One of the most significant edifices in the Clifton locality is the tomb of Abdullah Shah Ghazi. The history of this tomb dates back to about the eighth century. It attracts about a thousand of visitors per day regardless of their religious beliefs. Abdullah Shah Ghazi was born in 720 AD and is claimed to be a direct descendant of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) through his cousin and son in law Hazrat Ali.
Ghazi came to Sind on an expedition from Medina when the ruler of Sind was Raja Dahir. He settled down in Debal, or present day Karachi. He lived a life teaching piety. Legend has it, he had the miracle to control the sea waves that would allow the fishermen to sail through a calm sea. Even to this day, some people believe that the reason Karachi is saved from natural sea disasters is due to this Arab Sufi.
Shah Ghazi died in 773 AD in an attack by unknown enemies. He was largely outnumbered but still decided to fight instead of giving up, hence he got the title Ghazi meaning warrior. His tomb had been built atop of a hill after his death. In the 1950’s- when it was first photographed- the tomb was a small hut. In Ayub Khan’s regime it was renovated, further redevelopments took place during Z.A Bhutto times. Till about a few decades the mausoleum faced instability and finally a construction took place in the 2005-07.
The building was marked by striped stones decorated with Sindhi artwork. Even though the tomb is on top the body is buried in a crypt beneath the stairs. It attracts men and women, beggars, street hawks, tattoo artists, astrologers, drug addicts and the homeless alike. People from all over the country come to visit this place. According to the locals, the prayers do not go un listened at this shrine.
Today, the make-up of the mazaar is ongoing. The structure has been completely changed due to the addition of the Bahria Tower Icon. Instead of the remarkable stripes, the tomb is covered with yellow limestone and is unrecognizable. Many of the locals are unhappy with the recent alteration of the building, however, this has not stopped people to visit and pray to this Arab Sufi.
Karachi can be claimed as one of the oldest cities to ever be in the books of historian, however, it was not always like it is today. Karachi is the new foodie hub and the city that holds the most economic and strategic edge over other cities, thus Karachi is Karachi and will always remain like this.
The history of Karachi can be traced back to as old as time. At the time of Alexander the Great, it was known as Korkola- the port from where he traveled to the Babylon. Morontobara, presently known as Manora Island, is where Alexander’s admiral had sailed. The name of this location can also be found in Greek texts. Fast forward centuries, the Arabs knew it as the port of Debal- the significant location from where Mohammad Bin Qasim conquered Sind and brought Islam into the subcontinent.
In the eighteenth century, few fishermen Baloch families settled down and the area became known as Kolachi jo Goth. The trading between Kolachi and the Gulf started and a fort was built to protect the descendants. This was handed over to the Talpurs by the King of Kalat in 1795.
With the establishment of the British era and the EIC, Sind was annexed in 1843 by Sir Charles Napier. It became to be known as Kurrachee Scind. The British realized the importance of the city and started building. Many of the infrastructures that stand today were built including: Frere Hall, Mereweather Tower, Sind Club and the list goes on.
After facing violence and the smell of independence, Karachi became the official capital city of the newly established Pakistan. However, due to the instability of the city among the multicultural races, the capital had been shifted first to Rawalpindi and then to Islamabad.
Today, Karachi holds the same significance as it did 500 years ago. There’s something about this city that makes you fall in love with. At the end of the day, no matter how weird the circumstances get, Karachi will never fail to please.
Mohatta palace, the greatest landmark in the history of time, marks one of the wonders that are loved till this day. The edifice is meticulously structured and gives an eerie sense of the past. Built in 1927, Mohatta Palace holds a significant history within its walls. From being a summer house, to the presidential campaigning of Ms. Fatima Jinnah, to the myths about it being haunted and housing super secretive tunnels.
Mohatta Palace was built by Ahmed Hussein Agha in the Anglo-Mogul architectural style. Two distinct features: Mr. Agha was one of the first and finest Muslim Architect, the second, the palace itself was built to depict a mixture of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. It is said that the palace was built for Shiv Rattan Mohatta’s wife as a summer house. Mr. Mohatta was a Marwari businessman in Karachi.
After independence, the palace was acquired by the ministry of foreign affairs of Pakistan. Later in 1964 when the capital shifted to Islamabad the palace was gifted to Fatima Jinnah. It was here that she launched a presidential campaign against then president Ayub khan. Later due to her untimely death in 1980 the palace was given to Shireen Bai, Jinnah’s sister. Later after her death, the palace remained sealed till 1995. It was under Bhutto’s regime that the palace was funded to be turned into a museum.
Today, it hosts exhibitions and is maintained by a board of trustees. The palace is opened for donations from the general public. It is interesting to see that in a time of a few decades the palace has been through so much in terms of political activities. There is a myth regarding the haunting of the palace as well a story about a secret tunnel that linked the basement of the palace with a nearby Shiv temple. Whatever the stories maybe, Mohatta Palace is truly an art in its own sense.