Multan Fort (Qilla Kohna Qasim Bagh)
Multan is a Historical city. Its History spread on centuries. Multan is Also Known as the city of “Garma, Gard, Gada and Goristan”. Multan fort is situated in the center of city. Multan Fort was built on a mound separating it from the city by the old bed of river Ravi. Its date cannot be fixed with accuracy. Apart from the shrines, most of the fort was destroyed by the British in 1848-49 to avenge the death of Lieutenant Alexander vans Agnew, killed in Multan by order of the Sikh governor. Agnew's memorial obelisk stands on a plinth at one of the highest points of the fort mound. A panoramic view of Multan City can be had from the highest point in the fort. The Fort was originally known as Katochgarh and is attributed to have been built by the Katoch Dynasty.
Located in Center of City near to Multan Cricket Club next to Shah Rukn-e-Alam’s Mazar, Multan, Pakistan
The fort was notable both for its effectiveness as a defence installation and for its architecture. Contemporary reports put the walls of the fort at 40 to 70 feet (21 m) high and 6,800 feet (2 km) in circumference. The fort's 46 bastions included two flanking towers at each of the four gates (the De, Sikki, Hareri and Khizri Gates). A ditch 25 feet (7.6 m) deep and 40 feet (12 m) wide and an 18-foot (5.5 m) glacis protected the fort from intruders.
Within the fort stood a citadel flanked by 30 towers, enclosing mosques, a Hindu temple and a Khan's palace. The citadel was severely damaged by the battering it got from the guns of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1818.
- Dam Dama: The Damdama is a massive block of a building constructed on a mound of earth fill. It is highest part of Fort Kohna Multan and it was used as watch tower / Gunnery. Walled inner old city Multan is higher than New Multan and fort is highest in inner walled city Multan so it is highest place in Multan. People come here and have photo shoots as tomb of Shah Rukn Alam comes in background.
- Tomb Bahaudin Zikarya 1170 AD, an ancient tomb in Fort Kohna Multan.
- Tomb Shah Rukne Alam 1335 A.D: Shrine Shah Rukne Alam since 1335 A.D. very old and historic. It is located inside Fort Kohna of Multan inside the inner city. Comprising of ancient Multani architecture , bricks and blue/green decorations, a large doom which is said to be second largest in world that times. It is the most beautiful place to visit Multan, it was awarded Agha Khan Award for architecture and since then it is used as identity of Multan city. No doubt it is no.1 place to visit in Multan.
- Tomb of Shah Bukhari Fort Kohna Multan.
- Ibne Qasim International Cricket Stadium now used for football Fort Kohna Multan.
- Qasim Park / Qasim Bagh / Qasim Garden inside Fort Kohna Multan.
- Old Zamzama Cannon of nineteenth century in Police Lines Fort Kohna Multan.
- Barood Khana / Nigar Khana / Gunpowder Store: Barood Khana of Fort Kohna Multan was used as storehouse of gunpowder and weapons. It was badly damaged during siege of Multan by British in 1848. Pakistani government converted into a Nigar Khana or art house for selling handicrafts.
- Ruins of Perhaland temple alongside tomb Bahaudin Zikarya Fort Kohna Multan.
- Feed the wild pigeons in Multan Fort.
There were four other gates which belong to Kohna Fort of Multan, out of which only first survives.
- Qasim Gate
- Khizri Gate
- Sikhi Gate
- Hareri Gate
- Monument of Lt Patrick Alexander vans Agnew: Lt Patrick Alexander Vans Agnew came from Bombay to Multan when it was Sikh Raj in Mooltan. He was killed and then British occupied Multan after a bloody battle and a monument was made now in Qasim Bagh inside Fort Kohna Multan.
- Grave of Lt Patrick Alexander vans Agnew.
- Grave of William Anderson: Army personnel from British Army and killed by Mulraj who was Raja of Multan (Mooltan that times) in 1948.
- An old jet fighter plane.
Ruins of Perhaland Mandir Multan along with wall of Tomb Bahaudin Zikarya:
Bab ul Qasim the Qasim Gate:
Shrine of Hazrat Bahauddin Zakaria:
Shrine of Shah Rukn-e-Alam:
Ibne Qasim Cricket-Football Stadium:
Grave and Monument of English Officers:
Old Jet Fighter F-86 Sabre:
Courtesy Aizaz Baqir – Nov 8, 2006 – Multan’s Qila Qasim Bagh Turning Into Wasteland: Multan is famous for its many attractions. In addition to typical Gurd, Garma, Gada wa Goristane, it is known for its shrines and mausoleums, its handicrafts, especially camel skin lamps, embroidery work, Sohan Halwa (typical Multani sweetmeat), mangoes etc.
- Fort Kohna dates back to BC and said to be the place where Alexender the Great was wounded and never recovered again. Although Fort Kohna was completely different place at that times.
- When British came, there were four gates of Fort Kohna Multan on four corners. Only one exisits now and called Bab ul Qasim. This name was given to it when Muhammad Ibne Qasim attacked fort and captured it in 0712 AD.
- The walls of the fort were built by Murad Baksh, the son of the Shah Jahan, when he was the viceroy of Multan in the early 17th, century.
- The Fort site now looks as a part of the city, because instead of the river it is now separated by a road which looks more like a bazaar and remains crowded throughout the day.
But its Qila Kohna Qasim Bagh is of special historical significance and of paramount importance in the context of the city's historical and cultural heritage. Qila Qasim Bagh is named after the Arab Muslim Muhammad Bin Qasim, who came to conquer Sind and Multan in 715 for the Ummayed Caliphate on the pretext of getting a Muslim woman released from Raja Dahir’s prison. The actual motive was to crush the Dibel pirates active in much of the western Indian Ocean.
According to some sources it was the persistent activity of Dibel pirates, and others in the increasingly important Indian trade routes, which forced the Arabs to subjugate the area in order to control the seaports and maritime routes. Sind was the nucleus and overland passage of these routes. No one knows when the fort was built but it is acknowledged that it was admired and desired by kings and emperors for centuries. It was considered to be one of the most important forts of the Indian sub-continent from both a defense as well as an architectural point of view. It is now situated in the heart of the city, surrounded by busy streets and bazaars.
Understood from this perspective the Qila assumes greater historical and cultural importance. But now-a-days many visitors to Multan, both local and from other cities and countries, hoping to enjoy the rich heritage of Multan, become utterly dismayed. Two months ago, my sister Rashda Tabassum, along with her family, arrived in Multan from the UK to meet relatives and friends after a long time away. Her children were curious and eager to see the wonders of Multan, especially the tourist sites. It was decided that we would first visit the Qila and the shrines situated there, and afterwards go to other places such as Hussain Agahi Bazar etc.
When we arrived we were shocked and horrified to see how everything was falling apart and in shambles. Dismayed and feeling very sorry, we paid our respects to the saints buried there and departed. The children, who had been very enthusiastic about visiting the place, felt dejected. All their excitement vanished into thin air when they saw the actual conditions of the site.
In order to find out more about how the Qila had come to this sorry state I decided to visit the site two weeks ago. Although it is said that the fort was ravaged by the British to avenge the murder of one Mr. Agnew in 1848, what remains of this beautiful and historical tourist resort is now being fully destroyed by its own so-called conservators, the Archaeology and Auqaf departments. Both turn a blind eye to the decay of this most precious heritage of Multan. The entrance from Ghanta Ghar Chowk is closed to vehicular traffic by the construction of an ugly, crudely erected block of mortar and bricks. The main gate, Babul Qasim, is also in bad shape. Its two side towers are in very shabby condition and the small turrets over the arch of the gate have been broken.
Entering the fort, visitors encounter the stink of urine and other waste. It feels as if one has entered a stable. Beggars and addicts abound in this historical place and roam freely without fear. Old Damdma, known as the symbol of the fort, constructed on a mound, and offering a panoramic view of the city from the fort’s highest point, developed some cracks a few years ago. Instead of preserving and repairing this historical point they completely demolished it. Now a two/three storey restaurant is being constructed here at a cost of Rs 400 million (as pointed out by an official of the Buildings Department, Mr Attaullah.) Its roof will be open to the general public so that visitors can enjoy the same view they once had from the old Damdma building. How absurd and ridiculous?
Nigarakhana, another important attraction, once famous for its Multani Arts and Crafts, where tourists, especially foreigners, could buy beautiful handicrafts has also become the victim of ruthless negligence on the part of concerned departments. On entering the shop (it is in the basement and very difficult to locate in the dusty surroundings as no sign board has been placed outside) it feels as if one has entered a waste disposal unit. The stinking and dusty surroundings force visitors to leave the shop without buying any wonderful artifacts.
An astonishing aspect of the decadence here is the fact that at least six departments are responsible for the conservation of this important heritage site in the city of saints. The Buildings department has been given funds to construct the restaurant on the demolished Damdma. The nearby stadium comes under the jurisdiction of Multan Development Authority and an amount of seven crore rupees has been allocated for the rehabilitation of this stadium. The shrines of Shah Rukn-e-Alam and Bahauddin Zikria on the other side of the road are in the custody of Auqaf department and the Archaeology department. Maintenance of the park near the stadium is the responsibility of Mehkma-e-Baghat (or Parks and Horticultural Authority) while the Peoples Works Department has been given the contract for the rehabilitation of the stadium. All these departments are coordinating under the D.C.O.
Millions of rupees have been allocated for the renovation and rehabilitation of Qila and different important historical sites. However, despite the funding and effort put into the renovations, it seems the opposite is the result. With the exception of the shrines, (which are a source of permanent income for Auqaf department as well as its so called custodians, Pirs ) the Qila has been ruined by the greedy, directionless and totally inept officials of Archaeology as well as other concerned departments. In comparison the City District Government Lahore (CDGL) launched the Dilkash Lahore Project, which is just one more beautification campaign in a series of such plans to restore the facades of historical buildings in the provincial metropolis at the cost of rupees 20 million. According to an article in The News of Oct. 19, 2012, four buildings on The Mall will be renovated in the first phase and in the second phase four buildings at Data Darbar Road and Fort Road. It seems that division between the north Punjab and south Punjab is getting wider by the day. While the sensitive and aesthetic Multan lovers are weeping over the demise of the Qila Qasim Bahg, the corrupt and greedy officials responsible for this ruination are laughing their way to the banks.
Parhaland Temple in Fort Kohna Multan: Parhaland Souram Mandir or Temple also spelled as Prahland or Prahalandpuri or Prahlad or Perhaland temple in fort Kohna Multan does not exists any more. Ruins are still found near Tomb Bahaudin Zikarya when visit Fort Kohna of Multan. The things associated with Multan due to this temple is:
- Festival of Holi started in Multan as the festival of Holi involves King Hiranyakashyapu his sister Holika and King Son Prahlad.
- Multani Mitti or dirt of Multan was popular due to cure of skin diseases.
- Multani Mitti or Dirt of Multan is used as face mask now a days.
- Multan was "City of Cure" during 2500BC.
- Multan was called City of Gold due to idols in this temple.
- In side the temple, there was an idol of Lord Vishnu in the incarnated form of Narasinha (A half human and half lion form) .
- A grand fete was celebrated, of Narsinha, here in every month of “Jyeshtha”. On that occasion, many fairs and pilgrimages were held .
- Multan was earlier known as Kashyappur then. This name was subsequently changed to Pralhadpur,
- after Pralhad occupied the throne after his father was killed by Lord.
History of Holi: Prahlad father was angry on him and order him to sit on fire with his aunt Holika who was believed to be immune to the fire. When the fire started people watched in amazement as Holika was burnt to death and Prahlad survived. The burning of Holika is celebrated as Holi and the place where she was burnt becomes Prahld Temple of Multan where Sun Temple was next to it.