The Mohatta Palace is located in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan. 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 Rajasthan, using pink Jodhpur stone in combination with the local yellow stone from Gizri. The amalgam gave the palace a distinctive presence in an elegant neighbourhood, characterised by Mughal architecture which was located not far from the sea.
The palace has an area of 18,500 sq ft (1,720 m2) and its facade is trimmed with windows, stone brackets, spandrels, domes, balustrades with floral motifs and exquisite railings. There are nine domes, with a centre dome in the middle; while the windows in the front portion opening out into the garden are of blue colour and those in the rear area are arched windows with stained glass. The palace has large stately rooms designed for entertainment on the ground floor and more private facilities on the first floor, where there is a terrace provided with a shade from intense sunlight.
The palace is solely made up of teak wood with a polished staircase, long corridors and doors opening within doors. The "barsati” (terrace) of the Mohatta Palace had a beautiful family temple dedicated to Hindu God, lord Shiva. Mohatta Palace was a luxurious home built in the late 1920s, consisting of 18,500 sq.yards. The elegant palace is built on different levels and was a summer house for Mr.Mohatta for two decades before he left for India in 1947. There are three levels, basement, ground floor, first floor till you reach the roof. The basement that lies on the north side of the building is quite small and comprises a staircase going downwards towards a hot water pool chamber which has a connected changing room.
They say it had a hot and cold water system attached, which would supply the water to the pool. Near the pool chamber are small ventilators, two on each side which may have been used as a source of sunlight and letting out steam. Similarly there was a door leading to a secret tunnel that leads from the grounds of the palace all the way to a subterranean Hindu temple less than a kilometer away. This tunnel was apparently built to provide a safe passage for the Hindu wife of Shivratan Chandratan Mohatta for her daily worship.
This tunnel still exists today, though over time it has caved in, and the entrance is blocked from both ends. Upon stepping inside the building is a corridor which connects to each room situated on the ground floor. The ground floor contains large stately rooms designed for entertainment two towards the right side of the entrance (north), two towards the left (south) and one at the back. The movement inside the building is through the great entrance into a spacious corridor that runs around a huge hall with ornate ceilings and a staircase on the South side.
Mohatta palace is an elaborate building with intricate details which are present in almost every portion of this magnificent building. These are in the form of carvings. The delicate designs include bird’s wings in the large windows, situated in the top right and left corners of the arches.
There are also peacock motifs in the stonework and they are found around each of the nine domes. Also there has been a lot of use of the scallop shape in upwards and downward positions around the lower areas, in the form of a strip going around the building and on top of the first and second floor windows that protrude outwards. There are also many floral motifs around the surrounding wall, between each scallop, such as marigolds. Hibiscus flowers too are found lightly carved between rectangular shapes underneath all the windows, which are on the sides of the doorways.
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, soldiers of the Raj.
- Tuesday to Friday: 2 am to 6 pm
- Saturday and Sunday: 12 pm to 7 pm
- Monday closed.