Saturday, 21 September 2013

The Mohatta Palace



Hi, come and join me to a short visit to an exciting place. It is located near my house, infact, it's just 20 minutes walking time ........ so, let's go!


The Mohatta Palace is located in Karachi. It was built by Shivratan Chandraratan Mohatta, an ambitious self-made businessman from Marwar as his summer home in 1927. The architect of the palace was Agha Ahmed Hussain. However, Mohatta could enjoy this building for only about two decades before independence of Pakistan and he left Karachi for India. He built the Palace in the tradition of stone palaces in Rajastan, using pink Jodhpur stone in combination with the local yellow stone from Gizri. The amalgam gave the palace a distinctive presence in an elegant neighborhood  which was located not far from the sea.


After Mohatta's departure to India, the Government of Pakistan acquired the building to house the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1947. Fatima Jinnah, the sister of the Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, moved into it in 1964. In the '60s Mohatta Palace was dubbed as Qasre-e-Fatima, becoming the hub of her presidential campaign against President Ayub Khan.  After her questionable sudden death, her sister Shireen Jinnah moved in to occupy the ground floor for many years. With her death in 1980, the palace was sealed.



In 1995 it was purchased by the Government of Sindh for its conversion into a Museum devoted to the arts of Pakistan. As a result of the interest taken by the Government of Sindh who took over the ownership of the property and appointed an independent board of trustees headed by the Governor, to formulate recommendations on how best to adapt and use the palace. The trust was established to manage the property and ensure that it would not be sold or utilised for commercial or any other purpose other than that stipulated in the trust deed. Funds for the acquisition of collections for the museum and the construction of an extension will be raised by the trustees through private and public grants, donations and other fund raising activities. The Museum formally opened in 1999. Behind the building can be found a small collection of "English" statues such as Queen Victoria and soldiers of the Raj.


  


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