Thatta (Sindhi: ٺٽو; Urdu: ٹھٹہ) is a city in the
Pakistani province of Sindh.
Thatta is believed to be birth place of
Ishta dev of Sindhis "Jhulelal".
Thatta was the medieval capital of
Sindh, and served as the seat of power for three successive dynasties.
Thatta's historic significance has yielded several monuments in and
around the city. Thatta's Makli Necropolis, a UNESCO World Heritage
Site, is site of one of the world's largest cemeteries and has
numerous monumental tombs built between the 14th and 18th centuries
designed in a syncretic funerary style characteristic of lower Sindh.
The city's 17th century
Shah Jahan Mosque is richly embellished with
decorative tiles, and is considered to have the most elaborate display
of tile work in South Asia.
5 See also
7 External links
Thatta's Sindhi name Thatto may derive from the Sindhi words 'Thatti',
'Thatt' or 'Thatto', which all refer to riverside settlements.
Villagers in the rural areas of lower
Sindh often refer to the city as
Thatta Nagar, or simply Nagar.
Thatta may be the site of ancient Patala, the main port on the Indus
in the time of Alexander the Great, though the site of Patala has
been subject to much debate.
Muhammad bin Qasim
Muhammad bin Qasim captured the region
in 711 CE after the defeating the local Raja in a battle north of
Thatta is reported by some historians to have been the ancient
seaport of Debal that was mentioned by the Arab conquerors, though
others place the seaport at the site of modern Karachi. At the time
Umayyad conquests, small semi-nomadic tribes were living in the
Sindh region. The
Umayyad conquest introduced the religion of Islam
into the hitherto mostly Hindu and Buddhist region.
Makli Necropolis features several monumental tombs dating
from the 14th to 18th centuries.
Following Mahmud of Ghazna's invasion of
Sindh in the early 11th
Ghaznavids installed Abdul Razzaq as Governor of Thatta
in 1026. Under the rule of the
Ghaznavids the local chieftain Ibn
Sumar, then ruler of Multan, seized power in
Sindh and founded the
Sumra dynasty, which ruled from
Thatta from 1051 for the next 300
years. Under Sumra rule, Thatta's
Ismaili Shia population was granted
special protection. The
Sumra dynasty began to decline in power by
the 13th century, though
Thatta and the Indus Delta remained their
last bastions of power until the mid 14th century.
In 1351, the Samma dynasty, of
Rajput descent from Sehwan, seized the
city and made it their capital as well. It was during this time that
Makli Necropolis rose to prominence as a funerary site. Muhammad
bin Tughluq died in 1351 during a campaign to capture Thatta. Firuz
Shah Tughlaq unsuccessfully attempted to subjugate
Thatta twice; once
in 1361 and again in 1365.
In 1520, the Samma ruler
Jam Feroz was defeated by Shah Beg of the
Arghun-Tarkhun dynasty, which in turn had been displaced from
Afghanistan by the expanding
Timurid Empire in Central Asia. The
Tarkhuns fell into disarray in the mid 1500s, prompting Muhammad Isa
Tarkhun (Mirza Isa Khan I) to seek aid from the Portuguese in 1555.
700 Portuguese soldiers arrived in 28 ships to determine, at the time
of their arrival, that Isa Tarkhun had already emerged victorious from
the conflict. After the Tarkhuns refused to pay the Portuguese
soldiers, the Portuguese plundered the town, robbing its enormous gold
treasury, and killing many inhabitants. Despite the 1555 sack of
Thatta, the 16th century Portuguese historian
Diogo do Couto
Diogo do Couto described
Thatta as one of the richest cities of the Orient.
Shah Jahan Mosque features extensive tile work that displays
Timurid influences introduced from Central Asia.
The city was destroyed by Mirza Jani Beg in the 16th century.
Beginning in 1592 during the reign of Emperor Jehangir,
governed by the
Mughal Empire based in Delhi, which lead to a decline
in the city's prosperity as some trade was shifted towards other
Shah Jahan, while still a prince, sought refuge in the city from his
father Emperor Jahangir. In 1626, Shah Jahan's 13th son, Lutfallah,
was born in Thatta. The city was almost destroyed by a devastating
storm in 1637. As a token of gratitude for the hospitality he had
received in the city while still a prince,
Shah Jahan bestowed the
Shah Jahan Mosque to the city in 1647as part of the city's rebuilding
efforts, although it was not completed until 1659 under the reign of
his son Aurangzeb. Emperor
Aurangzeb himself had also lived in
Thatta for some time as governor of the lower Sindh.
Thatta regained some of its prosperity with the arrival of European
merchants. Between 1652 and 1660, the
Dutch East India Company
Dutch East India Company had
a small tradingpost (comptoir or factory) in Thatta. This competed
with the English one, which was established in 1635 and closed in
Thatta in the 1650s was noted to have 2,000 looms that produced
cloth that was exported abroad to
Asia and Portugal.
also home to a thriving silk weaving industry, as well as leather
products that were exported throughout South Asia. The city was
considered by visiting
Augustinian friars in the 1650s to be a wealthy
city, though the presence of transgendered hijras were taken as a sign
of the city's supposed moral depravity.
Thatta'a revival was short lived as the Indus River silted in the
second half of the 1600s, shifting its course further east and leading
to the abandonment of the city as a seaport. Despite the
abandonment of the city's port functions, its Hindu merchants
continued to play an important role in trade, and began using their
own ships rather than relying on European ships for trade. Traders
were particularly active in the region around Masqat, in modern Oman,
and members of Thatta's Bhatia caste established Masqat's first Hindu
temple during this period.
Sindh remained an important economic
centre during this period as well, and
Thatta remained Sindh's largest
economic centre, and its largest centre for textile production.
Kalhora dynasty began to gain influence as a dynasty of feudal
lords in upper Sindh, where they ruled since the middle 16th century.
They eventually brought
Thatta under their control in 1736 - after
which they moved their capital to
Thatta before eventually moving it
to Hyderabad in 1789.
Thatta continued to decline in the mid 18th
century in importance as a trading centre throughout the 18th century,
as much of the city's trading classes shifted to Shikarpur in northern
Sindh, or to Gujarat.
In 1739, however, following the Battle of Karnal, the Mughal province
Sindh was fully ceded to
Nadir Shah of the Persian Empire, after
Thatta fell into neglect, as the Indus river also began to silt.
The city then came under the rule of the Talpurs, who seized Thatta
from the Kalhoras. A second British comptoir was established during
Kalhora period in 1758, which operated until 1775. In the
early 19th century
Thatta had declined to a population of about
20,000, from a high of 200,000 a century before.
Talpur rule ended in 1843 on the battlefield of Miani when General
Charles James Napier
Charles James Napier captured the
Sindh for the British Empire, and
moved the capital of the
Sindh from Hyderabad to Karachi. In 1847,
Thatta was administered as part of the Bombay Presidency. In 1920, the
estimated population of the city was 10,800.
Partition of British India
Partition of British India resulted in the exodus of much of the
city's Hindu population, though like much of Sindh,
Thatta did not
experience the widespread rioting that occurred in Punjab and
Bengal. In all, less than 500 Hindu were killed in all of Sindh
between 1947-48 as Sindhi Muslims largely resisted calls to turn
against their Hindu neighbours. Hindus did not flee
masse until riots erupted in
Karachi on 6 January 1948, which sowed
fear in Sindh's Hindus despite the fact that the riots were local and
regarded Sikh refugees from Punjab seeking refuge in Karachi.
In the 1970s under the rule of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Thatta's monuments
were restored and some industry was relocated to Thatta.
The city serves as capital of
Thatta District. On 23 April 2014, the
government announced the formation of Sindh's sixth division, Banbhore
Thatta as capital. These sources reveal that
this formation is made to improve governance in Thatta.
Thatta's geology is characterized by volcanic and sedimentary rocks
that are similar to those in the Indus plain, and Thar Desert. Soil
types in the region are silty, with some clay as well. Much of the
soil is exposed to salinization from the Arabian Sea.
Thatta is characterized by mangrove forests in the
coastal region, with tropical-thorny shrubs elsewhere.
Climate of Thatta:
The average annual rainfall is 210mm, The average annual temperature
Thatta is 26.8 °C.
January: 5mm, February: 8mm, March 5mm, April: 3mm, May: 5mm, June:
17mm, July: 98mm, August: 50mm, September: 15mm, October: 1mm,
November: 2mm, December 3mm.
Indus Valley Civilization
History of Pakistan
Shah Jahan Mosque, Thatta". UNESCO. UNESCO. Retrieved 17 July
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Thatta travel guide from Wikivoyage
Shah Jahan Mosque - Thatta
Makli Necropolis - Thatta
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