CONSERVATION AND REHABILITATION OF
MIR CHAKAR-E-AZAM RIND TOMB
AN OVERVIEW & HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
The Satghara town is one of the oldest and ancient villages in Okara district of Punjab. The word Satghara has no written nomenclature but has different oral traditions, some people said the Saat means Seven and Ghara means Ghar or Families, while the other said the word Ghara means Pitchers. Most of people have believed that the area has been reconstructed seven times that`s why it named as “Satghara”. The local community lived there also believed that the word Satghara means The Seven Families, which came to this place with the Mir Chakr e Azam Rind. (The Great Baloch Leader) The name of this town “Satghara” is commonly believed to drive its name from words (Saat or Seven) (Ghara or pitchers) or seven ghars seven homes. Some old Historian Folklore narrated that some injured soldiers of Alexander the Great (belonging to the ancient town of Stageira of Macedonia) resided there and they named this ancient town Stageira now pronounced as Satghara.
Satghara Village is located 124 kilometres from Lahore & 24 kilometer from Okara. The rough population is about 1500 with more than 150 houses. When the Great Leader of the Baloch Tribe came to Punjab, fort was built during sikh era with five Bastions named as Satghara Fort which is called as Satghara Village now a days. On the the southern bank of the Ravi, it is a typical Pakistani village where farmers live like rustics in the face of urban attractions. It is said by different Historian and Scholar that, The Satghara Village was distant from the Satghara Fort but now the Village existed beside & within Fortified Walls (400 feet x 400 feet) of Fort & extended on Western-Southern Side of Satghara Fort. The ruins of Teela & Tabba (Citadel) found at that place. According to the Tourist and the locals it is one of the oldest place in Satghara Village built by the Great Baloch Leader. It was used to guard the people from threats & wars
The Hindu Temple of Mughal Times also exist here which reflect that the Satghara had different cultures & communities lived there but the poor & abundant condition of Temple shown that now no Hindu Community exist here. The locals left the temple to die its own life. The Broken Brick Tiles and Damaged roof of the temple shown how brutally the weather treated it. Unfortunately the people lived in Satghara are extremist so they didn’t bother the existence of Hindu Temple here. One of the local said that in old times (early 1900s) People stole the brick of this temple and constructed their own houses but the religious personalities & Islamic scholars of that time warned them to avoid using stolen bricks of Temple for building their houses, otherwise Allah will punish them. A myth about this place that there were 4 graves near this temple, each grave of about 225 to 275 square feet built in lime plaster, where they buried the people of that time. It is still unknown in which period they did that but the ruinsof graves existed beside temple.
The Satghara Walled City is one of the oldest & most beautiful example of Mughal Architectural Styles built in mid 1500s in Humayaun Reign, as the area of Satghara was rewarded by Mughal Emperor Humayaun to Mir Chakar-e-Azam Rind. The Walled City has been surrounded by different Historical Monuments. The Walled City is comprised of 1,60000 sft area surrounded with Fortified Wall along with 5 Bastions, 2 Gateways and One Main Bazar. The Streets Layout are quite Linear and organic. There are many Historic houses of Mughal, Sikh & British Period exist here. These were definitely built in somewhat later in Akbar’s Reign or in Ranjit Singh`s time period. The present condition of the Historical Houses are not good. The resident added or removed many historical elements to fulfil their needs. The locals built their houses on the inside periphery of Fortified Walls. One of the Bastions is used by the locals as their cattle Farm & many people used the other Bastions as their residency & for running their small business etc. There area other Historical monuments including Mosque, Hindu Temple and Gurdawara .
The Satghara City is called Walled City because it is surrounded by Fortified Walls of 410 feet in Length & average of 4 feet in Width on Each side. The Fortified Walls was built in Red Baked Bricks, the indigenous material of that time. Unfortunately, due to illiteracy or unawareness of Heritage Importance in locals, the fortified walls are dilapidated day by day. The two Main Gates led to main bazar which lies in center of the Fort perpendicular to Northern & Southern Bastions.
There are 5 Bastions of 500 square feet, 3 on Eastern Side of the Fortified Wall & 2 on Western Side of the Wall. The conditions of the Bastions was very poor due to vandalism & improper use by locals forced the Bastions to collapse soon. They built their houses in Bastions & many people were using the Bastion for cattle. The exterior was also damaged due to poor infrastructure which effected the material & strength of the Bastions
The Project was directed by Chief Minister of Punjab, Usman Buzdar in 2019. Once he visited the Satghara Village along with his father. They were moved to see the existence of the Tomb of their Ancestor Mir Chakr-e-Azam Rind. The CM`s father Sardar Fateh Buzdar persuaded him to initiate the project of the conservation of this tomb because to safeguard the Tomb of The Great Leader of Baloch as the successors of Baloch Tribe is their moral duty. On the Basis of WCLA successful projects, CM decided to assign the task to WCLA Team. The Director General, WCLA Kamran Lashari visited the Site & along Director Conservation & Planning Najam-us-Saqib & his team. During visited they observed that not only the tomb that need to be restored but the surrounding Village is also should be uplift so the living style could be improved in that area. Initially, the Site was documented by C&P Team through 3D Laser Scanner (The Latest Documentation Instrument) for Architectural Documentation. The Digitized Drawings are attached in Architectural Documentation. WCLA highlighted the issues which included the restoration of Tomb Building, the access towards the Tomb, the Consolidation of the Fortified Walls, Entrance Gates towards the Main Bazar & the Infrastructure of Walled City Satghara. While documentation, WCLA Team highlighted the Work done by the Department of Archeology, Punjab. The Department of Archeology, Punjab conserved the Tomb in 2007. They reconstructed the dome of the Tomb, used brick tiles for conservation of tomb. They did Pakka Kali on Outside & Inside of the Building. They used Pan Concrete on Façade for outside finishes of the Tomb. The WCLA prepared a proposal for the Conservation of the Tomb & its surrounding. The proposal included the Restoration of the Tomb, the access towards the tomb, the surrounding event area, the Restoration of Main Bazar Gates, the street surfacing & the guest house & Management office. The Existing Condition of the Tomb & its surroundings before starting the conservation. After a detailed discussion, some changes in infrastructure proposal were made & WCLA start the conservation work, after incorporating changes on 30th September, 2019 and was completed in March 2021.
The Project (Phase-I) was divided in three main component as followed;
- Conservation of Tomb
- Fortified Walls and Gates of Satghara Walled City
- Infrastructure of Walled City
CONSERVATION OF TOMB MIR CHAKAR-E-AZAM RIND
As referred to pictures shown beside, the Tomb was half canceled in ground. It was decided to excavate the earth to achieve its Original Level (NSL). The Tomb was about 4 feet below the ground level. The best possible solution of approaching the tomb to its level was to provide a ramp from the Ground Level to Tomb Level. The concrete retaining wall was proposed surrounding the Tomb to rehabilitate the Tomb`s Original Level. The courtyard or the surrounding area of the tomb was shrunk due to encroachments and was in being used by locals as Shamlat Deh (Community Center) for keeping their domestic animals and elders to sit under the shadow of big Pipal Tree during lazy summer afternoons. The Area were close to the Tomb and it`s misuses could cause the tomb damages and could ruin its exterior façade. So the team decided to conserve the surrounding area for cultural activities & festivals. The Floor of the Courtyard was conserved and Brick on edge were laid there. The stage was designed in the Courtyard opposite to the Eastern Side of the Tomb for folk performances & the sitting steps were designed on the Southern Side of the courtyard for the Public. The additional contribution to the courtyard was the Gharki (Soakage Well). The Interior of the Tomb was also in very dilapidated condition. The Pakka Kali was done in very irregular manners.
WORKS CARRIED OUT BY WCLA
- Documentation of Walled City & Tomb
- Study of Existing Condition of Satghara Walled City & Tomb
- Problems analysis & Issues o Conservation and rehabilitation of walls with traditional materials
- Conservation and rehabilitation of tomb
- Improvement of Infrastructure-drainage and street surfacing
- Provision of public facilities i.e toilets
- Installation of signage for tourists/visitors