Near the seashores of Karachi, there is a mesmeric building, which always captures attention of people visiting sea view. Just across the street of Karachi’s Famous Shrine of Sufi Saint Hazrat Abdullah Shah Ghazi, there is a pink Anglo Mughal style building known as Mohatta Palace Karachi.
Mohatta Palace was built by Agha Ahmad Hussain, first Renowned Muslim Architect of that time in 1927 by the orders of local businessman Shivratan Chandratan Mohatta, who lived in Marwar town India and wanted to built a summer house for his family, Mr. Shivratan choosed this place because of its prime location near seashores of Karachi, but unfortunately he didn’t spend much of his summers in this Palace as after two decades of its construction, Independence of Indo-Pak occurred and he decided to shift to India. Named after Mr. Shivratan Chandratan Mohatta, this Palace is still known as Mohatta Palace.
After Mr. Mohatta’s shifting, this Palace became a property of newly formed Government of Pakistan who used it as an office of Ministry of Foreing Affairs. After that, it was handed over to Mother of the Nation Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah, Sister of Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, as her residence in 1964. Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah stayed there till she lasts in 1967 and at that time this palace was also knowned as Qasr e Fatima (Palace of Fatima). After her death, her sister Mohtarma Shireen Bai used it as her residence and after her death, it became disputed property between the generations of two sisters and for more than 10 years this building remained closed which affected the structure of the palace. Cracks were visible during that time as there was no one to take care of this historical Building. In 1995, Government of Pakistan took controls of this palace back and decided to build a museum in this historical palace. Therefore, Ministry of Culture spent 70 Lac rupees on this palace from which 61 Lac Rs were spent in buying this Palace and rest were spent on its renovation.
Mr. Agha Ahmad Hussain designed Mohatta Palace in pure Anglo Mughal Style, the Palace is constructed on 18,500 Square feet area with the help of Gizri Lime Stone and Rajhistani Pink Jodhpuri Stone that grants this building a mesmeric look and provides it strength against weather as it was built near sea shore.
Its prominent element is its octagonal domes, which are built in every corner of the palace, designed purely in Anglo Mughal Style, and Pink Jodhpuri Stone provides it elegance.
Two domes are located near the head access have curved stairways, which drive up to the rooftop. At the far end, opposite the entry is a room for amusement, which has few steps on each side, commanding directly into the gardens at the back of the palace.
Providing Mohatta palace great looks, its front is paired with openings, Stone braces , spandrels, cupolas, railings with flower-patterned designs and good-looking fences. There are nine domes in Mohatta palace, while the intros in the forward-facing portion opening into the park are of blue color and those in the back-end area are curved windows with tainted glass.
On the ground floor, large rooms are designed for entertainment purpose, and on first floor private rooms, like bedrooms were built. There is a balcony stipulated with a shade from extreme sunlight on the first floor of this Palace. On terrace, there is also a beautiful temple dedicated to Hindu god “Shiva”
The palace is exclusively completed with teak wood, a graceful staircase, long hallways and doors built with teak wood.
There are three plans of Mohatta Palace. Basement, ground floor and first floor. In Basement there is a hot water pool chamber connected with changing room. This water pool was provided with the facility of hot on cold water according to the weather conditions. With Pool, few opening were designed too so that the steam can go out of the chamber. It is also claimed that from the basement, a tunnel was designed towards nearly located Hindu temple so that Mr. Mohatta can use a safe passage to offer his Worship.
Upon moving inside the palace, there is a hallway, which joins each room located on the ground floor. This floor includes large majestic rooms proposed for entertainment, from which two are located on the right side and two on left.
When observed from outdoor, the ground floor has two very decorative openings on each side of the entry, containing of three closes in each. Same Openings were designed on the south side of the palace as well.
The first floor is designed for private living unlike the ground floor. Though there is a large hall in the center of this floor which have ten doors which opens in a hallways that are located in north and south, while the rooms were deigned on east and west side of this hallway. Four large rooms designated as bedrooms can be seen here along with attached rest rooms and every room has two doors. Hallway stairs were designed in the south part of this floor, which leads towards octagonal towers on the rooftop.
Windows were built similar to ground floor. One can take pleasure in the cool breeze and can have a look of beautiful scenes of seashore from the windows built on first floor towards terrace. Staircases coming all the way up from the ground floor, through the frontal north and south octagonal towers attach the rooftop.
As mentioned earlier, in 1995 it was purchased by the Government for its conservation and then it was converted into a museum. The Museum is operated by the trust, which manages the Mohatta palace and activities in it. The museum was inaugurated in 1999 and first exhibition held here was of the “treasures of Talpurs” on 15th of September 1999.This Palace is now a protected Heritage and links us with our past.