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The 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.

The history of Multan prior to the arrival of Arabs in the 8th century A.D is obscure. Alexander is said to have passed through the district in about 325-326 B.C, but his route cannot be traced. It is probable that Multan was the city of Malli which Alexander stormed and where he was wounded.

About 327 B.C. the Macedonians were ousted by Chandragupta and the Maurya dynasty remained in power till the beginning of the second century A.D. From 30 B.C to 470 A.D., the Kushan dynasty ruled over the area, and from 470 A.D to 550 A.D., the White Huns are believed to have held sway.

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 Asia.

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.

The City
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.

The city of Multan is bound on the north by the depression lying between it and the front and on all other sides by a brick wall. It has six gates i.e. Lohari gate, Pak gate, Bohar gate, Delhi gate, Haram gate and Daulat gate.

The old city has narrow colorful bazaars full of local handicrafts and narrow winding lanes. There are many places of historical, cultural and recreational interest in the city.

The Fort
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.

The devastation of Khorasan and Western Iran was to the benefit of this part of Pakistan, for it led to the setting in this city of a large Gardezi Syeds and Qureshis from Khwarizm, amongst whom Shiekh Bahauddin Zakaria is a famous saint. About the same time Pir Shams Sabzawari from Sabzwar and Kazi Qutubuddin from Kashan came to Multan. Baba Farid Shakar Ganj was born in a village of Multan , and settled in Pakpattan.

Khwaja Qutubuddin Bakhtiar Kaki passed through Multan to Delhi and Syed Jalal, the spiritual leader of many families in Multan, Muzaffargarh and Bahawalpur came to Uch.

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
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.

Other Places
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 around Multan.

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 Pir, etc.

PUNJAB:  Lahore  Multan  Bahawalpur  Cholistan  Sialkot  Faisalabad  Gujranwala  Chiniot
SIND     :  Karachi  Hyderabad  Moenjodaro  Sukkur  Thar  Rohri
NWFP   :  Peshawar  Khyber Pass  Swat Valley  Chitral-Kafir Kalash
BALUCHISTAN:  Quetta  Ziarat  Bolan Pass  Sibi  Taftan  The Makran Coast 
 Skardu Valley  Gilgit Valley  Hunza Valley  Karakoram Highway  Kaghan Valley
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