TheThe above couple let by a Persian poet
describes the primordial environment of the historic city of Multan.
But that has changed now and not only the city of Multan but the
district itself has been transformed into a green, fertile area. It is
fact becoming an industrial town. The city has its own charm, culture
and crafts. The origin of the name ‘Multan’ is obscure and so is the
period of its founding. It has been Mulosan pulu by Hiuen Tsang and
Alberuni called it Multana, which ultimately came to be called Multan.
Multan figured as the capital of an important
province of the kingdom of Sindh in the writings of the early Arab
geographers. At the time the Arabs first came to Sindh, the country
was ruled by Raja Chach, a Brahmin. Multan was conquered by Arabs
under Muhammad Bin Qasim in 712 A.D . After defeating Raja Dahir, a
descendant of Chach.
Thereafter, the town remained for the three
centuries the out post of Islam in India, under the caliph of Baghdad.
It remained nominally subject to the Lodhies, Ghaznavids and Muhammad
Ghauri upto the end of 12th century. From the beginning of the 13th
century for the next three centuries , the history of Multan is
practically the history of the incursions from western and central
In 1397 came the invasion by Taimur, whose
troops occupied Uch and Multan, sacked Tulamba, raided the Kohkhars of
Ravi and past across Biass to Pakpattan and Delhi. In 1528, comes the
peace full transfer of the province of Multan to the emissaries of the
Mughal Emperor Babar. Under the Mughal Emperors, Multan enjoyed a long
period of peace between 1528-1748 and was known as Dar-ul-Aman.
In 1752 Multan became a province owing
allegiance to Afghan kings. It was then ruled by Pathan governors and
Daud Putra chiefs of Bahawlpur for some time. After 1771, Multan
witnessed continued warfare between Sikhs and the Nawabs of Multan.
Between 1818 and 1845, it remained under the Sikh rule and finally
came under the British rule in 1849.
Multan city has the distinction of being the birthplace of three
distinguished man in history Muhammad Tughlaq is said to have been
born in 13th century in a hamlet and the place, which is known as “
Kotla Toleh Khan “. Emperor Bahlole Lodhi was born in Qazian Wala
Makan near Hussain Agahi. Ahmed Shah Abdali, the first Durrani
sovereign of Afghanistan , was also born at Multan in 1722.
Multan Fort was built on a mound separating it room the city by old
bed of river Ravi. Its date cannot be fixed with accuracy. When
intact, its circumference was 6,600 ft. having 46 bastions, including
two towers at each of the four gates i.e., Delhi gate, Khizri gate,
Sikhi gate and Rehri gate. The fort was ravaged by the British to
avenge the murder of one Mr. Agnew in 1948. At present it is survived
by some parts of the old rampart and bastions besides the shrines of
Hazrat Bahauddin Zakaria and Shah Rukne-e-Alam, an obelisk in memory
of Agnew and a Hindu temple. The famous Qasim Bagh and a stadium are
located within the walls of the fort. A panoramic view of Multan city
can be had from the highest point in the fort.
Sultan Sikhi Sarwar’s father also emigrated
form Bukhara to Sarwar Shah Kot in Multan district. These venerable
men contributed greatly to spreading Islam in this area. The saints
and shrines of Multan have been attracting a large number of devotees
all year round.
One of the foremost scholars of Islam, Sheikh
Baha-ud-din Zakaria’s shrine is located in the fort. He was born in
1170 A.D., studied in Turan and Iran and received instructions from
Sheikh Shahab-ud-din Suharwardi at Baghdad. His mausoleum was built by
the saint himself. It was a unique style of architecture of that
period, a only other being at Sonepat in India. It also houses the
graves of most of the eminent members of the Qureshi family, including
that of Nawab Muzaffar Khan.
The mausoleum of Shah Rukn-e –Alam, the grand
son of Sheikh Bahauddin Zakaria, this also located near the main gate
of the Multan fort. He was also a man of great religious and political
influence during the Tughlaq region and was in Multan when it was
visited by Ibn-e-Batuta. The Mausoleum was originally built by emperor
Ghias-ud-din Tughlaq but was given up by his son Muhammad Tughlaq in
favor of Shah Rukn-e-Alam . Besides its religious importance, the
mausoleum has a unique architectural value. Its dome is considered to
be the second largest in the world. The mausoleum has recently being
given the Agha Khan award for the best Muslim architecture. Some of
the interesting statistics of its architecture are:
(a) Total height of the road level is 150ft
(b) Total height of building is 100ft
(c) Octagonal upper structure diameter is 26ft
(d) Octagonal lower structure diameter is 52ft
(e) The dome on top has a diameter of 58ft
The mausoleum has very rich geometric
pattern, calligraphy and colorful floral, mosaic and glaze tile work.
The shrine is visited by devotees all year around.
The shrine of Hazrat Shams Sabzwari is
located near Aam-khas garden. A descended of Imam Jaffar, he was born
in 1165 A.D., the saint died in 1276 A.D., and is shrine was built by
his grand son in 1330 A.D.
Other shrines in Multan include those of Mohammad Yousaf Gardezi near
Bohar Gate, Musa Pak Shaheed inside the Pak Gate, Totla Mai Haram
Gate, Shah Ali Akbar, a descendant of Shah Shams Sabzwari, in Suraj
Miani and Baba Safra near Eidgah.
Mosques of Multan
The famous mosques of Multan are Wali Mohammad Mosque in Chowk Bazar
built by Ali Mohammad Khakwani in 1758 A.D., Mosque Phulhatt in Chowk
Bazar built by Emperor Farrukh Siyar, Baqarabadi Mosque built by Baqar
Khan in 1720 A.D. and the beautiful Eidgah Mosque built by Nawab Abdul
Samad Khan in 1735 A.D.
Multan has some beautiful modern buildings such as Nishtar Medical
College, University Campus, Arts Council building with and auditorium,
Multan Railway Station building the famous Clock Tower building of the
Multan Municipal Corporation and State Bank of Pakistan etc.
There are places of recreation in Multan such
as the Stadium, the Lake Chaman zar-e-Askari and Company Bagh in the
Multan Fort, Lange Khan Garden, Aam-Khas Garden and the parks at Bohar
Gate, Chowk Shaheedan, Tabbi Sher Khan and the Nawan Shaher in and
Festivals, Fairs and Meals
Religious festivals in Multan are a peculiar mixture of devotion and
recreation. Multan is famous for its shrines. Annual Urs is held on
every shrine. Well known are the Urs of Shah Rukn-e-Alam, Bahauddin
Zakaria, Shah Shams Sabzwari, Shah Jamal, Sher Shah and Mela Ludden