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Thatta is an ancient city of the Indus delta. The city is situated about 100 kilometers from Karachi, Pakistan via the national highway. It had great importance in history and today is famous for its archeological sites and centuries old monuments, which are great tourist attractions. [Click on photos to enlarge]

According to historians Thatta may have been the main port on the Indus in the time of Alexander the Great's invasion. The river Indus has changed its course many times since the days of Alexander, and this ancient site of Patala has been subject to much conjecture (the river changes course slowly due to a process called "siltation" which is essentially water pollution by fine silt particles).

Thatta was the capital of three successive dynasties, the traces of which are evident in the Makli necropolis, which spreads over a twelve square kilometer area. These dynasties are: Samma (1335-1520), Arghun  (1520-1555) and Tarkhan (1555-1665).

There are archeological sites in the city and on its outskirts. The most famous of these sites is the Makli Hill, which is the biggest necropolis in the world and about three kilometers from Thatta.

Because of its cultural and archeological importance, in the 1980s UNESCO listed the Makli necropolis as a World Heritage Site. The most preserved area of the necropolis is Makli Hill, which comprises about 35 monuments and contains four different schools of architecture and art made from stone to brick and glaze.

The monuments here also tell the story of external cultural influences in Lower Sindh, including Hindu, Central Asian and Persian cultures.

Later on, the city of Thatta was ruled by the Mughal emperors of Delhi through its governors, leaving an indelible mark on the shape of the monuments there. The most famous example of Mughal architecture is the Shah Jahan Mosque, constructed in the latter half of the seventeenth century.

Thatta played an important role in the history of Sindh and the city was constantly renovated from the 14 to 18 century. But in 1739, when the province of Sindh was taken over by Nadir Shah of Persia, Thatta entered into a period of decline. However the four centuries that comprise the golden age of Thatta have left their traces on the form of monuments in the region. - Text by Mukhtar Azad

Comments (25) Closed

Oct 02, 2012 07:55pm
The great heritage of the people of Pakistan is so impressive that they can go back to Indus valley civilization when even Hindus did not exit. It is their heritage and no one else. If they revive it, Pakistan will be the land of tourism of the whole world, be it Hindus, Buddhists, Mughals, Muslims, Persians and so many more I do not know . We can all find our ancestors belonging to the area of Pakistan that Pakistan itself does not know in the zeal of religious fanaticism. Wake up and glorify yourself in the proud heritage you are from. .
shanti maharaj
Oct 02, 2012 03:11pm
well offcourse, the world is aware of the indus as the bedrock of hindu civilization and budhhism. unfortunately, when pakistan got its independence they wished to remove anything and everything that reminded them of their hindu heritage. instead they identified themselves with saudi arabia. all cultures of the world celebrate its rich historical finds, instead pakistan throws it away. i am sure the young in todays generation will never know that their origins came from the bloodline of the rajputan hindus. even the founder of pakistan jinahs granparents were rajputan hindus. bhuttos mother was a hindu. such were the times of moghul rule convert or face the swdeath
salisha jameela baksh
Oct 02, 2012 03:25pm
this was the evil plot of the then british empire to divide and rule. so sad this plot was not seen by the leaders of the time. my grandmother was a muslim for little while and cries of the her childhood memories of the torture her parents underwent after partition to convert to islam in around the area of gumpti bazaar. very sad history. sometimes i cry when i remember the stories my grandmother would tell us. i sure wish as half muslim and half hindu the people of pakistan will remove their hatred of india
Oct 02, 2012 06:19pm
WOW its awsome
Oct 02, 2012 09:00am
Still begs the question what was need for partition of India?
Iftekhar Mahmood
Oct 03, 2012 08:24am
It is such an enchanting necropolis... I remember the awe I felt while visiting it about ten years ago. But the state of disrepair and neglect was quite disheartening. I was kind of taken aback by some of the strange comments from our Indian friends. Burial place has nothing to do with Hinduism anyway. What's the ruckus all about? Isn't the Indus valley civilization distinct from the Ganga-Jumna one. The two interacted sure... but had evolved on their own and both had been different from the southern civilization. This diversity makes the sub-continent so rich in culture, languages arts and crafts etc. One should not try to lump together such a vast land as the cradle of only one civilization. Undeniably, Influences also came from the great Persian and Roman empires. Most recently, Arabs and central Asians left their mark. A true melting pot, if there ever was one. Somewhere in the early nineties, Time magazine did an interesting cover story. It was the time when America had seriously started taking pride in its diversity and multiculturalism. Yes there was such a time before 9/11... sigh... Anyway, the story was about a software that made it possible to generate the features of a human face and it was made to predict how an american woman would look like in 2050. The picture that the cover carried could easily be mistaken for a Pakistani or Indian lady. The celebrated melting pot American experience had already been lived by the sub-continent. Let's take pride in it rather than creating frictions. The only hope is that India can have as big a heart as its size and allows the UN mandated plebiscite in Jammun & Kashmir. That is the only problem between us, but we have no statesmen around...
Oct 02, 2012 09:26am
who lived there before the hindus?
Samad Chaudhry
Oct 02, 2012 07:27am
Our rulers are far too busy filling their own pockets then preserving the old and ancient history
Oct 02, 2012 08:12am
<The monuments here also tell the story of external cultural influences in Lower Sindh, including Hindu Hindu's are the original people before Islam came.
Oct 02, 2012 01:33pm
.... and I lived for many years just a 100kms away; most of us of Pakistani origin are not even aware of this wonderful and magnificent heritage. I have not visited Pakistan in over 10 years. It is wonderful to see this kind of work through your features at Dawn.... This amazing place will be on my itinerary when I visit a "safer & tolerant" Pakistan again with my wife and sons in the future
Oct 02, 2012 12:32pm
Such beautiful gems of my country. so much of history is kept in one of the places like Thatta. I have been to Dubai recently for holidays and learnt that Emirates history is just going back to late 1800 but still not only they have managed to preserve their little history but also they attract foreign tourists to visit those places. Bear in mind Dubai Oil Based GDP is only 7% whereas other sectors contribute mainly to the Emirate including Tourism. Q: Should not this be followed in our country?
Oct 03, 2012 12:46pm
Beautiful picture. Had heard about Thatta but never seen a picture.
Ahmed Sultan
Oct 03, 2012 12:42pm
There is one condition with that plebiscite proposed by UN that plebiscite can happen if PAK troops get out of J&K. If you are talking about plebiscite then you should know everything about it.
neena grant
Oct 03, 2012 09:32am
People from the Indus civilization, the Dravidians were not Hindus, but a very peaceful and well connected people - trading with Egypt and Sumer. Hardly any weapons are found. They were brilliant and built the first planned city in the world: Mohenjo Daro. Today we see them as Harijans, the ultimate pariah caste of India. Through thousands of years these people have been victimized and supressed by the brutal Hindu caste system. Looking at the way Muslims are living in India today, despite all the problems in our country, we are happy to not be a part of the caste system, but free citizens in our own country that will soon evolve to be Iqbals Pakistan and a good neighbor to India as well!
Oct 03, 2012 06:35am
So what? I am an Indian Muslim, and I know perfectly well that my ancestors,as well as those of Pakistanis are Hindus. What difference does it make? We follow The Prophet Muhammad(s.a.w.) no........accept it just as we accept Hindu ancestors.....We are happy with Islam. Any problem?
Oct 03, 2012 05:42am
so it seems this thatta has a history since say 1300 funny
Naresh Sharma
Oct 03, 2012 05:32am
Dawn Plz dont remove it let the people of Pakistan understand what is Hinduism.. Hindu is not a religion... The word Hindu is derived (through Persian) from the Sanskrit word Sindhu, the historic local appellation for the Indus River in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent, which is first mentioned in the Rig Veda.[11][12][13] The word Hindu was borrowed into European languages from the Arabic term al-Hind, referring to the land of the people who live across the River Indus,[14] itself from the Persian term Hind?, which refers to all Indians. By the 13th century, Hindust?n emerged as a popular alternative name of India, meaning the "land of Hindus".[15] The term Hinduism also occurs sporadically in Sanskrit texts such as the later Rajataranginis of Kashmir (Hinduka, c. 1450), some 16th-18th century Bengali Gaudiya Vaishnava texts, including Chaitanya Charitamrita and Chaitanya Bhagavata, usually to contrast Hindus with Yavanas or Mlecchas.[16] It was only towards the end of the 18th century that the European merchants and colonists referred collectively to the followers of Indian religions as Hindus. The term Hinduism was introduced into the English language in the 19th century to denote the religious, philosophical, and cultural traditions native to India.. Our religion is Sanatan Dharma... Sanatana Dharma is by its very essence a term that is devoid of sectarian leanings or ideological divisions. This is evident by the very term itself. The two words, "Sanatana Dharma", come from the ancient Sanskrit language. "Sanatana" is a Sanskrit word that denotes that which which is Anadi (beginningless), Anantha (endless) and does not cease to be, that which is eternal and everlasting. With its rich connotations, Dharma is not translatable to any other language. Dharma is from dhri, meaning to hold together, to sustain. Its approximate meaning is "Natural Law," or those principles of reality which are inherent in the very nature and design of the universe. Thus the term Sanatana Dharma can be roughly translated to mean "the natural, ancient and eternal way."
Oct 03, 2012 04:24am
Wow. I could not stop looking at the pictures again and again. I wish if there was a way, that we could see more of such in Pakistan. These structure should not only be preserved for future generations but also be opened as a tourist attraction (I am well aware of the current conditions which would not let such initiatives be materialized). I thank dawn for bringing out them to us, who might never get a chance to view them in real. I would also like to rquest dawn to let us have more of these. Thatta really looks a beautiful and culturally enriched place.
Oct 03, 2012 02:08am
The early people of South Asia were most likely African migrants and their descendants are the darker skinned people of South India, who were pushed out by the Central Asian invaders from the Indus settlements. Hindusim came into being naturally from the observations of the earth and the skies by intellectuals who offered their explanations of origins, life, living, death, and the cycles of Nature. In that we may say it is an organic religion, with some Greek influence such as Dyaus (Zeus ), Dyaus Pita (Zeus Pater) and matters of Mahabharata and the wheeled chariots of war. To me, the most important factor is that Hinduism has its essential roots in South Asia where it portrays the organic truths about existence in the context of the land and life there. Hinduism is not based totally on lands, life in foreign lands, and foreign ideas of existence. For example, the West borrowed totally from the Middle East its Judeo-Christian ideology and used it to invade and exploit the world. Muslims borrowed wholly from that Middle Eastern ideologies from which the Judaic culture and Ideology sprang. Hence, the Abrahamic religious ideologies. Finally, Muslims are encouraged not to delve into the pre-Islamic past beyond what is to them, Frightful "idol worship" and the Battle of the Trenches near Mecca, and the Prophet's fright to Medina. Study of pre-Islamic cultures of the M.E. would, I think, ground Muslims in their own organic cultures and ideologies and remove the constant fear of the shadows and ideas shared by Jews and Christians. The competition to prove which of the three Abrahamic religions is the TRUE one is a major problem to the world. M.E. cultures had life and history before the Roman Calendar and people must look back to know their origins and not be consumed by yesterday's foreign theologies which cause many to feel that they are in a state of limbo as to what truths they ancestors intellectuals to help develop and refine their cultures and thinking. the acts of destroying ancient cultural artifacts and representations of life, is a modernist idea to remove all memories of the past in a strange convulsion to glorify the newer ideologies as if they were ALWAYS WITH US. It is a fraud against oneself, a faked amnesia. If some people could, they would blow away the Pharaonic images, but they like the fame and money that they bring. Like the Indus Civilization, they are reminders of our origins, which we smash and loot at our own peril.
Oct 02, 2012 07:02pm
Congratulations to Dawn for this wonderful article. As a child and also as student the city of Thatta always fascinated me. Thank you.
Oct 02, 2012 06:31pm
Brits are a convenient scapegoat for India and Pakistanis.We desis should really take the blame.We alone are the authors of our misfortune.Our leaders lacked any foresight and failed to see what partition would entail.In 1857 we butchered British women and children.In 1947 we butchered each other.Brits have the last laugh - for they got their revenge.Have we learnt anything from our history?Looks like we are forever condemned to repeat it.Need I say more
Shivam Dadwal
Oct 02, 2012 10:11am
Beautiful architecture. Must be saved from getting ruined.
Oct 02, 2012 12:18pm
This looks like a Hindu Temple
Sohil Khan
Oct 02, 2012 02:00pm
Hindus are the first people who ever lived in this region. 90% of current Pakistani Muslims's forefathers are Hindus
neena grant
Oct 02, 2012 10:12pm
Get out of your hindu nationalism. You guys are really a threat to peace on the sub-continent! If you think so badly about Pakistanis then stop surfing on their fora and leave them alone!!