The city of Saints Dust & Beggars as it is introduced in an old saying. This may be true in the olden days but it definitely is a different city these days. Multan is is main Southern city of Punjab province, It has always enjoyed a great importance in the history. Some how its people have attracted the Sufi saints so much that it became the abode of Sufism in South east Asia. Multan is known to be the oldest living city in south east Asia. Today Multan is a combination of old and the new Pakistan culture. There is a big hustle bustle in the Old town and comfort of a five star hotel and sound streets in the New city. The Old (Purana Shehar) city has a very interesting Bazaar and many elaborately decorated Shrines of the Sufi saints. For a tour of Multan one has to give at least one full day. There are regular flight from all major cities of Pakistan to Multan, beside Trains and Road. Most Itineraries of Multan are combined with Bahawalpur & Uch Sharief.
From Multan one can start off for the adventures in the cholistan desert and adventures in the rivers of Punjab like sailing in Chenab and camping along the banks of the river gives an exteremly close look at the beautiful culture of Punjab
Multan Shrines & Bazaar.
Mausoleum of Hazrat Baha-ud-Din Zakaria:
Standing at the north-eastern fringe of the ancient fort of Multan, is the eternal abode of Al-Sheikh Al-Kabir Sheikh-ul-Islam Baha-ud-Din Abu Muhammad Zakaria Al-Qureshi Al-Asadi, one of the greatest saints of the Suhrawardiya Silsila and one of the most distinguished disciples of Sheikh Al-Shuyukh Shahab Al-Din Suhrawardy. He was the founder of Suhrawardiya Silsila in the Sub-Continent. He was born in 1170 AD.
The prime attraction of the Fort area is the Mausoleum generally known as Bahawal Haq (the ornament of the Faith). The dome of the Mausoleum is visible from miles and dominate the skyline of Multan.
Sheikh Baha-ud-Din Zakariya known as Bahawal Haq was born at Kot Kehror a town of District Laiah near Multan, around 1170 AD. For fifteen years he went from place to place to preach Islam and after his wanderings Bahawal Haq settled in Multan in 1222 AD. This great man passed away in 1267 AD. The Mausoleum is a square of 51 feet 9 inches, measured internally. Above this is an octagon, about half the height of the square, which is surmounted by a hemispherical dome. The Mausoleum was almost completely ruined during the siege of 1848, but was soon afterwards restored by the Muslims.
Mausoleum of Shah Rukn-i-Alam:
The tomb of Shah Rukn-i-Alam grandson of Shaikh Bahauddin Zakaria, which was built between 1320 and 1324, is an unmatched pre-Moghul masterpiece. The Mausoleum of Rukn-i-Alam is the glory of Multan.
From whichever side the city is approached, the most prominent thing that can be seen from miles all around is a huge dome. This dome is the Shrine of Sheikh Rukn-ud-Din Abul Fath commonly known by the title Rukn-i-Alam (pillar of the world). The tomb is located on the southwest side of the Fort premises. This elegant building is an octagon, 51 feet 9 inches in diameter internally, with walls 41 feet 4 inches high and 13 feet 3 inches thick, supported at the angles by sloping towers. Over this is a smaller octagon 25 feet 8 inches, on the exterior side, and 26 feet 10 inches high, leaving a narrow passage all round the top of the lower storey for the Moazzan, or public caller to prayers. The whole is surmounted by hemispherical dome of 58 feet external diameter. The total height of the building, including a plinth of 3 feet, is 100 feet. As it stands on the high ground, the total height above the road level is 150 feet.
Besides its religious importance, the mausoleum is also of considerable archaeological value as its dome is reputed to be the second largest in the world after ‘Gol Gumbad’ of Bijapur (India), which is the largest. The mausoleum is built entirely of red brick, bounded with beams of Shisham wood, which have now turned black after so many centuries. The whole of the exterior is elaborately ornamented with glazed tile panels, stringcourses and battlements. Colors used are dark blue, azure, and white, contrasted with the deep red of the finely polished bricks. The tomb was said to have been built by Ghias-ud-Din Tughlak for himself, but was given up by his son Muhammad Tughlak in favor of Rukn-i-Alam, when he passed away from this world during 1330 AD.
Mausoleum of Shah Shams Sabzwari:
The mausoleum of Shams-ud-Din, commonly known as Shah Shams Tabrez is located about half a mile to the east of the Fort Site, on the high bank of the old bed of the River Ravi near Aam-Khas Garden. He was a descendant of Imam Jaffer and was born in 1165 AD. He passed away in 1276 AD and the shrine was built by his grandson in 1330 AD. The Tomb is square, 30 feet in height surmounted by a hemispherical dome. It is decorated with ornamental glazed tiles.
Mausoleum of Shah Gardez:
Within the city there is another shrine of Muhammad Yusaf Gardezi commonly known as Shah Gardez just inside the Bohar Gate. It is a rectangular domeless building decorated with glazed tiles, a work of considerable beauty. He came to Multan in 1088 AD and settled here for good.
Mausoleum of Musa Pak Shaheed:
The Mausoleum of Moosa Pak Shaheed is inside the Pak Gate. Sheikh Abul Hassab Musa Pak Shaheed was a descendant of Abdul Qadir Jillani and was born in Uch. The Shrine of Musa Pak Shaheed is also frequented by a large number of Pathans from all parts of Pakistan.
Other Mausoleums and Tombs:
In addition to the tombs mentioned above, Multan has several other historical and archeological remains of the Muslim period. Prominent among these are:
Shahadna Shahaid is located near Delhi Gate and is the shrine of a faithful disciple of ‘Bahaul Haq’.
The Mausoleum of Bibi Pak Daman is located near Basti Daira.
Mausoleum of Hazrat Sher Shah Syed on Multan-Mazzaffargarh Road.
Mausoleum of Hazrat Makhdoom Abdul Rashid Haqqani at Makhdoom Rashid Road.
Totla Mai near Haram Gate.
Shah Ali Akbar, a descendant of Shah Shams Sabzwari, in Suraj Miani.
Baba Safra near Eidgah.
The long brick tombs generally known as Nuagaza tombs, or the “nineyarder tombs”. This term is generally applied, in the sub-continent, to the warriors and martyrs of Islam who, at the time of the early invasions of the Muslims fell in action against the Hindus.
Outside the Delhi Gate, nearly twelve yards (351/2 feet to be exact) in length, there is a stone of chocolate color with marks of light yellow on it, 27 inches in diameter and 78 inches thick, with a hole through the middle 9 inches in diameter. It is called Manka. People say the saint wore it round his neck, while some maintain that it was his thumb ring. The tomb is asserted to be 1300 years old. It is possible that it may belong to the times of the early Muslim invasion under Mohammad -bin-Qasim.
Evening Dinner & puppet Show.
Multan is famous for the puppet shows a typical string puppet show depicting a legend from the numerous Sufi stories. Watch the puppet later ride the Horse carriages to Dine at a local restaurant.
Multan also boasts of having some of the oldest mosques, which were once considered as the jewels of the city. These mosques now remind us of the glorious past of Multan as it was governed by Muslims for more than a thousand years.
The first mosque ever built in Multan was the Jamia Mosque, which was constructed on the orders of Mohammad Bin Qasim. Ruins of this mosque were visible till 1954 at Qasim Bella which have now been washed away by the repeated floods of the river Chenab.
Sawi mosque is supposed to be one of the oldest mosques, which still exists though it has no roof now and most of its decorations have been damaged. Some portions of this mosque are still intact which indicate that glazed blue tiles were profusely used for ornamentation.
Mosque Ali Muhammad Khan:
Another old mosque of Multan, which is still in good condition, is Mosque Ali Muhammad Khan, which is also known as Mosque Wali Muhammad Khan. It is an excellent building, situated in the busiest Chowk Bazaar of the city. It was built by Nawab Ali Muhammad Khan Khakwani in 1757 (1171 A.H.) when he was the governor of Multan in the times of Alamgir II. The mosque is provided with a reservoir for the ablutions, baths, and a large hall for prayers. During the Sikh period, the gateway of the Mosque was used as the courthouse of the Nazim, while its great hall was utilized for keeping the Granth, or the holy book of the Sikhs. The mosque was restored to the Muslims by the British Government at the commencement of the British rule.
Mosque Phool Hattan Wali:
This mosque is located in the Main Bazaar (now called Chowk Bazaar) of the city. It was named so because it was located in the midst of the flower seller’s bazaar. The story recorded in a book titled “Early History of Multan” it is said that the Mughal Emperor Farrukh Sher (1713-1718 AD) on his visit to Multan, being childless, asked a Fakir to pray on his behalf, that he might be blessed with a male issue. The fakir prayed for him, and a son was born to the Empress. His Majesty, through the governor of Multan, presented the fakir with an offering of Rs. 80,000, and with this money the liberal minded fakir had this mosque built.
Eid Gah Mosque:
This grand mosque of Multan is located on the main Multan-Lahore highway in the Northeast of the city. It was built in 1735 AD by Nawab Abdul Samad Khan when he was the governor of Multan. It is a very spacious mosque provided with a vast courtyard and a huge prayer chamber measuring two hundred and fifty feet long and fifty-four feet broad crowned by seven domes. Its exterior was faced with glazed blue tiles and interior was ornamented with colorful mosaics. After independence it was found insufficient to accommodate the increased number of people so its courtyard was enlarged further.
Hindus ruled over Multan for a thousand years or so but they have not left much, which can be described here. There are, however, two places of considerable antiquity of that period. The most important place of the Hindu period was the “Sun Mandir” It was the most important place of worship throughout the sub-continent as referred to in many books. It was situated on side of the old Fort. There is however no trace of it now.
Another place was “Suraj Kund” (the pool of sun). It is about five miles to the South of Multan on the Bahawalpur Road. It was a pond 132 feet in diameter and 10 feet deep when full of water. Sawn Mal the Sikh Diwan surrounded it with an octagonal wall. lt was a place of pilgrimage till 1947 and two fairs were held here annually. One on the 7th of the Vanishing moon of Bhadon, and the other on the 7th of the rising moon of Magh, the numbers having references to the seven hours of the Sun’s Chariot, according to the Hindu mythology or the seven Rishies.
The museum of Multan contains a fine collection of coins, medals, postage stamps of the former State of Bahawalpur, manuscripts, documented inscriptions, wood carvings, camel skin paintings, historical models and stone carvings of the Islamic and Pre-Islamic periods.
Festivals and Fairs:
Religious festivals in Multan are a mixture of devotion and recreation. Since Multan is famous for its shrines, there are number of Urs (annual rituals) going on round the year. Well known are the urs of Bahauddin Zakaria, Shah Rukn-e-Alam, Shah Shams Sabzwari, Shah Jamal, Sher Shah and Mela Ludden Pir.
In the city Husein Agahi Bazaar is a good place for the handicrafts for which Multan is renowned. A large handicraft shop is located within the Fort opposite the Rukn ud Din shrine. Other shops surround Ghanta Ghar Chowk.
Other shopping areas are Chowk Bazaar, Bohar gate, Haram gate, Delhi gate, Lohari gate and Pak gate bazaars in the old city and the Cantonment shopping area.
Multan has some modern beautiful buildings such as:
» Nishtar Hospital / Medical College
» Bahauddin Zakaria University
» Arts Council building
» Multan Railway Station building
» The famous Clock Tower of the Multan Municipal Corporation
» State Bank of Pakistan.
There are some worth mentioning places of recreation in Multan such as:
» The Stadium
» Lake Chamanzar-e-Askari and Company Bagh in the Cantonment
» Stadium and the Qasim Bagh in the Multan Fort
» Langer Khan Garden
» Aam-Khas Garden and the parks at Bohar gate
» Chowk Shaheedan
» Tabbi Sher Khan and the Nawab Shaher in and around Multan.
There are no architectural remains of the British period except a memorial obelisk, which is located in the center of the Fort. It was built in the memory of Agnew and Anderson who were murdered in 1848. It is 50 feet high with five steps to a pedestal five feet high.
At a distance of about 70 kilometers from Multan is Punjnad, which is a confluence of five rivers. You can have a boat ride here in River Chenab. later continue to Uch Sharief the land which attracted most of the Sufis of the subcontinent. Still the town shows the same mystic feeling. There are many beautiful mausoleums of different saints . We shall see here the tomb of Sheikh Jalaluddin Surkh & Jewindi Bibi both elaborately decorated with blue glazed tiles. After visiting the Bazaar we will return back to Multan.
From D.G. Khan, 85 km on the Quetta Road is the only hill station in southern Punjab in Sulaiman Mountain Ranges. Its altitude is 1800 meters and attracts many people for short stay during the summer. TDCP resort at Fort Munro offers excellent boating on the Dames Lake. The resort also provides accommodation, a restaurant and a snack bar.
Leave very early morning to see the ruins of this 5000 years old city of Indus civilization. Return late in the evening. On the way stop at different villages & towns
The Multan Fort:
Multan Fort was built on a detached, rather high mound of earth separated from the city by the bed of an old branch of River Ravi. There is no Fort now as it was destroyed by the British Garrison, which was stationed there for a long time but the entire site is known as the Fort. Nobody knows when Multan Fort came into being but it was there and it was admired and desired by kings and emperors throughout centuries.
It was considered as one of the best forts of the sub-continent from the defence as well as architectural points of view. When intact its circumference was 6,600 feet or, say, about one and a half mile. It had 46 bastions including two flanking towers at each of the four gates named as the De, Sikki, Hareri and Khizri Gate.
When it was intact the Fort consisted of a hexagonal wall from forty to seventy feet high, the longest side of which faced the northwest and extended for 600 yards, and which isolated it from the town. A ditch twenty-five feet deep and forty feet wide was on the side of the wall, behind which was a glacis exhibiting a face of some eighteen feet high, and so thick as to present an almost impregnable rocky mound. Within the fort, stood the citadel. The walls were flanked by thirty towers, and enclosed numerous houses, mosques, a Hindu temple of high antiquity, and a Khan’s palace, the beauty of which was severely damaged by the battering it got from the guns of Ranjeet Singh in 1818.
Once this was the position of the Multan Fort, but during the British occupation everything was lost and finished forever.