the Moghul period is represented by many tombs on the southern side of the necropolis, including the mausoleum of Mirza Jani & Mirza Ghazi Baig, that of Nawab Shurfa Khan, the enclosure of Mirza Baqi Baig Uzbek and of Mirza Jan Baba as well as the impressive restored tomb of Nawab Isa Khan Tarkhan the Younger.
Today, Makli Hill is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site that is visited by both pilgrims and tourists, but in strong need of conservation and maintenance. The 2010 flooding unfortunately added to the deterioration of the site.
Sketch plan of the necropolis as stated by information point
Tombs at Makli hill
The Quranic artwork at a decorated grave of one of the Sufi Saints in the necropolis