This significant site should be richly managed by the concerned authorities not only because of historical and architectural heritage but also for promoting tourism.
Laki Shah Saddar is a small but historic town in Jamshoro district of Sindh situated some 20km south of Sehwan, another historic town, on the right bank of Indus River, and beautifully walled by the Khirthar Mountain range on the west side. Its old name is said to be ‘Tirath Laki’. This small town is connected to the rest of country by Indus Highway and a single track railway of British era.
In his book ‘Sindh Revisited’, the 19th century British scholar and traveler Richard Burton describes Laki as a place of pilgrimage for Hindus. French researcher Michel Boivin, in his book ‘Sindh Through History and Representations’, also notes that Laki is one of the most important places of Sindh and a stopover for pilgrims going on for pilgrimage to Hinglaj Mata temple in Balochistan. But today, there are only a handful of Shiva temples in Laki. Once majestic, they now wear a deserted look since there is no one to take care of them anymore.
However, the other prominent feature of this town is a largely spread cemetery. It is considered as one of the largest graveyards of the country.
The Laki Shah Saddar cemetery is said to be last resting place of people from various dynasties of Chang tribe of the Samma rule in Sindh, as mentioned in a research paper of renowned anthropologist Dr. Zulfiqar Ali Kalhoro. He states that the stone-carved graves at this cemetery are of Chang tribe. It is worth mentioning that many of the graves and tombs existing here are a real piece of art, but having no recorded history, and even no serious effort has so far been made to research and explore hidden dimensions of the cemetery.
Laki Shah Saddar Graveyard is located in the area between the shrine of Laki Shah Saddar and Chashma (spring). The site houses thousands of graves, two tombs, a mosque, an old mud structure, and few graves inside the walled structure with prominent entrance.
Many graves, tombs and other structure at this site are mesmerizing piece of art and funerary architecture, featuring floral and geometric carved decorative motifs. Decorated rosette and circular pattern are carved on many graves. Several grave slabs feature geometric patterns. Red sandstone is used as construction material for tombs and slabs of graves.
This significant site should be richly managed by the concerned authorities not only because of historical and architectural heritage but also for promoting tourism. No doubt this heritage site tells us the story of rise and fall of local tribes.
Here are some more pictorial glimpses of the historic cemetery, forsaken by the antiquities department of Sindh.
Quratulain Kareem is Teaching Assistant at Department of Anthropology & Archaeology, University of Sindh.