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Shah Makaee Fort, Hyderabad, Sind.

Shah Makaee Fort, Hyderabad, Sind.

Photographer: Unknown

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1900

Shelfmark: Photo 425/(45)

Item number: 45

Length: 9.9

Width: 14.7

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of the outer walls and bastions of Shah Makai Fort near Hyderabad in the Sindh province now in Pakistan, by an unknown photographer, c.1900, from an album of 46 prints titled 'Karachi Views'. Sindh province takes its name from the Sindhu river which flows through it, frequently flooding its banks, and known to the West as the mighty Indus. The conquest of Sindh by the Arabs in the 8th century helped usher in the Islamic period of the Indian sub-continent. Prior to that the ancient province, strategically located in the fertile flood plain of the Indus, saw many civilisations come and go. Hyderabad, with a history of settlements dating to pre-history, is now the fourth largest city of Pakistan. Its ascendancy occurred when the Indus changed its course from Khudabad, then the capital of Sindh, to its present position. As a result, the Kalhora rulers of Sindh (1700-1782) decided to shift their capital to this small settlement on the left bank of the Indus and constructed a large fort in 1768 A.D. This fort became the seat of first the Kalhora and then the Talpur rulers of Sindh. The Shah Makai Fort is the smaller of Hyderabad's two forts and is also known locally as the Kutccha Qila or mud-built fort. It was built by Ghulam Shah Kalhora in 1772 to protect the remains of the Sindhi saint Shaikh Syed Muhammad Makkai which were housed in a mausoleum built earlier in 1671. The saint was believed to have come here in 1260 from Mecca (hence the name Makkai or 'from Mecca') and his mausoleum still attracts devotees from far and wide. Both of Hyderabad's forts are characterised by merlons with attenuated forms along the tops of the walls and deep and vertical loopholes down the external face.

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