By Almas Akhtar, TMO
Mohatta Palace is a beautiful building built with pink Jodhpur stone in the 1920s which is located near the Arabian Sea in the city of Karachi. Shivratan Chandraratan Mohatta a self-made Sikh businessman as his summer home built it. The palace is built on an area of 18,500 sq. ft. There are 9 domes with a larger dome in the center. The front windows are of blue color and the back windows are arched shape with beautiful stained glass. The teak staircase in the palace looks majestic, and first floor has some large stately rooms. A beautiful temple occupies the terrace. The first floor has a large hall in the center with bedrooms, restrooms and dressing rooms. The roof top gives a fascinating view of the landscaping of the palace and the Arabian Sea. The staircase connects the rooftop. On each corner of the palace are octagonal towers. Another staircase leads towards a hot water pool which has adjoining changing rooms. There also a door, leading to a secret tunnel. It is believed that this tunnel was built for the businessmanâ€™s wife for her daily worship. The palace has some intricate detailed stone work all across the building. One can see beautiful carved peacock and marigold motifs in stone work around each of the nine domes.
After Mohattaâ€™s departure the government of Pakistan seized the palace. Fatima Jinnah sister of the founder of Pakistan moved in here in 1964. Later her sister Shireen Jinnah moved in the ground floor until her death in 1980 after which the palace was sealed. It was in the year 1995 that the palace was bought by the Government of Sindh. A museum was formally opened in 1999 and a trust was established to manage the property. All exhibitions at Mohatta Palace are put together for a time of 2 to 2 1/2 years. The Palace has featured various exhibitions like â€œThe Art of Calligraphyâ€, â€œMiniature Paintingsâ€, â€œSadequain; the Holy Sinnerâ€, and â€œThe birth of Pakistanâ€ hosted by the citizenâ€™s archive of Pakistan.
The Palace is a landmark of the city of Karachi and is visited by hundreds of tourists every day.